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Tours Hotels

Tours City Info

Tours Hotels

At the junction of the Loire and Cher Rivers, Tours is a busy university town and the traditional point of departure for exploring the Loire Valley. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the great pilgrimage sites of Europe. Today, the city boasts wonderful Renaissance and neo-classical mansions, which are clustered around the famous Plumereau square, fine museums including a collection of craftsmen's masterpieces and the Cathedral of St-Gatien. Famous wine region, especially Vouvray, Chinon, Bourgueil. The most interesting sites in the Surrounding area are the châteaux of Azay-IeRideau, which reflects on the river, Villandry, surrounded by Renaissance gardens, Ussé, said to be the original Sleeping Beauty's castle, Langeais and Loches, as well as the splendid medieval city of Chinon.

In this peaceful region of south-west France you will enjoy beautiful meandering rivers, charming medieval villages, rich vineyards, undulating green hills, limestone cliffs and a wealth of historic sites. Steeped in history the Dordogne region has an unforgettable charm. Centuries of erosion have carved the river valleys out of the limestone rocks resulting in majestic cliff top castles perched above the river and in the rock cave a wealth of archaeological finds.

Trip to France, of course, would not be complete without sampling its world-famous cuisine in Tours. Eating well is of prime importance to the French and they spend a considerable amount of time thinking about, talking about and consuming food. French gastronomic delights are far too many to mention, but a few not to miss dainties include foie gras, truffles, snails, Roquefort cheese and outstanding patisseries.

Tours produces some of the best wines in the world. Other lesser-known but highly popular French drinks include Calvados (apple brandy from Normandy) and Pastis - an aniseed flavored liqueur. And don't worry about piling on the pounds - with the sea or the mountains never more than a train journey away, you'll have no excuse not to ski, swim, or walk yourself back to fitness!

Tours Tourist Attractions

Cathédrale St-Gatien

The Cathédrale St-Gatien, standing on the square of the same name, illustrates the entire evolution of Gothic designs in France, starting with the thirteenth-century cheviot and ending in the glorious Flamboyant Gothic of the west front and towers, a mesmerizing overdose of sculpted pattern to which Renaissance belfries have been added as the cherry on the cake. When the sun is shining, the inside of the cathedral becomes a magical kaleidoscope, with the stained-glass windows projecting neat, multi-hued shards of color.

Musée des Beaux-Arts

Just south of the cathedral, housed in the former archbishop's palace, is the Musée des Beaux-Arts, overshadowed by a 200-year-old Lebanon cedar. The roster of special exhibits is also worth keeping an eye out for.

Historial de Touraine

The Tour de Guise, now embedded in the seventeenth-century Pavillon de Mars, houses a waxworks museum, the Historial de Touraine, which makes the various courtly murders, marriages and machinations seem like a bad Disney cartoon.

Aquarium Tropical

You can push mock-medieval French history out of your mind by replacing it with gently waving multicolored fish in the Aquarium Tropical in the same buildings.

Logis des Gouverneurs

In the fifteenth-century Logis des Gouverneurs alongside (mid-March to mid-Dec Wed & Sat 3-6.30pm ; free), across the remnants of the city's Gallo-Roman wall, there's an exhibition of historical artifacts called "Vivre à Tours" (Life in Tours) that gives quite a plausible sense of how the city has developed over the centuries.

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