Getting to Le Cormier

From the airport near Paris (Charles De Gaulle) - by car

Follow the signs to exit the airport headed towards Paris. You will end up on the A1 (that's how they name freeways in France - 'A' for Autoroute then a number). Driving in France is much like driving anywhere except that a right turn on a red light is not allowed in France. Drive on the right side, try to be polite, though sometimes angry at the idiots around you (especially the motorcyclists in and around Paris) and observe the speed limits. The sign you will often see is round, has a white background, a red border and a number inside. This is the speed limit in kph. Getting a ticket in a foreign country is a real bummer. Mostly around Paris, the speed limit is 90 kilometers per hour (about 55 mph). Sometimes it is 110 kph. You'll notice that whenever possible, the French drive faster. However, they know where the fixed photo/radar installations are (and you don't). These machines measure your speed and take your picture if you're driving too fast. A speeding ticket soon follows in the mail.

Outside of Paris and on the freeways, the speed is 130 kph (around 80 mph) when dry and 110 kph (a bit less than 70 mph) when wet or raining. In the heart of cities and villages the speed is usually 50 kph ( about 30 mph) or less (look for the signs). They have many round-abouts (or traffic circles) in France. They (almost) always circle to the right (counter-clockwise). Going into the circle, you must give way (usually). Once in the circle, you have the right of way (again, usually). Always signal your intention to get off so those getting on can dart in front of you. If you don't signal and hesitate, someone might dart into you, instead.

OK - back to getting out of Paris. Very quickly after you have entered the traffic flow, look for the sign to the A3 heading towards Bordeaux. You will have to move to the right lanes to effect this merge onto the A3. After that, simply follow the signs to Bordeaux. You will merge with the A4 heading south, followed by the A86 turning a bit towards the west, then the A6 and, finally, the A10 headed south. While on the A86 you will go into tunnels under parts of the outskirts of Paris. Be careful while driving here. While driving is very much like in any busy city in the world, there seem to be too many motorcycles. As traffic slows, they begin riding between cars on the white lines. "White-lining" is permitted in France. So before changing lanes, watch out for motorcycles!

To navigate around all the freeways/thruways in Paris, having a navigator riding shotgun (the front passenger seat) will be very helpful. Sometimes, the signs to merge onto the next section of freeway give you a warning of only 1000 feet or so to move over to the far right. With crowded roads, you may need all the time you can get to effect the move.

Once out of Paris and on the A10 the driving will be easier. Whew! The A10 turns into a toll road (péage, in French). As of this entry, the cost to our exit in Blois is something more than 15 Euros. Take this freeway to Blois, exit 17. After paying, continue south to the first traffic circle. Go almost straight through (by taking the second right at about 2 o'clock), following the sign to Blois. Very quickly you'll encounter a second circle. Go three-quarters around, the equivalent of a left turn, following Tours, Vierzon and Chateauroux. This part of the road has been newly constructed. Follow the road as it merges with others from the right. After the merge, the road descends; and this is where the city planners thoughtfully added a speed trap. Please don't exceed 70 kph here! Follow this road over the bridge over the Loire river.

Take the very first right off this road after going over the Loire (Tours and 'Blois Sud'). The off ramp turns 180 degrees around and descends to another traffic circle. Go 3/4 around the circle, a left turn, and continue along the river. The main road bears to the left at a fork that arrives pretty quickly. Take the right fork which really just goes straight ahead, and stay against the river. You will pass through two signals. The second signal will be at the base of a bridge across the Loire. Keep going straight, following the river. You will leave the built up area behind and come upon another traffic circle at the base of another bridge across the Loire. Go straight through this circle; do not go over the bridge. A sign will read "Montrichard." This is the main road that connects Blois with Montrichard, along which is Sambin, our little village. This road continues to follow the Loire for a while then turns south leaving the river behind.

