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lyb Mar 9th, 2013 11:36 AM

Loire valley hotel & city suggestions
I haven't been on the forum for quite sometime, nice to be back !

I'm planning on going to Paris & the Loire Valley this September. It'll be a return to Paris, so I'm ok with the city but first time in the Loire Valley. I read many of the threads already posted & I'm even more confused :)

There seems to be so many options, it's making my head spin. I'll be traveling alone & like what many others seem to do, take the train from Paris to Loire & rent a car once in Loire. I haven't decided which city yet, I was thinking of Orleans as a start point. I'm thinking of spending at least 4 days, maybe 5.

Which hotel or b&b can you suggest? Is a max of $125 US dollars reasonable? I certainly wouldn't mind spending less :)

Any suggestions is appreciated, even if it makes me more confused at first. That's part of the joy of planning, sifting through it all & finding the ideal itinerary, right? :)


bilboburgler Mar 9th, 2013 11:55 AM

What do you want to do on the Loire, visit chateau, wine taste or?

lyb Mar 9th, 2013 12:47 PM

Definitely visit chateaus mixed in with wine & cheese tasting

Rastaguytoday Mar 9th, 2013 12:49 PM

Take the train to Tours. You can rent a car from there. Tours is a fairly large city, so not really the place to stay.

My personal take is don't stay in Amboise.

My first stay in Amboise was in 1995, when it was a sleepy town with few tourists. My second, and last stay was 4-5 years ago.

In the past 20 years or so, Amboise has turned into THE tourist city to stay in.

Restaurants are full of tourists eating at 6 PM, and only tourists.

Frankly, very disappointed.

bilboburgler Mar 9th, 2013 01:32 PM

Tours, a good place to stay,, also Saumur and Angers. You need a car to get around and a guide book to chose a few chateau to visit. I recommend visiting the Abbey of Fontevraud, once Europe's biggest nunnery, it has now become a hotel (in one building) but the Abbey and gardens are easy to visit and it holds the tomb of Richard 1 (of England and various other places, also know as "lionheart").

Many of the local ACs have a house where you can taste the local wines, one of the best is on Saumur river front, I think there is a small fee and they explain about the wines.

Cheese? Don't know.

Use something like to get a better idea of local prices

Sarastro Mar 9th, 2013 02:19 PM

<i> Amboise has turned into THE tourist city to stay in.</i>

Amboise, full of bus loads of tourists and mediocre restaurants which cater to them, is the one place in the Loire Valley I would avoid. It's over hyped, crowded, and best avoided. Blois, Saumur, Loches, or a host of other locations make a much better place to stay.

maitaitom Mar 9th, 2013 02:31 PM

Here is my latest trip report. In early October, we stayed in that town "full of bus loads of tourists and mediocre food." Amazingly, Amboise wasn't overly crowded, and we had three good meals in Amboise (and then one great one in Angers). Amboise was perfectly located to see most of the chateaus. The place we stayed was terrific (I have photos to go along with this). If not Amboise, I think I would stay in Blois.

For the Loire part, check out Chapters Eight through Eleven.


maitaitom Mar 9th, 2013 02:39 PM

By the way, if you venture that far, Angers is a cool city.


michele_d Mar 9th, 2013 03:54 PM

What Tom said..we loved Amboise and did not find it crowded when we were there in August. Very much enjoyed its location.

nytraveler Mar 9th, 2013 04:44 PM

We spent just the day at Amboise and found the town charming and had a very plesant casule lunch - but did go to aplace withut an English menu.

We stayed in a private chateau in the country near Chinon and loved that - both the unique experience of staying in a 15th century castle and the dinner enfamille with the other tourists (from the US, Canada, Argentina, Germany and Russia). They had a nice buffet breakfast, did the enfamille dinners two or 3 nights a week - and provided a lot of info on the chateuax and the son et lumierre programs in the evening.

Some are very luxurious and expensive but many are modestly priced. This was 5 years ago so I don;t remember the exact amount but it wasn't much unless you wanted one of the suites.

michele_d Mar 9th, 2013 07:48 PM

Do plan to attend a son et lumiere program at one of the chateau when you visit the Loire. We attended the one at the Chateau in Amboise and absolutely loved it.

Rastaguytoday Mar 9th, 2013 08:14 PM

Agree with NYT, Amboise is good during the day, when the boatloads of tourists are elsewhere.

Caveat Emptor.

gwan Mar 10th, 2013 04:05 AM

Re: Orleans, I've never been despite living in Tours for nearly 3 years now, but the universal verdict from everyone I've met who has lived there is that it's rubbish. Living somewhere is different from being a tourist there, of course, but I would skip it.

FrenchMystiqueTours Mar 10th, 2013 08:58 AM

I guess some of us on this thread must be tour bus repellents. Whenever my Mrs. and I visit Amboise it seems peaceful and pleasant.

