TOURS, A CAPITAL HISTORY
Not to be missed: Old Tours and its emblematic Place Plumereau, the imposing Saint-Gatien Cathedral, the Wilson Bridge lit up by night, the Vinci Conference Centre, one of Jean Nouvel’s pieces, the new Saint Martin Basilica, which houses the saint’s valuable relics, the Place Jean-Jaurès and the garden of the Musée des Beaux-arts.
Allow at least three hours.
A little bit of history: an important Roman town with one of the largest theatres of Gaul, Tours became a pilgrimage city after the death of St Martin and a mandatory stop on the road to Compostela, At the beginning of the second millennium, the town gradually grew along the navigable Loire. Five kings of France, from Charles VII to Henri IV, resident in Tours in the 15th and 16th centuries, brought wealth and influence for eight decades. It declined until the late 18th century when it was reborn thanks to a policy of major works and an exceptional architect: Victor Laloux. It is to him we owe the Hotel de Ville, the station and the basilica. Despite significant damage during the Second World War, the old quarters of Tours and the cathedral were preserved.