Things to do in
Tours, France

Castles and vineyards are just a taste of what this charming town in the Loire Valley has to offer.

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Our most recommended things to do in Tours, France

Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

1. Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

Enjoy access to Chenonceau site and its wonderful gardens. This unusual castle was built on a bridge across the Cher River. To learn more about castle history, audio guides are available in 16 languages. The castle is located near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire department. Chenonceau castle, also known as the Chateau des Dames, is famous for the great heroines who lived there, such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis, and for the beauty of its Renaissance gardens. Chenonceau castle was also used as a military hospital during the First World War. Discover the rich history of this incredible fortress.

From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

2. From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

Benefit from pick-up by air-conditioned, 8-seater van and head to the picturesque Château de Chenonceau with magnificent Renaissance gardens. Then, go to Amboise for a wine tour with tastings. Visit Les Caves Ambacia for a wine experience and sample some of the wines of the Loire Valley at a tasting with a sommelier. Lunch at leisure in Amboise. Continue to Chambord for a guided tour of the chateau. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 5.30 PM or Amboise at 6:00 PM. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 6 PM or Amboise at 6:45 PM.

From Tours: Chambord, Chenonceau & Lunch at Family Chateau

3. From Tours: Chambord, Chenonceau & Lunch at Family Chateau

Travel back to the days of the French Renaissance on a full-day tour of the châteaux of the Loire Valley, and enjoy an optional lunch in a privately-owned— and still occupied — castle. Meet your guide at the Tourist Office in Tours at 9:00 AM and drive by minivan to Chambord. Discover glorious works of art and architecture as your guide selects the most emblematic rooms to visit. Hear memorable anecdotes as they point out hidden details. Get breathtaking views of the castle during a coffee break in Chambord Park. Lunch will be served at an off-the-beaten-path location, hosted by the French Countess who lives there permanently. Taste local food in the smallest of all the Loire Valley castles. Continue to Chenonceau, passing the must-see castles of the French “Valley of the Kings,” including Chaumont, Amboise and Clos Lucé. Upon arrival at the Château de Chenonceau (the most visited historical monument in France), admire the unusual castle built on a bridge across the Cher River. Stroll through the manicured gardens named after the "Catherine de Médicis" and "Diane de Poitiers," the famous ladies who lived there. Take time to appreciate the refined architecture and feminine influence of each room and see beautiful antiques and lovely arrangements of fresh flowers. Then your guide will offer you an aperitif of local produce in a secret corner of the park. Enjoy the most striking view of Château de Chenonceau, before returning to Tours at 7:00 PM.

Morning Tour to Villandry & Chateau de l'Islette

4. Morning Tour to Villandry & Chateau de l'Islette

Meet your guide in front of the Tourist Office in Tours and travel by minivan to the Loire Valley. You will start your day at Chateau de Villandry, a Renaissance jewel ranking high in French heritage. Time-travel to life in France back in the 16th century. Your tour-leader will guide you through all the rooms of the chateau, with plenty of funny anecdotes. After that, discover Villandry's beautiful gardens as your local expert shares all his knowledge of and shows you hidden corners from where you will get the best views of the château. Then, get back in the minibus for a short drive to the next stop: Chateau de l'Islette. This family-owned chateau is still inhabited today. Get ready for a very unusual visit, as your guide will take you to the most intimate rooms like the parent's bedroom, the kids’ corner, the family kitchen and even the bathroom! You may even get the chance to meet the owners who will share with their daily life in this house!  A unique souvenir! An experience you will never forget. Arrive back in Tours around 1:30 PM.

