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Paris (relax), Amboise, Loire (bicycle)

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Aug 13th, 2015, 08:29 AM
  #1
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Paris (relax), Amboise, Loire (bicycle)

Hola,
Thanks to another Fodorite and the fact that I'm doing all this last minute I think I may be bicycling from one location only in Amboise - maybe 5 - 7 days. It just seems easier and less costly than doing a self guided Inn to Inn bike trip.
Also, once the tour agent takes their cut of the room fees (from the tours that I can afford) the rooms are pretty sparse or worse, out in the middle of nowhere in a place where there aren't places to eat or get some water for the room. I'm not going lux but this is one of those large and important birthdays. What can I say, I don't want a room that has ceilings high enough for a small child or doesn't have a window. It seems like it would be depressing to have a sore biker's arse and be stuck in a crappy room on my big day.

At any rate, the reason that I'm here for help is to try to figure out the logistics of how to set this trip up. This will be mid September. Haven't got flights yet but do know that the flight in will arrive CDG at 5:35pm
The departing flight back to Mx will depart at 11pm. Not good times for either. Plus very long flights.

I'm thinking of staying in Paris 2/3 nights before or after bicycling in The Loire Region. Paris goal - I want an amazing birthday meal. Maybe lay low this time, walk around, eat, drink, buy myself a good BDay present (no waiting in long lines to museums, etc). This could be 2 nights only depending on the cost of the hotel or apt. Seems like there aren't too many openings this late in the game for low/middle priced hotels.

Also thinking of basing ourselves in Amboise and taking day rides either straight out of Amboise or taking the train to a further location and biking back. We're hoping but am not opposed to renting a vehicle at the start or end of staying in Amboise. Not totally sure if I want to drive through Paris in the dark after arriving. Not sure if one can even drive one way and drop off without paying a crazy high fee.
Any help is appreciated.

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cybor is offline  
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Aug 13th, 2015, 09:04 AM
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Not sure if one can even drive one way and drop off without paying a crazy high fee.

Sometimes there is a one-way fee (Hertz was charging one from Bordeaux to Limoges), but generally if there are none. Use Autoeurope and check the rental agreement.
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Aug 13th, 2015, 10:01 AM
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I'm not sure why you think there would there be a crazy high fee to drive a car from Paris to another place in France not that far away? I always do that in France, crazy high fees are for transporting cars to other countries. I know Europcar doesn't charge those between Paris and say, St Pierre des Corps TGV station (Tours). If Hertz does, don't use them.

I thin it is a whole lot easier just to stay in one place, of course. I think the high fees for inn to inn bike tours aren't for the rooms (or that they take cuts, generally tours negotiate pretty good room rates), but for the logistics, transportation, baggage handling, bike rentals, guides, handlers, etc. I've only done a couple tours (not biking) and the fees were actually lower than if I had booked myself.

If you aren't arriving until about 6 pm, I'd probably stay in Paris also since you want to spend a couple days there. However, I myself usually prefer to get the difficult stuff out of the way at the beginning of a trip, and end up doing the relaxing part and being in the city of my departure. So it's not so hectic leaving. Others prefer the reverse. And your departure is going to be tricky if you have to elave from Paris, and you are in Amboise/Tours.

YOu could just get to the Loire early, do that stuff, and end up in Paris. I would prefer that, if it works. There is a TGV from CDG to Tours at 6:48 pm (arrives around 9:30 pm), if you can make that (should be able to) or 8:19 pm arrives 10 pm. Then just collapse at a hotel there for the night, and get to Amboise early in the morning. You can't go direct to Amboise from CDG, as far as I know. You can get a train from St Pierre to Amboise all the time, only takes about 15 minutes. Because I think your first day of arrival is wasted, anyway if you don't get into CDG until 6:30 pm.
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Aug 13th, 2015, 11:12 AM
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Michael,
Good to know that there generally isn't a one way drop off fee. Sometimes that's a lot higher than the actually rental fee.

