Before Paris: Loire Valley or Burgundy?

Feb 3rd, 2012, 01:30 PM
  #1  
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Before Paris: Loire Valley or Burgundy?

Hello all,
We'll be arriving (and also departing from) CDG Paris beginning of April. We have about 13 days (not counting travel days), and I originally thought we would spend them all in Paris, keeping busy there and also doing several day trips.

However, I was thinking we really have time to go somewhere first for maybe 4 nights, somewhere sort of close-by, maybe a couple hours away by train. (We will not be renting a car.)

How about either Loire Valley (maybe use Tours as a base?), or Burgundy (Dijon as a base?) They both sound great, and would look for mini-van type day trips to see the local sights.

Which would you suggest?
nvl325 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 01:56 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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I first recommend watching the following sites :
http://www.ceetiz.fr/fr/paris/minibus-tours.html
http://yourguidetoparis.weebly.com/

I think that the "châteaux de la Loire" worth a visit.
I would choose Amboise as a starting point. It's smaller and more charming city than Tours.
Krs_Oflin is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:15 PM
  #3  
 
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If you're not going to rent a car (too bad) then you should choose the Loire, since public transport options are better in the Loire than Burgundy. Definitely base in Tours as that is the transport hub of the area. Here is a link to the tourist office website so you can learn about the different mini-van tours that depart from the tourist office. Click the tab on the left that says "Excursions" and you'll find all the info you need. You'll also find plenty of info about hotels and restaurants.

http://www.tours-tourisme.fr/index_en.php

If you decide on this you'll need to use the TGV website to buy/reserve your tickets. For info on these trains use the websites www.tgv-europe.com for schedules and prices. Don't forget to uncheck the box marked "Direct Trains" to see all possible options. If the TGV site redirects you to the RailEurope website then try again and enter "Antarctica" as your ticket collection country. You can probably enter Great Britain or some other country so play around with it. The RailEurope website often doesn't show all the trains and generally has higher prices but you can check for yourself to compare. You can buy tickets up to 90 days in advance and the earlier you buy them the cheaper they will be. The discounted tickets are known as PREM tickets but these are non-refundable and can't be exchanged.

You'll want to arrive in the station Tours Centre, not Saint-Pierre-des-Corps.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:12 PM
  #4  
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thanks for the info. Regarding trains to Tours, I looked at the TGV website. Was curious how much cheaper advance tickets are, vs last minute- after arriving from an international flight, if there were delays, would it make sense to buy ahead?

For one day ahead, which I put in for comparison purposes, the prices ranged from 33eu to 60eu. Times were from 1 hr to 3 hrs. Looks like the TGV trains only go to St Pierre, but I read there's a shuttle to take you to town.

Two months ahead, the fare is 20eu for a Prem ticket. But these trains leave from Montparnasse- so we'd arrive at CDG and then have to schlep to Montparnasse? This isn't looking to be as easy as I thought!

Comments appreciated!
nvl325 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 05:07 AM
  #5  
 
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FM gave you good advice about using tgv-europe instead of RailEurope.
I checked on the 3rd April and it seems you can take a train from CDG

10h16
De la gare de : CHARLES DE GAULLE 2 TGV

Arrivée à :12h00> 12h11 via
A la gare de : SAINT PIERRE DES CORPS A QUATRE KM DE TOURS

Transporteur :TGV
Numéro du train :9802 2e classe

Durée 02h00
Arrivée à :12h16

A la gare de : TOURS CENTRE
Transporteur :TER
(This trip is 50€)

Thanks for mentioning Burgundy Dijon is 1h40 from Gare de Lyon. Unfortunately the only direct TGV from CDG leaves at almost 8pm. (27€)
You may also find mini van day trips, mostly wine tours at the TO http://www.visitdijon.com/en/dijon_vignoble.htm + http://www.visitdijon.com/en/dijon-v..._des_lunes.htm
Wherever you go have fun!
cocofromdijon is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 05:17 AM
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Just curious why you wouldn't rent a car. It is so easy and fun to tour on your own.
If it's the Loire, rent at CDG and drive. If Burgundy, maybe train to Dijon and rent. I like to do outside of Paris touring first, and then end in Paris.
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 05:47 AM
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Perhaps cocoindijon might have some ideas about public transport options in the Burgundy region and mini-van type tours. I suggested the Loire is easier by public transport because several of the main towns are served by the rail lines that run near the river and there are bus connections to some of the other well known areas. Plus, the private tours on the tourist office website cover many of the "best of" activities and are reasonably priced.

Yes, perhaps you'll need to arrive in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps and take a taxi. There are a few trains that do go direct from CDG to Saint-Pierre but it depends when your flight arrives. But there are other options as well from CDG that involve transfers. In regards to Montparnasse I think the Air France bus goes there from CDG. Nonetheless, there are several possibilities you can look into.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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if you are arriving at CDG and were prepared to rent a car, it's easy-peasy. no problems with worrying about whether you're going to miss the train, no complicated changing stations in Paris, etc, etc.

although the weather can be mixed in April, we have toured that time of year and had a lovely time - little traffic, hotels that are glad to see you...you wouldn't even need to book in advance [outside Paris that is] unless you wanted to.

depending on your interests, you could head out to Giverny [Monet's house] and then Rouen, or down to chartres, followed by Tours or Blois.
annhig is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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With 13 days, I'd plan an excursion outside the city too. But I'd definitely rent a car, whether headed to the Loire or Burgundy. If you rent a car and choose the Loire, stay away from Tours - traffic is a pain there. With 4 days in the Loire, I'd actually choose two bases, one in the eastern Loire (Amboise or Blois) and one in the western (Saumur or Angers). Even if you choose only one, it's worth traversing the whole area; it's not too much driving and there is much to see beyond the usual famous châteaux.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 4th, 2012, 07:54 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,523
i can second Saumur as a good base for touring the Loire - nice little town, good restaurants and shops, and loads to do and see in the area.

We stayed here:

http://www.lelondres.com/

it's been done up a bit by the looks of it since our stay, but it's very central, and has the great advantage of its own private car park.
annhig is offline  

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