Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Europe > France and Monaco
Reload this Page >

Champagne region vs Loire Valley

Champagne region vs Loire Valley

Old May 3, 18, 8:02 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 29
Champagne region vs Loire Valley

Hi Everyone,

I'm planning my honeymoon in Greece and France. Starting in Greece, ending in Paris, want a couple days in the French countryside in between.

I will arrive to the Paris ORY airport on Sunday at 2pm. We will still stay 2 nights at our destination then head to Paris Tuesday evening for the remainder of our trip.

I'm debating between Loire Valley and Champagne region (Reims,etc). A day touring wineries sounds entertaining, but we aren't really set any activities. Any advice between the two locations? Thanks for all the help!
conner11 is offline  
Old May 4, 18, 11:09 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Programs: Delta SkyMiles, IHG Platinum Elite, HHonors Silver, Marriott Silver, SPG, AGR
Posts: 608
I would recommend the Loire valley, though I am a bit biased towards it for some lovely memories there. It's got some gorgeous, extremely well preserved castles with beautiful parks where you can wander and enjoy the beauty of both the architecture and the scenery, if the weather is nice. It's an area that's very rich in history. I've found places like Reims tend to be more run of the mill French towns - they have their cathedrals and museums, of course, but aren't quite as exciting.
DrRodneyMcKay is offline  
Old May 4, 18, 12:46 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 29
are their wineries in Loire Valley? Where would you suggest we stay for 2 nights? Would prefer to stay in a city setting as we are getting plenty of that with our 5 nights in Paris
conner11 is offline  
Old May 5, 18, 1:33 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Programs: Delta SkyMiles, IHG Platinum Elite, HHonors Silver, Marriott Silver, SPG, AGR
Posts: 608
There is wine that comes from the Loire valley - I've had it - so it would logically follow that there would be wineries, though I've never toured any myself. I think what makes that region shine is the history and natural beauty. As for where to stay, the various chateaux are scattered along the river, so I honestly don't know what the best option is - when I went, it was a group trip, many years ago, organized by someone else, and we made several stops. I imagine you'd want to choose a 'home base' town from which to explore the various castles, or pick a couple cities that are the most interesting and from which you could do day trips to see anything/everything else. I believe you can also do a cruise down the Loire, though I've never looked into that myself.

As for which cities, I do love Nantes - it's got great culture, and an ancient (i.e. medieval) castle (being the former capital of Brittany) and is just very quaint and lovely. Other major or historically significant towns that come to mind are Tours, Orleans, Blois, and Angers, from which you could easily get to castles such as Azay-Le-Rideau, Chambord, Chenonceau, and the tiny city/castle of Amboise - and, presumably, wineries. These will be much smaller towns than Paris, of course - you won't get the big city feel, but rather a small or mid-sized French town. Very walkable, usually, but with good public transit if you need it.

(Also, do keep in mind that my degree is in French literature and history, so I'm a bit biased towards all the historical stuff; still, I think you won't be disappointed even if you're not a history buff. The countryside is beautiful and the food remains excellent even outside of Paris).
Goldorak and ajGoes like this.
DrRodneyMcKay is offline  
Old May 6, 18, 3:37 pm
  #5  
Moderator: Travel Safety/Security, Travel Tools, California, Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: VNY | BUR | LAX
Programs: AAdvantage | MileagePlus
Posts: 11,773
There are plenty of wineries in the Loire Valley. The area is best known for its white wines, of the top of my head, Sancerre, Vouvray, and Muscadet; there are also reds and rosés produced in the Loire, but those are not as well known in the US.

However, the area is most famous for its magnificent châteaux.

Take a look at this site:
The Loire Valley Wine Route
TWA884 is offline  
Old May 6, 18, 3:40 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Programs: Statusless and proud
Posts: 6,781
Originally Posted by conner11 View Post
are their wineries in Loire Valley? Where would you suggest we stay for 2 nights? Would prefer to stay in a city setting as we are getting plenty of that with our 5 nights in Paris
The Loire is my favorite wine region. My two favorite varietals are Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, and they're both produced there in spades. A couple of days in Chinon or Vouvray sounds heavenly.

