Loire Valley -must I rent a car?

Old Aug 7th, 1999, 01:42 PM
  #1  
margot
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Loire Valley -must I rent a car?

I'll travel with my daughter in late Sept. 2 nights each in Chartres, Tours, and Blois. Must I rent a car? I'd rather not, but will if I must. We will visit Chenoceau, Chambord, Chartes Cathedral and Chateau de Blois. Any other ideas on "must sees" or hotels/B&Bs would be much appreciated!
 
Old Aug 7th, 1999, 02:06 PM
  #2  
Dena Harrington
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Hi Margot! How lucky both you and your daughter are, to be going to the Loire Valley! My husband & I were there in March, so here's some advice, for what it's worth...Yes, you must rent a car in order to see the chateaux's (not sure of correct spelling of plurals?) that you've mentioned. Altho they are all in relatively close proximity, I can't imagine any other way to get around. I would also recommend seeing the castle in Amboise, Leonardo di Vinci is buried there. The countryside is absolutely beautiful! We rented a car in Tours, and drove to see the sights. We stayed in a place called Domaine de Haut de Loire. It is the most beautiful place you can imagine, it was a hunting lodge of a count. The service was impeccable and it was reasonable as well. I can not say enough wonderful things about this hotel. It is located between Blois and Amboise in Onzain. Be sure to get a good map, I think we had a Michelin map we asked for in Tours where we rented the car. I'm not sure of the number or name of the map(I think that is how they are listed), but I will gladly provide you with more info if you would like. You can respond here or at my e-mail address. Chenonceau was beautiful, the grounds are spectacular. And if you enjoy wine, don't miss there wine cellar. The bottles are cheap and very good! What ever you do, I'm sure it will be wonderful. Have a GREAT time with your daughter!
 
Old Aug 7th, 1999, 02:07 PM
  #3  
Dena Harrington
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Hi Margot! How lucky both you and your daughter are, to be going to the Loire Valley! My husband & I were there in March, so here's some advice, for what it's worth...Yes, you must rent a car in order to see the chateaux's (not sure of correct spelling of plurals?) that you've mentioned. Altho they are all in relatively close proximity, I can't imagine any other way to get around. I would also recommend seeing the castle in Amboise, Leonardo di Vinci is buried there. The countryside is absolutely beautiful! We rented a car in Tours, and drove to see the sights. We stayed in a place called Domaine de Haut de Loire. It is the most beautiful place you can imagine, it was a hunting lodge of a count. The service was impeccable and it was reasonable as well. I can not say enough wonderful things about this hotel. It is located between Blois and Amboise in Onzain. Be sure to get a good map, I think we had a Michelin map we asked for in Tours where we rented the car. I'm not sure of the number or name of the map(I think that is how they are listed), but I will gladly provide you with more info if you would like. You can respond here or at my e-mail address. Chenonceau was beautiful, the grounds are spectacular. And if you enjoy wine, don't miss there wine cellar. The bottles are cheap and very good! What ever you do, I'm sure it will be wonderful. Have a GREAT time with your daughter!
 
Old Aug 7th, 1999, 05:42 PM
  #4  
Vicki
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Dear Margot: I agree with Dena - my husband and I drove through the Loire Valley for 3 days the end of July and I don't see how you could get away without renting a car. You will have a much richer experience. There is actually alot more to enjoy and marvel over throughout the valley, in addition to the chateaux. Also, you can e-mail one of the french tourist offices (I e-mailed the one in Los Angeles) and they will send you a book of chateau hotels. We stayed in 2 of those in the book and they were completely charming and served wonderful food. I think most of them are just out in the countryside so you would need to have a car in order to do that. Have a great time! Thanks, Vicki
 
Old Aug 9th, 1999, 09:50 AM
  #5  
karen
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You really will need a car to visit the places on your itinerary. We visited Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny, from our base in Blois. Three very different structures and all interesting. Cheverny is furnished, so that adds to the differences between them. There's quite a show with the hounds at 5pm. Chenonceau's setting on the river and the beautiful gardens are also special. We found that visiting these was just right - any more and we'd be "chateau'd out." Stayed at B&B JUST outside Blois. Quiet and lovely, with a back road along the Loire (with hardly any cars) to easily get into Blois in 5 minutes. Expansive breakfasts. Mme. Muriel Cabin-St-Michel, La Villa Medicis, Mace, 4100 Saint-Denis-sur-Loire. Fax 011-33-2-54-78-20-27. English spoken.
Wonderful restaurant in Blois: La Banquette Rouge. We went twice!
For Chartres (actually approx 3km outside the city) a wonderful B&B "Ferme du Chateau" M. et Mme. Bruno Vasseur, Leveville, 28300 Bailleau--l'Eveque. Fax 011-33-2-37-22-97-02 (English spoken). A view over the wheatfields to the spires of Chartres. Great breakfasts and home-cooked dinner on request. Email me if you have any further questions. Bon voyage!
 
Old Aug 9th, 1999, 10:27 AM
  #6  
elvira
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You CAN see all those spots via train/bus/group tour, but you'll spend too great a percentage of your time waiting for the transportation and on the transportation. Rent yourself a little car, and you'll see lots more (don't worry about driving in France; they are very good drivers - and no road rage)...
 
Old Aug 9th, 1999, 12:42 PM
  #7  
cherie
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We rented a car in Paris (Yes, I am a vertean of the Arc d Triomphe at rush hour) and drove down to the Loire Valley via Vendome and Chartes. The roads are wonderful and scenic and the highways are clean and well maintained. Gas is pricey and you don't see lots of "Sunday Drivers" because of that factor. The rental gives you flexibility. If you feel a bit jet-lagged or want to stay longer at a particular sight, you will be under your own power with your own car. We rented a larger one that we really needed. We rented a Renault Safrane which was roughly a bit smaller than my Audi 100CS. It came with an alarm and power-everything as well as being an automatic. It came with a $800.00 price tag for the week, too. You may prefer sopmething smaller or if you are traveling with more people, it would be just right. I only mention it for comparison. I was in the Loire in 1995, too. All that said, I think it is difficult to get chateau'd-out, but we sure had fun trying! The wines are terrifis as someone else has mentioned...try Chinons and MontLouis and Vouvrays. The gift shops are nice especially at Vaux le Vicomte. Barbizon is a nice village on your way towards Paris. The artists went there to paint purer colors away from the pollution of the city. There are lovely shops to stroll, etc. The cheese is great in the Loire and comes as a course just before dessert. And the bread....I could go on and on. Have a great time. -Cher
 
Old Aug 10th, 1999, 04:38 PM
  #8  
margot
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Many, many thanks to all who replied! I am happy that car rental/driving is easier than I thought. I am re-thinking my plans a bit...

Thanks again!
 

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