Tours visitor guide | Quality Villas

tours visitor guide

Tours is one of the Loire Valley’s most enchanting cities,
located on the banks of both the rivers Loire and Cher. Situated less than an
hour from Paris by train, this thriving city has become popular for its
historic buildings, chateaux, gardens and food and drink. Here is a brief guide
to the city of Tours and what you can expect to see on your visit to one of the
many great attractions found near our Loire villas.

The old town

Clustered around Place Plumereau is the old town, where you
can take a step back into the medieval section of the city and stroll through
the narrow streets lined with old houses lovingly restored to their former
glory. In the summer, it’s a great spot to relax at a pavement café and simply
people watch, though the area also has an interesting history. To the south of
the old town you’ll find two basilicas, the Romanesque Cloitre de St-Martin and
the newer Basilique de Saint-Martin, home to the remains of St Martin, a former
bishop of Tours in the 4th century.

The cathedral quarter

Located on the other side of the Rue Nationale is the city’s
other old town, the cathedral quarter, with the towering Cathedrale St-Gatien
found at its centre – a flamboyant gothic building decorated with 12th
century stonework. Inside the cathedral you’ll be able to marvel at the
beautifully crafted stained glass, as well as see the 16th century
tomb of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne’s two children. A little further south
you’ll find the former archbishop’s palace, home to the Musee des Beaux-Arts,
displaying beautiful collections in a series of 17th and 18th
century furnished rooms.

Prieure de St-Cosne

Found 3 kilometres east of the city centre, you’ll discover
the romantic ruins of the Prieure de St-Cosne, a priory which dates back to
1092. The priory was historically a resting place for pilgrims who were
travelling to Compostella in Spain, and was later a visiting place for royalty,
as well as the home of one of France’s most famous poets, Pierre Ronsard. On
site you’ll find a museum dedicated to Ronsard and his work, as well as a truly
beautiful rose garden home to hundreds of varieties of flowers.


Tours is a great place for shopping, with the best places to
purchase food, flowers, antiques and crafts being the markets. There are
markets in the city every day of the week except for Monday, with some running
every day and some only one day a month. Every Wednesday at the Boulevard
Beranger, there’s the flower and food market, while the gourmet market, held on
the first Friday of the month at the Place de la Resistance, offers something a
little more luxurious. If you’re looking for a treasure to take home, there’s
antiques markets on the Rue de Bordeaux on the first and third Fridays of the
month. The city also hosts special annual markets such as the Foire de Tours
(second week of May), the Garlic and Basil Fair (July 26th) and the
Christmas market (three weeks before Christmas).

Image: Daniel Jolivet, available
under Creative Commons

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