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Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

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Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

Hi there,

I will be going to Tours to attend a conference. I will have a few days after the conference for leisure travel and would like to see the famous Loire castles. I hope you can give me some tips to make my travel as painless as possible :)

1) How far are the castles from Tours? Can you get to these castles using public transportation? I prefer not having to rent and deal with the hassle of renting (and driving) a car but will do so if public transportation is not convenient.

2) Can I buy the ticket at the castle or do I have to buy in advance? While I would like to see as many castles as possible, I only want to go inside a few. I am content to admire the other castles from their exterior. Do you have any recommendation which ones I should also see the inside?

3) While I prefer the freedom of self exploration, in certain cases it's better to use the service of a tour. Is this one of those cases? If so, which tour do you recommend? I prefer to be in a large group rather than me and a tour guide.

Thank you so much for your help.

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Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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93,042 posts
14 reviews
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1. Re: Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

You need to read a guide book on the Loire Valley, as there are more than a dozen chateaux, at varying distances from Tours. You really will need a rental car if you want to visit a number of the chateaux.

You can buy tickets on arrival at a chateau. Which ones you should visit, and whether you should go inside, depend on your interests. That is why you need a guide book.

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Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Paris, France
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13,116 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

Look at this thread and you'll find links to all the major tourist office websites for the Loire. There's also a link that will tell you about all the major châteaux in the Loire.

fodors.com/community/europe/france-the-loire…

There are several dozen châteaux in the Loire and only some of them are accessible by public transport, such as Chinon, Loches, Amboise, Blois, Chenonceau, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais and a few others.

If you want to use public transport to get around here is a link that shows where the trains run in the Loire:

ter-sncf.com/Regions/…Carte_Flash.aspx

These links have bus info for the departments in the Loire:

www.transports-du-loir-et-cher.com/index.php…

http://www.tourainefilvert.com/

http://www.anjoubus.fr/

The tourist office in Tours offers minibus excursions to several châteaux and you can look into that. Here is the weblink for the Tours tourist office. Click the tab on the left that says "Excursions" and you'll find all the info you need.

www.tours-tourisme.fr/excursions_en.php

You'll have much more freedom if you rent a car. Use www.autoeurope.com if that interests you. If you drive you need good maps and I'll recommend the Michelin départemental maps of the scale 1:150,000. Here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:150,000 scale maps of France: http://tinyurl.com/6mt4n64

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Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Chinon
Chinon
Loire Valley, France
Amboise
Amboise
Loire Valley, France
Blois
Blois
Loire Valley, France
France
France
Europe
Loire Valley
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7,017 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

Of the most well known chateau, the easiest to reach by public transport from Tours are Chenonceau, Azay le Rideau, Villandry and Amboise.

Of those Chenonceau is the must see and easiest to get to, being a 20 minute train ride, but with limited services. Azay le Rideau is on a regular bus line (line I Touraine Fil Vert tourainefilvert.com/ftp/…202013.pdf ) and also has an irregular local train service. Villandry is the closest to Tours, but only has a direct bus service in July and August. depending on when youre tavelling, you could hire a bike and ride in, it will take under an hour.

Loches is well worth a day on its own, with royal residences of two different periods and a well preserved medieval/renaissance towm. It has regular train replacement buses.

You will notice I haven't mentioned Amboise. I dont rate Amboise, although it has a regular bus and train service.

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Amboise
Amboise
Loire Valley, France
5 posts
1 review
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4. Re: Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

Thank you so much for all these great info! You guys are awesome :)

Bellflower...
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5,377 posts
21 reviews
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5. Re: Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

Bonjour, Bubblehunt,

Tours of chateaux are also available through the Tours Tourist Information Bureau:

www.tours-tourisme.fr/excursions_en.php

MrsJAS

Dublin
Destination Expert
for Valletta
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8,526 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

I was over in Tours in September for 4 days on the first day I got a train to Samur as that was the first train that was heading out and spent several hours exploring the town and the Castle.

Next day I headed for Bloise rented a bike and travelled out to Chambord a decent back pack is advised if you are going to cycle as you can carry your camera water and food with you.

Third day I went by train to Chenonceau you can easily spend a full day out here if you are interested in photography exploring the grounds and the old town which also has some lovely restaurants and great for exploring. If you spend the morning there you could easily do Amboise in the afternoon and evening and have dinner in Amboise.

On the last day I got the bus out to Chinon and spent the day out there but check the return times of the bus or depending on the day the trains might be running.

The tourist office which is just across the road from the train station runs several trips I took one last year their was a group of 10 this was to Azay-le-Rideau Villandry and lunch at a vineyard with some smaller stops on the way just for photo shoots.

If you know your dates and can book your trains in advance it will cost you a lot less and pick up all tickets in the train station the staff are very helpful and will give you lots of help.

Also as you are staying in Tours it is a great city to explore and has its own Chateaux and lots of other attractions.

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Amboise
Amboise
Loire Valley, France
Chinon
Chinon
Loire Valley, France
7. Re: Need advice for trip to Tours/Loire Valley

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