CULTURE FRANCIA

Table of Contents

17 Things to Do in Tours

Up-to-Date 2024  –  By Culture Francia Team

Table of Contents

What to See & Do

Tours Overall Appeal ★★★☆☆

  Name Appeal Type Visit Cost
01

Tours Cathedral

★★★★☆ Cathedral Self Free
02 City Center ★★★☆☆ Walking Around Self Free
03 St. Martin Basilica ★★★☆☆ Basilica Self Free
04 Campagnonnage Museum ★★☆☆☆ Museum - Handicraft Self Paid
05 Botanical Garden ★★☆☆☆ Garden Self Free
06 Prébendes Garden ★☆☆☆☆ Garden Self Free
07 Loire River Banks ★☆☆☆☆ Walking Around Self Free
08

Halles Market

★☆☆☆☆ Food Market Self Free
09 Fine Arts Museum ★☆☆☆☆ Museum - Art Self Paid
10 Charlemagne Tower ★☆☆☆☆ Tower Either Either
11 Clock Tower ★☆☆☆☆ Tower Outside Free
12 St. Cosme Priory Ruins ★☆☆☆☆ Priory Ruins + Garden Self Paid
13 Olivier Debré Art Center ★☆☆☆☆

Museum - Modern Art

Self Paid
14 Tours Castle ★☆☆☆☆ Museum - Exhibitions Self Paid
15 Goüin Hotel ★☆☆☆☆ Museum - Exhibitions Self Paid
16 River Boat ★☆☆☆☆ Boat Excursion Tour Paid
17 Tours Tourist Train ★☆☆☆☆ City Train Tour Tour Paid

01. Tours Cathedral

Aerial view of the grand Saint Gatien Cathedral in Tours, France, with its towering Gothic spires, surrounded by the cityscape of Tours.

Appeal ★★★★☆
Type Cathedral

Visit Self
Cost Free

The Tours Cathedral, also known as Cathédrale Saint-Gatien, is a striking example of Gothic architecture that dominates the cityscape. Construction began in the 12th century and was completed in the 16th century, reflecting various Gothic styles. 

02. City Center

A bustling city center in Tours, France, with people dining at outdoor cafes, surrounded by charming, half-timbered medieval buildings under a clear blue sky.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Walking Around

Visit Self
Cost Free

The heart of Tours, the City Center is a vibrant hub with medieval streets, bustling squares, and charming cafes. It’s an excellent place to explore local shops and historic buildings. The area is lively, especially around Place Plumereau, known for its half-timbered houses and outdoor dining.

Squares
– Place Plumereau
– Place Jean Jaurès

Streets
– Rue du Grand Marché
– Rue du Commerce
– Rue Nationale

Bridge
– Pont Wilson

📍 Google Maps List

03. St. Martin Basilica

The majestic interior of Saint Martin Basilica in Tours, France, showcasing grand columns, intricate stone carvings, and a central altar under a domed ceiling.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Basilica

Visit Self
Cost Free

The Basilica of St. Martin is a site dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. Rebuilt in the 19th century after being destroyed during the French Revolution, it stands on the remnants of earlier churches. It combines Romanesque and Gothic architectural elements. The basilica’s crypt houses the tomb of St. Martin, making it a site of great religious importance.

04. Campagnonnage Museum

An exhibit of intricate wooden models and structures displayed in the Compagnonnage Museum in Tours, France, highlighting craftsmanship and architectural details.

Appeal ★★★☆☆
Type Handicraft Museum

Visit Self
Cost Paid

This unique museum celebrates the tradition of the “Compagnons du Devoir,” skilled craftspeople and artisans of France. It showcases their craftsmanship through various exhibits. Visitors can learn about the history and techniques of these master artisans.

05. Botanical Garden

A vibrant botanical garden in Tours, France, featuring a variety of plants and trees, including a tree with bright red leaves and neatly trimmed grassy pathways.

Appeal ★★☆☆☆
Type Garden

Visit Self
Cost Free

Tours’ Botanical Garden is a lush, green space perfect for relaxation and learning about diverse plant species. Established in 1843, it features themed gardens, a greenhouse, and a small zoo.

06. Prébendes Garden

A tranquil garden in Tours, France, with vibrant flowers, lush trees, and a small pond, featuring a unique metal sculpture with a heart-shaped cutout.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Garden

Visit Self
Cost Free

The Prébendes Garden is a picturesque English-style garden with winding paths, ponds, and diverse flora.

