Tours, the principle town of the
Loire Valley has a well preserved heritage which rests
easily against its vibrant modern and dynamic image of
You can sample the old Tours by visiting the
popular Place Plumerau with its carefully restored
half-timbered townhouses. The area is packed with café/bars
and restaurants of every kind and everything from aperitif
to late night coffee is catered for.
A stroll through the old quarter day or night offers many
distractions and delights. Rue Colbert which lies midway
between Place Plumereau and the cathedral is gaining a
reputation as one of the most fashionable streets in the
city for its young population. You could spend weeks here
and still not sample all the culinary delights the city has
For those who wish to seek out the culture
of the city there are many fine monuments and museums. The Cathedrale St-Gatien with its flamboyant Gothic façade is an
imposing piece of architecture both by day and by night.
Musee des Beaux-arts is a fine provincial museum in the
Palais des Archeveques and is worth a visit to view its
rooms, furnished to suit the dates of the paintings
on display, alone. There are works by Rembrandt, Degas and
Houdon to be savoured. The new Basilique de St-Martin, on rue Descartes, is a late nineteenth-century
neo-Byzantine building erected to honour the relics of St
Martin, rediscovered in 1860, they are now housed in the
crypt. The Hôtel Gouin on Rue de Commerce is worth a
look without the need to visit inside unless you are really
interested in Palaeontology
though it is free and is a good place to shelter from the
summer sun. A visit to the Tourist Office
opposite the spectacular railway station will give you all
the information you need to explore the city.
benefits from a number of parks and gardens which offer a
tranquil retreat. The vast Jardin des Prebendes, with its
is only a stones throw from the city’s historical centre and
offers an ideal place to shade from the hot summer sun.
There is a very grand set of gates to the park on Rue de
Roger Salengro. Within the garden there are bandstands
two wooden bridges stepping over the lake. You can also
visit the gardens of the Musee des Beaux Arts, south of the
cathedral. North of the city lies Sainte Radegonde garden on
a former island. Further downstream, the ile Simon park. To
the west, the Botanical gardens: rare plants, animals,
green-houses. To the south, the Balzac park on an island in
the Cher river.
Tours is truly a
Modern Tours offers many opportunities for
shopping or just browsing with pedestrian areas full of
small boutiques and large department stores to tempt you. In
the area near the railway station you will find shops
selling clothes, jewellery, leather goods plus much more.
There are also more than 30 markets held throughout the
city offering everything from flowers to antiques to fresh
fruit and veg.. One of the liveliest is the Marche Gourmand
held on the first and third Fridays of the month in place de
la Resistance(4-10pm).Typical of French towns and cities
there are a number of large out-of-town shopping complexes
on its perimeter.
As you stroll through the city, day or
night, you can only but admire the freshness and feel of the
place and understand its attraction, not only for tourists,
but for the French people themselves, many who see it second
only to Paris, perhaps overstating it a little-but
you are indeed in a very fine city.
You will leave with fond
memories and a desire to return.
lying between the Loire and its tributary the Cher the city
does not seem to feature them to any great extent although
driving in and out you cannot help but notice
their presence and effect on the landscape.
It is worth taking the time to walk to river heading north
where you can slip down to the embankment for a
pleasant, though short stroll, you'll find a restaurant
there where you can have a coffee or a glass of wine.
It is advisable to enter and leave
Tours from the
autoroute as it is not the easiest
city to navigate by car. It is however worth finding your way
to the underground car park in front of the railway station as
it is a good position for access to the centre of the city
(and tourist office). The entrance
not obvious but as you approach the traffic lights with the
fountain and railway station on your right there is a filter
lane (keep in the right lane) directly into the entrance.
Don’t worry if you miss it first time round – just go round
again – many people do!
The TGV ( which literally translates as the 'Big Fast
Train') runs to Paris and Bordeaux from Tours station, well
actually St-Pierre-des-Corps just outside the city, you take
the train from Tours station to change there. There are
approximately 16 return TGV services to Paris Gare
Montparnasse per day. The journey takes less than an hour.
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