Juuuust as I was starting to come to terms with the fact that I'll be in Europe in a few short weeks—sunning in the Tuileries, eating my weight in jam near Borough Market, sipping Pimms Cups at Camden Lock—I realized that I had committed to driving a car from Paris to the Loire Valley.
OH. HOLY. FUCK. OF. SHIT.
View Loire Valley in a larger map
I guess I have an overactive imagination (or years of seeing my parents drive stick through various foreign clusterfucks finally paid off), but the thought of renting a car didn't set my heart aflutter. Romantic boulevards and leafy back roads? More like me careening into a semi while trying to merge into a roundabout.
(Knock on wood, knock on wood, knock on wood.)
However, I made a handy map of places I simply must visit in the Loire: Chambord and Chenonceau, with our gorgeous chateau accommodations smack dab in the middle. [In red on the map above.] I know in theory I have to book a car in advance, and the best spot to do so is probably around the Place d'Italie.
We COULD take a TGV to Tours and rent a car there, but the cost just doesn't outweigh the repercussions of the stroke I am assured to suffer.
So, okay, we rent a tiny manual transmission car in Paris. We slowly, ever so carefully, make our way along the périphérique. (And by we, I mean me because I am the one who most recently drove a stick shift regularly. And I can read road signs. In theory.) And then we're on the road to Tours and things are okay. Right?
What do we do then? Other than sort of meander and pray?
Is there anything I should worry about more?
I'm going to put this on my mental backburner, until Le Guide Vert arrives...