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Tours was our gateway to France. We went there a little gingerly though cause there wasn't too much information available about Tours & the Loire Valley. It however turned out to be amongst the best places to visit in France. We used as a base to explore the Loire as well as the Chateaus across the valley - Amboise, Chambord, Cheverny & Chenonceaux. Also, since we were in France in November, the tourist influx was already waning and that made the bylanes in Tours almost empty. Coming from a very populous country - India - the quiet & space of Tours was moving. 'Fall' was in, the trees were changing colour and the weather had a wondeful chill.
Place Plumereau is the old-district of Tours. Buildings there still maintain their impressive facades (made of wood & stone & mud i assume) and the sight in this particular picture (above) has made its way into countless postcards from Tours

Chenonceaux Chateaux - Loire Valley

Chenonceaux was my turning point in my itinerary definiition of France. Till that day when I chanced upon this castle (a hunting lodge actually), France was going to be a trip across Paris, Nice & Monaco. Chenonceaux (about 40minutes away from Tours by Train, last train in winter at abt 6:30pm) is a wonderful Chateuax built right across the Loire. The base of the Chateuax sits on Piers across the river. With beautifully manicured lawns and a Giant Hedge Maze, Chenonceaux is a treat to the eye. The castle is at walking distance from the station with the same name. Chenonceaux got me to include other Chateaux like Cheverny & Chambord into my visit plan. The latter 2 though require you take a bus (only during season) or a private car or a tour (can be booked at about 30Euros a person from the Tourist Office outside Tours Staion).

The Gothic Cathedrals of Tours

A markedly different style from the giant cupolas all across Italy, the gothic style is found all over France. Cathedrals in Paris, Reims, Tours, Nice..... are built in the Gothic style with tall steeples, rose windows, stained glass, asymmetrical designs and gargoyles. This was the first one i encounteredin France; in the heart of Tours. With a few flying buttresses on the left side of the Cathedral, it also gives a wonderful glimpse into the civil engineering skills of the artisans of France.

Italy - My Gateway To Europe

Markets at Tours

Pretty interesting stuff on sale inside. Vegetables in all hues and colours. Fruits from every part of europe. Fish and oysters and crabs. Bread, Crossants & Flans. Caviar @ 5000Euros a kilo. And lastly, meat - Redddd Meat of evey kind. And also noticed slaughtered rabbits (Lapins) hanging upside down at a charcuterie.
One should make it a point to visit the markets when one goes to a foreign country. This always introduces you to a whole new experience.

  • Intro Updated Dec 11, 2007
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Comments (2)

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Lovely photos of Tours. We like to stay near Montrichard to explore the Loire Valley. There is so much to see there and a great feeling of history. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • sue_stone's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2007 at 1:36 AM

    Hi. We stayed in Blois and found that a good base to explore the Loire.

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