Anybody done this? Which sites are most accessible? Thanks- Amy
We did it, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. We stayed in Amboise and Blois. While it was easy to get to and between those towns, and each was interesting, getting to chateaus (which is what our niece most wanted to see) was not so simple. But you probably can do so if you plan well. For example, there was a mini coach tour from Amboise that would have taken us to several chateaus, but it was fully booked by the time we tried to reserve, so we hired a cab for the day, which was very expensive.
Love how that rhymes! :-) And... I will echo Robert. I have done it - based in Tours. It wasn't ideal. We did the bike rental thing, which worked - but it's a very different experience than being able to speed from one gorgeous destination to another in an air conditioned (or even not!) voiture. On a bike you are... on a bike! It can get hot. Your sightseeing is entirely different. Many wonderful intense close-ups and fascinating local details, not many vistas. You work up a sweat. It takes time. Cars roar past, sometimes a little fast or close for comfort. You can use the train to string things together. Base yourself someplace big and central, take the train to the smaller towns, rent a bike from there. But that winds up being a lot of logistics. Next time, I am renting a car.
Are you a bicycle rider in fairly fit shape? The Loire Valley is a great place to ride. (Then again, if you were you probably wouldn't be asking the question the way you did.) Still, even a reasonably fit person could probably choose a portion of the route, get a rental bike, and visit a couple châteaux over a few days. I loved staying in Amboise, right on the river and a short walk to the small Château du Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final days. There's also the huge Château d'Amboise right in the town of Amboise. You can see the bike route broken into relatively manageable segments at the following link, and Google 'Loire Valley tour' for a plethora of companies that offer minibus tours ranging from budget to luxury. http://en.eurovelo6.org/rubriques/gauche/the-stages/loire-valley/?set_language=en (The châteaux are grand and magnificent, but I was also fascinated by the troglodyte (cave) dwellings built/dug right into the rock faces - with satellite dishes protruding!)