Chris
TWA884 likes this.
JayhawkCO is offline  
Old May 8, 18, 9:25 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
Programs: UA 1K MM, Hertz PC, BAEC Silver
Posts: 8,000
Originally Posted by conner11 View Post
are their wineries in Loire Valley? Where would you suggest we stay for 2 nights? Would prefer to stay in a city setting as we are getting plenty of that with our 5 nights in Paris
Some of the finest wine in the world comes from the Loire (think Sancerre and Pouilly Fume) as well as some of the loveliest regular drinking wine (for whites I particularly enjoy Quincy and for reds a good Chinon or Bourgeuil on a hot day sitting by the river is about as good as life gets. Also in Saumur they are rightly proud of their Saumur-Champigny and do some quite good tours.

But I would spend my time taking in the extraordinary beauty of the place, rather than messing around with wineries (IMHO a rather dull experience). Limit your tasting to lunch and dinner but instead visit the amazing Chateaux that line the river. It's far, far more beautiful than the Champagne region.
TWA884 and Goldorak like this.
lhrsfo is online now  
Old May 16, 18, 4:54 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 29
It sounds like Loire Valley is the winner hands down! Thanks for all the help!
Any advice of must sees and where to stay are greatly appreciated.

A couple parameters:
  • This is the second part of my honeymoon (starting in Greece, ending in Paris)
  • Flight lands at Paris around 3pm on Sunday.
  • Will spend Sunday night, Monday all day, Monday night, Tuesday part of the day - then head to paris
    • 2 nights, 2 days
  • Would like to limit the travel time from Paris since its a short trip.
Again, advice on where to stay and what to do is greatly appreciated!!
conner11 is offline  
Old May 17, 18, 2:48 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Programs: Delta SkyMiles, IHG Platinum Elite, HHonors Silver, Marriott Silver, SPG, AGR
Posts: 608
You are flying into Paris, correct? Then planning to go down to the Loire valley, then return to Paris?

I would honestly do the reverse - Paris first, with the hustle and bustle of the city, then relaxing in the countryside, but that's just me. France has a really good rail network, so pretty much any major city along the Loire will have a train station from which you could easily reach Paris on a direct route in a couple hours max. You could honestly go on the rail website (sncf.com) and see what sales they're having to which cities to choose which one to travel from/to. Nantes, Tours, Orleans, and Angers come to mind as "major" cities along the Loire.
DrRodneyMcKay is offline  
Old May 23, 18, 11:11 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: London, UK and Southern France
Posts: 16,064
Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
Some of the finest wine in the world comes from the Loire (think Sancerre and Pouilly Fume) as well as some of the loveliest regular drinking wine (for whites I particularly enjoy Quincy and for reds a good Chinon or Bourgeuil on a hot day sitting by the river is about as good as life gets. Also in Saumur they are rightly proud of their Saumur-Champigny and do some quite good tours.
The Loire valley produces some very decent wines. I am not so sure that I would go as far as saying "some of the finest in the world". What the Loire valley does best is light, easy-drinking young wines,deliciously quaffable on a balmy summer evening. I do not think that they tend to achieve the levels of depth and complexity that you will encounter in the best Bordeaux or Burgundy wines which, it seems to me, are in a different class altogether.

You mention Sancerre and Pouilly-fumé which are great wines but which are also rather uncharacteristic of Loire valley wines and closer in style (and also in geography) to Northern Burgundy wine growing areas like Chablis than typical Loire valley terroir further downstream (Chinon, Touraine, etc...)

Not that this diminishes in anyway the attraction of the Loire valley as a touristic destination nor the pleasantness of its wines. I would also choose the Loire valley over the Champagne area; I have never found the champagne area terribly exciting. That said, just a little further South, Burgundy is rather more attractive as a tourist destination but in a different way to the Loire Valley. The Loire valley was the summer playground of the aristocracy and has an exceptionally high concentration of castles. Burgundy, on the other hand, is rather more austere and monasteries (in particular cistercian abbeys) replace the chateaux. It has great gastronomic and, of course, wine growing heritage and the landscape is very beautiful but you have to like rural environments. If you are more into urban settlements, the Loire valley is a better choice (small town rather than large cities, or course, as others have mentioned). For a short trip, I would think that the Loire valley would be better. Burgundy needs more time to meander around at a slow pace to appreciate, imo. Also, all those Loire valley castles are well-suited to a honeymoon atmosphere.

