I had it in mind to stay in Saumur, but now I'm reconsidering either where to stay and/or our itinerary so that we can minimize unnecessary back-and-forth driving.
Our plan was to arrive in St. Pierre de Corps at 4:24 p.m. (on the daily direct train from Avignon) and pick up a rental car. If the train is on time, I think we'd have time to see Chenonceau before it closes at 7:30, but then we wouldn't get to Saumur before 9:00 p.m.
My other "must-do" is Villandry. Other than that, our chateaux-visiting plans are not decided yet. We'd like to do some wine-tasting, preferably within walking distance of our hotel. (For that reason, the caves de Grenelle in Saumur sound appealing.)
After our visit in the Loire Valley, we were planning to drive to Normandy, so leaving Chenonceau until the end wouldn't work.
Any suggestions for how to do all this in a way that makes sense? If not, then perhaps going to Normandy first and then driving to Saumur may work out better. Then we could visit Chenonceau before we depart for Paris.
Suggestions for other chateaux, wineries, and/or other places to stay would be appreciated.
Thanks for your help!