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Side trips from Paris to the Loire Valley ( Chateaux )

Side trips from Paris to the Loire Valley ( Chateaux )

Old Sep 15th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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Side trips from Paris to the Loire Valley ( Chateaux )

Has anyone ever taken those side trips via bus from Paris to the Loire Valley to see the chateaux? From what I can see, it is about $205 per person for a 12 hr day trip to see Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny all in the same day. It seems to me they are anxious to stop the bus on tours like that to get us to buy locally produced products. ( We had that unfortunate experience on a bus trip from Rome to Florence and never even got to see the Uffizi at all ). We will have to start from some central location in Paris at 7:15 am and lunch may or may not be included. I am leaning toward making out own arrangements and taking a train ( and perhaps a taxi or bus ) to Fontainbleau and I think Chantilly is also easily reached by local transport as well. Perhaps that would be more worth while. Maybe it would be better to go to France again in the future and just drive around in a rented car for a few weeks too, if we really need to see Chambord. I am having similar reservations about a bus trip to Mont St Michel...Any thoughts? and.....thank-you too ! Dave
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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That's a stretch to see in one day. Chambord should take a few hours in itself. Chenenceau is always crowded. When I first went in the late '80s, it was not very crowded and easy to view. They've now moved the parking lot a couple of hundred yards further away from the Chateau.

These Chateaux are not next door to each other.

Here are some blurbs on the chateaux.

http://www.squidoo.com/chateaux-loir...module10712188
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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Angers is 90 minutes from Paris on the TGV from Gare Montparnasse. Within the Chateau d'Angers is the Apocalypse Tapestries, woven in the 14th century. It is based on the book of St. John the Divine. It's housed in a gallery that is part of the chateau. The chateau itself is modeled after the castles seen by the Crusaders while in Palestine and built in the 13rd century, is a 10 minute walk from Gare St. Laud which is the TGV station. I enjoy Angers because it is a convenient day trip from Paris with enough to see and do to keep you occupied for a day.
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 12:29 PM
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I can't imagine taking a bus tour from Paris to three châteaux in the Loire Vally in a day, especially at that price. You can take a train to Tours and get a rental car and do the Loire on your own very easily and cheaply.

You're asking a lot of scattered questions, but yes, go to France for a few weeks and rent a car and drive yourself around and see whatever you want. Chantilly and Senlis are easily reached from Paris by public transportation.
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 01:28 PM
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There's a Hertz rental location not far from the train station in Tours.

I've used them 2-3 times with no problems.
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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Fontainebleu is very interesting, easy to reach by train then a local bus that drops you at the gates. Excellent day trip.

http://www.musee-chateau-fontaineble...t-Here?lang=en
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Do not try to do 3 chateaux in 12 hours from Paris - way too much time in transit and too little in seeing/doing anything. The same for a day trip to Mt St Michel.

I would decide what you really want to do and make your own arrangements. If you really want to see Chambord - just rent a car and do that. If you want to see Mt St Michel - do it as an overnight.

If you want a day trip - do a single place that's closer - but make sure it's a place where you can pickup a tour at the sight - or get an audio tour at least.
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 09:01 PM
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Even consider the châteaux of the Loire Valley when you have already visited Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chantilly, Versailles, and Fontainebleau.

If you have already visited all of the above (and Vaux-le-Vicomte is, in my opinion the most interesting) and are determined to visit the Loire Valley in one day (which I do not recommend), take the early TGV from Montparnasse to Tours Centre, walk across the street to the Office de Tourisme and take one of the many mini bus tours. It´s more than 3 hours by bus from Paris each way and definitely not something I should want to attempt in one day.

http://www.tours-tourisme.fr/excursions.php?id=14
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Old Sep 16th, 2012, 03:07 AM
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I agree with both Sarastro and St. Cirq and i have been to all the places mentioned (yes, Vaux-le-Vicomte, that "model" for Versailles is memorable) and I also agree that some of the chateaux in the Loire are pretty unforgettable (the absolute bulk of Chambord and the uniqueness of Chenonceau not to mention the gardens at Villandry, etc., etc.) and a fast train to Tours seems best and then either some sort of tour or a rental car.

It is hard to cram in everything and nevertheless tempting to do so because you are geographically "so close" and I know that recurrent feeling. Even if you went to the Loire and only did a couple places in a long day I think you'd find it satisfying and it gives your day a real purpose.
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Old Sep 16th, 2012, 04:10 AM
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I took a short trip from Paris to Tours. I was encouraged to do the trip myself via train and prebooking a mini-van tour from Tours. It worked out well. The train to Tours was easy and I met my guide across the street at the Tourist office.

Although it was a long day, I enjoyed it and I was GLAD I didn't take the bus tour. It is not the way I like to travel because you do feel rushed to meet your guide at a specific time but if I hadn't done it, I would have felt I missed something. If this is the only way you can get to the Loire, you have limited time and might never get back to that area...I would recommend it.

I will post the link to my thread for further information. I highly recommend this tour company. My concierge boooked it and they sent the information as to which train to book. Everything was as promised. The driver/tour guide was very informative and pleasant too.
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Old Sep 16th, 2012, 04:13 AM
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I am sorry I tried to copy the link from here - if you click on my name, and look for Loire day trips as one of my topics there is valuable information posted by some kind and informative Fodorites!
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Old Sep 16th, 2012, 07:55 PM
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Thank you all so VERY much. It seems my suspicions have been confirmed and you have given me some good ideas over and above what I had. Thankyou !
Maybe next time I will drive...we'll see.

Cheers

Dave
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