Wanted to be concise but informative. Really isn't that concise.
Day 1 - CDG to Chartres: We arrived at 11:30, collected bags, purchased museum passes (to be used at the end of the trip) and a pocket Michelin atlas (which we didn’t use much) then had to wait about 45 minutes at Avis to get our car, even though it was reserved in advance. It was a Ford Fiesta manual with a covered hatch area (we would be leaving our bags in the car on many days as we toured) and although we requested diesel, it was gas. C’est la vie.
We brought our Garmin with all our lodgings programmed in, so we set off for Chartres at about 14:00. Our first encounter with a toll booth was a no go for our Visa chip card and we were scrambling for the right change. It made us a bit leery of using the card so we used cash for the next few days.
I had great intentions of following all the RS town walks and cathedral, etc. tours, but we found that we’d rather just wander in the general direction and see the major sites. We didn’t really try to absorb all the information on the cathedral (or most of the Many Others we would visit) but just enjoyed looking at the interior.
We had a galette and a sweet crepe for dinner at La Picoterie, a recommended restaurant. We share most meals when traveling because it’s so easy to overeat otherwise. We always had tap water with dinner and only had to ask in French a couple times.
We waited for dark to see Lumieres en Chartres, the impressive sound and light show projected on the front of the cathedral. It started to rain lightly as the show ended so we called it a night. We stayed at Le Clos Chedeville, a charming b & b inside a family owned enclosure.
Day 2 - Chartres to the Loire: We drove to the Loire Valley stopping to tour Chateau Chambord. It was great, especially the roof, and the double helix staircase is pretty cool. There is some scaffolding on one side which detracts from exterior photos. It was only crowded at the cafes.
In Blois we got a sandwich from a boulangerie, walked around, took exterior pictures of the Chateau, and happened to see the golden dragons slither down the House of Magic.
We drove to Chateau Chaumont to take pictures from across the river. Two hot air balloons were launching and people stopped all along the road to photograph them. Serendipitous.
The closest village to our hotel was Montrichard, where we had dinner at La Villa. Kevin had lamb and I had beef. We got some nice photos of a bridge perfectly reflected in the river.
We stayed two nights at Chateau de Vallagon in Bourre. I had requested the room which had a turret on either side of the bed. The shower and sink were in one turret and the toilet in the other. The room was quirky and quaint and the outside looked like a little castle.