Agree about not going to Orléans. Not that there aren't things of interest there, but there are much more interesting things to visit elsewhere. My favorite towns to stay in are Loches and Chinon, both wonderful medieval towns with impressive castle ruins, cobbled streets, old buildings and an ample number of restaurants and services. I like Blois too but there are any number of smaller towns that are nice if you want quieter surroundings.

If you look at this thread there are links to all the major tourist offices in the Loire and some other general tips for exploring the area:

annhig Mar 10th, 2013 09:09 AM

I've stayed in both Amboise and Saumur, and much preferred Saumur.

also Chinon looks like a good base though we only stopped for lunch - we were planning on seeing the chateau but it was closed for renovations. [i think they may have finished now]

my must sees in the area? - the Abbey at Fontavraud, the gardens at Villandry, the chateaux at Angers, Chenonceau, Saumur, and Chaumont [mainly to see the garden show between May and september], the church @ candes [where the rest of the Plantaganets that aren't at Fontavraud are buried] - that and other ad hoc delights should keep you busy!

maitaitom Mar 10th, 2013 09:47 AM

lyb, Manoir de la Maison Blanche in Amboise was 90€ (right now that is $117...includes a great breakfast spread) per night. You pay in cash when you leave.


nytraveler Mar 10th, 2013 10:03 AM

annhig has good recos - we esp liked Fontevraud Abbey with the tomb of Coeur d'Lion. But I would add Chambord to the must see chateaux.

iris1745 Mar 10th, 2013 10:25 AM

We found that Loches was convenient to visit the Loire. Look at a map. It was easy to go either way, right or left, following the Loire to chateau's.

annhig Mar 10th, 2013 10:27 AM

nyt - I have yet to get to Chambord.

although it looks terrific from the outside, i think I remember that it is very spare inside.

lyb Mar 10th, 2013 08:34 PM

Thank you everyone, all your suggestions have been tremendous help, it really gave ideas to focus on.

But I'm sure ill be back.

Kwoo Mar 11th, 2013 08:06 AM

You can click on my name to read my trip report from last August. We spent a week in Paris, then 3 nights in the Loire Valley. We stayed in Blois for 2 nights & Chinon for one night. Visited 3 chateaus, a winery for wine tasting, & drove to smaller towns that are on a list called "100 most beautiful towns/villages in France". We loved all of our locations; also had dinner in Loches, visited chateau in Langeais, & had lunch in Saumur, & enjoyed those towns, too.

Can anyone tell me how I can create a link to my trip report, like Maitaitom?

mr_go Mar 11th, 2013 08:18 AM

Location-wise, we absolutely enjoyed staying near Chinon. It's a terrific town in its own right, and puts you within striking distance of a lot of interesting things (Angers in the west to Blois in the east, and all points in between).

Kwoo: Just open your report, copy the URL and paste it into your reply. The link will be coded automatically.

FrenchMystiqueTours Mar 11th, 2013 09:00 AM

I just posted a reply on another thread about Loire valley châteaux because I just discovered a really amazing looking château with gardens and it's only about 10km from Chinon. I've never been to this place and I've never heard it mentioned anywhere but if you've exhausted your list of all the major châteaux in the Loire this looks like a good château to start your discovery of the lesser known châteaux in that region. The château I mentioned is called Château du Rivau and it's located in the town of Lémeré about 10km from Chinon. It's a real fairytale looking château and the gardens look gorgeous. They have a very extensive website that you could probably spend an hour looking into. Here is the website:

Here is a great website about Loire Valley châteaux:

Dr_DoGood Mar 11th, 2013 09:28 AM

Hotel Diderot in Chinon.

I got the recommendation on these boards a decade or so - and so glad I did. Wonderful little town to base yourself in and an absolute gem of a small hotel.

I've subsequently stopped there on numerous occasions en route between UK and the South Of France and It never fails to be a delightful stop over. Breakfast confitures to die for!

Second the suggestion above that Amboise is to be avoided in the summer months.

Dr D.

Kwoo Mar 11th, 2013 10:45 AM

Thanks, Mr. Go.

lyb Mar 23rd, 2013 10:14 AM

Thanks to everyone I now have my itinerary, it was surprising how many hotels were already booked for my dates in the first two weeks of September. My first two choices in Paris, the hotel Diderot in Chinon & quite a few others, but first rule of is to stay flexible, right.

So here it is:

Sept 1 - 6: Paris at Hotel Paris Rivoli in the Marais
Sept 7 - 10: Blois at Hotel Anne de Bretagne
Sept 11 - 12: Chinon at Hotel Anne Sorel
Sept 13 - 14: back to Paris at Hotel L'Université in St Germain-des-Prés

Now on to loosely plotting the daily activities, I never set an absolute schedule. I know what I definitely want to see & always leave room for surprises.

roguemckenzie Sep 23rd, 2015 06:20 PM


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