My husband and I will be travelling from Paris to Amboise in just over a week. We are open to using either rail or rented car, though a little nervous about driving out of Paris. What is the most stress-free way to arrive at our hotel in Amboise? With thanks........G.
Train. Go here to see the schedules: http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en
We did it by car. We stopped along the way at Chartres to have lunch and visit the cathedral, and when we were in Amboise we were glad we had a car to visit nearby chateaus, wineries, Leonardo da Vinci's house, etc. With a GPS, getting out of Paris wasn't difficult at all.
We did it by car too. I think if we had had a GPS, it would have been perfectly fine...but our trip had gliches. We left a Paris train station with our rental car and were headed to Versaille. We had printed directions, but when streets are whipping by you - its not so easy to know which street to turn off onto. But by the grace of god - somehow we made it to Versaille with some ease. My husband's sense of direction helped. After leaving Versaille we got lost. My husband failed to print directions from Versaille to Amboise and instead had Paris to Amboise. We couldn't get out of the town because none of the streets went strictly North/South or East/West. We just whipped around in circles. Once we eventually made it onto the freeway we intended, it was quite easy. There is a tollway that you grab a ticket once you hop on and you pay when you get off. There are nice gas stations all along the way were you can get decent food/sandwiches and plenty of breaks while on the freeway without ever having to leave the freeway. We arrived in Amboise kind of late that night, but leaving Versaille was our biggest issue. Having a car while touring around Amboise is really the best, so I am glad we had one. We really enjoyed the next day of driving around the country and touring chateaus. Moral of the story is that having a car in Amboise is great, having a GPS is even better if you can do it.
I would probably take the train to St. Pierre des Corps and just rent the car there. The car rental places are directly across the street from the train station. I like driving in France, but am not willing to tackle Paris yet.
Thanks to all those who replied. I think we'll take your advice - train from Paris to St. Pierre des Corps, then rent a car there. Does anybody have advice about driving/visiting the Dordogne - Sarlat, Bordeaux, etc? We leave Paris on Sept. 15 and have to be back there on the 24th. Much appreciated! Glenna
I hope you can see Chartres on your way to Amboise- one of the highlights. I am a Bordeaux wine nut, but Bordeaux itself is not secnic if you are not heavily into wine. St Emillion town and area are more scenic, and one of the Cognac houses are worth a visit. Sarlat is worth it, I also enjoyed seeing the slow moving rivers with lazing canoeists in the Dordogne. Thats where I want to go back. Also Rocamadour if you want to get that far
Thanx, Brian..........we do love good wine, but not hard to find anywhere, I'm told. We're more into quaint, interesting towns, beautiful countryside, markets, cafés, etc. I paint, so am looking for inspiration.....not too interested in the big cities (except Paris of course.) If we take the train, we'll miss Chartes, which will be a pity, it seems. Oh well, we'll just have to go back. Apparently the strikes are on in Paris......hope it doesn't interfere too much! Cheers, Glenna
Glenna, You made the right choice. I drove back from Amboise to the north side of Paris and it was challenging. I got directions from the TI in Chartre and without their advice I would probably still be trying to follow the map quest directions. ; ) BTW don't miss Leonardo's house in Amboise, it was nice little tour. Pam
The posts by Pamela and Amy show why many travelers who post here, and have used GPS in Europe, recommend it to others.
Thanx Pam. I don't know why I didn't think of checking in here weeks ago; it would have saved me a lot of time and worry!!! Live and learn! :-) G.
You're right Kent; it might just be worth our while to pick one up before we leave on Thursday. Another expense!!!G.
Even people who don't find a GPS worth the money for use at home, swear by them for Europe, once they've tried it. Among those who have actually tried a GPS in Europe, the voting here is about 300 to 3 in favor.
Hi, we did this last summer. We took a train from Paris and a cab from the station in Amboise. It was a very short cab ride and not very expensive (we were a party of five so it would be less than that for you and your husband.) I like a train because I can let someone else drive...but a car gives you some freedom I guess. I would say that parking in Amboise would be a problem and I don't think you can drive in the city center. But perhaps your hotel has parking - I would check that out. We also took a cab to a nearby chateau - again it wasn't very much. Have a great trip! Amboise is very cool.
Driving in/out of Paris is daunting. I can tell you that on our first trip here with rental car, my husband and I took two tours of CDG before finally making it out on the correct road. And that was with GPS! However - in the Loire valley, having a car is really nice. There is beautiful scenery, beautiful chateaus, wineries (not the best France has to offer by any stretch) and more. It is so much easier to tackle it by car if you want to explore outside Amboise at all. So I vote for car with GPS
Thanks Dina..........in your opinion where ARE the best wineries? G.
Loire Valley is famous for their Vouvrays, Chinon is quite a good red wine; Bordeaux you know about. Basically we enjoyed drinking the local wines wherever we went - Bordeaux you can get anywhere in USA, but we did pick up a few "special" bottles at Bordeaux Chateau just for the ultimate souvenir. (St Emillion, Pomerol, Sauternes at least have local wine bureau who should be able to help you find Chateaux that welcome customers
I believe the choice of best wine is a personal thing. Personally, I like my wines a little on the lighter, fruity side. Although I haven't been to the wineries in the Cotes du Rhone region, those are the wines I tend to enjoy the most. My husband has different tastes, and he enjoys the more full-bodied Bordeaux. He felt most of the Loire wines were either too sweet or just not very flavorful. We did find a Vouvray that we both liked and picked up some of that to take home. Next month we're heading off to the Burgundy region for 3 days and I'm looking forward to hitting some of the wineries there. I'll have to let you know how those go.
For a similar trip, we picked up our rental car at Orly airport, then drove to Chartres, stopped at the very quaint ancient town of Lavardin, and went to Chenonceux for the night. We went to Amboise the next day, but could have stopped there enroute. We used Michelin maps, not a GPS, and did not get lost or have any problems.