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Things to do in Tours

The city located in the center-west of France it is the largest city in the Center Val de region of France. Standing majestically on the lower reaches of the River Loire, between the Atlantic Coast and Orleans, the city offers significant historical sites and architecture dating back to the 1st century. Places like Tours Cathedral, Jardin Botaniquede Tours, and Hotel Gouin make it a must visit city in France. Visitors can find plenty of things to do in Tours and truly have a great time holidaying here.

France Tours

Tours is a historic city which is located in central France. The city area has a population of around 135,000 people. The city is situated on the bank of the Loire River. The people of this region are known to speak the purest form of the French language. The city has had an important part to play in most of the events that shaped the history of the country. One of the best things to do in Tours is to see the annual Paris-Tours cycling race which ends in the city. The city is commonly termed as the Garden of France because there are many parks in Tours. It has a historic style of architecture with white buildings that have blue slated roofs. The city is home to the infamous Tours Cathedral. Visiting the Cathedral ranks amongst the most important things to do in Tours. The city is very famous for its medieval section which is known as the Le Vieux Tours. The city is also home to a lot of modern markets and restaurants. Tours is also famous for a lot of bridge crossings. These crossings are all built over the River Loire. The city is a great point to start for tourists who are interested in visiting the famous places in the Loire Valley.


Sightseeing Tours


Tours was a very important city in ancient times. Its central position in France meant that it was a place which was visited by a lot of travelers. Its importance started to diminish in modern times, but it has once again gained popularity as a center for commuting facilities. The city is connected by TGV to other major cities. Tours also has two train stations. The first is the main station of Gare de Tours. The second is Gare de Saint-Pierre-des-Corps used by trains that do not end their route in the city. There are many famous places to visit in Tours such as Château de Tours, Marmoutier Abbey, Chateau Valmer Tours and Museum D'Historie Naturelle De Tours just to name a few. One of the most important things to do in France is to visit catholic places of importance which are in abundance in Tours. The city also has a busy airport with a lot of flights to regional cities. The city holds importance for Catholics, especially who are devoted to the Holy Face of Jesus. The Golden Arrow Prayer was also first displayed in Tours by Sister Marie of St. Peter. The city is also famous for the Battle of Tours in 732 which is believed to have stopped the tide of Muslim conquest in mainland Europe.

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Château de Tours

Château de Tours

One of the best things to do in France is to visit the beautiful Chateaus which are spread all over the country. The Château de Tours is a famous castle in the city of Tours. The Château de Tours was built in the eleventh century. It was the residence of the Lord of France. It represents an architectural design of the Carolingian period.

There are many things to do in Château de Tours such as visiting the many exhibitions of art that are always taking place. There is a lot of contemporary art present at the Chateau such as the works of Buren, Miro and Nadar. The Château de Tours also serves as a city museum and has a collection of historical documents and models that represent the city culture and history.

The Château de Tours also received classification as a historical monument in 1913 from the French government. The castle currently receives around 50,000 visitors a year and is home to a lot of modern art such as photography and pottery. The location has a diverse set of displays that cover many modern arts, but also support historical arts such as sculpture and archaeological finds and research.

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Marmoutier Abbey

Marmoutier Abbey

One of the most important things to do in France is to visit places of religious importance. Marmoutier Abbey had been a monastery just outside the city of Tours which was found in the fourth century. It is one of the earliest places of worship in the entire region. It later became a very important abbey and had a lot of influence on the city’s culture and politics.

One of the best things to do in Marmoutier Abbey is to see the old ruins of ancient buildings that were once part of the great monastery. The only material work that was done was of transcription to better understand prayer instructions. One of the other things to do in France is to enjoy the various places that depict different religious elements including Marmoutier Abbey. But Marmoutier Abbey has a bloody history. It was ravaged by the Normans in the ninth century.

The monastery again received importance during the days of the crusades but then faded into oblivion. It was officially terminated during the French Revolution, after which the condition of most buildings located at Marmoutier Abbey quickly deteriorated. The abbey contains a private school these days but there are many ruins that remain here which can be viewed to get an idea of the abbey in its glory days.

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Château de Valmer Tours

There are many things to do in France, but if you are looking to visit a place with gardens and vineyards, then Château de Valmer Tours is a place that you must visit. The Château de Valmer Tours has a land area of around 28 hectares and it is situated between the Raye and the Brenne Valleys.

The Château lies close to the Loire River and therefore, is an excellent spot for growing plants. One of the things to do in Château de Valmer Tours is to have a walk in its vast grounds to view the natural beauty. The Château de Valmer is placed on a hill and has many parts with varying slopes. The gardens are beautifully arranged and planted on these lovely lands. The Château de Valmer is owned by the Saint Venant family and contains many gardens from the times of the Renaissance. As France is home to many chateaus, one of the best things to do in France is to visit these castles as you find them on route.

At present, the Saint Venant family has turned this chateau in an area that describes history with modern garden designing and landscaping. The outline of this chateau is now marked with tall hedges and it is an excellent place to visit if you like walking in the park.

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Museum D'Historie Naturelle De Tours

The visit to countless museums ranks amongst the most fun things to do in France. Museum D'Historie Naturelle De Tours is a branch of the French National Museum of Natural History. These museums are commonly abbreviated as MNHN in French. The main museum is in Paris with an overall fourteen locations spread across the country.

