The beautiful days are back, it is the opportunity to escape, the time of a weekend (or more), in Tours, located just over 1 hour from Paris by TGV. Half-timbered houses, museums, taverns, small restaurants and châteaux… La belle de Loire welcomes you for lovely walks, in town and in the surrounding area.
Arrival in Tours
From the station, the Bordeaux street, one of the longest pedestrian streets in the city, leads to the Jean-Jaurès square, where two majestic monuments stand: the neoclassical Palace of Justice and the Town Hall, disproportionately large compared to the square.
The first is entirely built in white stone, while the second evokes Parisian buildings. There is even a resemblance to the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. From there starts National Street, which you will take to explore the city.
Stroll between culture and architecture
Le Museum of Fine Arts worth the detour. A former archiepiscopal palace, it now houses collections of French and foreign paintings from the Middle Ages to the XNUMXth century, including paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Delacroix and even Degas.
A bicentennial cedar of Lebanon dominates the museum garden. Planted in 1804, it is next to Fritz, the stuffed elephant that can be admired through a window. While touring with the Barnum Circus, Fritz was shot because he was getting aggressive. It was offered to the municipality of Tours and naturalized in Nantes.
Then continue your walk by the Saint-Gatien cathedral, whose construction was carried out between the end of the XNUMXth century and the middle of the XNUMXth century. As a result, the base is from the Romanesque period, the ornamentation is Gothic and the two towers date from the beginning of the XNUMXth century.
Push the door of the Companion Museum, whose entrance is on the busiest street in Tours, rue Nationale. To see also, the St. Martin's Basilica in the district of Les Halles. It was designed by the Touraine architect Victor Laloux, who also designed the Hôtel de Ville and the Tours train station, as well as the Orsay train station (current Musée d'Orsay) in Paris.
Stroll in the old Tours
It is good to stroll in the city center of Tours, nose in the air, hands in pockets. The cobbled pedestrian streets of old Tours are discovered through the bars and cafes that follow one another until the plumereau square (Photo). It is the ideal place to take a coffee break as soon as the first rays of sun appear, in order to admire the half-timbered houses that stand in the square.
From the Plumereau district, take the shopping street, which will lead you to the Colbert district. Look up and continue to the Place Fair the King. For the record, a sale of fabrics was set up there twice a year in the XNUMXth century, for fifteen days.
Take to the air!
Located west of downtown, on Boulevard Tonnelé, the Botanical Garden is the oldest public garden in the city. Remarkable trees, farm animals, flamingos, birds and tropical plants come together on nearly 5 hectares.
For a more unusual walk, go to theSimon Island. Accessible from the Napoleon Bridge, this forest offers a calm and a change of scenery conducive to napping and relaxation.
In the evening, from April to September, the tavern squats banks of the Loire, near the Wilson Bridge, and offers a whole range of activities: dancing, concerts, board games, outdoor cinema, in short, something to have a good time.
To prepare for your stay, consult our Châteaux de la Loire file.
Tours tourist office
Tourism in the Loire Valley
How to get there ?
Train: TGV from Paris Montparnasse station, arriving in Tours or Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (then take a shuttle to Tours). From € 22 one way by TGV Prem's.
By car: from the capital, take the A6 then the A10.
Where to sleep ?
Find your hotel in Tours.
Where to eat ? Where to have a drink?
- Briocherie P. Lelong: 13, pl. du Général-Leclerc, just in front of the station. Let the scent guide you and don't let the long queue put you down, these are the best brioches in Tours. Plain, with chocolate chips or filled with jam, they have been sold for decades.
- L'Affiné: 66, rue Colbert. Cheese bar which we gladly make a whole dish. Gourmet dishes, gratins, raclette or desserts, all the cheeses of the region on the menu ... to be accompanied by a local wine, of course!
- Donald's Pub: 16 bis, rue Longue-Échelle. Very good atmosphere for this pub which offers many concerts.
- Le Corsaire: 187, av de Grammont. A menu well supplied with cocktails, served in huge vases, all by uniformed "admirals". A boat well known to Touraineers.
Where to go shopping?
The large chain stores are concentrated on the rue Nationale and the rue de Bordeaux. Small, more traditional shops can be found from the Place du Grand Marché to the rue de la Scellerie or in the Halles district.
To taste local products, rillettes, rillons, Sainte-Maure de Touraine, wines (Vouvray, Chinon, Montlouis etc.), go to Les Halles. It is a real institution! Thirty-eight professionals are waiting for you to help you discover certified and local products.