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Loire valley trip

I am planning a trip to France for the end of September. I have just started the process. Here are the basics.

I will be in France for 10-11 days.

I am looking for a good base for the Loire valley, what town/village? Would like to stay in a smaller town.

What is their to do other than visiting the chateaus?

I would prefer to take a train close to our base village, then drive a rental car from there.

I want to spend at my last three days in Paris.

Or should I look at another area to visit? Normandy, or head up to Belgium?

Thanks for any info, Vaughn

Posted by
10 posts

If you can fit in a visit to a family-run winery, try to find Domaine du Merchon (or Murchon.) We spent an afternoon there in 2012 with a RST tour. The English family was as cordial as you could ever want. Superb wines.

Posted by
3685 posts

Take a look at Chinon as a base. Things to do besides visiting chateaux in the Loire Valley include wine tasting or visiting wineries, bicycling, and hot air balloon touring. If you want a wider variety of restaurants, consider Tours but it is not a "smaller town" by French standards. You may want to consider Loches as well. Unlike Tours and Chinon, I have not been there but I have heard that it is lovely.

"Or should I look at another area to visit? Normandy, or head up to Belgium?" It depends on what interests you and what you want to see. I'd go to Paris but my daughter who is not a big fan of large cities and likes cooler temperatures loves the Normandy countryside .

Posted by
37 posts

We took a Chateau tour out of the town Tours. We were staying in Paris and took and day trip to the Chateaux Loire Valley. We took and train to Tours which is easy to catch and one hour away. The tour company picked us up at the train station. We visited 6 chateaus. It was nice because the tour allowed us to skip the long lines. I usually don't like tours but this was nice. The company was Acco-Dispo mini van tours.

Posted by
6486 posts

It looks like you're planning about a week in the Loire. I'd suggest splitting your time between a base east of Tours (like Amboise or St-Aignan or Montrichard) and one west of Tours (like Chinon). Tours would be a good place to rent the car after a train from Paris or CDG.

Besides lots of chateaux, Tours has a cathedral, Fontevraud has an abbey where English kings and a queen are buried, Angers has city walls and the Tapestry of the Apocalypse, many places have wineries, there are troglodyte caves (some of which you can stay in), and the Zoo-Parc Beyval is reputedly one of the best in Europe. Also biking and hiking. Check out a guidebook or two from the library.

Posted by
11507 posts

We stayed in Amboise and i thought it was lovely, however i would think 7 nights there too much and like the idea of you splittling time with another place . My opinion is yhat Paris needs four nights( thats only three full days) ..if not into cities i would choose a visit to Normandy way before Belgium

Posted by
670 posts

We stayed 2 nights in Amboise this summer and loved it; next time I would spend 3-4 nights I think. We drove to Chambord, Cheverny and Chenonceau -- all were lovely and different. While I loved just driving through the valley, if I had a week I would spend some of it in Normandy as well as the Loire Valley. It doesn't take too long to drive from one to the other, and you get such a different feel of France -- different countryside, different eras of history. Even if you aren't interested in WWII sites, Normandy is beautiful.

Posted by
7175 posts

Something like this over 11 nights ...

Arrive Paris. Train to Rouen (1 nt)
Pick up hire car. Drive to Bayeux (2 nt)
Drive to Mont St Michel (1 nt)
Drive to Loire Valley (3 nts)
Return hire car in Tours. Train to Paris (4 nts)