Tours: Wikis


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Coordinates: 47°23′37″N 0°41′21″E / 47.393611°N 0.689167°E / 47.393611; 0.689167

Commune of Tours

Loire Indre Tours1 tango7174.jpg
Town Hall and Place Jean Jaurès
Tours is located in France
Country France
Region Centre
Department Indre-et-Loire
Arrondissement Tours
Canton 7 cantons
Mayor Jean Germain
Elevation 44–109 m (144–358 ft)
Land area1 34.36 km2 (13.27 sq mi)
Population2 136,942  (2006)
 - Density 3,986 /km2 (10,320 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 37261/ 37000, 37100, 37200
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Tours (pronounced: [tuʁ]) is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.

It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection (as perceived by some speakers) of its local spoken French, and for the famous Battle of Tours in 732. It is also the site of the cycling race Paris-Tours. Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France, although it is not the regional capital, which resides in its second-largest city of Orléans. In 2006, the city itself had 142,000 inhabitants and the metropolitan area had 306,974.



Blason tours 37.svg

In Gallic times the city was important as a crossing point of the Loire. Becoming part of the Roman Empire during the first century AD, the city was named "Caesarodunum" ("hill of Caesar"). The name evolved in the 4th century when the original Gallic name, Turones, became first "Civitas Turonorum" then "Tours". It was at this time that the amphitheatre of Tours, one of the five largest in the Empire, was built. Tours became the metropolis of the Roman province of Lugdunum towards 380-388, dominating the Loire Valley, Maine and Brittany. One of the outstanding figures of the history of the city was Saint Martin, second bishop who shared his coat with a naked beggar in Amiens. This incident and the importance of Martin in the medieval Christian West made Tours, and its position on the route of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a major centre during the Middle Ages.


Middle Ages

In the 6th century Gregory of Tours, author of the Ten Books of History, made his mark on the town by restoring the cathedral destroyed by a fire in 561. Saint Martin's monastery benefited from its inception, at the very start of the 6th century from patronage and support from the Frankish king, Clovis, which increased considerably the influence of the saint, the abbey and the city in Gaul. In the 9th century, Tours was at the heart of the Carolingian Rebirth, in particular because of Alcuin abbot of Marmoutier.

In 732 AD, Abdel Rahman al-Ghafiqi and a large army of Muslim horsemen from Africa advanced deep into France, and were stopped at Tours by Charles Martel and his infantry in the Battle of Tours. The outcome was defeat for the Muslims, stopping France from Islamic conquest. In 845, Tours repulsed the first attack of the Viking chief Hasting. In 850, the Vikings settled at the mouths of the Seine and the Loire. Still led by Hasting, they went up the Loire again in 852 and sacked Angers, Tours and the abbey of Marmoutier.

During the Middle Ages, Tours consisted of two juxtaposed and competing centres. The "City" in the east, successor of the late Roman 'castrum', was composed of the archiepiscopal establishment (the cathedral and palace of the archbishops) and of the castle of Tours, seat of the authority of the Counts of Tours (later Counts of Anjou) and of the King of France. In the west, the "new city" structured around the Abbey of Saint Martin was freed from the control of the City during the 10th century (an enclosure was built towards 918) and became "Châteauneuf". This space, organized between Saint Martin and the Loire, became the economic centre of Tours. Between these two centres remained Varenne, vineyards and fields, little occupied except for the Abbaye Saint-Julien established on the banks of the Loire. The two centres were linked during the 14th century. Tours is a good example of a medieval double city.

Tours became the capital of the county of Tours or Touraine, territory bitterly disputed between the counts of Blois and Anjou - the latter were victorious in the 9th century. It was the capital of France at the time of Louis XI, who had settled in the castle of Montils (today the castle of Plessis in La Riche, western suburbs of Tours), Tours and Touraine remained until the 16th century a permanent residence of the kings and court. The rebirth gave Tours and Touraine many private mansions and castles, joined together to some extent under the generic name of the Chateaux of the Loire. It is also at the time of Louis XI that the silk industry was introduced - despite difficulties, the industry still survives to this day,

16th–18th centuries

Charles IX passed through the city at the time of his royal tour of France between 1564 and 1566, accompanied by the Court and various noblemen: his brother the Duke of Anjou, Henri de Navarre, the cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine. At this time, the Catholics returned to power in Angers: the intendant assumed the right to nominate the aldermen. The Massacre of Saint-Barthelemy was not repeated at Tours. The Protestants were imprisoned by the aldermen - a measure which prevented their extermination. The permanent return of the Court to Paris and then Versailles marked the beginning of a slow but permanent decline. Guillaume the Metayer (1763-1798), known as Rochambeau, the well known counter-revolutionary chief of Mayenne, was shot there on Thermidor 8, year VI.

