Straddling the Loire and Cher rivers, Tours in central France artfully combines ancient cathedral city with university town. It makes the perfect gateway to the famous châteaux of the Loire Valley, and is an ideal place for the serene appreciation of French culture and lifestyle. Even better, it’s also an easy day-trip from Siblu holiday park, Domaine de Dugny. Let’s find out more!
The great outdoors
The Jardin Botanique de Tours is an oasis of green with glasshouses and scented gardens to enjoy, as well as a ‘mini zoo’ (flamingos, wallabies and tortoises all on display!), children’s play areas and some grassy areas to rest on – all the more agreeable as this can be rare in French parks! Jardin des Prebendes is another lovely garden in the centre of the city offering more playgrounds and plenty of ducks to watch.
Things to do and special events
In the heart of Tours’ historic centre, place Plumereau is the place to see and be seen. It’s surrounded by beautiful half-timbered traditional townhouses, and is popular with students, tourists and locals alike for its pavement cafes, great coffee and, of course, people-watching. Once refreshed and revived, you can visit some of the city’s sites including the Flamboyant-Gothic Cathédrale St-Gatien, Basilique St-Martin and the impressive Musée des Beaux Arts, which displays works from Degas and Rembrandt and has delightful gardens in which to relax. In summer months, you can also experience panoramic views of the surrounding area from atop the Tours Ferris wheel! Then there’s the delightful ‘Tours sur Loire’ extravaganza that lasts all summer long: near Pont Wilson, you can enjoy a varied programme of music, theatre, dance, outdoor cinema and children’s activities from May to September.
Local discoveries and hidden gems
Wine! Bread! Cheese! Rabelais’ work “Gargantua” came from this region, and Tours and the Loire Valley are dubbed the ‘garden of France’ thanks to the region’s gentle climate and superbly fertile soil. So, gastronomically speaking, you can sample all that’s great in French cuisine here – rillettes (pork ‘potted meat’) are a local specialty, as is tripe sausage, andouillette – a more acquired taste – or lunch instead on an exquisitely executed French classic like coq-au-vin. In Tours, you will also find a market to browse six days out of seven. Marché Gourmand at Place de la Résistance is particularly atmospheric. Or why not make a merry detour to the Maison des Vins de Tours where you can taste plenty of local wines and really get to know your Chinon and Bourgeuil from your Saumur.
Places to go
From Tours it must almost be obligatory to visit châteaux galore! Take your pick from all or any of the greats: Amboise (for its panoramic terrace), Azay-le-Rideau (fairytale-like) or Villandry (for its gardens) to name but three…
Distance/driving time from Tours