Best scenic route

Oct 12th, 2000, 12:12 PM
  #1  
pdv28
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Best scenic route


I am probably going to be taking the train from Paris to Burgundy. I would like to know if there is a scenic route (by train) that I can take through the Loire valley to Burgundy? Also, what are some of the "key" spots that I should stop at along the route. I have to make my decision soon, as my plans have changed. Can anyone give me the major places to see in both of these regions? Also, could you recommend towns to overnight in (preferably with access by trains).

What *must* a first timer see while in France? I am looking for romantic areas, sublime castles, and interesting areas.

Thanks so much!
Patricia
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 12:28 PM
  #2  
kk
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Dear Patricia, I don't know how to break this to you gently, but the Loire Valley IMHO is not exactly scenic, in and of itself. Think flat. Very flat....and I know whereof I speak, being raised mostly in Kansas. I was stunned as our French friend whisked us out of Paris in his big Mercedes down to Blois on the Loire, because we drove through miles and miles and miles of farm land with very little scenic differentiation. The chateux and villages are of course marvelous, but for my money the land itself is very plain. I am afraid I wasn't a very nice guest because I kept babbling, but it's so flat, it's so flat....and so on.
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 01:02 PM
  #3  
Patrick
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I think an even greater problem is that the two are in opposite directions from Paris. I can't imagine how you could take a train ride through one to get to the other, other than a whole lot of switching and backtracking.
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 01:37 PM
  #4  
Ben Haines
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I'm afraid there's no route in Burgundy that the Thomas Cook Rail map of Europe shows as scenic.Obviously, you'll want to avoif the TGV line, where trains go too fast to enjoy the view. The Thomas Cook guide book "On the Rails" for France suggests stops at Fontainebleu, Sens (cheao hotels opposite the railway stsation), Dijon (cheap hotels on the rue Monge), Beaune (cheap hotels near the railway station), and Macon, and a bus outing to Cluny (they suggest the hotel Cluny Sejour, rue Porte de Paris, open June to September.

The Loire Valley is indeed shown in the map as having a scenic route, from Nantes via Tours to Orleans. The book suggests stops in Nantes, Angers (cheap hotels near the station), Saumur (cheap hotels near the station anmd near the Hotel de Ville -- Town Hall), Langeais (for the chateau), Villandry (3.5 km from Savonnieres: for the chateau), Tours (cheap hotels near the station and on the avenue de Grammont), Amboise, Blois, Orleans (cheap hotels around the town), and Etampes.

To find what there is to see in any place you can use http://www.yahoo.co.uk, then enter "Nantes travel", "Angers travel", and so on.

Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines, London

 
Oct 12th, 2000, 06:06 PM
  #5  
Rex
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What a pleasure to present the counterpoint answer to my dear friend, Mr. Haines.

Get your self a car and drive, my dear. If you don't want to deal with Paris, take the train to Chartres, and rent from there. A must see anyway (the cathedral), and a nice little place - - you can practice your driving around this small and pleasant town.

You will find tons about getting around the Loire "valley", and I have several suggestions if you need more. And kk is right - - it isn't a valley in the topographic sense; well, I guess even the Platte river lies in a valley, technically.

From the Loire to Burgundy means traveling through a part of France that is little known, and not often visited - - la Sologne. Even with 11 trips to France under my belt, I have not been there. But the good news is that the New York times just wrote a very nice piece on the Sologne (in its periodic "Choice Tables" series) - - so get there before every other Donald, Ivana and Marla beat you to it.

Feel free to write me for more ideas in the Loire and Burgundy as well.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 08:07 PM
  #6  
pdv28
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Rex,

I appreciate your help. It just appeared from my map that the Loire is west of Burgundy, and I thought that there may be a way to train through this area.

I have a question for you about Burgundy itself, however. I would like to possibly train to Beaune, but would like to see possibly, Savigny-Les-Beaune. It doesn't appear that there is a train station. Is there no public transportation between the smaller towns of Burgundy and the main ones? If there is a means of public transport, I can't find one. It does seem that a car might be the best answer, but I am not getting a car this time. Is there any advice you can give to me other than getting a car?

Thanks for your help!
Patricia
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 08:15 PM
  #7  
pdv28
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I am confused as to why everyone is saying that this area isn't scenic --do you mean it isn't naturally scenic? There must be some kind of appeal to draw so many people, some kind of peace in nature, also, there are the castles, which seem like they would be interesting(even though man made).

Or are you saying that going by train or auto route, there isn't much natural scenery at all besides flat plains (even that can be interesting for a newcomer to the land)

What is your definition of scenery? Mine is peaceful land (doesn't have to be many hills and valleys or mountainous...just a few villages dotting the land with a castle or two. Is it possible to see the castles from train?

Anyway, thanks for your help.
Patricia

 
Oct 13th, 2000, 06:38 AM
  #8  
kk
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Driving through the Loire Valley is pleasant but not what I had expected. Everyone makes such a big fuss about it that I'd not expected it to be so plain. But it was peaceful and tranquil. Having heard how boring it is to drive across Kansas when I was growing up and getting sick of hearing that(and being irked because I think it's peaceful and pretty in a plain kind of way)(not plane, but that's true too of course), I was just surprised at the featurelessness of the Loire Valley. Had I not expected sizzling sites, then I would've been fine.
I don't think you can see chateaux (castles) from the train, which follows the autoroute we took.
From the sounds of what you said you liked to see, I do not think you will mind the flatness.
I guess I had expected it to look like the south of France, or Alsace, and that's just dead wrong.
 
Oct 13th, 2000, 09:36 AM
  #9  
Sally
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I just got back from the Loire Valley for the second visit. The first time we rented a car and drove from Chartres through Blois. It is a pretty drive, and you can certainly see chateaus from the road. This time we took a train from Paris to Amboise and rented a car there because we wanted a more restful trip. That was a very pleasant train ride - two hours- we also could see chateaus and picturesque small villages from the train.We then drove in the countryside around Amboise, Cheverny and Chenonceau. It is lovely, not really very hilly, but not at all flat either.
We stopped at chateaus, churches, and charming small towns, as we happened upon them on our way to our planned stops.Amboise is a perfect overnight- Hotel Brecht is 100 yards from the train station.
 

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