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2 Days in Loire - Which Town? Biking, Wine, & Chateaux

Hello! We are looking to spend 2 days in Loire valley. We will come in from Paris by train early in the morning (open to different stations although it sounds like most people do Tours). We'd like to see 1 or 2 chateaux that day. The next day we'd like to do some bike riding with stops at wineries and a chateaux if it is doable. We'll be moving on to Mont-St-Michel after that. We do plan on renting a car.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to which town to stay in? Or does anyone know of a chateaux you can stay at that offers bike rentals? I wasn't sure which town would be good for wineries but also close to the main chateauxs (although we don't have any that are "must sees" for us). I would lean more towards a small town or village that a larger one (staying in Tours doesn't interest me). We're looking for nice scenery, cute villages to walk through, and just a relaxing time with a glass of wine! It sounds like the whole area is perfect for that and I'm having a hard time narrowing it down! Thanks for your help!

Posted by
4824 posts

I really liked Amboise. There are two chateaus in Amboise, we only went to DaVinci's, Clos Luce, which was really interesting partly because its really different than the rest. Close to Amboise is Chateau de Chaumont, which is very pretty and has a nice view of the Loire. My favorite of the chateaus was probably Chenonceau and Villandry. The gardens of both are exceptional. We also saw Azay-Rideau, which I would check and see if the construction is done because that was disappointing, but the little village was pretty adorable. Chambord is just really huge. Exterior and roof is really interesting, not much to see in the interior. We tasted in Vouvray which is pretty much across the river from Amboise. We tasted at a really small family owned winery which we really enjoyed and then we tasted at a coop which had a nice tour, Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray, I believe. in Chinon, we really enjoyed the wines at Pierre & Bertrand Couly. We also tasted in Touraine, pretty close to Amboise, I think, at a new, small winery called Domaine des Pierrettes. They are on facebook. We really enjoyed the owner and the wine. I would get a good map of the area though some of the places we found were because we were lost. We followed a Vouvray wine route. I'm noticing that there is a lot of info on the web including maps of Vouvray. We ended up buying like 10 bottles of Vouvray for picnic lunches in France. It was wonderful and pretty crazy, inexpensive, especially the small family winery. In Saumur there was a fairly large winery that did mostly sparkling and that was a good tasting, too.

Posted by
2916 posts

I wasn't sure which town would be good for wineries but also close to the main chateauxs

I would pick a few chateaux you want to see and then find a central place to stay. There are so many wineries in the Loire Valley, from Saumur in the west (and even further) to Blois in the east. Once you pick a place to stay, there should be plenty of wineries nearby, or even in the village or town you're staying in. I loved Montresor (, with its chateau, but it's a little out of the way for other chateaux you probably will want to see.

Posted by
243 posts

We took the train from Paris and picked up our car at the train station and made our way to a Vouvray tour/tasting.
We also tasted wine at a co-op like place in Amboise.
We stayed in Chinon and went to Cafe Voltaire where the owner gave us a lesson in Cab Franc and Loire wines. This was a wine bar and not a winery but was a great experience, learned a lot, and tasted some fabulous wines. Go there early enough in the day when it is not too crowded and he can give you some attention. Check out RS France book.
The gardens of Villandry make it a must see even if you are not into gardening. Chenonceau was also incredible. We had planned to bike more, but only spent a morning riding near Chinon

Posted by
5897 posts

I agree with Robert, start with guidebook research to figure out which three chateaux you want to see, then look for a town convenient to them. You should consider choosing one side of Tours or the other, east or west, to minimize driving time. Amboise would be a good choice for some of the most (deservedly) popular east of Tours, like Chenonceau, Chambord, Amboise, Clos Luce, Blois, Cheverny. I don't know those west of Tours as well, like Villandry and Azay-le-Rideau, but Chinon could be a good base.

Tours is probably your best bet for an easy train trip, but other places have train service and you might find a better connection. This website will help you find options.

Posted by
2 posts

We are going in Oct & are staying in Crepon which is pretty central to the chateaux, Bayeux & Mont St Michel & Normandy beaches. We have booked the Freme de la Ranconniere, for 3 nights... a restored farmhouse [ supposed to be wonderful & the food delicious]