19th–20th centuries

However, it was the arrival of the railway in the 19th century which saved the city by making it an important nodal point. The main railway station is known as Tours-Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. At that time, Tours was expanding towards the south into a district known as the Prébendes. The importance of the city as a centre of communications contributed to its revival and, as the 20th century progressed, Tours became a dynamic conurbation, economically oriented towards the service sector.

First World War

Tours Cathedral: 15th century Flamboyant Gothic west front with Renaissance pinnacles, completed 1547.

The city was greatly affected by the First World War. A force of 25,000 American soldiers arrived in 1917, setting up textile factories for the manufacture of uniforms, repair shops for military equipment, munitions dumps, an army post office and an American military hospital at Augustins. Thus Tours became a garrison town with a resident general staff. The American presence is remembered today by the Woodrow Wilson bridge over the Loire, which was officially opened in July 1918 and bears the name of the man who was President of the USA from 1912 to 1920. Three American air force squadrons, including the 492nd, were based at the Parçay-Meslay airfield, their personnel playing an active part in the life of the city. Americans paraded at funerals and award ceremonies for the Croix de Guerre; they also took part in festivals and their YMCA organised shows for the troops. Some men married girls from Tours.

Inter-war years

In 1920, the city was host to the Congress of Tours, which saw the creation of the French Communist Party.

Second World War

Tours was also marked by the Second World War. In 1940, the city suffered massive destruction and for four years it was a city of military camps and fortifications. From 10-13 June 1940, Tours was the temporary seat of the French government before its move to Bordeaux. German incendiary bombs caused a huge fire which blazed out of control from 20-22 June and destroyed part of the city centre. Some architectural masterpieces of the 16th and 17th centuries were lost, as was the monumental entry to the city. The Wilson Bridge (known locally as the 'stone bridge'), carried a water main which supplied the city; the bridge was dynamited to slow the progress of the German advance. With the water main severed and unable to extinguish the inferno, the inhabitants had no option but to flee to safety. More heavy air raids devastated the area around the railway station in 1944 causing several hundred deaths.

Post-war developments

A plan for the rebuilding of the downtown area drawn up by the local architect Camille Lefèvre was adopted even before the end of the war. The plan was for 20 small quadrangular blocks of housing to be arranged around the main road (la rue Nationale), which was widened. This regular layout attempted to echo, yet simplify, the 18th century architecture. Pierre Patout succeeded Lefèvre as the architect in charge of rebuilding in 1945. At one time there was talk of demolishing the southern side of the rue Nationale in order to make it in keeping with the new development.

The recent history of Tours is marked by the personality of Jean Royer, who was Mayor for 36 years and helped to save the old town from demolition by establishing one of the first Conservation Areas. This example of conservation policy would later inspire the Malraux Law for the safeguarding of historic city centers. In the 1970s, Jean Royer also extended the city to the south by diverting the course of the River Cher to create the districts of Rives du Cher and des Fontaines; at the time, this was one of the largest urban developments in Europe. In 1970, the François-Rabelais university was founded; this is centered on the bank of the Loire in the downtown area, and not - as it was then the current practice - in a campus in the suburbs. The latter solution was also chosen by the twin university of Orleans. Royer's long term as Mayor was, however, not without controversy, as exemplified by the construction of the practical - but aesthetically unattractive - motorway which runs along the bed of a former canal just 1500 metres from the cathedral. Another bone of contention was the original Vinci Congress Center by Jean Nouvel. This project incurred debts although it did, at least, make Tours one of France's principal conference centres.

