touring the Loire Valley

Old Jul 11th, 2009, 07:43 AM
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touring the Loire Valley

We're leaving in a week for Spain and Paris. Planning to see some castles in the Loire Valley during the Paris stay. Is it easier to rent a car in Paris or take the train to Blois or Tours and then rent the car? We only have one day to spend in the valley. (love reading the forum!)
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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Forget the sales brochures and bus company hype.
Until you have visited Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chantilly, Fontainebleau, Château de Pierrefonds, Provins, and Chartres or other comparable destinations which are much closer to Paris, plan your trip to the Loire Valley when you have the 2-3 days it requires to explore this area properly.
There is simply no urgent requirement for someone to spend the bulk of the day driving or packed into a bus and horded like sheep through these historical and architectural treasures when other examples arguably just as important can be found just minutes from Central Paris.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 07:56 AM
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I recommend taking the TGV to Tours and picking up the car there. Saves you the headache of driving in Paris! This is how we did it.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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I also would take the TVG to Tours and drive from there. But one day really is insufficient, and you'll pay as much for a 1-day rental as for a 3-day rental, so to me that would be a deal breaker. As noted, there are a bazillion great day trips to castles closer to Paris.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for the opinions! What castles would you suggest closer to Paris, besides Versailles and what is the easiest way to get there?
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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I've done the train to Blois and rent a car there routine and it worked for us since we were overnighting in Amboise. Chenonceau is one chateau which is a bit closer to Blois than to Tours but I think you could also rent the car in the latter which might be better for visitng the chateaux such as Villandry and Chambord.

I disagree that there is necessarily some "proper" way to visit the Loire Valley or anywhere else for that matter since everyone travels at a different pace and some are obviously more pressed for time than others. You could certainly visit at least two Loire chateaux in a long day if you wished to do so.

As to the locations closer to Paris mentioned above; Versailles I suspect you already know a great deal about. Vaux-le-Vicomte is certainly worth a visit and it can be reached by a combination of suburban rail and taxi from Paris. It served as a more of less "model" for the subsequent building of Versailles and is richly decorated inside and has extensive grounds.

Enjoy your trip and resist intimidation.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 01:07 PM
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Vincennes, Fontainebleau, Chantilly, Auvers-sur-Oise, Breteuil, Compiègne, Malmaison,and Vaux-le-Vicomte are all close to Paris (Vincennes is IN Paris) and can be reached by public transportation.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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Azay-le-Rideau is a delightful, smaller chateau that has always been one of my faves.
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Old Apr 30th, 2013, 06:41 PM
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Vincennes is too severe for my liking. But Fontainebleau & Vaux particularly - wonderful. Vaux is difficult by public transport.

Pierrefonds nr Compiegne is great.

Loire is not just about chateaux. The countryside & towns & villages are delightful.
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Old Apr 30th, 2013, 06:42 PM
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Addit - However one day for Loire is insufficent. I would choose somewhere closer
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