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Has anyone stayed here as a base for 4 days in the Loire Valley? In addition to visiting a few chateaux, we want to take a day to bike ride and maybe kayak. We’ll be there in Sept. Is Azay-le-Rideau too small/sleepy? Is it too far west from Chenanceau and Chambord (must sees) and Chateau de Prey (where we will be having a special anniversary dinner)? We will have a car. I don’t want to stay in Amboise or Tours. I prefer quieter, relaxed towns or villages. Do you have any other suggestions for where to stay?

Posted by
521 posts

If you're dining at Chateau de Pray it will have to be a dry (alcohol free) dinnner, followed by a 45 minute drive back to Azay-le-Rideau on unfamilar roads,.

Azay is a nice little town, and people do stay there for weeks. I am not sure how much kayaking you will do - except for the Loire, most rivers have mills every mile or so, which means a lot of portage.

All of your must sees are east of Tours, so that is where I would be staying, Just for convenience sake

Posted by
2322 posts

Where are you going to eat if you stay in Azay-le-Rideau? Is wine important to your dinner plans?

If your meal plans are basic and exclude alcohol, you can make staying anywhere work. If you plan on restaurants with wines, do not drive after eating. I have been stopped at 11pm on virtually deserted roads in the Loire Valley and given a breathalyzer test. This means staying within walking distance of restaurants.

All depends upon what is important to you. I would either stay in Tours, specifically near Place Plumereau, or stay at a notable hotel/restaurant at which I would dine every night and avoid driving after drinking anything.

Posted by
2916 posts

Is Azay-le-Rideau too small/sleepy

I've stayed in many villages in France that were smaller and sleepier, albeit in houses with kitchens. But Azay-le-Rideau has at least 1 hotel/restaurant and a couple of restaurants. So that part is fine. One the other hand, Chambord is close to 2 hours away.

Posted by
3235 posts

Have you been to Amboise before? It is pretty tourism-oriented but it is not exactly a bustling metropolis. Given your must-sees of Chenonceau and Chambord and your dinner plans at Chateau de Pray, it feels like Amboise would be a good spot for you. Of course, you could stay in Chenonceaux (at Auberge du Bon Laboureur Chenonceaux) which is where I stayed the last time I was in the Loire Valley, this past August. It is a very quiet town. As others have said, I would not stay in Azay-le-Rideau if I planned to have a celebratory anniversary dinner in Chargé that included wine. Of course, you could always stay at Chateau de Pray.

Posted by
3017 posts

We stayed in Azay-le-Rideau as our base and loved it. The innkeepers at Hotel Biencourt could not have been nicer! The town is tiny but it has a wide variety of good restaurants, from casual to gourmet. If you're there on a Saturday, there's a very good market in the town square where you can buy local cheeses, beer, bread, etc.

For us the location was ideal because it was not too far from Chinon or Villandry. We also drove up to Chenonceaux one day and had plenty of time to visit the chateau & gardens and take a boat ride on the Cher river under the iconic chateau arched bridge.