Tours combines centuries of history and culture with an upbeat university city vibe. The city is built around an atmospheric medieval quarter filled with half-timbered buildings. Visit world-class museums, relax in leafy parks and dine at chef-driven restaurants. Venture out the city to discover the magnificent chateaux of Touraine and the Loire Valley.
Things to do in Tours
You could easily spend hours getting lost in the medieval quarter, known as Le Vieux Tours by locals. The streets are lined with beautifully preserved half-timbered houses, many reimagined as boutiques and gift shops. All roads lead to Place Plumereau, a sun-drenched square lined with cafes, bistros and restaurants.
Musée du Compagnonnage charts the proud history of craftsmanship in France. Exhibits introduce you to the famous “compagnonnages” guild organisations responsible for building some of the country’s most iconic churches, cathedrals and monuments. In addition to architecture, the museum celebrates crafts like woodcarving, leather work, wrought-iron fabrication and ceramics.
Jardin Botanique occupies five hectares on the south bank of the Loire. The gardens were laid out in 1843 and will enchant you with more than 150 species of trees and a tropical greenhouse filled with lush ferns and flowers. Marvel at pink flamingos wading in the river and step into the aviary to admire exotic parrots and birds.
Cathédrale St-Gatien towers over the city and is topped with a pair of 70-metre-tall towers. Light streams into the church through beautiful stained-glass windows, some of the oldest dating back to the 13th century. Brochures offer more information on the magnificent church, including highlights like the soaring Gothic vaulted ceilings and enormous Baroque organ.
Getting around Tours
Tours is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, while local buses are a fast and affordable way to get from A to B. Trains run between Tours and Paris in around two hours. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is a 2.5-hour drive away.