Lorie Valley and Beyond

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Dec 10th, 2017, 07:25 PM
  #1
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Lorie Valley and Beyond

We fell in love with Europe and France several years ago and now go back once or twice a year. In Sept. 2018, we plan on going back to France and explore areas we have not spent very much time in. We will be flying in and out of Paris and will have about 9 days. We definitely want to spent at least 3 night in the Lorie Valley and then maybe to Bordeaux region and Normandy region. We will plan on renting a car for at least part or all of the trip. We like some history, Love mid-evil towns, wine and food. Any recommendations as to what villages to stay or areas to visit would be appreciated. I am thinking 3 nights in Amboise or Tours and then we need recomendations. I have read that Bourdeaux may not be where we want to go. We loved Colmar in the Alcause region, Beaune in Burgundy region and Avignon in Provence.
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Dec 10th, 2017, 07:34 PM
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Either Bordeaux or Normandy, because once in the Loire valley, they are in opposite directions.

There is a Michelin map of the plus beaux villages of France. If driving, using the plus beaux villages as markers on your travels might be a way of organizing your itinerary.
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Dec 10th, 2017, 08:26 PM
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You have a wealth of options! I would strongly encourage you to consult a few good guidebooks to see what most appeals to you. You could, perhaps, consult a few of the books with high quality photos in your local library or bookstore, and once you decide on a destination, buy one of the ones that provides more detailed information.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 03:20 AM
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You can't realistically visit the Loire, Normandy, and the Bordeaux area in 9 days without sacrificing a lot of time to travel between them. A map will show you why. So pick two.

<> Why?

Agree that you need to look at a few guidebooks, and a map or two.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 05:41 AM
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Loire is over 1000km long with lots of interesting side rivers, 3 days no way. Focus is the thing

"mid-evil"
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Dec 11th, 2017, 06:38 AM
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Take train Paris to St-Pierre-des-Corps, Tours mainline station and rent your car and head to Amboise. Normandy makes a lot more sense than Bordeaux which is much farther -easy drive Loire -Mont-Saint-Michel - Bayeux base for D-Day sights; return car in Caen and take train back to Paris. For lots on French trains and booking your own tickets - at a discount if early enough -www.voyages-sncf.com; www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 12:37 PM
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I am thinking 3 nights in Amboise or Tours>

Amboise is much easier to drive into and out of and is more centrally located for the most popular chateaus like Chenonceau and Chambord. But Tours has its pluses -large city with nice Old Town area that is like a Latin Quarter of restaurants - Amboise can be too crowded in season - can't go wrong but with car I'd chose Amboise.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 01:26 PM
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<<"mid-evil" >> Yes, and Lorie and Alcause. It's a wonder people find their way around.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 01:35 PM
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Loire is over 1000km long with lots of interesting side rivers, 3 days no way. Focus is the thing>

Yes but Loire Valley to American tourists means a relatively small area along France's longest river (I think) say between Blois, Amboise and Chinon/Saumur - where they lavish cheateausn are located -probably because it was closest part of Loire to Paris for royals to commute back and forth.

Loire part here is not really that scenic though the wild river is -one of few in France not navigable since it is not damned up to make it so and thus often runs in wide sandy riverbed, the most beautiful I've seen is from Amboise. Folks staying in youth hostel on island in middle of Loire at Amboise can savor that.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 01:37 PM
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You might not have time enough for the Loire and Bordeaux but the western Loire takes you very easily into the Vendee and in September the wonderful Puys de Fou will still be doing its brilliant stuff taking in the history of the area from the Romans to the Revolution:

http://www.puydufou.com/en

You could easily get the train down as far as La Rochelle, then hire a car and work your way back up to Nantes, Cholet for le Puy de Fou, and then spend a few days round the Chateau basing yourselves in Saumur, Amboise and/or Chinon.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 01:47 PM
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I've driven thru Vendee many times getting to the seaside resort my in-laws from Orleans went to -the closest seaside to them - and this is a really neat area that relatively few tourists get to. I bet Stu don't even have an itinerary for it? Check out Little Venice there.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 01:48 PM
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Well, I never thought France was upper evil.

Amboise > Tours for staying in the Loire Valley - Tours is a small city and in cities, European drivers drive like ... Europeans.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 11:19 PM
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Pal, I don't think American's get to name bits of the Loire as the Loire, surely that is down to the French

Actually I find the Loir pretty as well.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 06:40 AM
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Yes but Loire Valley to American tourists means a relatively small area along France's longest river (I think) say between Blois, Amboise and Chinon/Saumur ->

right bilbo -I should have say tourists in general and even in France when folks speak about Val de Loire it is about this section.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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I think picking 2 places other than Paris would be best. Either would work with the high-speed trains (Loire+Bordeaux or Loire+Normandy). But if Paris isn't the focus, you could actually do all 3, why not. With the high speed trains, it's only a couple hours between them (Bordeaux and St-Pierre des Corps and St-Pierre-des-Corps to Paris). Normandy is a bit more complicated.

I gather Paris isn't the focus at all, but you probalby have to spend one night there at the end before your flight.

Arrive and take TGV from CDG to St-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours or for the Loire area). The train is only 1:40 hrs, easy, but schedule may not fit your plane, but it's easy. I suppose you'll have to rent a car there, but that really depends on you, also. You can just spend a couple days and use trains if you only want to go to Blois and Amboise, for example. Probably can get a day bus tour to one other chateau or take the train to Chenonceau. It's feasible, whatever you want.

Then I'd go to Bordeaux by train, that's less than 2 hrs. Now I have no idea why you want to go there. If just to visit the city a couple days (I did that), that is easy. If you have some fantasy of touring wineries for some reason, etc., that's up to you, I'm sure there are tours from Bordeaux to do that. You could then take the fast train back to Paris easily enough. So Loire + Bordeaux would be easy.

YOu can't easily get to Normandy from Bordeaux, however, or CDG as far as I know. So then you'd have to go into Paris, maybe spend a night, and go to Bayeux by train, or Caen. Then go back to Paris and take the high speed train to St-Pierre-des-Corps. That's what I would do, because from there, you can go back to CDG.

Combining all 3 isn't easy in 9 days due to no great train connections between Normandy and those other places.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 11:33 AM
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I have read that Bourdeaux may not be where we want to go>

Well it is nice for a large French city but IMO the nearby Dordogne would be better for a base. Bordeaux has a lot of wineries so you could take TGV train Paris to Bordeaux (high-speed line recently opened all the way from Paris) - wind thru the wine country and spend a few days in Dordogne - September perfect time for nice weather and somewhat smaller crowds.

Then blast up autoroute to Tours/Loire area - turn car in at Blois or St-Pierre-des-Corps and train to Paris or CDG directly.

September in northern France especially later in month IME can be cool and wet (or warm and sunny).
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