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A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

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A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

My husband and I are interested in going to the Loire Valley for a week in October. We want to drink wine, eat cheese and see the chateaux. Is a week too much time or just right? We will finish the trip with a day in Paris. We will not be renting a car and are interested in a relaxing vacation.

Thanks for your help.

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Centre-Val de Loire, France
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Fairbanks, Alaska
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1. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

If you don't have a car, it will be very difficult to get to the chateaux. Some are accessible by train, but that would involve adhering to the train schedules, which I would not find relaxing, or taking organized tours (easiest from Tours).

If you do rent a car, consider splitting your stay between a location east of Tours (Onzain, Chenonceaux, etc.) and west of Tours (Chinon or Saumur).

We just spent three days in Chenonceaux and loved it. There was a lot that we didn't see. Two chateau per day is plenty, but there are great gardens and charming villages to explore too.

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2. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

If you change your mind about a car rental, which is highly recommended if not essential, speak to a Autoeurope rep using the toll free number.

new jersey
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3. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

Have you driven in France before? We never have and I'm just curious how the driving is. Thanks.

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4. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

Driving is a pleasant experience. The roads are well marked, and as a refreshing change from where I live, other drivers seem to have a very clear idea of what it is they are trying to do.

Route planning here [vias=stops along the way]:

http://www33.mappy.com/

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

or better yet, www.viamichelin.com (Michelin is French-based, and I've caught Mappy making crazy mistakes a few times)

They're quite aware that they've got lots of tourists, so things are well-marked.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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6. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

We drove in the Loire valley - it was the only place in France that we rented a car. We brought our GPS (with France maps) and a Michelin map and had no problems. I was nervous beforehand, but the drivingt was very easy.

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Loches, France
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7. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

To visit the Loire Valley, it is also important to "base-home" in a central point to have a maximum of choice to organize your visits (chateaux, Parcs, garden, and so..) .

Driving on Touraine's road is easy, roads are in excellent condition.

In October, all is out of the busy season... weather is quite cool too.

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8. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

Don't worry about the driving. Take a train to Tours and rent your car there. I would far rather drive in France than anywhere I have been in North America. If you can drive in NJ you can certainly drive in France. Especially the Loire as it's mostly flat, the roads are good and October is outside the main tourist season. I can't see how you can get the most out of the Loire without a car.

I highly recommend getting a copy of Ina Caro's "The Road from the Past". I've just finished reading the section on Loire chateaux. I've been to the Loire 3 times over the years and wish I'd read her take on things sooner. A Michelin Green Guide is a must have as well.

Have a great trip!

Rob

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9. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

Actually, from Paris it is better to take the train from Gare Montparnasse to St Pierre des Corps, just outside of Tours. This is easier to drive out of and the cars are close by in the lot.

Driving out of Paris, Europcar [whom we book through Autoeurope] has an office on the Avenue d'Italie, which leads directly to the highway a few blocks away.

Valencay, home of Tallyrand, is our favorite chateau.

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new jersey
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10. Re: A week in the Loire Valley. Is this too long?

Rob-

Thanks so much for your advice. My husband and I got a chuckle out of your comment about driving in NJ. It's true, driving in NJ is definitely challenging. When you rent a car in Tours, do you reserve ahead of time or would you chance it? I want to get the most our of our trip so driving may be the answer.

Thanks-Brianne