Christina,
You raise some good points. I like your philosophy of doing the not so great things at the beginning of the trip and saving the rest for later. Now you have me thinking that over-nighting at the airport may be an option. Hate to be in Paris and not really be in Paris but...
Not sure where St Pierre is - can't find it on the map. Are you saying that it's 15 minutes away from CDG?
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Aug 13th, 2015, 12:17 PM
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We did similar last year - with help from PalenQ and others here. Here's what we did:

Arrived at CDG and boarded a train for Amboise (you change trains in St. Pierre and then it's short 15 minute leg to Amboise). We stayed in a cave cottage!!! Cheapest rental of our trip, and very very cool. Don't know how the owner would feel about meeting you so late though... I think I'd do the reverse from Christina's suggestion - because you have all day to get yourself back from Amboise to CDG via train.

We walked into town and found a bike shop, adorable owner. Communicated via high school French, patience, and a notepad. Rented a tandem with baskets for four days. One day we rode to Chenonceaux, another day we spent exploring the town of Amboise, and another day we went the other direction, along the river to several nearby towns. We are very casual bikers, so that may be less than what you'd choose to do.

Here's the cottage:
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p912058a
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Aug 13th, 2015, 12:43 PM
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Joan,
What a cool place. Looks nicely located near things to walk to, as well. It says that the dates that I want aren't available yet the calendar shows that they are. Perhaps there's a minimum time stay that I didn't see.
They listing doesn't mention internet.
How many minutes is St Pierre from CDG?
Thank you
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Aug 13th, 2015, 01:25 PM
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www.bahn.de/en has all the schedules Paris to St-Pierre-des-Corps - it takes about 2 hours from CDG all told. www.voyages-sncf.com is the official site of the French Railways - www.capitainetrain.com is a different booking agent same trains same fares - much esier to get to work many say for Americans. When landing at CDG the problem with booking discount tickets is that they are non-refundable non-changeable - plane way late you're out and have to buy a full fare ticket.

full fare is not all that much CDG to SPdC so buy a full fare ticket that can be used on any train once you land or if doing the discounted ticket route leave plenty of fudge factor time for planes to be late - CDG is a congested airport - planes may park out in the middle and take a shuttle bus to the terminals in some cases.

For lots of great stuff on French trains check www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Yes there are some troglydyte cave houses that rent oout rooms or the whole place in Amboise itself - just behind the great chateau. Don't miss Leonardo da Vinci's Clos Luce - his former home and garden after Francois 1er brought him her from Italy as a symbol on bringing the Renaissance to France or so some sources say. Anyway models of many of his inventions are on display - right in town.
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Aug 13th, 2015, 02:19 PM
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My response disappeared!

CDG to Amboise is about three hours train travel time, with St. Pierre being your transfer point, which is about 15 minutes from Amboise.

No internet in the cave cottage, but there was free internet at the very-helpful tourist office in town (limited to about 30 mins I believe). Cottage was very well located, just off the main road.

If you visit Paris then Amboise, your late afternoon return will be easily accomplished, and you can return to Paris via a different train, seeing Chartres cathedral - if that interests you. This was recommended to us, but we did a different plan.
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Aug 13th, 2015, 02:33 PM
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There are no rail links between Amboise or St-Pierre-des-Corps and Chartres - have to go into Paris and back out - TGVs blow by Chartres several miles away and you may be able to glimpse the soaring cathedral from the train which does not stop anywhere between Tours and Paris usually.
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Aug 13th, 2015, 09:12 PM
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We flew into CDG and then took train to Chartres where we spent the night. It is a lovely town. Then we rented a car there and drove to Amboise. After our week stay in Amboise, we returned the car to Chartres and spent five days in Paris.

Another time we stayed in Paris first and took the train to Amboise. We then rented a car from a local car rental for five days. That worked well, too.
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Aug 13th, 2015, 09:23 PM
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If this helps, here is an idea. Ten or so years ago we did a self-guided cycling trip in the Loire. We used a local outfitter and were very happy with the trip, the routings, and the lodging. Pricing was much more reasonable than most of the trips you will find. You may want to contact Claude to see if anything will work out for you (I didn't carefully read all of your requirements).

