French citybreak : Explore Tours

Dating back over twenty centuries, the city and its surrounding areas embody the richness of French history. A popular destination for the Kings of France, Tours has stood the test of time and now passes down its heritage to new generations. 

Culture and Heritage

Bordered by the banks of the Loire and the Cher, gastronomy is at the heart of Tours and its markets are a testament to its longstanding heritage. The city is packed with fine bistros and terraces, perfect for discovering all its typical dishes like rillettes de Tours, Sainte Maure cheese and andouillette au Vouvray, all accompanied by wines from the region. 

The charm of this ancient city comes from its architecture, an invitation to wander its cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses. In the city centre, the cathedral and basilica are an essential stop when visiting Tours. Lastly,
take a walk along the banks of the Loire, stopping off at one of the terrace cafés for a bistro lunch.

The Châteaux of the Loire Valley 

One of the jewels of French history,the Loire Valley Châteaux are a must-see for locals and tourists alike. The most famous is without a doubt the Château de Chambord, which sits at the heart of the largest enclosed forest park in Europe.  Its construction began in 1519, overseen by King François I. Today it is the only royal estate still intact since its creation, attracting large numbers of admiring visitors. Chambord is in fact one of the most visited monuments in France.  The Loire Valley is home to around 3,000 châteaux, including some of the grandest in France, like Chenonceau and Amboise. Plan a visit to take a journey through history and let yourself be transported by the magnificent architecture and gardens à la française. 

Viticulture

Located between the Pays de la Loire and the Centre Val de Loire, Tours benefits from a rich winegrowing region that’s worth the detour. Growing in clay-limestone and flint-clay soils, the region’s vines produce red, white and rosé wines, both sparkling and still. The grape varieties vary, for example Pineau Blanc de Loire, Chenin, Sauvignon and Romorantin for white wine. Touraine white wines are renowned across the country as rich, elegant wines. It’s one of the major French wine-producing regions. 

The Vouvray designation is without a doubt, the region’s most famous. The vineyard was founded in the 4th century by monks from the Marmoutier monastery. The protected designation of origin now spans 2,200 hectares. The principal grape variety used today is chenin. Depending on the wine you choose, whether dry, half-dry, sweet or sparkling, the food and wine pairing will be different. Dry wines, are to be paired with seafood, ideally freshly-caught off the Atlantic coast. Half-dry and sweet wines are better suited to meat
and cheese. 

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