Preparing for a Weekend in the Parisian Countryside

As we made the decision to stay in Versailles instead of Paris, we plan to take the RER into the city for several of the days we are in France.  Our first weekend, though, will be spent exploring the wonders of the countryside.  As a hint of the sorts of places we want to see, here's Le Château de Chambord:

Really excites one sense of adventure, oui? We're excited and a little nervous, as we are going to be driving around in a foreign country in a language we do not know.  Here's how we're preparing for this feat.

First, we must rent a car.


We found a Hertz independent operator about 15 minutes walk from our hotel.  Apparently, there is not a great preponderance of automatic transmissions, as there are only two models available that meet this necessity for our driving skills; one of these vehicles is a VW Golf, a bit small for our robust American butts, so we went a little crazy.

We won't know for sure for a couple of days if we can get this car or not, so just in case, I've added a new phrase to my repertoire:

J'ai besoin de boîtes de vitesses de automatique.
 Ok, now we have a car and some vague idea of where we are going to go.  (The GPS better have un mode d'anglais.)  The rules of the road are important to know, so I've begun studying "A guide to driving in France."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to consult our Frommer's guide and decide where we'll go.

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