Urgent Help - Loire Valley, France

Aug 26th, 2013, 07:33 PM
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Urgent Help - Loire Valley, France

I’ll be arriving from Kuala Lumpur at CDG Paris on Sept 28 morning and expect to be back in Paris on Oct 1 afternoon.
That means I only have 3 nights/4 days to visit Tours and the Loire Valley.
My wife and I are both 60 years old, fit to moderate walking and cycling.
We both enjoy natural scenery and good food. Prefer free and easy outings.
What would you recommend and how much this would cost us?

Appreciate someone can suggest an itinerary from CDG to Tours then return to Paris on Oct 1st.
kt2014 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 07:35 PM
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Our default plan would be to stay in Tours city center and plan from there when we arrive. If possible, I would prefer to stay outside the city.
kt2014 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 07:58 PM
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It depends largely on how you plan to get around. Will you have a car or are you planning to use public transport? Or you can even leave your bags in Tours and walk for the days you have, a very nice area for it.
MmePerdu is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:33 PM
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Make sure you have a good Michelin map. One can easily get lost with all the twisty small back roads.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:50 PM
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Rastaguy, if I can convince them to walk then it's the IGN Serie Bleue maps they'll want.
MmePerdu is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 10:39 PM
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Thks, MmePerdu & Rastaguytoday!
I don't intend to drive there. 2 options for me:

1) check-in to a hotel in Tours for 3 nights and look for day tour packages from there or pick up a map to either walk or take public transports (train or bus?)around the city and Loire Valley,

2) pre-book a hotel outside Tours (along Loire Valley) and hope to venture our from there. Again, I might need to join a day tour or bike tour from there

I've not been there before and I can't speak French. Which option is more practical for me?
kt2014 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 11:18 PM
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The Loire has a well developed bike path. These two links are the best available. Tour is a nice little city get there by train and use the links above to pre-book some bikes and get out and see the countryside. If you limit your luggage you could even do a loop staying in different little places each night.
bilboburgler is online now  
Aug 26th, 2013, 11:26 PM
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Not being able to speak french in the deep france would be a problem but in the Loire I would be less worried. Do get hold of a tourist book with a menu guide (Calve brains can be a n aquired taste). Joining a tour group is a good way of emptying your wallet. The path is straight and goes along the river (why would that need a guide?).

http://www.locationdevelos.com/ or http://www.velostation.com/ look like good hire companies. Even at 60 you may feel the need for electrical bikes, these are easy to use but since you are following a river the old knees will not issue.

Bikes on trains (remember you can take bikes on trains) look for the bike sign on the side of the train and the sncf booking site.

may help
bilboburgler is online now  
Aug 27th, 2013, 03:10 AM
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If you won't have a car then Tours is the best place to be as it is the transport hub of the region.

Look at post #8 in this thread for info about day tours and how to get around by train and bus in the Loire:


You can look at this thread for more general info about the Loire:


To get the train from CDG to the Loire, check schedules and buy tickets use www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com. For trains requiring seat reservations (all TGV trains and many Intercités trains) you need to buy tickets up to 3 months in advance for the cheapest prices. The local TER trains in the Loire require no advance purchase as prices are fixed and there are no required seat reservations. A good website to learn about rail travel in France and Europe is www.seat61.com.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 06:08 AM
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Tours is my least favorite place in the Loire. How about a smaller town like Amboise. From there it is a short bike ride to Chenonceau.
bigtyke is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 07:20 AM
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Tours has the charm of the average Eastern European industrial town. If your purpose in Loire Valley is to see the top 5 or so chateaux, then stay in or near Amboise - Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Amboise, Blois, Villandry, Azay le-Rideau and the portrait gallery at Chateau Beauregard are all a short drive and driving is not that difficult.