07. Loire River Banks

A scenic pathway along the banks of the Loire River in Tours, France, surrounded by lush greenery and trees, with the river visible on the left.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Walking Around

Visit Self
Cost Free

The banks on both sides of the Loire River in Tours offer paths where you can take a stroll.

08. Halles Market

An indoor food market in Tours, France, with various stalls selling meats, cheeses, and other produce, with bright lighting and a few shoppers walking through.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Food Market

Visit Self
Cost Free

Halles Market in Tours is a covered food market open every morning and afternoon, except Sunday afternoon.

On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the market expands outside into the open air.

09. Fine Arts Museum

An elegantly decorated room in the Fine Arts Museum in Tours, France, featuring classical paintings, ornate furniture, and a grand chandelier.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Art Museum + Garden

Visit Self
Cost Paid

Housed in the former Archbishop’s Palace, the Fine Arts Museum of Tours features a collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The museum’s collection spans from the Middle Ages to contemporary works.

The building complex also includes a pleasant small garden.

The building complex also includes a pleasant small garden.

10. Charlemagne Tower

A tall, historic clock tower in Tours, France, surrounded by other buildings under a blue sky, featuring detailed stonework and clock faces on each side.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Tower

Visit Outside or Guided
Cost Free or Paid

The Charlemagne Tower is a historic remnant of the ancient basilica dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. Constructed in the 11th century as part of the larger basilica complex, it survived various conflicts and the French Revolution, which destroyed much of the basilica. 

On certain days of the year, the interior and top of the tower are open for guided tours, but only in French. If you want to visit, you’ll need to ask at the tourist office.
Here are the dates for the tower tours (French).

11. Clock Tower

An exterior view of a historic clock tower in Tours, France, situated in a European city, with surrounding old-style buildings and a clear sky above.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Tower

Visit Outside only
Cost Free

The Clock Tower, or Tour de l’Horloge, is a historic structure built in the 12th century as part of the Basilica of Saint-Martin, similar to the Charlemagne Tower which also survived the French Revolution.

It features a significant clock installed in the late 18th century.

12. St. Cosme Priory Ruins

The historical ruins of the Priory Saint Cosme in Tours, France, featuring a mix of well-preserved stone buildings and ancient structures amidst green foliage.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Priory Ruins + Garden

Visit Self
Cost Paid

The ruins of St. Cosme Priory are the remains of a former monastery where the poet Pierre de Ronsard spent his last days. The site includes gardens and the poet’s tomb.

13. Olivier Debré Art Center

A spacious art gallery in the Olivier Debré Center in Tours, France, with high ceilings, displaying large abstract paintings on white walls, with two people observing the artwork.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Modern Art Exhibitions

Visit Self
Cost Paid

This contemporary art center is dedicated to the works of Olivier Debré, a renowned abstract painter. The center hosts rotating exhibitions and cultural events. Its modern architecture contrasts with the historical surroundings.

14. Tours Castle

The interior of a castle in Tours, France, showcasing an art exhibit with textured and abstract pieces mounted on stone walls.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Art Exhibitions

Visit Self
Cost Paid

Tours Castle, also known as Château de Tours, is a historic castle dating back to the 11th century. It now hosts art exhibitions and cultural events.

15. Goüin Hotel

The ornate exterior of Hotel Gouin in Tours, France, showcasing detailed stone carvings and an arched entrance, with a sunny blue sky in the background.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Art Exhibitions

Visit Self
Cost Paid

The Goüin Hotel is a beautiful Renaissance mansion that now serves as a museum. It features mainly art exhibits. The building itself is a fine example of 15th-century architecture.

16. River Boat

A traditional wooden boat carrying passengers cruises along a river in Tours, France, with a lush green forest lining the riverbank under a clear blue sky.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type Boat Excursion

Visit Tour
Cost Paid

You can take a leisurely boat ride on the Loire River with the wooden boat named Boutavant.

To make a reservation, you’ll need to contact the tourism office.

17. Tours Tourist Train

A tourist train with open carriages parked in front of a historic building in Tours, France, with passengers boarding and alighting under a sunny sky.

Appeal ★☆☆☆☆
Type City Train Tour

Visit Tour
Cost Paid

The Tours Tourist Train provides a convenient and fun way to see the city’s main attractions. The train offers audioguided tours with commentary on the history and landmarks of Tours.

CULTURE

FRANCIA