One of the best things to do in France is to visit the Museum D'Historie Naturelle De Tours which is the Tours branch of the national museum. It used to have a historical significance in the past and housed many important artifacts especially related to science and history, but all of them were completely destroyed during the World War. The museum was established at its current location in 1990 although it was historically opened on the banks of the Loire River in 1828.

One of the most significant things to do in Museum D'Historie Naturelle De Tours now is to visit the School of Fine Arts and admire the beautiful sculptures present in the building. The museum now contains exhibits on all the modern arts and sciences. It is known that it had eight rooms that were full of artifacts before it was bombed during the war in 1940.

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Pont Wilson on the Loire, Tours

Pont Wilson on the Loire, Tours

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Basilica of St. Martin

The Basilica of St. Martin was built in honor of the bishop of Tours in the 4th century, St. Martin. The basilica is built at the same location where previous churches were built. The foundation of the first church on this site was laid in the 10th century. In the 12th century the church was burnt down. A larger basilica was built during the 13th century which later on became the center of pilgrimages.

You can still see two towers and a renaissance cloister that have stood the tests of time. One of the most interesting things to do in Basilica of St. Martin, Tours is to see these towers that are a reflection of the glorious past. The Basilica was completely destroyed in the 15th century. The Basilica that you see today was built after the French Revolution. It reflects the Neo-Byzantine architecture and is much smaller compared to its majestic medieval predecessor.

The remains of the Romanesque Basilica: the western clock tower and Tour de Charlemagne stand next to the church with all their glory. Among other interesting things to do in Basilica of St. Martin, Tours is to see the relics and shrine to St. Martin located in the crypt of the Basilica. The feast of St. Martin is celebrated each year on November 11.

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Hôtel Goüin

Built in the late fifteenth century, Hôtel Goüin was owned by silk merchants. Although, it was heavily destroyed during the Second World War, the delicately sculpted façade inspired from the Renaissance and tower staircases facing the north survived. The hotel is home to the Archeological museum of Tours featuring a collection that ranges from prehistoric period to the nineteenth century art pieces.

Paying a visit to the museum is one of the most popular things to do in Hôtel Goüin. The Archeological Society of Touraine owns the collections displayed in the museum and the General Council holds the responsibility for their maintenance and preservation. The building underwent restoration and today, the hotel houses a museum that displays the archeological collections of the historic city of Tours.

There are quite a few things to do in Hôtel Goüin for people who have an artistic streak in them. The hotel is one of the few remains of the Renaissance architecture in Tours. The museum tells the story of the medieval times and also displays a diverse collection of artifacts from the castle of Chenonceau. Don’t forget to visit this place when you are visiting Tours. You will love it!

The botanical garden located in Tours is one of the town’s most ancient municipal public gardens. Built in the 18th century on Saint Anne River, the garden contains a diverse collection of exotic plants that are beautifully arranged in green houses.

If you are a nature enthusiast, you’ll absolutely love this place. There are a lot of amazing things to do in Jardin Botanique de Tours for nature lovers. One of the most popular things to do is visiting the southern part of the garden. In the midst of trees, you’ll be delighted to see flamingos, turtles and wallabies. Located in close proximity of the southern entrance is the garden of medicinal plants.

If you are visiting the garden with your family, you’ll be happy to know that there are two playgrounds for children in the garden to keep your kids entertained. The northern part of the garden has greenhouses that were created in the 18th century. During the 20th century, they were converted into ‘biodivers’ and contain endangered species of plants from South Africa, and tropical regions. The rich flora and relaxed atmosphere make this garden a must-visit.

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Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours

Located in the former Bishop’s Palace in close proximity of Cathedral St. Gatien, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Tours stands in all its majesty. The museum features a selection of Italian primitives, historic paintings, statues and work of art created during the seventeenth century.

There are quite a few things to do in Musssee des Beaux Arts de Tours. In the museum’s courtyard, you will see the glorious cedar of London. You can see the world of great artists in the reception rooms including Nattier, Boucher, Perronneau; from the 18th century, Ziem, Monet, Delacroix, Rodin, Degas from the 19th century and Ernst, Debre, Calder and Peinado. If you are a taste for art, you’ll find this place amazing.

Other than paintings, you will see some great sculptures sculpted by artists such as Olivier Debre, Jean-Antonie Hudson, Alberto Giacometti and Auguste Rodin. In fact, taking photographs of these beautiful sculptures and other masterpieces is one of the most popular things to do in Musee des Beaux-Arts de Tours. Don’t forget to visit this amazing museum when you are visiting Tours. You will be amazed by the splendor and majesty of this glorious museum.

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Tours Cathedral

Tours Cathedral

Also called Cathdrale Saint- Gatien de Tours, the Tours Cathdral is dedicated to the first bishop of the city Saint Gatien and is one of the most famous places to visit in Loire Valley. The majestic cathedral was built between 1270 and 1547 and therefore reflects the architectural styles of different centuries. The lowermost foundations of the west towers were built during the 12th century, whereas the rest of the west end reflects the Flamboyant Gothic architecture of the 15th century.

If you are a tourist, there are a number of interesting things to do in Tours Cathedral. One of the most popular things to do in Tours Cathedral is to visit the tombs of the children of Anne de Bretagne and Charles VIII.

Beautiful stained glass windows, exquisite façade, and the altar; you will be amazed at the detailed art work. As you walk through the cathedral, you’ll see the beautiful organ built during the 16th century. Nevertheless, major restoration work has been carried out to keep it in original shape. The cathedral looks as majestic and gothic from the outside as from the inside. So make it a point to visit Tours Cathedral when visiting Loire Valley. The place is worth visiting!