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Car Rental in the Loire?

Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 05:50 AM
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Car Rental in the Loire?

We are going to France for the first time in May and plan to tour the Loire after some time in Paris. We thought we'd leave Paris by train, and then get to the Loire area and then rent a car to tour. Any problems with this plan? Is there a major area in the Loire where trains enter and rental cars are available?
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 07:57 AM
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I have visited the Loire but we have always driven allthe way. However, looking at the Thomas Cook rail timetable there are regular TGV connections between Paris and Tours, which is a city in the Loire. Trains leave from paris Montparnasse. I do not see you would have any trouble hiring a car in Tours. You could look up hire car cos. such as hertz or Budget etc. on the web and make enquiries that way. Those times we have hired cars in France we have had no problems.
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 08:56 AM
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We went by train to Amboise, spent the night there in walking distance of the train station and then rented a car there for a couple of days- staying in a chateau for one night. Then we returned the car to Amboise and went back to Paris on the train. Very easy and low stress. I have also taken train to Chartres, rented a car there and then drove to Amboise for several days and then returned car to Chartres and went back to Paris on the train. Just going by train to Amboise is simpler unless you want to spend a day in Chartres on the same trip which is nice , too. The car rental place in Amboise is a local one. It is listed in Rick Steves or given a little time, I can look it up.
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 10:18 AM
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We picked up a car in Tours, which if I remember correctly was about an hour from Paris by TGV. Tours is kind of in the center of the area so we spent one night in Blois and two nights in Tours.

There were two stations in Tours, I believe we got off at the first stop at St Pierre de Corps which was next to our hotel, but the major train station is probably the second one which will have a better selection of car rental places. The Hertz location at St Pierre de Corps wasn't manned unless there was someone with a reservation so we had to wait awhile.

You can check out the TGV train schedule at We didn't need to have a train ticket in advance, we were able to get one the day we arrived at the train station but it was useful having the approximate times of the trains.
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 07:11 PM
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We went to France last year in April. We went down to the western end of the Loire Valley for a couple of days. We rented a car from AutoEurope near Place d'Italie and were out on the Perpherique and out of Paris in a jiffy. I navigated, my husband drove. I have some high school french and I brushed up on the road signs and what they meant before we left and we found where we were going with no trouble. They were running out of cars and we got upgraded to a Mercedes and it was a very comfortable ride and we could stop along the way. Enjoy whatever you choose!
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 07:40 PM
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We went to CDG airport from Paris and
picked up our car there. We then headed via the backroads directly to Amboise where we stayed for two nights. We went to the lovely Chenonceaux, Chambord, and others. It was lovely. We then went through several small towns and villages to
Chartes. We spent several days exploring. A car is the only way to go!
Reserve your car from the states, however, (or wherever you are at...) before you go to get the best rates, know that you must ask for an automatic as most rental agencies only offer a shift.
It was very easy driving from the airport. I'd get a good map at Barnes and Noble now, and get a little familiar with your proposed route.
Bon Voyage!
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 07:57 PM
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We turned in our car at Orly airport, which is on the south side of Paris, much closer to the Loire Valley than Charles de Gaulle Airport, on the NE side.
Old Jan 28th, 2001, 06:10 PM
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We flew into CDG,picked up a car, and my jet-lagged husband drove us to Amboise (bless his heart). Returned the car, as recommended by an earlier poster, to Orly. This car return was VERY frustrating, as we found this return procedure cumbersome (and we travel a good bit). Next time we'll take the train to Tours or Amboise and pick up the car there. LOT less hassle.
Old Jan 29th, 2001, 11:27 AM
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Planning trip in Sept-Oct. 2 weeks in Paris, train to Loire Valley. Would like to stay a few nights in each: Amboise, Sarlat, Carcassonne and end up in Avignon. Would it be possible to rent car in Amboise and return in Avignon? Might there be a larger town close to Amboise to rent a car from a larger car rental agency? If possible would like to turn the car in at AVignon and take the train back to Paris. Is this feasible? THANKS!
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 11:17 AM
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It is very easy to drive around the Loire Valley...everything is extremely well marked. There are signs everywhere that point you in the right direction. Plus, the distances are quite short. My husband and I stayed in Chinon (a very quaint town) and then stayed in Onzain. But we could have easily stayed in one place and visited everything. If you choose that route, however, you might want to stay some place that's Tours. Also, it is a good idea to drive down to the Loire as it is only about 2 hours away, and you can stop in Chartres along the way. The Chartres cathedral is absolutely breathtaking.

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