На машине по долине Луары

Angers to: Blois (2hr; 195km); Caen (2hr 45min; 255km); Calais (4hr 40min; 515km);
Le Havre (3hr; 330km); Nantes, Brittany (1hr; 88km); Orléans (2hr 30min; 245km);
Paris (3hr; 300km); Saumur (55min; 48km); Tours (1hr 30min; 125km).

Orléans to: Blois (45min; 63km); Bourges (1hr 25min; 120km); Caen (3hr 25min;
320km); Calais (4hr 10min; 420km); Chartres (1hr; 81km); Le Havre (3hr 10min;
280km); Paris (1hr 30min; 135km); Tours (1hr 10min; 115km).

Tours to: Blois (45min; 65km); Bordeaux (3hr 30min; 335km); Bourges (2hr; 155km);
Caen (2hr 50min; 265km); Calais (4hr 50min; 525km); Chartres (2hr; 140km); Le
Havre (3hr 10min; 340km); Le Mans (1hr 10min; 95km); Paris (2hr 30min; 240km);
Saumur (1hr 10min; 71km); Poitiers (1hr 5min; 100km).

The pros of travelling by car are evident. The
main disadvantage is cost, but you also see
a less attractive side of the Loire countryside
from the main roads and motorways. There
are numerous car-rental agencies in all the
main Loire towns, notably Tours, Blois,
Orléans and Angers. Tours airport has booths
for both Hertz and Europcar; the former is
Ryanair’s partner, so there are usually long
queues for the Hertz booth on arrival. Car
rental costs something in the region of e300
a week, or at least e50 a day. It can be less
expensive to book in advance from abroad.
Under-25s pay an extra insurance premium
of upwards of e20 a day; you must still be
over 21 and have driven for at least one year.
OTU Voyages (t01.55.82.32.32, wwww
.otu.fr) can arrange car rental for drivers
under 21. North Americans and Australians
should note that it is very difficult to find rental
cars with automatic transmission; if you can’t
drive a manual/stick-shift vehicle, try to book
an automatic well in advance and be
prepared to pay for it.
At the time of writing, petrol/gas (essence)
costs around e1.30 a litre for unleaded
(super sans plomb), with a small premium for
leaded four-star (super), while diesel (gasoil) costs around e1.15 a litre – figure on about
$4 per gallon. Supermarkets tend to have
the lowest prices for fuel.
Traffic congestion is only a problem on
the busiest summer weekends – especially
around July 14, August 15 and the beginning
and end of August – but you may find
yourself ambling along behind lorries or caravans
on the arterial roads that run alongside
the Loire at any time. Traffic or no, it’s almost
always worth planning a slower route along
the lovelier minor roads. If you’re in a tearing
hurry, the autoroute network is fast, mostly
free of traffic, and serves the main cities of
the region – though at the time of writing
there was still a fifty-kilometre hiatus along
the Cher heading east of Tours towards
Bourges. You have to pay tolls for the privilege
of riding the autoroute, but any trips
within the scope of this guidebook will come
in under e20. For an excellent route-planner,
check out the bilingual website, wwww
.viamichelin.com.
You’re never far from a garage or a petrol
station in France. If you have mechanical
difficulties, look in the Yellow Pages (Pages
Jaunes) of the phone book under “Garages
d’automobiles”, or “dépannages” for breakdowns.
If you have an accident or a break-in,
you may need to get a report from the local
police in order to make an insurance claim –
contact your insurer/rental company as soon
as possible to check what you should do. It
may help if you note down as many details as
you can, especially contact details for other
drivers involved, and in the event of a serious problem, you should get a report from the
police. For motoring vocabulary, see p.368.
For minor driving offences, the police may
turn a blind eye to foreign drivers, or they
may impose an on-the-spot fine. Reckless
speeding and other more serious violations
will lead to you having your licence taken
away, and drink driving is taken very seriously
in France.