1 / GENERAL
Located along the banks of the Loire and Cher rivers, Tour is a charming medieval city everyone loves.Thanks to this travel guide, discover this lovely city of arts and history.
Population:134 978 inhabitants
Area: 34,67 km2.
Density: 3 893 inhab./km2.
Demonym: Tourangeaux, Tourangelles
Région: Centre-Val de Loire
Postcode: 37000, 37100, 37200
Maps : Google maps
2 / TRANSPORT
Located 240 km from Paris, you can easily go to Tour thanks to the A10 motorway. As for the cost of your trip, make sure you have around 50€ for gas and toll roads.
Once in town, time to look for a parking space. Ready?
- Car parks
First, please note that the city counts 4 free car parks (more than 660 spaces). However, if you can’t find any free parking space, there are 9 other car parks (more than 4000 spaces) scattered around the city.
Should you want to have a look at the complete price list, please visit Vinci website.
If you’d rather park your car on the street, remember to always check the zone you’re in. Indeed, each zone has a different price list and the limited length of time changes as well:
- Red zone: maximum stay 2 hours, 1.70€/hour*
- Orange zone: max. stay 2h, 1.50€/h
- Blue zone: max. stay 4h, 1.20€/h*
If you travel by train, Tours is only 1h20 away from Gare Montparnasse. Once there, you can choose between a direct journey or a train calling at Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. But whatever your choice is, it won’t have an impact on the duration of your journey.
To book tickets or check the departure times, please visit the SNCF website.
You’re flying to Tours? Your plane will land at Tours Val de Loire Airport.
From there, you can fly to other destinations such as London, Porto, Dublin, Figari, Marrakech or Marseille.
You can reach the airport thanks to several shuttles (leaving from Tours train station). A one-way ticket costs 7€*.
Getting around town
- Bus & Tram
The combination of the tram and Tempo lines coupled with the bus lines is time saving. As for the fares, a single ticket costs 1.50€ and you can use it for an hour on the entire network. However, if you plan to take the bus more than once, a Day Ticket costs 3.70€*.
- Horse-drawn Carriage
Should you want to discover Tours in an original and funny way, why not doing so in a horse-drawn carriage? During Christmas time and summer, you can jump onboard and marvel at the most beautiful sites in Tours.
This journey out of time is totally affordable (1.50€/ person) and enjoyable.
3 / WHEN TO GO?
Leave the cold behind and warm yourself up thanks to the traditional Renaissance Ball . In February, the Musica Ficta association invites you all to travel back in time and spend a colourful moment with them.
Tickets go from 10€ to 15€ and everybody can attend this event.!
Don’t be afraid of choosing the Mauvais Genre ! This international festival invites you to discover genre films such as science-fiction or animated films. Mauvais Genre also gives you the opportunity to attend lectures, ciné-concerts and meet people working in the film industry.
- La Nuit du Cinéma
The Studios invite all the film-lovers to a binge-watching session. Be careful though, it’s not for the Faint-hearted! Your mission: watching 15 movies in a bit more than 12h (sessions at 6pm, 8pm, 11pm, 1:30am, 3:45am). During those sessions, you can watch movies coming from all over the world. Do not forget to bring your pop-corn!
- Festival Aucard de Tours
You like summer? Music? Friendliness? Then you will love this lively festival. All kinds of music meet so that everybody can spend a wonderful time. Around 15.000 festival-goers tread upon the Plaine de la Gloriette every year. Will you be next?
- Le Potager électronique
Little green men arrive in Tours! Whether you come with your family or friends, this ‘electronic vegetable garden’ is a true oddity. Have you ever been to a festival that took place among eggplants and carrots? If it’s the first time, make a wish and relax on the grass.
- Summer in Tours
De mai à septembre, les rivages sont en fête à l’occasion de la guinguette Tours sur Loire.
All you need to do is picking a table and enjoy a delicious regional meal. Every Tuesday at 7:30pm, a wine-grower comes to this open-air café to present you the best local products available. As for the music, several artists step on the stage and play multiple music genres.
Thousands of people participate in this lively event, so don’t forget to book your table !
- The Annual Clearance Sale
Looking for a good bargain? Come to the annual clearance sale and try to find the real gem!
- A Tours de Bulles
This festival celebrates comic strips for 5 entire days. You can attend lectures, exhibitions and showings for free. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover this little-known art.
Draw your pencils!
