Loire Valley 1 day trip - help

Mar 19th, 2004, 07:09 PM
  #1  
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Loire Valley 1 day trip - help

Hi everyone,

My boyfriend and I will travel to Paris in early July. We are planning a one day trip to Loire Valley by TVG on the same day. The must-seem items, as suggested, should be Chenonceaux and Chambord/Cheverny. I have thought of the below itineray and would like to have your advice:

Option 1:
In the morning: Paris to Tours by TGV; Tours to Chenonceaux by Train; walk/bike to Chenonceaux and return; Chenonceaux to Blois by Train;
In the afternoon: Join TLC bus tours at Blois to visit Chambord and Cheverny or rent a bike to travel to Chambord and Cheverny; return to Paris at around 6pm

Option 2:
In the morning: Paris to Tours by TGV; Tours to Blois by Train; join the TLC bus tour to visit Chambord and Cheverny; return to Blois at noon
In the afternoon, Blois to Tours by train; Tours to Chenonceaux by train/bike; return to Paris at around 6pm

Do you guys think which one is better? Also,
- is it possible to bike from Tours to Chenonceaux (train from tours to chenonceaux takes 30mins & have to walk for 2km)
- can I rent a bike at Chenonceaux train station?
- can you provide details of the TLC bus tour, e.g. website in English, bus schedule, etc.
- From the SCNF website, I searched the train scheule from Tours to Chenonceaux and found a bike sign in blue under the train's name. What does it mean?
psymaggie2 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2004, 12:09 AM
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I have travelled to all of the places you have mentioned, but not by train. My experiences with mass transport lead me to believe that what you want to do will take a lot of unproductive time and will leave you with far less time than you think for the fun things. I suggest that you rent a car in Tours and make a circle route that includes Amboise, Blois, Chaumont sur Loire, Chambord, Cheverny and Chenonceau. This is approx 100 km and very easy to drive.
DougP is offline  
Mar 20th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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Agree that car rental is the way to go. Public transport in these areas does exist - but is set up for locals not for touriss trying to fit a bunch of chateaux into one day. You will be able to see/enjoy much more if you simply rent a car rather than this very complicated exercise. If you really don;t want to rent a car suggest you look into one of the bus day trips from Paris.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 20th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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The bike sign on the SNCF sign means the trainis equipped with a special space to carry bikes.

I agree with the others that you will find this a rather grueling experience with very little time to enjoy the sightseeing aspects of it unless you rent a car.
StCirq is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 07:27 AM
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I think you would be doing very well to do two chateau a day if you were driving. I think it would be impossible with public transport.
bigtyke is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 07:35 AM
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We were able to do 3 chateaux some days by car - but we were staying locally - and that was a very long day. Also, some of he chaeacux are massive and take a very long time to really see - you need to figure at lest 3 hours. If you start very early and move quickly you may be able to do the three you want.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 07:39 AM
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I agree with the replies advising a car. The lost time in using trains, renting bikes, walking, etc. will ruin it for you. A car lets you stop anywhere for a wine tasting, food, or another castle. A car will also let you stay for an evening sound and light production and still make it back to Paris. Even a bus tour from Paris would be more practical and more fulfilling than a day plan that will crash if any one of many arrangements is delayed. You have lots of time to plan. Good luck!!!
AJPeabody is online now  
Mar 21st, 2004, 02:34 PM
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Hello Maggie: We stayed at Chenonceaux in September 2001 and I can tell you that it is very difficult to get around by train in this area. For example, the trains from Blos to Chenonceaux don't run very frequently. You will end up spending a lot of time waiting for trains. If you attempt to do this, better check the schedules very carefully and make sure you make your trains.

I would suggest that you check into a tour from Paris to Loire. I believe I read in Rick Steves book about this service. We tried to book a tour AFTER we arrived and they were booked.

You do not have to walk for 2 km to get to the Chateau from the Chenonceaux train station. It is very very close. It is a pleasant walk through a tree lined lane. If may be 2 km all the way through the grounds to the Chateau itself but again, and easy walk.

I guess you have to decide if you want to SEE all the chateaus or spend time biking through the vineyards. I don't see how you will make all the connections you propose. If you insist on taking the train, I would limit yourself to the most accessable and only see one.
Ronda is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 02:55 PM
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I am going to agree with everyone else about renting a car in the Loire Valley. You really cannot get around without one.

I also recommend that you go out of Paris with an organized bus trip to make the most of your one day. They will probably take you to Chenonceau and one other chateau and drive by some others. You will get a taste of the area and will not have to worry about renting a car, getting lost, etc.

I did spend a month in the Loire several years ago on a home exchange and managed to see 18 chateaux during the month. Quite honestly, even based in Tours, I found it difficult to do more than one chateau a day. You do want to leave time to walk around the grounds as opposed to racing through them to up your chateaux count.

If you want to see a Loire Valley chateaux and do it yourself, Blois is very accessible by train from Paris (and very interesting as well).
LaurenSKahn is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 04:54 PM
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Thanks to you all!!I will limit our trip to visit Chenonceaux and Chambord in one day only. After checking holiday-bike's website, I found that the daily rate of renting a car is cheaper than I expected, just Euro46 for 24hr/200km.It is cheaper than to join local tours which cost Euro46 per person! But I would like to ask if there is any other cost I have to bear, e.g. parking fee and how much? Also, during the peak travel season of July, will there be any traffic congestion problem when many visitors there?
psymaggie2 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 05:04 PM
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we did a similar trip last year, with the exception that we stayed overnight in Tours (very lovely town!!). It was a nice break from Paris. We booked a trip with a tour guide and they took us all over (9am departure right outside the train station, return around 5-6 or so. The time of the tour coincides with the TGV to/from Paris). We saw Amboise, Chenonceau (a MUST!!), Cheverny, Fougeres Sur Bievre (more an old fortress than castle), and Chambord (another must see). It was a great tour, very knowledgable driver . We even had time to explore a few little towns, have lunch by the river, etc. Would highly recommend it. Let them drive you !!! It was very reasonably priced. I found them online (did a Google search). Good Luck!!
LindaSus is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 05:10 PM
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To the last poster: Did you visit all the chateaux you listed or just see some from the outside? I presume some were just "drive bys".

I looked at your list and thought, "Whew!" What a day!
LaurenSKahn is offline  
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