"TOURING TOURS" Top 5 Page for this destination Tours by tiabunna
Tours Travel Guide: 199 reviews and 619 photos
The city of Tours, with a population of almost 150,000 (maybe double that if the surrounding districts are counted) is well worthy of a visit as a destination in its own right, quite apart from being in the Loire chateaux and wine country. It is 240km from Paris, but can be reached by TGV in an hour to an hour and a half, depending if any stops are involved.
Its history predates Roman times, when it was called Turonensis. Much later, from time to time, the Kings of France also visited, their chateaux being nearby. More recently, it served briefly as France’s capital during the Prussian War of 1871, when the Government of National Defence based itself there during the siege of Paris. I was fascinated to read that the Government at that time set up a microphotography unit in Tours, so that carrier pigeons could maintain communications to Paris – carrying up to 40,000 microfilmed despatches at a time – a technology I would have thought much more recent! In World War II, a later Government also moved there briefly in 1940, before settling in at Vichy: but apparently not before extensive urban damage from bombing.
On our previous visit to France, Pauline and I had visited the Loire area, but had based ourselves in Amboise and had not visited Tours. I was keen to fill that gap, so I broke my Paris visit for a TGV excursion.
It must be said that, although pleasant, much of the ‘new’ Tours is unexceptional. But the ‘old town’ is marvellous and captivated me during my visit. Tours has much of the charm of Paris; it has history and character; it has a pleasant and relaxed feeling; it has the chateau and vineyard country surrounding it; and it has Paris ‘just up the road’ for a day trip by TGV. Much as I love Paris, I doubt I could live in any big city: but, given that combination of attractions, I feel I could happily live in Tours! (Thought… would that make me a ‘Tourist’ ?) J
- Pros:Stylish provincial city near Paris
- Cons:None obvious, maybe ‘too quiet’ for some
- In a nutshell:Well worth a visit – or longer stay
I would have to admit that it's quite a while since I studied French at high school. One of our books was called 'La... more travel advice
Another chateau we visited during our (northern) winter trip in 1997. Chaumont probably would have to rank as one of the... more travel advice
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