Tours is an ancient city in the department of Indre et Loire, Centre, Loire Valley, Centre. Surrounded by vineyards, chateaux, charming villages and historic towns, it’s a terrific place to visit in its own right and known as the gateway to the Loire Valley.
IN Tours, you’ll discover a modern city centre with a lively air, an old part of town with a famous cathedral and winding cobbled streets lined with cafes and restaurants and half-timbered houses There are plenty of museums so there’s plenty to do when you’re not tasting wine in vineyards or chateau hopping.
5 Things to do in Tours
Tours Saint-Gatien cathedral is a majestic building, first built in 337, it burnt down in 561. It was restored on the same site in 590, rebuilt in the 12th century, again in the 13th century. It was finally completed in 1547 and that’s the version we see today. The Romanesque architecture is simply stunning with gorgeous stained-glass windows and a grand organ, it’s a must see in a city of must-sees.
Visit a Museum or cultural Centre
There are several museums in Tours – Musée de la Typo, nothing to do with spell checking, it’s a fascinating place, full of print memorabilia including a press that’s almost 400 years old. There’s also a fine arts museum and natural history museum.
Musée du Compagnonnage was formerly a dormitory for monks at the Benedectine Abbey of Saint Julien in the 13th Century. With more than 1000 artefacts on display include tools and documents from the trades of the area including stone, copper, leather and other textiles. The wood work and carvings are phenomenal, a great place to go with children.
For some outstanding contemporary art, head to Centre de Creation Contemporaine Olivier Debré. Opened in 2017 it’s a fascinating building, with some of the most ambitious modern art projects anywhere in France.
Wander the town
The old part of Tours is great to wander. Cobbled streets, medieval houses, ancient buildings, lots of shops, restaurants and cafés.
Visit Les Halles market, open for over 150 years, this is the belly of the town. Enjoy culinary delights such as local cheeses and wines and take the weight off your feet in one of the many delicious restaurants. (Open daily).
If you like flea markets, head to Tours on the fourth Sunday of the month, when a massive brocante is held on Boulevard Béranger (not in December).
Pop into the Botanical Gardens for a relaxing break. You’ll discover an orangery, exhibition greenhouse and pools plus a small animal park. With over 5 hectares of greenery and more than 2000 plants, trees and shrubs to take in, why not take a picnic from the market.
Tired of walking? Take a river cruise along the Loire from the old port in Tours in a traditional flat-bottomed boat, known as a ‘Toue’. You’ll get a fabulous view of the town and enjoy stunning scenery on a relaxing river tour.
Enjoy an Aperitif
Head to Place Plumereau and take your pick from a whole raft of excellent cafes whose tables spill into this medieval square. Exuberant, vibrant and colourful - it won’t come as any surprise to anyone who goes there to know that this square has been voted by the French as the best place in France for an aperitif.
Discover more about Tours: www.tours-tourisme.com
We have loads of lovely holiday homes in the Indre et Loire department – pop over to our home page to begin your search. We love helping to make your holiday dreams come true…