Tips for Traveling to and within France; Things to Do There?

Due to our military committments, my friend and I cannot specifically plan out a trip to France quite yet but are in the planning stages for a trip there in the summer of 2007. We are planning on staying a few days in Paris and then northern France. We would like to visit the following places: 1. Paris 2.... show more Due to our military committments, my friend and I cannot specifically plan out a trip to France quite yet but are in the planning stages for a trip there in the summer of 2007. We are planning on staying a few days in Paris and then northern France. We would like to visit the following places:

1. Paris
2. Normandy
3. Tours
4. Chenonceaux
5. Chambord
6. Orleans

If anyone can give good advice on what things are a definite "must-have" to see in these places (please avoid the obvious like the Eifel Tower or the Louvre, etc.), as well as some "local secrets" that'd be awesome. Also, if there are any hostels in these areas that anyone reccomends or can comment accurately on, it would be appreciated. As far as transportation is concerned, any tips for riding the trains within France?

Thanks.
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