Follow this road to Sambin by following the signs to Montrichard. You will pass through several villages. Simply stay on this main road as you go through round-abouts and pass through these village centers. Finally, in Sambin, you will pass the Marie (Town Hall) on the left and then see a very small shopping center on the right comprising a restaurant/bar, bake shop and butcher. The very next turn to the right has a sign that points to "Chaumont s/ Loire." Take this right turn. After travelling out of town and into the countryside and going only about 1 and 1/2 kilometers (about a mile), you will see a small road to your left, indicated by a short white pole with horizontal red stripe and a small sign upon which "Le Cormier" is the third entry. Twice now this sign has been knocked down by kids on a joy ride or a slightly incapacitated neighbor. In any case, watch for the road to the left after just a short 1.5 kilometers. Take this left turn and follow this road to its very end. At the end you will see a cross road and our sign ("Le Cormier") opposite, right, after which the road you're on really seems to dead-end. And it does; but just before that, on the other side of the cross road, there is a right turn into our driveway. You've arrived!

From Charles De Gaulle - by the bullet train

The bullet train, or TGV - Traine Grande Vitesse, leaves from Terminal 2 to Tours (actually St. Pierre des Corps) on a regular schedule - once or twice a day. You can co-ordinate your arrival by accessing the train schedule on the Internet or by visiting your travel agent. You may have to overnight at Charles De Gaulle to make this connection. From St. Pierre des Corps you can continue by train to Montrichard or to Onzain where we can pick you up. There are no car rental agencies at either of these two stations. Please advise us of your schedule. Alternatively, you can rent a car at St. Pierre des Corps and drive to Montrichard and, from there, north to Sambin (following the signs to Blois). In Sambin, take a left where the sign points to "Chaumont s/ Loire" and follow the directions above to Le Cormier.

From Paris - by train

Trains going south into the Loire Valley leave from the Austerlitz station (Gare Austerlitz). Gare Austerlitz can be reached by taxi or subway. Your hotel can help you with schedules and the purchase of tickets or you can buy a ticket for Blois at the station. Please let us know which train you will be taking so we can pick you up. Or, alternatively, you can plan to rent a car at the Blois station and drive to Le Cormier. If you rent, you will probably get a better deal by renting in the States or the UK through one of the majors. Avis, Budget and Hertz are all in Blois. To drive to Le Cormier, follow the signs out of the station to "Tours." At the bottom of a long downhill, coming out of the city and facing the Loire river are a traffic signal, a bridge over the Loire, and a sign pointing to Tours by taking the right turn. At this point, stop following the signs to Tours - DON'T MAKE THIS RIGHT TURN. Go straight, over the bridge and onto the traffic circle at the other end. Go one quarter of the way around and get off, heading toward Montrichard. Follow the directions above from this circle onwards.

From the airport at Tours - by car

Exit the airport, heading west on the Airport Road (about 1/2 kilometer). Go around the airport round-about, making a left turn onto the Boulevard Abel Gance. After about 3 Km and just as you see the River Loire, turn left on the N152 (I haven't seen this intersection - it may be an intersection or a round-about).
Follow this road for about 38 - 39 kilometers until you come to a round-about between Onzain and Chaumont-sur-Loire. You will have passed through Vouvray and Amboise (stop in Vouvray for the white wine, if you like!). At the round-about, turn right onto the D1 and cross the Loire. At the end of the bridge, turn right on the D751. Turn left at the next stoplight. You are heading a bit south and east out of Chaumont-sur-Loire and towards Pontilevoy and Montrichard.
After several kilometers (about five, I should say) you will come over a rise and head into a small valley that again rises in the short distance into a forest. You will notice a left turn at the bottom of the valley. When you get close enough to this left turn, you will see two signs on the left - "C10 Valaire" and "Route Touristique du Vignoble." Take this left turn. Now follow the map below through the rural countryside to Le Cormier. The indicated distances are cumulative from the turn from the D114, they are not the distances from each signpost to the next!

If you have GPS, you may find us at: Latitude 47° 26.0'N or 47.432655N and Longitude 1° 14.8'E or 1.246286E

map from Chaumont