After averting disaster with my one-way flight to Paris, I spent a wonderful early spring afternoon in the French capital city with a friend. At 5:30pm, I boarded a train from Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris to Tours, France, where I was to stop over on my way to Biarritz!
Tours is absolutely beautiful. At only two hours by train from Paris, the city has certainly adopted many of the charming visual characteristics of Paris. There are tiny cobblestone pathways, apartment buildings with black iron windows, and cream-colored buildings along the streets.
The city reminds me a lot of the French capital, but without the throngs of people everywhere you turn. In fact, during my Friday evening stroll through Tours, many of the streets were quite calm and nearly empty!
Explore the Region’s Chateaux
Tours serves as a gateway to the Loire Valley, where you can explore beautiful châteaux, and vineyards, and take part in wine-tasting tours. Tours is a popular city due to the many chateaux in the area, which sadly I didn’t have time to tour this time around. I was able to explore the various parks and sights within the city on foot.
Château de Villandry
Known for its breathtaking Renaissance gardens, this château is a must-visit for gardeners.
Musée des Beaux-Arts
This fine arts museum houses a rich collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
Cathedral Saint Gatien
Cathedral Saint Gatien was undoubtedly the highlight of my walking tour. The monumental cathedral is a fine example of Gothic architecture, having been built between 1170 and 1547. Its façade is perfectly symmetrical and beautifully intricate.
Opéra de Tours
Another gorgeous structure was the Opéra de Tours, with a partially pink façade and Romanesque angel sculpture near the top.
With any luck, I’ll be returning to Tours soon, so I can visit the beautiful chateaux that dot the region!