Tours is just like Rouen, Évreux, Chartres, Poitiers and Angoulême. I don’t mean that it looks like them – far from it – but it’s just a city you drive through on your way down to the south of France. Or is it?
We stopped off overnight on our way back up from Bergerac to Dieppe last Sunday. I’d say the city’s definitely worth a visit.
A Sunday night in January – just a few days after the New Year celebrations – doesn’t bode well for any traveller. As well as poor weather, you are likely to find a lot of closed signs on restaurant doors and a distinct absence of bustle in the streets.
All of which was true of Tours, but that didn’t stop us enjoying it anyway.
We usually prefer to stay at chambres d’hôtes in tucked-away places as we make our way to and from Bergerac. The delightful Clos des Sources is our favourite, but this time we decided to stop over in a city for a change. (Don’t worry, we still love you, Laura and Jean-François!)
The Hôtel du Théâtre, where we stayed, was decidedly quirky and very central, and we were within a minute or two’s walk from the main eating, drinking and shopping areas. We had a very rustic meal at the packed L’Étable on Rue Colbert before heading over to Les 3 Rois on Rue du Grand Marché for a glass of wine.
“The city proved quite a revelation: lots of charming medieval half-timbered buildings and cobbled streets”
The city proved quite a revelation: lots of charming medieval half-timbered buildings – maisons à colombages, in French – and cobbled streets. There’s plenty to like about this, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.
The Touraine wines were good too. So many of them are familiar, but Chinon, a local red, in particular, proved a highlight of our stay. I’ll be sure to seek it out now that I’m back in England.