Bonjour mes Amis! We are heading to France again in September and would like to go out to the Loire Valley again. Our first trip was so wonderful we thought we would do it again but in a different region. Last trip we took the TGV to Tours, rented a car there at the train station and stayed at a private estate in Francueil, which is just a short walk from chateau Chenonceau. We toured a number of different Chateaux in that region and since it was National Heritage week we got to see a number of private homes as well. It will be National Heritage week again this year and This time we were considering staying near Azay-Le-Rideau. Even though we have already seen that chateau we know there are many others in that area that we wanted to see. So here is my question. have you been to a particular area of The Loire that you thoroughly enjoyed? If so where did you stay, we enjoy renting private gites or homes, and what places did you visit? We have a total of 9 days and we always like to spend a few in Paris so we are thinking maybe 6 days out in the valley and three back in Paris before we leave. We have already seen Azay le Rideau, Chenonceau, Chaumont, Fougeres-sur-Bievre, Le Gue Pean, Villandry, Loches, Montresor, Chateau de Chissay, Montpoupon, and L'Islette. Thank you in advance for your help
When we were in the beautiful Loire Valley, we stayed at the Hotel Diderot in the town of Chinon. A lovely inn and a wonderful town in a great location. Highly recommend.
Chinon is a good one to add to your "collection." So are Blois and Amboise and (in Amboise) the Clos Luce, though on the other side of Tours.
Besides the Loire river there is also north of it the Loir river and I liked the countryside there and my visit to Château du Lude, far from touristy and just a few interested visitors. South of Chinon the little Renaissance town of Richelieu home of the famous cardinal and Foreign Secretary of Louis XIII. The park is still there, but the castle is not without reason destroyed during the French Revolution. Not directly a top destination, but to my opinion worth to consider if you have the time for it.
In Descartes some 35km more east of Richelieu and if of interest you can visit the museum about the famous philosopher Renée Descartes.
Some 20km west of Chinon Fontevraud Abbey
A few years back stayed near Château de Brissac in Brissac-Quincé (near Anger) but alas had not the time to visit it. But think it is certainly worth doing that.
Michelin has a great Green Guide on the Loire. It includes lots of info, including driving tours. We're heading there, also, and purchased the book. But here's the website with info.
I, too, highly recommend Hotel Diderot in Chinon.
I highly recommend Chambord. Usse is a good one as well - is a bit smaller but very beautful. Chambord is a can't miss, though.