Half-timbered houses line a square in Tours, France, where people sit on cafe terraces eating and chatting
Photo by Fran├žois Philipp  –  Link



What is Tours known for?

Known as the gateway to the Loire Valley, Tours is a vibrant university town with a plethora of impressive chateaux and a world-renowned dining scene. In fact, Tours often appears on lists of the best foodie destinations in the world, and it has long been regarded as an International City of Gastronomy. If you're a fan of food tourism yourself, you could do worse than to go on a tour of Tours (see what we did there?) and indulge in some of the best French food in the world.

One way to sample as many dishes as possible is to visit some of the city's 30 street markets. Les Halles, on rue des Halles, is the most famous. This covered market is a pleasant mix of old and new, with traditional food vendors selling their wares in a modern setting. Expect excellent wine shops (the Loire Valley is a celebrated wine region), local cheeses, fresh produce and ready-to-eat oysters.

Loire Valley

As it's the centre of the Loire Valley region, Tours is also a popular starting point for wine tasting tours and excursions along the Route des Chateaux, which takes in all the most famous castles and chateaux in the area. If you're planning a trip to Tours, spend a day or two trying the food, exploring the parks and admiring the charming half-timbered houses and stately squares before heading off on trip around the valley.

Tours is about 2 hours from Paris by train, or 2.5 to 3 hours by car.