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Sunday Trains vs. Rental Car to get from Paris to Loire Valley (3 adults)

We have flights arriving at 11am at CDG in Paris on a Sunday in the middle of June. Our plan is to go straight down to the Loire Valley, but we haven't figured out the best way to get down there without losing the rest of the day to travel. We'll all be traveling with carry-ons (no checked luggage). We plan to use Orleans as a base and to visit some chateaus in the area and perhaps rent scooters to get around. We'll head back to Paris on Tuesday and spend 3 days there before flying out on Thursday night. We don't feel a need for a car in the city as the public transportation seems great for mid-week tavel. All advice is greatly appreciated!

Posted by
20309 posts

I don't see how you are going to avoid loosing the first day to travel. Even in the best of circumstances, you will not get into your Orleans hotel room until 3 pm.
Without a car, take the RER train to Gare du Nord, then transfer to the No 5 Metro (direction Place d'Italie) to Gare d'Austerlitz, then an IC train to Orleans. If the stars align, you can get the 1:26 pm train to Orleans arriving at 2:32 pm. If you miss that train, there is another 2 hours later.
Renting a car will not be any faster and jet-lagged and negotiating traffic around Paris is not much fun.

Posted by
3766 posts

If chateaux are your interest, I would suggest basing yourself in Tours instead of Orleans. And if you do not plan to rent a car, I think that Tours has better day tour options for chateaux. You are going to have to spend some time to get to the Loire Valley from CDG -- there is no way around that; the train ride to Tours is about 2 hours and the drive is about 3 hours. Orleans is a bit closer to CDG. There are direct TGV trains from CDG to St Pierre des Corps which is just outside of Tours. Best way to the Loire Valley from CDG is by train IMO, if you are landing at CDG following a trans-Atlantic flight.

Posted by
2 posts

I only have a 4 hour flight, but the other two from the US. So, I shouldn't be jet lagged -- would it be better if I rented a car?

Posted by
1005 posts

I'd rent a car, only because it will be easier to get to the chateaux if you have your own vehicle. I also agree with other posters that staying in Tours or Amboise will be more convenient than Orleans.

Posted by
3196 posts

I definitely agree that Amboise tops Orleans as a base to visit the area. Because they are expensive, lack power and are not as safe as a car, I would NOT consider cutie scooters to tour this area...and I'm a former scooter owner. Driving through Paris on a Sunday should not present a challenge and you wouldn't have to "drag the bag" on the rail journey. The trip from CDG to Amboise takes a little less than three hours. Car rental at CDG is convenient. From plane to starting to drive has taken me as little as 40 minutes.

Posted by
782 posts

I landed at CDG at 11:30 and caught the 14:25 train to Tours and and arrived at 15:59,walked out of the station to Hertz and drove to my B&B 9 km away,very simple.
Mike

Posted by
3766 posts

Hey Mike, I think you have a mistake in your arrival or departure time for the train from CDG.

Posted by
4684 posts

I would agree that you probably should not rent scooters or motorbikes unless you have serious motorbike experience. The standard of driving in rural France is pretty low.

Posted by
782 posts

JHK,
Thanks for pointing out the discrepency in my ETA at Tours,I have corrected it.
Mike