Tours City – Loire Valley

Visiting Tours

Tours is the largest city in central France and has been an important crossing point of the Loire River since Romans ruled the roost in 1st century AD.

Nicknamed ‘Le Jardin de la France‘ (The Garden of France) due to the number of parks, street trees and its fertile location between two rivers, the Loire and the Cher, Tours is a relaxed city with a medieval core, a sense of humour and the purest spoken French in the country.

Vieux Tours street with medieval carvings, Loire Valley, France

A street in Vieux Tours with medieval carvings.

Vieux Tours buildings, Loire Valley, France

Half-timbered buildings in Vieux Tours, Old Tours, the city’s medieval sector.

Vieux Tours eats street, Loire Valley, France

Cheaper eats just off Vieux Tours central plaza, Place Plumereau.

An architectural mix in Vieux Tours, Loire Valley, France

An architectural mix in the outer parts of Vieux Tours.

The main street beside the Loire River, Tours, Loire Valley, France

The main street beside the Loire River.

Tours' 19thC rail station, Gare de Tours, Loire Valley, France

Tours’ 19thC rail station, Gare de Tours. Photo by Captainm.

Train stations

Tours has two main stations, a central station (photo above) and St Pierre Des Corps, which is just outside the center and is used by trains that do not terminate in Tours, such as the TGV.

Travelling by TGV from Tours it is possible to get to the west coast at Bordeaux in two and a half hours, to the Mediterranean coast via Avignon and from there to Spain and Barcelona, or to Lyon, Strasbourg and Lille. It takes one hour by train from Tours to Paris by TGV and one hour and a half to Charles de Gaulle airport.

Tours Cathedral and Musée des Beaux-Arts, Loire Valley, France

Tours Cathedral and the well-respected Musée des Beaux-Arts.

Tours Cathedral mural, Loire Valley, France

A medieval mural in Tours Cathedral, under construction from the 12th to 15th centuries.

Tours Cathedral tomb, Loire Valley, France

The tomb of some long-gone bishop radiating bliss.

But it’s not all seriously old stuff in Tours! Signs of bohemian lifeforce much appreciated!

Tours makes a great base/jump-off for exploring the Loire Valley with its international airport, extensive rail links, including high-speed TGV, and excellent autoroute connections to the rest of France.

Distances/time to/from Tours

Paris: 240km – 149 miles
Motorway: 2H 10m
Train: 55 mins

Bordeaux: 330km – 205 miles
Motorway: 3H 15m
Train: 2H 30m

Nantes: 196km – 122 miles
Motorway: 1H 45m
Train: 1H 30m

Lyon: 432km – 268 miles
Motorway: 4H 00m
Train: 3H 30m

By Air:
Lyon: 1 H 55m
London: 1H 15m