Mont Saint-Michel & Chateaux Country 3-Day Tour from Paris

5. Mont Saint-Michel & Chateaux Country 3-Day Tour from Paris

Drive through the beautiful French countryside to discover Middle Age and Gothic-inspired architecture, and learn the intriguing history of Normandy and France from an expert guide. Cross to the tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel, and soak up the refinement of prestigious Loire Valley castles, such as the vast royal Château de Chambord. Day 1 (Friday): Traveling by luxury air-conditioned coach, depart Paris via the western districts and take the Normandy motorway as far as Mont Saint-Michel. Arriving at approximately midday, stop for lunch at the 4-star Relais Saint Michel, offering fantastic views across to the island. After lunch, ascend to the Abbey on the summit of the mount for a guided visit of its Gothic and Romanesque interior. Enjoy some time at leisure exploring the narrow, hilly streets before your departure for Angers, cradle of the Plantagenet dynasty, where you will enjoy dinner and an overnight stay at the Hotel Mercure Lac de Maine (or similar accommodation). Day 2 (Saturday): After a hearty breakfast, drive to Langeais, passing Cunault and Saumur en route. Driving by vineyards, enjoy views of romantic castles on the horizon. Arrive at Château de Langeais to explore one of the best-known examples of late medieval architecture. Continue with a guided visit of Clos-Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci's last dwelling place. Stroll through the stunnning gardens of Villandry, and visit the old historic district of Tours on the lower reaches of the Loire. An evening meal will be served at your overnight stop in Tours at the Hotel Mercure. Day 3 (Sunday): Take a guide tour of the Château de Chenonceau, built on the site of an old mill across the River Cher. Continue to the decorative Château de Cheverny, used by Tintin creator, Hergé as the inspiration for his fictional Château de Moulinsart. After lunch at the Hotel Saint-Hubert, go to the Château de Chambord to explore the largest and most imposing castle in the Loire Valley. Admire the distinctive French Renaissance architecture, which blends impressively with traditional medieval forms.

Private Walking Tour of Tours Historical Center

6. Private Walking Tour of Tours Historical Center

Do you know which city was the capital of France in 15th century? Where the famous French novelist Honoré de Balzac was born? Which city is considered to be the Garden of France? Or where you can hear the purest French spoken language? The answer to all of these questions is Tours, a historic city dating back to the Middle Ages located right in the heart of France, just one hour away from Paris. Join our helpful and knowledgeable guides to discover the rich history and wonderful medieval buildings of Tours. Visit the city's beloved Cathédrale Saint-Gatien, which dates back to as early as 1170. The cathedral is a beautiful mix of different architectural styles, with major sections finished between the 13th and 15th centuries. Another point of interest may be the medieval Tour Charlemagne, located in the center of the Old City. Or, feel free to visit the famous museum of Beaux- Arts on your own, admiring its impressive collection including pieces by French, Italian, Flemish and Dutch masters. Then, enjoy a taste of the region's fine wine, considered by many to be among the best in all of France. Let us show you the beautiful city of Tours through the eyes of a local!

Tours: Great Escape Sidecar Tour

7. Tours: Great Escape Sidecar Tour

A collection of fantastic architectural treasures, this tour takes you into the very heart of the UNESCO-listed Loire Valley. You'll begin by discovering the Cathedral Saint-Gatien, which is famous for its magnificent stained glass windows. From there you will discover other emblematic places of the city such as the Charlemagne Tower and the Horloge Tower, and two vestiges of the Basilica Saint-Martin. You'll then encounter the Place Plumereau, which is one of the most beautiful squares in France.  Admire the town's many half-timbered houses, before following the Loire to Vouvray where you can see some of the area's most beautiful vineyards. At the conclusion of your experience, you'll be returned to your tour meeting point.

From Tours/Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord, Blois & Cheverny

8. From Tours/Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord, Blois & Cheverny

Depart Tours or Amboise to journey into the Loire Valley and discover some of its famous châteaux. Stop at the Château de Blois, notable for its unique mix of Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and Classical architecture. The former home of kings Louis XII and François I, its history is steeped in tragedy and is notable as the place where Joan of Arc went to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans. Pause for a wine tasting and sample some of the organic wines of Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny. The Cheverny appellation produces elegant reds from the pinot noir and gamay grapes, as well as fruity whites from the chardonnay and sauvignon grapes. Sample a stunning organic white wine made from the romorantin grape, imported into the Loire Valley by King François I. Take a guided tour of the Château de Cheverny, owned by the same family since the days of Louis XIII. See some of the most beautiful furniture in the Loire Valley, and learn the château's rich history, such as its connection to Tintin comic books and the impressive hunts on horseback that used to take place with a pack of 100 dogs. You may even get to see the spectacular daily event of “the dogs’ soup!” Move on to the Château de Chambord, one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world for its distinctive French Renaissance architecture. Discover the vast national game reserve of the largest château in the Loire Valley, and learn the monument's fascinating history, including the unverified tale of Leonardo da Vinci's involvement in its construction. Return to your original departure town, with drop off in Tours at 18:00 or Amboise at 18:45.