We had a rental car we dropped off in Angers, and Claude met us there to start our trip. On the way back we took the train back to Paris.

http://www.anjou-bike-center.com/menu.htm
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Aug 14th, 2015, 12:33 AM
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It really is very easy and cost affective to do the whole thing yourself. Hire a bike with panniers, sort out what you want to wear in a big pile, halve it and halve it again. If you want to buy panniers, buy the cheapest and stick plastic bags inside them to keep clothes dry (so £25 a pair not £120). Follow a route booking a room when you turn up or if a little worried use the t'internet to book ahead that morning, when you get as far as you want catch a train back.

All this is spelled out on http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/ and for the Loire you have one of the best websites for any biking route and that includes the Danube (probably the most used bike long distance route in the world) at http://www.cycling-loire.com/ but if you want to know where most of the long distance routes they are here http://www.voiesvertes.com/
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Aug 14th, 2015, 12:36 AM
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though I still think the Midi is good for you
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Aug 14th, 2015, 05:36 AM
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If I got it right, you can't train into Amboise from Chartres - right? I'd rather not rent a car if possible.
Pal, I had a hard time trying to find train routes on the voyage website. There are pops and votes and all sorts of other things that I can't figure out. I'll look at it again with fresh eyes.


bilbo,
After thinking about it I decided that not having to re-acclimate every evening may be the ticket for this trip. We've been living out of suitcases for the last year and a half and need to decompress a bit. As always, I appreciate all your help.
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Aug 14th, 2015, 10:59 AM
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If I got it right, you can't train into Amboise from Chartres - right? I'd rather not rent a car if possible.>

well go to www.bahn.de/en - the German railwahys web site for schedules of all European trains - very easy to see - you can of course get from Amboise to Chartres but it takes over 3 hours and the quickest route is to go to Paris and take a train back out to Chartres - or via Le Mans - more than 3 hours.

There is no direct trains between the Amboise/Tours area and Chartres though if driving it could be a slight detour to Paris (I've only biked between the two and you can take some sweet side roads.)
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Aug 14th, 2015, 12:26 PM
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Pal, I can't get that site to show CDG and other locations.
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Aug 14th, 2015, 01:12 PM
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cybor - I put in www.bahn.de/en From - Paris Aeroport CDG Terminal (T2; that's where the TGV trains stop) and Destination Amboise (St-Pierre is the name of the Amboise train station).
Paris Aeroport CDG T2
Mo, 17.08.15 14 min. dep 08:05 2:16 1 TGV, TER
Add
Amboise(St-Pierre) Mo, 17.08.15 arr 10:21
Paris Aeroport CDG T2
Mo, 17.08.15 14 min. dep 10:02 2:54 1 TGV, TER

There are many connections that have you taking RER into Paris to Montparnasse station the two above go direct from CDG - TGV to St-Pierre-des-Corps and TER (regional) train from there to Amboise.

Give it another try and report back! If you know you exact date put it in - I just tried a dummy date - next Monday.

Cheers, Pal
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Aug 14th, 2015, 02:43 PM
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Paris Aeroport CDG T2
Mo, 17.08.15 14 min. dep 10:02 2:54 1 TGV, TER>

If you want to only consider direct CDG to St-Pierre-des-Corps trains look for "TGV, TER" which means TGV from airport to S-P-d-C and then regional train (TER) - no reservations needed - to Amboise.

TGV tickets automatically come with the needed seat reservation - best to just buy for the next available train once landed, thru Customs, etc. www.voyages-sncf.com and www.capitainetrain.com list all the trains and fares.
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Aug 17th, 2015, 08:29 AM
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This is proving to be far more difficult than I thought. This is because of my lateness in the game, train schedules and some landlords not allowing late arrivals etc
I also found many of the hotels near CDG to be very pricey. We might as well go into Paris if we're going to pay more than peanuts to stay near the airport.
My question - I think the trains running from Amboise to Paris - CDG run early in the day. Our flight doesn't depart CDG until 11p.
My thought was to come into Paris and hang out until the evening and then make our way up to CDG. Problem is we'll have luggage.
Ideas?
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Aug 17th, 2015, 09:05 AM
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One year we landed in the morning at CDG, took the train into Paris, and took our suitcases with us to the Jacques Marte Andre (sp??) museum. We left them chained by the coat rack while we visited the museum. We then found a small, local restaurant and went in with our suitcases for a meal. We then proceeded to Orly, by train, for our early evening flight.
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