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What to do 5 days in Amboise

New Zealand
Level Contributor
140 posts
69 reviews
What to do 5 days in Amboise

Hi everyone

Some advice needed. We have just booked into a B&B called Belleroche on the Loire 5 mins from Amboise. This we are going to use as our base to discover the area for 5 days. Now I know we are going in prime tourist season July and I'm not one for crowds and guided bus trips. So we have our own car and intend to get up early and hit the sites before the tour coaches if possible, any thoughts here?

Also what would be the suggested must sees of the area and any off the beaten non tourist places to go?

With our kiwi dollar really low at the moment we'll be eating bread and cheese everyday but you may know of some hidden gems that don't see the tourists as a rich gravy train. I'd rather mix it with the locals anytime.

Any advice would be great.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
26,047 posts
61 reviews
1. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

Well, given you are in chateau country, I guess a few chateaux. Just my recommendations:

#the gardens at Villandry are amazing

#Chennonceau is beautiful and with a long history including WWII

#Amboise has largely been rebuilt I believe, if that is important to you

#Azay le Rideau is very pretty, situated in a moat, and has good interiors

#the town of Loches is well worth a visit with fortified walls and most unusual town and buildings inside the walls. Loved it.

#Chinon has a castle which has been under repair and is about finished. This is where Jean D'Arc told king Louis to get going against the English. We found the town most relaxing, big enough to lve in and not just a tourist place. Look for the OTT statue of Jean D'Arc in the lower town marketplace. Good restaurants too.

# Fontevraud Abbey is well worth a visit. Lots of reconstruction but interesting and peaceful. Very large and unusual buildings.

# Candes St Martin is a plus belle village on the banks of the Loire. An interesting church and a nice restaurant for lunch if you can get in. Very popular

# Montsoreau castle nearby is also worth a visit, originally built in the Loire, now on the banks at the confluence of the Loire and Vienne. A really good display about the history of the castle and the region inside, quite imaginative and it responds to your presence.

Lots to see and do. Study up!

Level Contributor
30 posts
92 reviews
2. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise


Excellent suggestions and advice from Lynne. Study up. There is lots to see and do and many chateaus.

Amboise is a great central location for seeing everything. The Clos Luce is also in Amboise and was Leonardo Da Vinci's home for a while. It is now an excellent museum with life size working replicas of many of his inventions.

Two words of advice about driving.

First there is a very new highway through the area which does not show up on GPS. It is a toll highway which goes to Bordeaux. Maybe ask the car rental company for an up to date map when you pick up the car and trust your instincts more than the GPS. This is an easy and expensive mistake. Once you get sucked on to this highway the next exit is about 20km away and it costs about 5 Euro to get off the highway and another 5 to get back on going in the other direction.

Second there are photo radar detectors beside many of the roads, particularly the small country roads. If you speed (even a few km over the limit) they take your picture and you get the bill in the mail. I had no idea what they were when I was driving and received a hefty bill when I returned.

Otherwise the roads are well marked and chateaus and attractions are easy to find.

When in Loches try to have dinner at Gerbe D'Or. The food is amazing.

Also do not miss the Chateau Chambord.

If you are up for a longer drive the cathedral in Chartres is reasonably close. If you are driving down from Paris it is a bit of a detour but on the way.

Have Fun. It should be a great trip.

Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
288 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

You have had excellent advice from both posters. I woudl alos recommend Blois as an option. We loved the chateau there with its varied history.

You really must go to Villandry - hands down my favorite!

Chambord and Chenonceau are also top on the list.

Have a great time driving on back roads. See if you can figure out market days in the various places. A great, inexpensive way to dine...:-)


New Zealand
Level Contributor
140 posts
69 reviews
4. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

All sounds like great advice thank you. Does anyone have any advice on beating the tourist buses to the sights?

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
26,047 posts
61 reviews
5. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

I'd probably say choose a major and a minor chateau per day. Get to the major one first, say Chenonceau, and then go to one less popular. The tourist coaches seem to have three favourites, Chennonceau, Amboise and Chambord. If they go to Loches and Azay le Rideau they are few and far between.

Also look to the son et lumiere shows. I think there is one at Chambord. All the very best photos of Chambord are in the twilight but it depends if that is your thing. Depending on your base town it can be a long way home from there.

6. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

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Level Contributor
470 posts
70 reviews
7. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

i know what you are saying about the currency problems as we brits are in the same boat!

we will be going to the loire soon and we will be eating our main meal out at lunchtime instead of in the evening.this works out much cheaper, even in soon very "nice" restaurants.you might get a three course lunch with wine for about 12 euros in the less touristy places.

also, don't be afraid to ask for a jug of water with your meal; a "pichet de l'eau" and if you like wine , ordering a jug of wine (pichet de vin rouge/blanc)instead of a bottle can save a lot of money .

like the previous blogger said, french markets have lots of lovely food including a variety of hot food to buy ; there is a huge market by the river in the centre of amboise on sunday mornings.

Loire Valley
Level Contributor
7,056 posts
7 reviews
8. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

To avoid the tourist crush avoid Amboise itself unless you can get there before the tourists - at 7.00am it's not too bad - after 9.00 it will be hell.

No-one ever goes to Chateau Renault and the troglodyte places at les Roches Eveque. The Loir Valley (correct spelling) is very pretty but gets overlooked.

Likewise, Loches tends to be overlooked, as does le Grand Pressigny and its museum.

Richelieu is an interesting place just too far away from the Amboise/Chenonceaux axis for most tourist groups.

For your driving routed, use google and the "avoid tolls" options. As ever with thses sorts of things, apply common sense to any result it gives you - all of the map sites have a tendency to use the most major road available, resulting in not only strange deviations, but you missing some of the really attractive roads.

As for saving money - at lunchtime, look for restaurants with white vans outseide - these will be local tradesmen eating 2, 3 or even 4 courses for 11.50 Euros. Every village will have at least one place like this. Don't be put off by the exteriors of these places - they are great value and the food is real quality. Then for the evening meal you can have a single course - a salad or omlette.



Level Contributor
675 posts
201 reviews
9. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

I love Villandry gardens.We arrived around 4pm.Just in time to see the interior and plenty of time to see the gardens.Hardly any people.It was the very beginning of July.

My favourite thing about Chambord is the light show projected onto the chateau facvade but it finishes at midnight and it might be a bit far from Amboise at that time of night to drive.

Also liked Cheverney and it wasn't crowded..

If you get to Fontevraud, which I didn't particularly like,the chateau at Breze is very nearby.I found Breze fascinating because of the extensive troglodytic chambers under the chateau.Not many people there.

Next visit I am going to Chaumont sur Loire.I am looking forward to their garden "exhibits".

I also like Clos de Luce at Amboise, previously mentioned.

I only used minor roads, relying on Michelin maps.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
140 posts
69 reviews
10. Re: What to do 5 days in Amboise

Well everyone I've been blown out by your great advice. One thing we've realised is that staying in Amboise in July is probably not a good idea. I'm not one for Tourist Traps so we've booked in Le Logis du Bief in Loches instead. I'm sure we can find some great real bits of France from there as we have a hire car. sure we'll take in the various Chateau however I simply love the French markets and pottering around etc. So if you know the daily market schedule of the area that would be great or any suggestions on simple but authentic French restaurants around the area (I'll look out for the white vans WizardofAus. Once again thanks everyone anytime you're in New Zealand let me know!

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