Loire valley hotel & city suggestions

Old Mar 9th, 2013, 12:36 PM
  #1  
lyb
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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?

Thanks,
Lynn
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 12:55 PM
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What do you want to do on the Loire, visit chateau, wine taste or?
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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lyb
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Definitely visit chateaus mixed in with wine & cheese tasting
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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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.
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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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 booking.com to get a better idea of local prices
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 03:19 PM
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Amboise has turned into THE tourist city to stay in.

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.
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 03:31 PM
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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.

http://www.travelswithmaitaitom.com/...ance_2012.html

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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 03:39 PM
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By the way, if you venture that far, Angers is a cool city.

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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 04:54 PM
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What Tom said..we loved Amboise and did not find it crowded when we were there in August. Very much enjoyed its location.
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 05:44 PM
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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.
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 08:48 PM
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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.
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 09:14 PM
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Agree with NYT, Amboise is good during the day, when the boatloads of tourists are elsewhere.

Caveat Emptor.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 05:05 AM
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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.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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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:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-de-france.cfm
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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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!
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 10:47 AM
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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.

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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 11:03 AM
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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.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 11:25 AM
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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. http://wikipedia.org/wiki/loches
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 11:27 AM
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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.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 09:34 PM
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lyb
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Thank you everyone, all your suggestions have been tremendous help, it really gave ideas to focus on.

But I'm sure ill be back.
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