4 / INFORMATION AND USEFUL ADDRESSES
Tourism Office: http://www.tours-tourism.co.uk/
Emergency number: 112 (Euro zone, 112 redirects you to 15, 17, 18, 115, and 119)
Fire: dial 18
Ambulance (medical emergency): dial 15
Police dial 17
Missing Children: dial 116
Touristic sites :
The Archiepiscopal Palace: http://www.touraineloirevalley.co.uk/lodging-dining-goint-out/loire-chateaux-and-other-visits/museum-of-fine-arts-and-its-garden-tours
Saint-Gatien Cathedral: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tours_Cathedral
La Place Plumereau :
Le Jardin Saint-Pierre-le-Puellier: http://vdujardin.com/blog/article-tours-5-la-collegiale-saint-pierre-le-puellier-41681241/
La Tour Charlemagne : http://www.touraineloirevalley.com/je-decouvre/a-l-affiche/tours-et-sa-tour-charlemagne
5 / BUDGET IN TOURS
The following prices are indicative. They refer to a one night stay in a standard double bedroom and may be subject to confirmation at the time of booking.
- From 40€ to 70€ Thanks to this budget, you can stay at 2 or 3-star hotels. Unfortunately, most of them are a bit far from the center.
- From 70€ to 100€ You can stay at up to 4-star hotels. Whether you like B&Bs or hotels, you will find what your heart desires. However, please note that some of those establishments are a bit far from the city center.
- If your budget goes over 100€ get ready to spend a wonderful time in luxurious establishments. Those hotels and B&Bs offer top-quality services.
Take a look at our website to find a place to stay in Tours.
The following prices are indicative. They refer to the price of one course or a menu for one.
- From 5 to 10 € : You have very little time to eat? No problem! Enter Hell’s Kitchen nd have a tasty and healthy bite. You have to try their delicious home-made sandwiches, bagels and wraps. Whether you like the “French” or the “Mojo”, you can devour your favourite recipe and finish your meal with an exquisite brownie or cheesecake.
(Hell’s Kitchen, 7 rue Colbert)
- From 15€ to 30€ : Need a break? Have a salty or sweet treat at Moka the tea house everyone’s talking about.
If you’re looking for an authentic place, go to Les Agapes. This typically French bistrot is also a wine bar. The copious meals will make you come back for sure!
You can also choose the Dagobert for its original and creative meals. Bon appétit!
(Moka,74 quai Carnot [Saint-Avertin]
Les Agapes, 39 rue Bretonneau
Dagobert, 31 rue du Grand Marché)
- From 20€ to 60€ : If you want to try traditional and gastronomic cuisine, this is the place to do so. Push the door of the Barju and enjoy their wonderful recipes. Foie gras, scallops and blue lobster are just a tiny hint of the delicate products you can taste.
(Barju, 15 rue du Change)
- For an unforgettable moment, the Charles Barrier will enchant your day. This elegant and sophisticated restaurant only serves a whirlwind of flavours.
(Charles Barrier, 101 avenue de la Tranchée)
6 / UNMISSABLE VISITS!
- Le Palais des Archevêques
This former palace was built in 1767 and lived many lives. It used to be a theater, a central school, a library, and a warehouse for seized works of art. The palace was returned to the archbishopric under the empire. In 1910, the palace receives new works of art.
Today, this Museum of Fine Arts offers several tours and welcomes cultural events such as lectures and concerts.
- La Cathédrale Saint-Gatien
This Roman Catholic cathedral is dedicated to Saint Gatien, the very first archbishop in Tours. It was built between 1170 and 1547 on the former foundations of a Roman cathedral dedicated to Saint Maurice.
After this former cathedral caught fire in 561, it was entirely restored. In 1166, while Louis VII of France and Henry II of England were at war, the place caught fire again.
Registered as Historic Monument in 1862, the stained-glass windows that decorate the ambulatory are so beautiful that people consider them as one of the most perfect set of the 13th century.
- La Place Plumereau
Located at the heart of the Old Town, Plumereau Square is a place you absolutely need to see. Its name changed several times since the 13th century, but the townies call it “Plume Square”. Registered as Historic Monument in 1935, this square is a charming place thanks to its half-timbering houses that date back to the 15th century.
All the streets that lead to the square are car-free and full of bars and shops.
- Le Jardin Saint-Pierre-le-Puellier
You have no idea of what you are about to discover a few steps from the square. This “garden” used to be a former monastery founded by Clovis’s wife.
Archeologists found Gallo-Roman remains dating back to the 2nd and 3rd century as well as sepulchres from the 10th to the 18th century.
Once inside, you can have a look at two milleniums of history.
- La Tour Charlemagne
This is the only remain from an old basilica dedicated to Saint Martin. Legend has it that the name of the tower would come from Charlemagne’s fourth wife, Luitgarde d’Alémanie. She died on June 4th, 800 and would have been buried close to the basilica, although nobody seems to know where exactly.
After the French Revolution, the basilica was destroyed and the tower lost its support. In 1927, an earthquake weakened the tower that almost fell down a year later.
Today, Charlemagne Tower proudly stands in the middle of the Old Town.
*This travel guide was published in June 2015, prices may then vary.