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Loire Valley: Car Hire?

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Jan 1st, 2012, 09:21 PM
  #1
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Loire Valley: Car Hire?

My wife and I are planning a short stopover in the Loire Valley from 9-16 April 2012. We plan to stay in Amboise from 9-13 April and apart from looking around Amboise, do a few day trips from there. On 13 April, we're planning to head firstly to Blois and then on to Chambord and finish up the day in Chinon. We will then stay in Chinon until 16 April when we plan to return to Paris.
We'd be really grateful if fellow forumites could help with some advice on a few car hire issues:
(1) any suggestions on car hire companies? (it seems the only car hire available in Amboise in Europcar but since there is no Europcar office in Chinon, it looks like we would have to return the car to Saumur). Are there any Europcar Offices closer to Chinon?
(2) we would like to use Hertz (personal preference) and there is a Hertz Office at St Pierres des Corps Station in Tours so I guess we could pick-up/return the car there. Does anyone have any experience in how easy/difficult it is to get into/out of St Pierre des Corps Station? Have found trying to find/get your car into some car hire offices/lots at larger train stations and airports can sometimes be a challenge.
(3) would it be better to get a smaller car? We're not sure how wide/narrow the roads are in Amboise/Blois/Chinon etc. but based on previous experience in the south of France, thought we should aim for a smaller car. (Would ideally like to be able to put both of our suitcases in the boot/trunk of the car).
Would really appreciate any advice anyone has to offer on hire cars - as well as any other advice on Amboise and Chinon and daytrips from there.
Thanks!
gj05 is offline  
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Jan 1st, 2012, 10:01 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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1. Consider using a broker such as Autoeurope or Kemwell.

www.autoeurope.com
www.kemwell.com

2. Hertz in France is not really the same company as Hertz in other countries. Avis and Hertz are the only two companies in France that will charge you extra for a one way, in France, drop off. I avoid both of these companies. St Pierre des Corps is located just outside of Tours and very near the autoroute. Access is quite easy and the offices there are not particularly large.

3. Arrange for a car that will accommodate you and your luggage, keep in mind that the trunk space of many popular cars in Europe is limited. The few older, more narrow streets of Amboise are mostly closed to vehicle traffic so car size should not be a problem; same for Blois.

I am in Amboise often to visit friends but I do not recommend it as a base for those visiting the area. It has unfortunately been overrun by tourists particularly in summer months and the restaurants there average at best. L´Épicerie is the only restaurant I can confidently recommend. I find Loches or Blois much less crowded and much more interesting locations than Amboise to use as a base for exploring the region.

Near Amboise I might suggest the Auberge du Launay:
http://www.aubergedelaunay.com/
It is a charming property, has a very efficient and friendly staff, and has one of the best restaurants in the area.

Other hotels to consider, these near Chenonceaux:
Le Bon Laboureur
http://www.bonlaboureur.com/

La Roseraie – Hôtel/Restaurant
http://www.hotel-chenonceau.com/

Hostel du Roy
in Chenonceaux
http://www.hostelduroy.com/

I also can recommend this hotel/restaurant in Bléré
www.lechevalblancblere.com
Sarastro is offline  
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 12:37 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 541
Sarastro - we have been charged one way fees in France from Europcar twice in the last two years, so its not only those two companies unfortunately
BikerScott is offline  
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 02:51 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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usually find it way cheaper carrentals.com CDG usually head out there on the RER to save. Regional trains like a local
WAY cheaper though.
qwovadis is offline  
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 10:42 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Interesting Scott. For many years I have rented cars from Europcar at least twice a year and never have I paid a one way fee within France. Further I have never been quoted a one way fee even when just researching itineraries.

However, every quote I have ever received from either Avis or Hertz added a significant sum for one way drop off. I happily avoid them completely.
Sarastro is offline  
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 11:14 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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No one-way fee for a Lyon to Reims Europcar rental last September. It was actually booked and prepaid through Kemwel. Could it be that when booking directly with Europcar there might be a one-way fee?
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