Tours – A tale of two cities
In a perfect location, Tours is the great capital of the Loire Valley, a Unesco world heritage site, but it is far more than just a gateway to the Loire Chateaux. Indeed, Tours delights in being charming and doesn’t think twice about playing a double game in order to do so.
Visit Tours and its architecture full of history
First of all, there is its historical heritage. The birthplace of Balzac (more than fifty books to read) is proud of its old quarters, which take visitors on a wonderful journey back in time in France. Explore the narrow cobbled streets, half-timbered french houses and the stone façade of the monumental Saint-Gatien Cathedral, which give the city a charming medieval air.
The architecture of the Fine Arts Museum, the Hotel Gouïn (Renaissance architecture), Tours castle, the ‘la Psalette’ cloister and the Saint Martin Basilica (near the “tour Charlemagne” and the “tour de l’horloge”) is of great interest! You will enjoy those monuments through a illuminated walking experience, and of course with a guided tour proposed by the tourist office.
Tours, a beautiful city in France
In addition to the built heritage, large green spaces perfectly enhance the french city. Designed in the 19th century and classified as a remarkable garden, the Prebendes d’Oe garden is a perfect example, as is the botanic garden and the Gloriette park. Attached to the latter, the practice of La Gloriette Golf may allow you to make your first swing!
You have a few days ahead of you? Renting a bike, you will cycle from Tours to :
- the St Cosme priory (4km / 14 min),
- the Montbazon fortress (15km / 56 min),
- Vouvray wineries (Château Gaudrelle, Vigneau-Chevreau…).
- the gardens of Villandry (19km / 1h03),
- the Valmer gardens (19km / 1h06).
It is also very pleasant to go shopping, to have a look at the exhibitions at the new Olivier Debré Contemporary Creation Centre and at the Arts district, to relax at the summer ‘guinguette’, situated along the banks of the Loire River from which you can see the traditional boats (belonging to the Boutavant association). You may also like to go on board for a fifty minute cruise on the river!
For night owls, a stopover in Tours also gives them an opportunity to treat themselves to a show, an evening in one of the many bars and cafés in the Old Town or a front seat at the free sound and light show projected onto the Fine Art Museum façade every evening in the summer.
Some more pictures of Tours:
Visit Tours in video
Tours is the ideal place to spend a night as it is situated close to the main Loire Valley chateaux, along the Loire by bike trail, along the GR3 pedestrian route and on the way to Santiago de Compostela!
Practical: Tours Val de Loire Tourist Office
Book tickets, guided tour, day trip, activities for groups: www.tours-tourisme.fr/en +033 (0)2 47 70 37 37