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Tours or Amboise? Accommodations, organized tours?

Tours or Amboise? Accommodations, organized tours?

Old Feb 3rd, 2003, 08:23 AM
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Tours or Amboise? Accommodations, organized tours?

I'm planning a very brief visit to the Loire Valley. From what I've read through guide books and postings in this forum, it sounds as if either Tours or Amboise would be the best way for me to see the chateaux.
Is it better for me to go on an organized tour of the chateaux or do it on my own?
Any recommendations for places to stay?
Old Feb 3rd, 2003, 08:39 AM
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If you are looking for a tour starting in the Loire valley--presumably day tours since you are asking for recommendations on accomodations--I suspect that Tours would be better than Amboise. Amboise is fairly small, so that if your stay is more than overnight, you might want to choose the city which might offer more activities in the evening. It all depends on your style of travel.

The same goes for tours or individual visits. We took two sets of friends to the Loire last summer. One set would have been happy to see more than the three castles we visited, the other was satisfied with two plus Fontevrault (sp?) and was ready to move on. If you are quickly satiated, a tour might give you more than you would want. BTW, Amboise has a great Sunday market right along the Loire.
Old Feb 3rd, 2003, 09:03 AM
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The Loire valley is very easy to navigate on your own - just about everything you'd want to see in a short trip is right along the river. I would recommend renting a car and staying in Amboise, a lovely, central spot. Tours is a large city with lots of traffic - hard to get in and out of if you're touring on your own.

However, having said that, if you have less than 3 days, which is often the minimum for an overseas car rental, staying in Tours and catching an organized tour may be a better idea.

If you do stay in Amboise, there are many good choices of accommodations. Le Choiseul is a beautiful place for a abit of a splurge; the Lion d'Or is less expensive but still very nice.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2003, 09:35 AM
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Funny you should post this! I just booked a day tour with acco dispo tours (http://www.accodispo-tours.com) last night and they confirmed this morning.

I was going to stay overnight as StCirq suggested (she's a wonderful source of information!)but my plans changed and I couldn't.

We are paying 72 euros for two people to visit 6 chateaux....this doesn't include lunch or entry fees for the chateaux though. I had to fax my cc # so that they could hold the reservation and I am expected to pay the driver/tour guide in euros or traveler's checks when I board the van.

The tour begins at 9:20 am (pickup point is three minutes from the Tours train station) and ends at 6:15 pm.

Bon (or is it Bonne? lol) Chance!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2003, 09:44 AM
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Highly recommend Amboise. Absolutely beautiful setting with lots of restaurants, cafes and interesting shops. You'll spend most days out of Amboise buzzing around to various chateaux, so all you need from Amboise itself is a hotel, food, and pleasant wandering, all of which it definitely has.

We rented a car, which seems important for Amboise. I don't know how easy it is to catch guided bus tours. If you do have a car, there's no need for anything guided. Just a map and you're off. We asked the local shopkeepers what chateaux they recommend visiting, hoping to see a combination of the spectacular and lesser-known, which we did. The roads throughout the Loire are well-marked and lead you easily to the Chateaux.

The chateaux in Amboise is one of the more interesting and maybe the most significant historically, so it's worth a visit.

We stayed at the Hotel Manoir les Minimes which was excellent. It's a bit of a splurge (at least it was on our budget) but we enjoyed it. Excellent location, view, etc. and impeccably run.

Several people had advised us to base ourselves in Amboise and explore from there, which we did. On reflection, it was definitely the right decision for us.
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 05:00 AM
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Thanks for all of the helpful information on Tours v Amboise. I think I will stay in Amboise 1 or 2 nights and then stay in Tours for the last night before heading back to Paris.
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