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Question about Loire Valley châteaux

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I'll be in Paris for the tail end of a trip to Europe and strongly considering adding an extra day to see a little of Tours and 2 chateaux: Chambord and Chenonceau. You should know that I'm a travel photographer and this will be the purpose of my visit, not wine tastings or garden picnics. I'll be looking to take postcard-like photos that will be featured in travel guides, calendars, brochures, etc.

After doing some research my initial plan is to take a morning train from Paris to Tours. From here I'd like to see the half timbered buildings in Place Plumereau, the St. Gatien cathedral, and Hotel de Ville (on foot or bus perhaps?).

The next part is where I need your advice. Would renting a car to check out the 2 chateaux be a better idea than taking a tour from the tourist office? I would really only be shooting the outside of them as well as the gardens. However, if going through the time/trouble/expense of renting a car will be a time suck with paperwork, traffic, parking, navigation, gas, etc. I'd be open to taking a half day tour and getting to relax and see the inside of these places. I could only find limited info on half day tours, notably one offered by Touraine Evasion from 1PM - 6:45PM. This would give me time to see Tours in the morning and then the chateaux. Any other options I'm not aware of would be fantastic.

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