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We caught a train to Blois, in the Loire Valley, and booked into the Hotel St. Jaques, near the station. It was basic, but much cheaper than in Paris, and adequate. We walked around the town the first day, and had dinner at a cafe near the bridge, overlooking the river.

Blois is a lovely town, with a nice chateau and cathedral. It was, as the Goldilocks would say, not too big, and not too small. The Lonely Planet description does not do it justice at all.