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Where to base ourselves for a few days in the Loire valley?

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Where to base ourselves for a few days in the Loire valley?

Old Sep 15th, 2008, 04:05 AM
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Where to base ourselves for a few days in the Loire valley?

We would like to go to the Loire valley from Paris for 2 days. I am not sure what is the best way to get there by train and where to base ourselves for seeing the many towns and chateaus. Is it easy to get around if you don't have a car?Any hotel suggestions would be helpful.
Thanks
tobyl is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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No, it is not easy to get around without a car, and I wouldn't advise it. Rent a car and base yourself in or near Amboise if you have only two days.
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 06:38 AM
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If you're coming from Paris, take the train to St Pierre des Corps [near Tours], and rent your car there.
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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Amboise.
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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Hi T,

Another vote for Amboise.
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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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We spent 2 nights in Beaugency between Orleans and Blois last month.

It is a charming town and so was our hotel... Ecu de Bretagne. You know you're staying in the right place when the street beside your 300 year old hotel is "Rue de la chat qui dort". Street of the Sleeping Cat. And not 20 feet from the street sign there was a cat sleeping in a doorway!

We found it convenient to visit Chambord, Amboise and Chenonceaux.

Needless to say, a car is a must but roads are not terribly busy and are well marked.

Rob


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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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Agree that you really can't do it without a ar. A couple of the chateaux are in towns but many are in the countryside with little or no public transit (1 or 2 buses a day).

We stayed in a chateau near Chinon for 6 nights and loved it. Authentic, charming, dinner en famille one night and saw 2 son et lumieres as well as many of the chateaux. We met in the chateau guests from Russia, Argentina, Canada and SA as well as the US - and shared lots of good tips on restaurants etc.

Driving is easy, primarily on local roads, and the exploring is half the fun.
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Yet another vote for Amboise. We bought a Garmin GPS that has North America and Europe mapping. We rented a car and honestly, that GPS was just fantastic. Certainly took the stress out of driving. It told us which exit to take off of every roundabout - and never made an error. You are going to have so much fun!
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 03:45 PM
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If you have limited time, you could easily do a day trip from Paris to Blois by train. Trying to do the Loire in 2 days could end in much time wasted moving hotels and you would not see that much.

Another less mentioned chateau for a day trip from Paris is Fontainebleau, although it is not in the Loire.

There are just tons of chateaux in the Loire and you should wait to explore them until you have a bigger bloc of time. Incidentally, ask about day trips from Paris to the chateaux from bus tour companies. There are some day trips from Paris that you could do that way, but it would be a long day and you might only stop at a couple. The others would be "drive bys".

By the way, I spent a month in the Loire on a home exchange once and still have not done it all.
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 04:24 PM
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Tobyl - it's an easy train ride from Paris to Blois, where you can pick up a rental car without which it would be impossible to see the chateaux in the area. We stayed in the Chateau d'Artigny and did easy trips to Chenonceaux, Chinon, Chambord, Cheverny, Villandry and a few other places. The d'Artigny is beautiful and extremely well-located in Montbazon.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2008, 04:03 AM
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Yes, Amboise is a good base to Chenonceau, Chaumont, Chambord, I don't think there are great restaurants in Amboise, for a map of the Loire check out www.myweekin.net also for a variety of accommodation and restaurants choices. I think Domaine de la Tortiniere is much nicer than Chateau D'Artigy and cheaper. If you don't want to stay you can always do a day trip from Paris but its a bit rushed and you'll spend 2 1/2 hours in the van. Enjoy, the Loire is special
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 06:37 AM
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In 2003 we spent 3 nights in the Loire Valley (1 in Blois, 2 in Amboise) without a car. We managed okay at seeing chateau - we took an afternoon train from Paris to Blois, spend the evening walking around Blois and looking at its chateau, and then the next day took a morning bus tour of Cheverny and Chambord. Then we took the train from Blois to Amboise, and spent the afternoon walking around Amboise.

The next day we biked from Amboise to Chenonceaux, and then took the train back to Paris from Amboise the following day.

It worked okay in the summer especially, as the long daylight hours gave us time to walk around the towns we were staying at night. And we didn't mind not seeing that many chateaux, although I regret not making it to Villandry (but that was too hard without a car).

So I'm not sure I'd recommend a no-car trip to the Loire, but it is definitely doable.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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We stayed in Amboise at the lovely Le Manoir les Minimes, but we had lunch in Chenonceaux at La Roseraie, just fabulous, and it looked very charming. It gets good reviews and would be a great base,esp. considering the food. We found Amboise very "commercial" and touristy, and the food was average most of the time. Look at La Roseraie's website.
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 02:25 AM
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Check out my web page on our trip to the Loire in June. We used Amboise and Blois as bases and we had a rented car.

http://www.travel.stv77.com/loire/loire.htm


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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 07:09 AM
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For ssteve, what an impressive website covering your trip to the Loire! We spent 4 days there, and how I would love to have read this first. Do you have trips to any other regions/cities in France about which you have written? Merci beaucoup.
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 11:53 PM
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Thank you MAP !!

Check out our main page where there are about 25 more trips, many to France and Italy. There's a link at the bottom of the Loire page, and here is the URL below.

http://www.travel.stv77.com/
sssteve is offline  
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