From Tours/Amboise: Azay le Rideau, Langeais & Villandry

9. From Tours/Amboise: Azay le Rideau, Langeais & Villandry

Take a tour of the Chateau of Langeais which is a perfect balance between gardens, architecture, and contemporary art. You will be surprised by this 15th-century fortress, which contrasts with the quirky art exhibition. Its huge garden is inspired by fairy tales and cartoons. A confidential place for an original experience. Then, have a guided tour of one of the most spectacular gardens of Touraine, Villandry.  By its diversity and originality (Love Garden, Kitchen Garden, Aromatic and Medicine Plant Garden, Water Garden and the brand new Sun Garden) and by its size (15 acres, 1150 linden trees), Villandry is the Loire Valley garden not to be missed. With your guide, learn to speak the language of a medieval and Renaissance garden while discovering the power of thyme and basil on your health. At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you off in Tours at 5:30 PM or in Amboise at 6:15 PM.

From Tours/Amboise: Chenonceau, Clos Lucé & Wine Tasting

10. From Tours/Amboise: Chenonceau, Clos Lucé & Wine Tasting

Get picked up in the morning before driving to the Loire Valley and start your day touring the Château de Chenonceau. The Chateau des Dames bridge built across the Cher is famous for the great heroines who lived there (Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis) and for the beauty of its Renaissance gardens. Next, head to a wine tasting with a wine specialist at Caves Ambacia in Amboise. An oenologist will welcome you into the caves, former tuff stone quarries, for a tour. This will be followed by a wine tasting of Vouvray wines.  After this, tour the Royal Castle of Amboise, residence of Charles VIII and the young François d’Angoulème, future Francois I. Discover a perfect example of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance architecture and the Saint Hubert Chapel, which today houses the grave of Leonardo da Vinci. Finally, head to the Manor du Clos Lucé, a few yards away from the Royal Castle. Leonardo da Vinci spent the last 3 years of his life there and died there in 1519. See his bedroom, office, reception room and kitchen, and be awestruck by his invention room, displaying models of his most spectacular inventions. End your day by being dropped off in Amboise at 5:30 PM or in Tours at 6 PM.

Planning Your Visit

  • Best time to visit?

    The Loire Valley climate is relatively cool all year round. June to August is peak season for a reason, but the small city is an extremely popular tourist destination for its size. If you don't mind wrapping up warm in the evenings, then you might want to visit at either end of summer, when it won't be quite as busy!

  • How many days?

    Sightseers will love the landmarks in and around Tours, but they do require a fair amount of travelling between the city and its surrounding towns. Book a week (give or take a day or two) and don't try cramming too much into your daily itineraries!

Good to know

  • Language
    French
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +33
  • Best time to visit
    Fewer tourists but chillier evenings can be found from September through May.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tours, France

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What people are saying about Tours, France

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 574 reviews

Our guide Matthew was informative , and very accommodating. The two gentlemen in our group needed to sit while Matthew talked to us and he always found a place for them. We walked slowly and he was willing to extend the time of the tour so he could fit everything in. He showed up in costume and so we not only got a history lesson about Tours we had a history lesson about musketeers. A would highly recommend this guide, he is a treasure!!!!!

After visiting a few different Chateau I cannot say that this one was beaten by any of them, the grand stature and audacious way that this was built, in its day to have crocodiles in the moat, you can easily imagine the history of this place it gets 10/10 from us

So wonderful to see and read about all the history of the castle. It was beautiful and well preserved.

Definitely worth a visit. The Chateau is stunning, both inside and outside.

We’ll done tour. I was super impressed with the gardens!