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8 nights..The beginning of an itinerary...need advice!

Greetings! I have begun to roll around some plans for a first trip to France for early fall and am in need of some direction.
My preliminary plan, would be fly in to CDG and immediately take a train to a town approx. 1 hr outside of Paris for the night (Loire Valley, I'm thinking... open to other ideas), pick up a car the following day and tour via car for 3 nights. Would want to spend 3 nights somewhere different as a base.

Would Chartres be a reasonable town to overnight for the 1st night? After picking up the car, would Amboise be a reasonable base for the outside Loire Valley nights? I thought I saw that Rick suggests Amboise for 1st time visitors. Should I consider turning the car back in at Chartres or a different town. I would plan to turn the car in late afternoon ,then train to Paris for the last 4 nights. We have 8 nights on the ground. I have read several guide books and checked out the map, just have not purchased my Rick book yet ( this weekend). I am at the very beginning of my planning so I am still pretty confused. I can use all the suggestions this forum offers. Thanks in advance for the help!

Posted by
751 posts

If you decide to stay in Amboise I can highly recommend the ground floor apartment at "La Porte Bleue". It is right on the river with a stunning view of the chateau. The only thing i'm not sure about is parking because we traveled by train. I love the town of Amboise and I think it makes a great home base to visit chateau. We saw Chenonceau, Chambord, Chiverney, Blois, and of course the Amboise chateau.

Logistically, I think Chartres would be a good choice for the first night. We headed straight to Amboise from CDG, which worked well for us, but we ended up waiting a few hours in the airport for our train (we bought a prems ticket ahead of time, so had to go on a specific train). If you only go to Chartres, you can take the RER into Paris and work your way over to the Montparnasse station to catch the train to Chartres. No discount for buying tickets ahead of time, so you wouldn't have to worry about coordinating the flight and train schedules. It looks like the trains leave every hour.

It would be great if you were in Chartres for the Light Show. It ends on 10/7.

Have a great time - I love the Loire Valley!!

Posted by
346 posts

I also recommend Amboise for a base. We rented an apartment literally across the street from the Chateau and loved it. We were an easy stroll into the heart of town, to the river and to the weekly farmer's market, and had absolutely no problems parking our rental car very near the apartment. VillaConcorde 26 rue de la Concorde 37400 Amboise. Look for some trip reports in another section of this site for more ideas and details on the areas you are considering.
Also, I think you are wise to leave Paris to the end of your trip, so that you can get over jet lag in an area where it is not crucial that you get out and about early in the morning. We have found that it is more important to arrive at the major sites in Paris early to avoid as many of the lines as possible.
PS: hello from a native of south Georgia!

Posted by
267 posts

Thank you, Sherrie! This forum has always helped so much with planning. This will be our 6th adventure to Europe. The forum is responsible for giving me the confidence to take that first big trip to Italy, without a tour. Let me know if you have other ideas.