The 10 Best Things to See in Tours


Tours: A Quick Getaway from Paris

On a weekend when Paris was drowned in a layer of smog, I made a trip out of the city to visit Tours. And while it looked pretty deserted on a cool Saturday, it was pleasantly refreshing with is old town beauty. Tours is famous for its cathedral and its history that is closely tied with the story of Joan of Arc. Here are the top then things to see in Tours.

10. Gare de Tours: I'm not someone to specifically got to a train station, but if arriving in Tours by train, take a moment to admire the beautiful architecture. Similar to the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Tours train station is one of the most beautiful that I've seen so far.

The Loire
9. Musée du Compagnonnage: compagnonnage is basically trade work. So this museum puts on display much of the work that people have done. France is very proud of its craftsmen and this is not the first time that I've seen a museum dedicated to the trades. Be prepared, the museum is entirely in French, but it does display some beautiful works. And art doesn't always need words.

8. Opera: this was not something that I saw anywhere on the travel lists, so I just stumbled upon this beautiful building. Unfortunately it was closed when I tried to see inside, but just from the outside it is worth to make a detour to walk by this architecturally beautiful opera house.

7. Place Plumereau: this area is known as the old town. Its a great place to watch the world pass by with views of the traditional timber houses in the background.

Tours Train Station
6. Loire River: take a walk along the river and enjoy the views of nature away from the small city. Maybe it's because I live in a large city that I enjoy the moments of escape in nature. But I think more than just Parisians can enjoy a nice stroll along the Loire.

5. Jardin Botanique de Tours: this garden, on a Saturday morning was filled with people going on walks, taking advantage of being in the nature on a non-rainy day in Spring. It is known for its beautiful flowers during parts of the year, but this early in spring, the natural green beauty was enough.

4. Chateau de Tours: this castle from Carolingian period is just a walk away from the main cathedral. Throughout the years of monarchy in France, many different lords resided in the castle. It is open for tours many days of the week.

Tours Cathedral
3. Basilique Saint Martin: the basilica was built on the tomb of Saint Martin of Tours. The original church was demolished and the current one replaced the one built in the middle ages. Its neo-Byzantine style is similar to that of Sacré Coeur in Paris and the Basilica of Lisieux.

2. Musee des Beaux Arts: this museum has been around since the 1700s, which I find very impressive. Right next to the cathedral, the museum displays 1,000 pieces to the public, although it holds thousands more in its private collection.

1. Cathedral Saint Gatien: this cathedral was the main reason that I visited Tours. Its two huge towers can be seen from all around the city. Its size is intimidating and beautiful. And inside its stained glass windows are magnificent. The cathedral itself made the day trip worth it.

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