If you won't drive, tourist tours (not the town Tours) should be able to pick you up and drop you off in or near the center of Amboise (google this).
BigRuss is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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"...Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Amboise, Blois, Villandry, Azay le-Rideau..." BigRuss

Several years ago, in my late 50s, I walked from one to another of these, starting at Chambord and ending in Chinon. Arrive by train, spend the first night in a hotel where you can leave your luggage, take a short bus ride to your first chateau and walk from there. If there's any interest in doing this I'll give more detail. I'm not super fit, it isn't difficult if you carry a small pack with basic needs and stay in B&Bs and hotels along the way. It was one of my most memorable of many, many trips and I encourage you to consider it.
MmePerdu is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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I stayed in Tours once to see some chateaux, sans car. There is an older section of Tours that is of some interest, I know I spent some time on that (place Plumereau, the Medieval section). I suppose Tours as a whole is not super charming, to be honest, I don't remember that well, so it couldn't have been terribly offensive.

Then I saw Amboise, Blois, Chenonceau and Azay-le-Rideau, all by public transport. Which were enough chateaux for me, actually. I took the bus to Amboise, I think it was somewhat a better schedule than the train, don't recall, but I suppose that's why. I took the train to/from Blois. I took the train to AzayleRideau, also, although that schedule wasn't so convenient and you are a bit of a hike from the chateau. I think I took the bus to Chenonceau, also, you can do either bus or train.

This really isn't that difficult by public transportation for the ones I named. Yes, the Amboise train station is across the river, this isn't that far to walk--the bus lets you off in the central area on the main road going by the river. Chambord is more difficult to get to by public means, as I recall, which is why I didn't go there.

This is a real whirlwind trip just to see those chateaux. Perhaps just using a day tour company in Tours would work better. Here are a few, they are real cheap and make the logistics easy http://tours.france.com/loire_valley.php

The full day shuttle where you see 4 is only US$73. YOu could see what there is to see in Tours center on your arrival day. Take that all-day bus shuttle tour the next day (Chenonceau,Chambord,Amboise,Cheverny), and then the following day on your own, take the train to/from Blois, that is easy, and only takes 40 minutes each way, costs about 10 euro. There are direct TER trains from Tours Centre to Blois at 7:50, 10:03 and 11:24 am. There are many direct returns in the afternoon or evening, every hour or more. BLois is a pleasant town to wander around a bit.

I'd get a hotel within walking distance of Tours Centre train station. Here is a budget hotel that fits that criteria http://www.hoteldeschateaux.fr/

THis one is a bit smarter but a bit farther away http://www.hotel-ronsard.com/
Christina is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 12:17 PM
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I quiet like Tours and having seen a fair few Eastern European towns I think Tours has the edge

Even so Saumur is much nicer town and many of the place between are pleasant.
bilboburgler is online now  
Aug 27th, 2013, 06:58 PM
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Thank you guys!!!
So much useful info for me to digest over the next few days.
I like this community...
kt2014 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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Mme Perdu I would love to do what you did. we are going next March or April. We plan to stay in Tours.
We have been several times in the area staying mainly in Blois and driving. Next year we are considering not using a car. I hope it will nott be too cold, we are planning to use the local train or buses and we love to walk too.
I shall be greatful if you could send more information.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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We are planing to return to the Loire Valley next March, I am thinking of returning one night to Angers , stay a few nights in Tours as a hub, frankly I have good memories of Tours however reading the previous posts I am thinking of somehow adding Saumur. Any recommendations?
We shall be using neither a car, nor bicycles but train, buses, taxis & walking.
I have a question , is the chateau of Saumur too difficult to reach. I mean reaching the top of the Clift.?
Once we drove from Andorra to see a Chateau in France, forgot the name, the home of Henri IV, it was a rainy day......, that day I realized I am getting old because I could not make myself walk up to the top of the Clift walking on those acute slippery stones of the paviment.
Sad but true , I walk every day 6 miles by the beach but it was not the same! Thank you.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Hello , thank you very much for your kind offer, this my mail
[email protected]

Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 04:42 PM
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Graziella - If you look at the first link in my earlier post you'll find info about the trains and buses that run in the Loire.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
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