We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise, Other???

Ohio
Level Contributor
62 posts
46 reviews
Save Topic
Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise, Other???

Hi, we are driving in the Loire Valley in mid-September as part of an 18 day trip to France. We are looking for a town to come "home" after touring each day as well as one to hang out in for the day. We prefer a choice of restaurants and a nice walking area in the evening. I have read about Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise. They all sound wonderful in their own way. If you have preferences or comments, I would appreciate your opinion. We would love to find local festivals or street markets as well. We tend to have the best memories about the "feeling" of a place and the people more than chateaus, museums, and scenery we have come to see. Thanks. Rose

Mentioned in this post
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
France
France
Europe
Chinon
Chinon
Loire Valley, France
Amboise
Amboise
Loire Valley, France
Le Mans, France
Level Contributor
38 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise, Other???

I couldn't argue with any of your suggestions but be aware that Tours is a large city so there is a greater choice of restaurants. Amboise is worth a visit but, as a base my preference would be for Chinon or Saumur. Although the latter 2 are tourist destinations, my own feeling is that they are less 'touristy' than Amboise. Much depends on what you wish to see during your trip. The more celebrated chateaux of the Loire (apart from Saumur) are, broadly speaking, located from near Tours eastwards - Chinon, Azay le Rideau, Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceaux, Blois, Amboise - but in and around Saumur there is much to see - its chateau, the military tank museum, a mushroom museum, French National Riding School, the Loire itself, nearby Chateau Montsoreau and Abbey de Fontevraud, troglodyte houses, vineyards (and tours and tastings). Chinon is a good strategic choice as a centre, has a huge medieval chateau, many nearby vineyards, quite a few restaurants and is pleasant to stroll around in the evening, though it is smaller than Saumur. There is such a lot to see in the Loire Valley you might consider a second base. I like Angers as a city. There are a host of museums and galleries to visit and the chateau (with the tapestry of the Apocalypse) is a 'must see'. The old part of the city centre is now pedestrianised for the most part and there is a good variety of restaurants, brassereies and creperies. Angers' new tram system will also be up and running from 19th June. There is a big market in Angers centre each Saturday but if you want to check market days the Marches de France website gives details of local markets (not all of them) and is a good starting point: marchedefrance.org/foires-et-marches-france-…

18 days is quite a long time to spend in one place and with there being so much to see and do along the Loire i might be better to consider a 3 centre break to cut down on travelling times. Nantes, for example, is barely an hour from Angers whilst Angers is about 45 mins from Saumur. Saumur-Chinon takes about 30 minutes but Angers to Blois for example is a 2 hour drive. If I wanted to see as much of the Loire as possible I'd be thinking in terms of perhaps 5 nights Nantes, 7 at Saumur or Angers then 6 at Tours. A good route planning site is viamichelin.com which gives journey times and details of any additional autoroute/motorway/freeway toll charges. Whatever you choose, you won't be disappointed as there is really so much to see.

Mentioned in this post
Chateau d'Amboise
Chateau d'Amboise
3,995 Reviews
Amboise, France
Amboise
Amboise
Loire Valley, France
Chinon
Chinon
Loire Valley, France
Saumur
Saumur
Maine et Loire, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Blois
Blois
Loire Valley, France
Angers
Angers
Maine et Loire, France
Nantes
Nantes
Loire-Atlantique, France
Loire Valley
Level Contributor
7,017 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise, Other???

I assume you plan on spending only a couple of days out of your 18 actually in the Loire Valley?

In which case I would recommend Loches. So much better than Amboise - a larger town, but with about 10% of the tourists, simply because it is not as easy to get a tour bus into. Amboise is a rat race these days and best avoided except in the dead of winter (neither of the "attractions" there are terribly attractive, either, both being rather over-sold).

Loches will give you easy access to the "classic" Loire Chateau, narrow medieval streets, great restaurants, a good nightclub (with amazing fruit cocktails and live music), good accommodation choices, an excellent twice weekly market and the countryside 5 minutes away.

Mentioned in this post
Chateau d'Amboise
Chateau d'Amboise
3,995 Reviews
Amboise, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Amboise
Amboise
Loire Valley, France
Ohio
Level Contributor
62 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise, Other???

Thank you Guide and Wizard for helping me with all this wonderful information. Your detailed descriptions gave me a clearer sense of these towns. I am narrowing it down to Samaur, Chinon, and Noches. I wasn't clear, but we have 3 or 4 nights total in the Loire Valley. The river (perhaps I can find a short cruise), the mushroom museum, and wondering through the towns enjoying lunch and some wine have as much appeal as the chateaus. We already have a day in Angers, which sounds lovely, and part of a day in Tours. It was just great reading your suggestions and knowing I am on the right track. We are hoping that in 18 days we get a sense of Paris, Chartres, St. Michelle and a bit or Brittany, the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and the Dordogne villages, and finally Burgundy. I am planning about 3 nights at several smaller towns (our area bases) with a couple one nighters in between to enjoy some of the larger cities.

If I missed anything grand or should cut something out, let me know. Again, thanks for your time and expertise. Rose

Mentioned in this post
Chinon
Chinon
Loire Valley, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Angers
Angers
Maine et Loire, France
Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Chartres
Chartres
Loire Valley, France
Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Gironde, France
Dordogne
Dordogne
Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Burgundy
Burgundy
Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, France
Tampa, Florida
1 post
Save Reply
4. Re: Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise, Other???

My name is James Blanton my father SFC Eugene C Blanton was stationed at Chinon Army Depot from 1958-1962. I have very fond memories of our time there. My father is currently in poor health in a nursing home here in Brandon FL. If anyone has pictures of that time or any memories that I could share with him I would certainly appreciate it. I remember playing baseball and traveling to Saumur and Poiter to play ball. I was born in Verdun France in 1953 when he was stationed there. If anyone remembers my father please drop me a line

Thanks,

James Blanton

Mentioned in this post
Chinon
Chinon
Loire Valley, France
Saumur
Saumur
Maine et Loire, France
Verdun
Verdun
Meuse, France
5. Re: Samaur, Chinon, Tours, Amboise, Other???

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 21 July 2013, 21:15