But I would spend my time taking in the extraordinary beauty of the place, rather than messing around with wineries (IMHO a rather dull experience). Limit your tasting to lunch and dinner but instead visit the amazing Chateaux that line the river. It's far, far more beautiful than the Champagne region.
I entirely agree.
NickB is online now  
Old May 23, 18, 11:13 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: London, UK and Southern France
Posts: 16,064
Originally Posted by DrRodneyMcKay View Post
You are flying into Paris, correct? Then planning to go down to the Loire valley, then return to Paris?

I would honestly do the reverse - Paris first, with the hustle and bustle of the city, then relaxing in the countryside, but that's just me.
I would too, I have to say.
NickB is online now  
Old May 23, 18, 1:48 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 29
We are doing Loire Valley first then ending in Paris - this can't be changed at this point due to bookings. What areas/hotels should I target for our 2 nights in Loire Valley?

Do you think it is better to rent a car or take the train from the Paris airport? Will we want to have a car to drive around the area? Or will we not need it since we are only there 2 days.
conner11 is offline  
Old May 23, 18, 6:25 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: London, UK and Southern France
Posts: 16,064
I'd suggest Tours, especially if you take a train: Tours is on the TGV (=high speed train) network so would be accessible reasonably fast direct from Paris or CDG (plenty of trains from Paris; fewer direct from CDG itself). The station on the high speed line is not at Tours itself but nearby in a small place called St-Pierre des Corps, from which there is a shuttle service to Tours proper. Some of the Paris trains do go to Tours station proper though (but not from CDG). Tours is a reasonably sizeable town for the Loire Valley so would offer a reasonable amount of choice for restaurants, etc... The problem with driving from CDG is that the airport is Northeast of Paris whereas you want to go Southwest of Paris, i.e. at polar opposites, and traffic around Paris can be a pain. What I would do if I were in your shoes would be to take a TGV to Tours and then hire a car locally. You can do it without a car but, imo, a car helps a lot to get around in that area. I would return the car at the station and take the train to Paris (a car in Paris would be a hindrance more than a help). Can't recommend anywhere to stay, I am afraid. I would have stayed at friends in Saumur when in the area so would not have much knowledge of hotels (moreover, it has been a while since I spent any time in that part of France so others would have more uptodate knowledge).
NickB is online now  
Old May 24, 18, 5:20 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TLS/London
Programs: BA Gold, SPG Plat
Posts: 441
You mention you land at Orly airport which is South of Paris so easy to get to the Loire if you hire a car, more difficult if you train as you'll need to go in to the centre of Paris to pick up the TGV. Orleans is about an hours (very easy motorway) drive from Paris and Tours less than an hour further on (again easy by motorway)

I would say definitely hire a car at Orly on arrival then rather than stay in Orleans or Tours I'd aim to stay at a Chateau in between the 2 then spend some time visiting some of the great Chateau - Chenonceau, Chambord, etc. There is no shortage of great boutique luxury hotels that will have a great restaurant and selection of local wines to try
ant_west is offline  
Old May 25, 18, 6:39 am
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: London, UK and Southern France
Posts: 16,064
Originally Posted by ant_west View Post
You mention you land at Orly airport which is South of Paris so easy to get to the Loire if you hire a car, more difficult if you train as you'll need to go in to the centre of Paris to pick up the TGV.
I had missed that the OP was landing in Orly rather than CDG. In that case , and although the OP would not have to go into central Paris to catch a TGV and could instead catch it at Massy which is easily accessible for Orly via Orlyval and RER B, I agree that getting a rental car at Orly makes a lot of sense. It also means that the OP does not have to juggle around SNCF strike dates, which is a real issue at the moment.
NickB is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread