Plus the other guinguettes in Touraine!
If there is a tradition that is still thriving in Touraine, then it’s the summer guinguettes (open-air cafés), starting with the one in Tours sur Loire. Despite the health crisis, it should be reopening for business in time for summer. It’s a wonderful feeling, at midnight or midday, to be seated at the restaurant terrace or bar.
In late spring, when the poppies make their appearance in the fields of Touraine, the guinguette in Tours sur Loire opens to customers on the banks of the royal river, and it feels like the holidays have really begun! Especially because, on the other side of the River Loire, Tours beach is another attractive holiday spot, with a bar, snacks and activities for all the family.
The guinguette at Tours – an atmosphere under the influence of the Loire
The soothing Loire atmosphere is always hard to describe, since everyone perceives it in a personal way. A special light, the sound of the Loire, a relaxing landscape… plus the shade of the trees, the discreet and colourful glow of the fairy lights when evening comes, the musical background at the guinguette and the sound of voices…
Below you can read how there is always something going on at the guinguette at Tours sur Loire. But whatever happens, a peaceful atmosphere holds sway, like in the capital of Touraine.
The guinguette at Tours sur Loire
There are four spaces to choose from: Chez Dupont, the Central Bar, the Bar à Mômes and Le Foudre. The simple and tasteful approach is always effective at the restaurant with varied cuisine and dishes made from local and seasonal ingredients, as well as house desserts to suitably round off the meal. For brunch on Sundays, head for Chez Dupont. From Wednesday to Sunday, the bar near the library provides a different atmosphere with Deep Tech, Jazz, World, Soul Funk and Hip Hop.
During the day, the programme aims to be eclectic with workshops, a language café, bodily awareness, cinema, trips in traditional gabare boats with the association Boutavant, activities for children… In the evening, we can’t wait to enjoy the musical line-up once again (DJ sets, rock, dub, swing, tango, salsa and other mixed music styles).
From june to september
- The guinguette at Tours sur Loire: at the foot of Pont Wilson in Tours (Indre-et-Loire), from 11 am to 12.30 am.
- Chez Dupont: Wednesday and Thursday, from 5 pm to 12.30 am. Friday and Saturday, from 12 noon to 12.30 am. Sunday, from 12 noon to 9 pm.
- Tours beach: from 12 noon to dusk.
The other guinguettes in Touraine
The guinguette at Tours sur Loire with its festive atmosphere ticks all the boxes for dinner and a great evening out, but you will definitely also be won over by other venues with the same aim in mind! If you want to stay near Tours and not stray from the banks of the Loire, then the guinguette de Rochecorbon (near the Lulu Parc theme park) is ready to welcome you… It’s also the most dance-oriented. Ideal for a pre-dinner drink with a dish of small fried fish to share!
A little further afield, the Chez Oscar & Suzette guinguette is ideally located near the royal River Loire in the beautiful town of Amboise. And although it is not strictly speaking a guinguette, Volupia (in Chargé) has a similar atmosphere.
The terrace at the Guinguette de Chinon definitely has the most impressive view: only the River Vienne separates it from the royal fortress of Chinon. But to complete this overview, we should also mention the wonderful Guinguette des Farmers at Lac d’Hommes, Port Avertin, on the banks of the River Cher, Les Javanaises in Beaulieu-Lès-Loches and the guinguette in Montbazon, with the River Indre providing a peaceful country setting.
Did you know?
The word “guinguette” comes from “guinguet”, a white wine once made in Ile-de-France. It doesn’t seem to have been very tasty (“If you drink one pint of Montmartre wine, then you’ll piss four pints!” as the saying went in the cafés), but it was a big factor in the festive atmosphere in the bars, restaurants, accordion-music dances and open-air cabarets. These cafés and bars became known as “guinguettes”. They were mostly located outside Paris, beyond the 57 “barrières d’octroi” (toll gates) set up in 1785 by King Louis XVI (the “octroi” was an old indirect tax paid in certain towns and calculated according to the value of the goods imported inside the town’s walls).
Guinguettes were also opened on the banks of the Seine and the Marne (Joinville-le-Pont, Nogent-sur-Marne, Champigny-sur-Marne, Suresnes, Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, Nogent-sur-Seine). They combined riverside café terraces and music for dancing with rowing boats, swimming and diving contests, water jousting and fishing, as well as carnival games, skittles and boules. In the 1960s and 1970s, swimming was banned in many rivers due to the poor quality of the water and a high number of drownings, leading to a decline in these sociable spots… But they have made a big come-back over the past few years in the French festive heritage, as is the case for the guinguette at Tours sur Loire! 😉