Tours, this ancient cathedral city, its central location, makes a popular holiday base for visitors to the Loire Valley
As you explore the city you will find various interesting and enjoyable things to do. At the picturesque Place Plumereau in the heart of this medieval city you will see the old houses have been carefully restored, here and in the surrounding streets there are numerous cafés, bars and bistros, it has a lively atmosphere, you can relax and enjoy a meal or snack maybe at one of the tables outside.
As you browse around the shops, boutiques and galleries stroll through the maze of interesting streets and alleys note the half-timbered facades down the rue Briconnet.
You may want to visit the Cathédrale St. Gatien started in the 13th century finished in the 16th century, the towers are visible all over the city and the medieval stained glass is very impressive.
There are various museums which may be of interest, the Musée des Beaux-Arts where you will see some particularly attractive 17th & 18th century rooms decorated and furnished to match the period of the paintings. There are some old masters for you to see as well. The gardens and rooms are well worth the visit, the museum is housed in the former Archbishops Palace.
The Musée Du Compagnonnage housed in the 11th century reception room and the 16th century monk’s dormitory formerly St. Juliens Abbey, there are a variety of crafts on display, some of which still exist today others have disappeared. Craftsman had to create the masterpieces in order to join their guild (compagonnage) as master craftsmen; you will see works from carpenters, locksmiths, confectionery etc. this museum may be of interest to some of you.
Tours has many places to wander around, the landscape gardens where you can enjoy a stroll or a browse around the antique shops and flea markets. If you prefer there are guided tours of the city which take in the main visitor attractions
and are informative as well as enjoyable. You can also book excursions to the popular chateaux and visitor attractions; some are half-day and some full days. You can get all the details from the tourist office here.
A trip to see the Villandry Gardens approximately thirteen kilometres west of Tours either independently or by excursion is well worthwhile, one of the most beautiful gardens in France. You will see the large formal water garden an ornamental garden and the kitchen garden which extends across 12,500 sq. metres where vegetables and fruit trees are symmetrically planted, you will not be disappointed.
You may want to explore a little further on where you will come to the small town of Langeais the chateau has a good collection of 15th century furnishings, delightful tapestries and rare paintings. The Loire Valley has plenty of sights to see and activities to enjoy and makes a good holiday location either for a short or long stay break.