ideas for the Loire Valley

Jan 11th, 2001, 01:33 PM
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ideas for the Loire Valley

Considering a honeymoon in the Loire Valley. Any suggestions on where to stay? Is it possible to get around by public transport? And my French isn't expert--will we get by?
Jan 11th, 2001, 04:20 PM
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What a wonderful idea, a honeymoon in the Loire Valley. Give me a couple of days and I can email you some nice hotels. We stayed in Amboise which was very well located. We picked up our car at Orly and navigated easily to Amboise, only about three hours away. My husband lets me tell him where to go, and he doesn't second-guess me. He then, is free to just drive. It works for us. We like the less traveled back roads, rather than the autobahn. And, we take our times. Public transportation was not readily available. The French were wonderful to us. A smile and an attempt to speak their language goes a long way.
Jan 11th, 2001, 04:55 PM
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No one appointed me, but I choose to make it my mission to convince people to rent a car to see regions of Europe like the Loire valley.

But I also try to keep my eye out for neat properties in towns where you can at least get there and get around on foot with enough to see - - at least a little - - without one.

and this place might fit the bill: - - it still won't necessarily be the end-all/be-all solution to how to move around WITHIN the Loire valley without a car, but the entire town of Richelieu is "officially classified as an historical monument and a masterpiece of XVIIth century classical urbanism" - - and La Maison is right in the heart of town.

You can easily get to Chinon by train (via Tours), and from there, it ought to be possible to get a cab for the remaining 13 miles.

Best wishes,

Jan 11th, 2001, 09:32 PM
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The Hotel du Bon Laboureur in the village of Chenonceaux, just down the street from the chateau, is quite nice. Right on the property of the Chambord chateau is Hotel du Grand St. Michel which is rather average, but you can sit on the terrace & view the chateau. These were 2 of my 4 favorite chateaux, the other 2 being Villandry and D'Azay le Rideau.Agree with's one of those areas you need a car to fully enjoy.
Jan 12th, 2001, 04:42 AM
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I agree with the above that a car is an absolute need. It is the only way (well, you could use a bicycle) to get around and really see the area and have easy access to the sights.

In November last we based ourselves in Amboise and did our day sight seeing from there. It turned out to be an ideal location. We used the Manior Les Minimes and would highly recommend it. It is a restored manor house right at the base of the Amboise chateau with wonderful rooms, private parking, and a gracious owner. I think it would be a nice hotel for a honeymoon.

Obviously a small amount of French is helpful, but you will find that basic English will be understood.

For a nice inexpensive dinner, but with very high quality food, try the La Blazon hotel, which has a very nice dining room with regional specialities. The hotel also has good reputation, but it is small and basic so maybe not good for honeymoon. Another fun place is the cocktail lounge located on the island in Amboise called Le Shaker. Cool little bar with great selection of drinks and decent small food menu. One note, we were there twice and neither time did the staff speak one word of English, but martini is martini in any language!

Loire valley is wonderful, enjoy. By the way, Manor Les Minimes has web page and I reserved through email easily.
Jan 12th, 2001, 04:49 AM
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Whoa! a "Martini cocktail" (almost pure gin or vodka with a little bit of dry vermouth) is NOT a Martini in any language!

I was with a Martini drinker last summer, and we learned in MANY places (especially Austria and Germany) that they had no idea that a "Martini" meant the definition listed above.

They thought he wanted basically dry vermouth (Martini) over ice.
Jan 12th, 2001, 05:37 AM
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Please forgive my error. You see, I am not a martini drinker. I prefer beer and that is what we drank at Le Shaker. I apologize for offending you, but I was simply trying to make the point that even though the staff doesn't speak English it is still possible to order a nice drink in a very pleasant and friendly bar. And, I do know that beer is not beer in any language!
Jan 12th, 2001, 05:56 AM
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Just to complicate "martinis" further, since the company Martina & Rossi makes both dry white vermouth and sweet red vermouth, ordering just a "martini" could also get you a glass of the red and sweet.
Jan 12th, 2001, 06:16 AM
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I agree with the other posters, rent a car if you can. Take the TGV from Paris to Tours(only 1 hr) if your concerned about driving times or driving from Paris. Avis has a rental office right at the train station(we got ours thru autoeurope which used Avis). Driving in France was not as hard as I thought(this forum helped) but be sure you can drive a standard shift because even reserving an automatic doesn't mean you'll always get one. We based ourselves in Amboise, which is lovely and well located but so is Blois which is larger. Having a car gives you freedom, versatility and the convience of roadside picnics. I don't speak french but learned a few of the polite phrases and along with a smile I got by and found the French to be wonderful. Another nice place to eat in Amboise is at the Hotel Le Breche, near the train station which has a lovely dining room. Congratulations and Good Luck.
Jan 12th, 2001, 08:29 AM
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Any thoughts on renting a car in Chartres and heading that way?
Jan 12th, 2001, 09:39 AM
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Renting a car in Chartes (assuming they have a rental agency office you are wanting to use) would work as well. It is easy train access to Chartes from Paris and then down to the Loire valley from Chartes is quite easy. We did the reverse, driving from Loire valley to Chartes and then drove from Chartes to Paris Orly to turn in car before spending the end of our trip in Paris.

For those interested, turing in the car at Orly worked out OK, but it was a bit of a hassle since the way to Orly when coming in from Chartes is not well marked. We had some difficulty finding our way to Orly due to this lack of markings, but we did get there, and once there it was a good place to turn in the car and catch the Air France bus into Paris. It helps to be able to read French because all of the signs within Orly are in French only, so when you are trying to locate the rental car return you will not see "Rental Car Return" signs but the French equivalent, which is "Retour De location De Voiture" or similar wording (the key is location de Voiture=rental car).
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