Seven days in the Loire- Advice please

Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 10:18 PM
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Seven days in the Loire- Advice please

My husband and I together with our four year old son and elderly parents have booked a gite near Angers for a week in July. We would like to see one or two fine chateaux when we are there but with a four year old do not want to devote too much time to this. My concern is whether we shall be too far from the bigger chateau such as Chambord and the other lovely one set on the water. We shall have our vehicle with us and was wondering whether it is doable as a day- trip? Also can anyone suggest other things to do/ villages to visit that are not too far away from Angers? Any good inexpensive restaurant suggestions would be really welcome as well. Many thanks!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 03:24 AM
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When people speak of visiting The Loire valley they are generally speaking of the stretch of river from Orleans in the east to Anger in the west. So you will be at the western end of the Loire. To estimate your drive times to various attractions and cities use the viamichelin.com website. It gives you driving distances, times and the cost of gas and tolls as well as suggested routes. Buy a Michelin map of the region (scaled at 1/150,000 or 1/200,000). This will be very helpful in advance to orient you with the area as well as when you are there driving. If you wanted to visit Chenonceau (the castle over the water)it takes about 1-1/2 hours and 25 euros in tolls (if you use the autoroute) from Angers. If you want to visit Chambord it takes a little over 2 hours and 33 euros in tolls (if on the autoroute).

The most famous and visited small cities in the region are Blois, Amboise and Chinon and all merit a visit. All have ancient buildings and architecture and were royal seats of power at one time. The Abbey of Fontevraud is near Chinon and is lovely and is the final resting place of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart. You'll have 7 days so visiting Anger, Tours and Saumur might be nice as well.

A few other small towns to visit (among many) would be Azay le Rideau, Loches and Langeais. All have nice chateaux. Other famous chateaux in the area are Cheverny, Villandry and Usse. Of course there are many others as well.

The tourist offices in the area will have a wealth of free information on what else there is to see and do and many have websites with English versions so you can plan ahead if you like.

Here's a link to a website that might give you some ideas about what is good for a child to do in the Loire.

http://www.experienceloire.com/Kids.htm

Here is another link about biking or kayaking/canoeing.

http://www.experienceloire.com/canoeing.htm

I've given you the briefest of descriptions but it should get you started. Sorry, I can't help you with restaurants. My suggestion on that is to walk around and window shop. The menus and their prices are always posted in front of every restaurant. Good luck.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 07:27 PM
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Yes, it can be difficult to decide what to do, Angers is a great town and have lots of lovely restaurants, if you want to see distances there's a map at www.myweekin.net, under Loire Valley, Map of the Loire, then you can plan, you can also create your own ideas free of charge. When you arrive in any of the town head first to the tourist office as they always have good information and you won't waste time trying to discover that museum that is hidden down an a tiny lane.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 07:35 PM
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Angres is a wonderful town - château and Lurçat tapestries and all that, but have you considered that 7 days in the Loire is a bit much? I've been a tour guide in the Loire and been there on my own at least a dozen times and about 4 days is my limit. It's not at all the most attractice part of France and frankly gets kind of dull after you've seen the requisite châteaux.
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Old Jun 24th, 2010, 02:44 AM
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bookmarking, thanks!
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Old Jun 24th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Correction - The costs I gave were for gas and tolls combined.
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Old Jun 26th, 2010, 12:17 AM
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Thank you all for your replies. We spend a week in France each year and the Loire is one area that we have not seen. We do not want to rush about seeing loads of things every day and hope to spend a day or two at a manmade beach on the lake near to the gite we shall be staying at. I am very interested in wine so hope to see a few vineyards, visit a few chateaux and see a few pretty villages/towns. My husband loves cars and we were thinking of stopping at the Le Mans museum on the way down from Caen. Perhaps one of you might have visited it? Is it worthwhile? We shall be arriving by ferry from the UK on Saturday and leave the following Saturday so in all we shall really only have six days in the Loire.
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Old Jun 26th, 2010, 12:53 AM
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There are vineyards everywhere in that region so you'll find them without even looking. For wine tours and such just check with your local tourist office.
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