It’s no mystery that Tours is a favourite base for people discovering the Loire Valley’s exalted châteaux.
Villandry, Chenonceau and Amboise are moments by car, and with the help of the Loire à Vélo network you can visit them on two wheels with ease.
But you may find that if you delve a little more into Tours’ history and attractions, it could be difficult to leave the city at all.
In the centre are timber houses and renaissance mansions on car-free streets, and museums that draw you into the city’s medieval past.
There are vineyards welcoming inquisitive oenophiles in the countryside and both the waters and banks of the Loire invite you to go wherever your sense of curiosity leads.
Lets explore the best things to do in Tours:
1. Tours Cathedral
Even by the glacial speed of construction in the middle ages, Tours Cathedral took a long time to be completed.
Building began in 1170 and wouldn’t be finished until 1547, but this means we’re met with a perfect summary of the evolution of gothic art.
The ensemble of original 13th-century stained glass windows in the ambulatory chapels and above the choir is one of the finest in France, and seems to generate its own light.
The cathedral has information panels giving you the meaning behind each image.
The marble renaissance tombs of King Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany’s children are also moving, as both died in infancy.