Pont Wilson, Tours

Pont Wilson, Tours

Photo by Tango7174 (wikimedia commons)

Paris to Nantes via Tours Roadtrip

Photo by Tango7174 (wikimedia commons)Town Hall and Place Jean Jaurès, Tours Photo by Tango7174 (wikimedia commons)

The inland areas of France used to be overlooked in favour of the seaside resorts, now the Loire valley is just as popular due its wonderful Château, mouth-watering cuisine, and delightful sparking wines.  This route assumes you’re already spent a fair amount of time in Paris, have done all those important tourist sights, and discovered the delights of the périphérique (hopefully not in your France motorhome rental or campervan hire), and now you’re ready to move on to some open roads and pleasant countryside.

Day 1.
Head south from the city towards Chartres, this is the scenic route, you could opt to take the A10, but that would mean you would miss out on the first stop, Château de Maintenon.  It should take around an hour and a half to get to the château which dates back to 1509 and incorporates an ancient castle.  Built on the banks of the River Eure, the chateau isn’t the biggest you’ll encounter on your trip, but very nice none the less. 

Back on the road towards Chartres and as you’re going to be driving right through the centre, and you’re bound to be hungry; you can’t stop and not visit at least one of the city’s attractions.  The most dominating feature of the city is La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres with the most extensive collection of stained glass in the world, or if that sort of thing doesn’t interest you, just walk around the city and admire the half-timbered houses on your way down to the river.

From here hit the N10, not literally, for just over an hour before taking the much smaller D910 towards Tours (with a silent S) your stopover for the night or two. 

Day 2
Leave you motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle on site today and hire a bike to explore the area.  The city is a small one and at the heart of the ‘Loire à Velo’ project which means its relatively safe, no crazy motorists to contend with!  The city is where Joan of Arc had her armour made, a natty souvenir if you can find a replica piece, or perhaps visit the castle, cathedral, or stroll along the river; its all about the atmosphere.

Day 3
Armour safely stowed away its time to head for Nantes, but not before you do a bit of a detour.  You cannot visit the Loire Valley and not take a trip to Saumur and its truly magnificent château, not to mention its wine. 

Château de Saumur overlooks the River Loire and was once the residence of the Dukes of Anjou.  There are some beautiful interiors; it also has a magnificent display of equestrian items.  After you’ve spent a couple of hours looking round, leave the town in search of some of the vineyards and buy a bottle to enjoy later.

The last part of your journey towards Nantes is quick and painless, unless you don’t agree with paying tolls in which case it will take a little longer.  Take the A11 and then the A811 and in less than an hour you’ll be in Nantes home of the Porte St-Pierre, Cathédrale Saint Pierre, and The Jules Verne Museum.

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