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  1. #1
    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Tour De France Trip

    Hi, Is anyone on these forums going over to france this July to watch any stages of the Tour De France?

    I will be heading over to France in july with a couple of friends, and will be going to watch the team time trial in Blois on July 5th.

    Will anyone else here be going over to see this stage in particular, and if so, will you be camping or staying at a hotel? Do you have any reccomendations on where to stay? Keep in mind that myself and my friends are on a tight budget (70-100 euros per night per room) and would like to keep the accomidation as cheap as possible.

    Also, we will be flying into paris on the 4th of july, does anyone have any suggestions/reccomendations on how to get to blois (train, bus, etc...)

    If anyone else here is going to this stage and would like to meet up to party it up a little (or a lot) please PM me, and we can hopefully organize somthing..

    Cheers

    -john

  2. #2
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    From Paris you will take the train at the Austerlitz station. The ride is between 1h30 to 2h depending of the number of stops. There's no direct TGV (high speed) line to Blois. If you want TGV you will have to first go to Tours and take a smaller train back to Blois, it will cost you more and total time will be about the same.
    The Tour attracts a lot of people so getting a campsite or a room may be tough. Try to reserve in advance.

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    If you are lucky, the Poulain chocolate factory in Blois will be filling the air with chocolate vapors!

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    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpelpel
    From Paris you will take the train at the Austerlitz station. The ride is between 1h30 to 2h depending of the number of stops. There's no direct TGV (high speed) line to Blois. If you want TGV you will have to first go to Tours and take a smaller train back to Blois, it will cost you more and total time will be about the same.
    The Tour attracts a lot of people so getting a campsite or a room may be tough. Try to reserve in advance.
    Hey, are train tickets at that train station something you can book in advance? Or is it just buy a ticket that day, and hope its not full?

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    Quote Originally Posted by free_pizza
    Hey, are train tickets at that train station something you can book in advance? Or is it just buy a ticket that day, and hope its not full?
    http://www.sncf.com/

    click the little British flag in the lower left corner if you don't know French.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by free_pizza
    Hey, are train tickets at that train station something you can book in advance? Or is it just buy a ticket that day, and hope its not full?
    You can book in advance at www.sncf.com but I don't think it's necessary. Booking is required for TGV seats though. For regular trains such as the Paris-Blois you just buy them at the station and hop into the first train leaving for your destination. If all seats are used you may stay into the hallway or the entry corridor. Use the available pull down seats if available or your bags.

  7. #7
    Burninating the Peasants
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    Thanks muchly velogirl and gpelpel. It seems like you both have experience with these rides. Do you know of any hostels in Paris that are secure/clean and reasonably priced. Near to some cool sites would be nice too. Seeing some of the infamous Paris art would be nice, but I hear L'ouvre is nutso with tourists...so hoping to avoid that.

    -RotD
    "Can I bring you any wine with the meal?"
    "Guinness you say? Why a Guinness would be GREAT!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RageoftheDragon
    Thanks muchly velogirl and gpelpel. It seems like you both have experience with these rides. Do you know of any hostels in Paris that are secure/clean and reasonably priced. Near to some cool sites would be nice too. Seeing some of the infamous Paris art would be nice, but I hear L'ouvre is nutso with tourists...so hoping to avoid that.

    -RotD
    I don't know of any hostels, as I stay with family when I go there. There are quite a few small hotels that are not on the internet, so they are hard to find out about. You'll find better deals farther out on the Metro line. Vincennes is a nice little town on the edge of Paris to the southeast. I'm sure there are others. Lonely Planet is probably a good resource.

  9. #9
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Same with me. I stay with family when I go back for my summer visits. When staying in hotels around Paris usually not far from the airports such as in the Ibis chain. Rooms are not very big but they are clean. Inside Paris you may find some 2 stars small hotels at reasonable price but 3 stars are usually a better guarantee of having something clean.
    I would recommend that you buy a good travel guide that might offer some references.
    By locating yourself near a railroad station or airport you can really make things easier to you. Air France has a bus service from the 2 major airports to all the railroad station at a reasonable price. From there you may take the train to outside Paris, or hop on the metro or a taxi to go anywhere dowtown.

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    But if you want to experience Paris, please don't stay in an Ibis near the airport! Yes, they are clean, but they are not located in walkable areas, and the airport is in an industrial zone. If you want Paris, stay in Paris or immediate surrounding towns. If you want nowhere-anywhere, stay at Ibis.

    I've stayed in perfectly good no-star hotels in France. I've also stayed in some bad ones. If you speak French, you can negotiate good deals and arrange to see the room before you take it. If not, stay at one-to-two stars.

