Advice please! I am planning a trip, mostly to the Loire valley, with my mother, who will turn 87 on this trip – she doesn’t like speed, so we will be taking our time. We like historic houses, gardens, and countryside; not as interested in art museums or cities. Mom has never seen the Loire châteaux, and we’re planning to do them in roughly chronological order, as recommended by Ina Caro; this works out approximately west to east, with some crisscrossing. (See itinerary below.)
We will be arriving in France Oct 2 and renting a car. For the Loire part (8 nights), I’m thinking about spending a night or two in a hotel either near Chinon, at the beginning of our Loire stay, or near Chambord/Cheverny, at the end, and then renting a cottage/apartment for a week in the middle. So here are my questions:
- For our rental, any recommendations for pleasant little towns that are centrally located and/or close to major roads, to make getting around easy?
- Should we do the hotel stay at the beginning or end of the Loire segment?
- Have I grouped the châteaux in a reasonable way, allowing for the focus on chronological order?
- Since we’re traveling in October rather than summer, do we still need to visit Chenonceau very early or very late to avoid crowds?
- Also, I welcome suggestions of hotels in the Chinon or Chambord area, towns/villages to see, places to eat, and general critique of this itinerary. Many thanks!
Day 1--arrive CDG. Walk around in fresh air. Bus to Senlis or other sight? Sleep in Roissy.
Day 2--shuttle to CDG. Pick up car. Drive to abbey of Fontenay; lunch at Fontenay or enroute. See Fontenay. See church at Vézélay. Sleep with friends in Avallon 2 nights.
Day 3--see Château de Guédelon.
Day 4--drive to Loire.
Day 5--see Abbey of Fontevraud and Chinon.
Day 6--see Loches.
Day 7--see Villandry garden and Langeais.
Day 8-- see Amboise and Clos Lucé.
Day 9-- see Blois and Villesavin.
Day 10-- see Chambord.
Day 11-- see Chenonceau and Chaumont (castle and gardens).
Day 12-- see Cheverny. Drive to Roissy. Return car. Sleep in Roissy.
Day 13-- fly home.