    Most importantly, have fun and eat croissants and chaussons-aux-pommes at the boulangerie.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    A couple years ago I stayed at a Hotel near Gare Montparnasse called the Timotel. It seems to be a chain, they might have a website. The rooms were tiny but recently renovated and very clean and the price was reasonable.
    I agree with velogirl that airports are in the middle of nowhere. But all depend of how your trip is planned and if Paris is just a quick stop or not.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    It's actually TimHotel. I found the website:
    http://www.timhotel.com

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    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    On yesterday's Bike Show they interviewed Scott Coady who made the TdF film called The Tour Baby. He has an inside track on the American riders including LA. He's organizing a tour of the Tour that sounds like a lot of fun... if you have the time and money. Here's the web site:

    http://www.thetourbaby.com/

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    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Hey guys.. thanks for the advice on the hotels in Paris, however, we will only be staying there for one night, and it looks as though we might be able to stay with a friend..

    For those that have stayed in Blois.. Have you ever stayed at a place called "Appart'City Blois".. It looks like this might be a good place to stay, just wondering if it would be close to the action (nightlife/stage race) ...

    or any of these hotels?
    http://www.hotel-d.com/en/france/cen...is-hotels.html
    http://www.en.hotels-in-blois-france.venere.com/

    we wont have a vehicle over there, so its quite important to us that we are within resonable walking distance away from the train station and viewing for the stage race...

    if anyone has actually stayed in the town, and knows the proximity of these hotels to the train station etc. that would be fantastic!

  15. #15
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    The big advantage of the rail stations is that they usually are very close to the town centers. I do not know where the Tour will run in Blois, it will probably pass close to the chateau.
    From the links I would recommend the following:
    - The Savoie: mentioned on the 2 links, located in dowtown, within walking minutes to the station and the chateau.
    - The Renaissance: located in dowtown as well. Its links has a detailed map of the location of the hotel, the station, and the chateau.
    - The St. Jacques and the Auberge Ligérienne are also located downtown but seem a bit cheap. Honestly I would pass.
    The other hotels are on the outskirts of town so they might not be as convenient.

  16. #16
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    www.mappy.com is my friend for navigating in Europe. I live on the south side of Paris in a little suburb, and it has my dead-end street on it... Pretty comprehensive, and it can give you pedestrian routes too if you like.

    Have fun!

  17. #17
    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpelpel
    The big advantage of the rail stations is that they usually are very close to the town centers. I do not know where the Tour will run in Blois, it will probably pass close to the chateau.
    From the links I would recommend the following:
    - The Savoie: mentioned on the 2 links, located in dowtown, within walking minutes to the station and the chateau.
    - The Renaissance: located in dowtown as well. Its links has a detailed map of the location of the hotel, the station, and the chateau.
    - The St. Jacques and the Auberge Ligérienne are also located downtown but seem a bit cheap. Honestly I would pass.
    The other hotels are on the outskirts of town so they might not be as convenient.
    Thanks gpelpel, we booked at room at the Renaissance, it looks ok, its better than camping i think, and between the 3 of us, it'll be pretty cheap..

    now, where are these chocolate factories i keep hearing about?! are they open all year?

  18. #18
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Well you made me learn something. After some web research here is the chocolate factory info.
    As a matter of fact the #1 chocolate name in France, Poulain, was created in Blois. I knew the name but didn't know where they were located. Poulain started the manufacture of small chocolate bars and made a fortune out of them. I was an avid consumer as a kid as a Poulain bar was in my daily 4pm snack (french bread, butter, and the bar).
    It seems that Poulain is now part of Cadsbury (british company) and they still have a factory in Blois (2, rue de la Garbotière Villebarou, 41000 Blois
    Tel : 02 54 44 47 00) but probably in the outskirts of town as the old downtown factory has been replaced by an hotel.
    Good luck with that and enjoy your trip.

  19. #19
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    When booking TGV trains the earlier you book in advance the cheaper the price. Again there are differing price bands depending on the time of day you start your journey. This is an attempt to even out the volume of traffic.
    As for hotels I have rarely been disappointed with the small, cheap, family-run establishments to be found in all French towns of any size.

  20. #20
    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by free_pizza
    Thanks gpelpel, we booked at room at the Renaissance, it looks ok, its better than camping i think, and between the 3 of us, it'll be pretty cheap..
    well Sh1T..... got an email saying our reservation has been cancelled... ive been looking again, and now there is nothing available.. looks like its camping for us...

  21. #21
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear that. On one hand I was kind of surprised that you got a room so easily last week. Did you ask the hotel to locate a room in another local hotel? May be they can help?
    Here are some links that might help you.
    http://www.orbitz.com/App/PrepareHot...=interstitial&
    http://www.4hotels.co.uk/france/blois.html

  22. #22
    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Managed to book a triple room at the Savoie. Hopefully it wont get cancelled again.

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