Jean Germain became Mayor in 1995 and made debt reduction his priority. Ten years later, his economic management is regarded as much wiser than that of his predecessor, the financial standing of the city having returned to a stability. However, the achievements of Jean Germain are criticised by the municipal opposition for a lack of ambition: no large building projects comparable with those of Jean Royer have been instituted under his double mandate. This position is disputed by those in power, who affirm their policy of concentrating on the quality of life, as evidenced by urban restoration, the development of public transport and cultural activities.

Place Jean Jaurès.
St Gatien Cathedral, from Rue Lavoisier, just north of the Rue Colbert intersection.
Pont Wilson.

Main sights

Tours Cathedral

The cathedral of Tours, dedicated to Saint Gatien, its canonized first bishop, was begun about 1170 to replace the cathedral that was burnt out in 1166, during the dispute between Louis VII of France and Henry II of England. The lowermost stages of the western towers (illustration, above left) belong to the 12th century, but the rest of the west end is in the profusely detailed Flamboyant Gothic of the 15th century, completed just as the Renaissance was affecting the patrons who planned the châteaux of Touraine. These towers were being constructed at the same time as, for example, the Château de Chenonceau.

When the 15th century illuminator Jean Fouquet was set the task of illuminating Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, his depiction of Solomon's Temple was modeled after the nearly-complete cathedral of Tours. The atmosphere of the Gothic cathedral close permeates Honoré de Balzac's dark short novel of jealousy and provincial intrigues, Le Curé de Tours (The Curate of Tours) and his medieval story Maitre Cornélius opens within the cathedral itself.

Other points of interest


The inhabitants of Tours (Les Tourangeaux) are renowned for speaking the "purest" form of French in the entire country. The pronunciation of Touraine is widely regarded as the most standard pronunciation of the French language, devoid of any perceived accent (unlike that of most other regions of France, including Paris). Gregory of Tours wrote in the 6th century that some people in this area could still speak Gaulish.


The city of Tours has a population of 140,000 and is called "Le Jardin de la France" ("The Garden of France"). There are several parks located within the city. Tours is located between two rivers, the Loire to the north and the Cher to the south. The buildings of Tours are white with blue slate (called Ardoise) roofs; this style is common in the north of France, while most buildings in the south of France have terracotta roofs.

Tours is famous for its original medieval district, called le Vieux Tours. Unique to the Old City are its preserved half-timbered buildings and la Place Plumereau, a square with busy pubs and restaurants, whose open-air tables fill the center of the square. The Boulevard Beranger crosses the Rue Nationale at the Place Jean-Jaures and is the location of weekly markets and fairs.

Near the cathedral, in the garden of the ancient Palais des Archevêques (now Musée des Beaux-Arts), is a huge cedar tree planted by Napoleon.

Tours is home to François Rabelais University, the site of one of the most important choral competitions, called Florilège Vocal de Tours International Choir Competition, and is a member city of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing.


Today, with its extensive rail (including TGV) and autoroute links to the rest of the country, Tours is a jumping off point for tourist visits to the Loire Valley and the royal chateaux.

Tours is on one of the main lines of the TGV. It is possible to travel to the west coast at Bordeaux in two and a half hours, to the Mediterranean coast via Avignon and from there to Spain and Barcelona, or to Lyon, Strasbourg and Lille. It takes one hour by train from Tours to Paris by TGV and one hour and a half to Charles de Gaulle airport. Tours has two main stations, a central station and St Pierre Des Corps, which is just outside the center, and is the station which is used by trains that do not terminate in Tours.

Tours Loire Valley Airport connects the Loire Valley to London Stansted Airport and Dublin. These links are provided by the Irish airline Ryanair. National connections to Figari on Corsica and Marseille are also available during the summer.

Tours does not have a metro rail system, instead there is a very efficient bus service, the main central stop being Jean Jaures, which is next to the Hôtel de Ville, and rue Nationale, the high street of Tours. There are plans to construct a tram network within the next few years.

Catholics from Tours

Tours is a special place for Catholics who follow the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was in Tours in 1843 that a Carmelite nun, Sister Marie of St Peter reported a vision which started the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, in reparation for the many insults Christ suffered in His Passion.

The Venerable Leo Dupont also known as The Holy Man of Tours lived in Tours at about the same time. In 1849 he started the nightly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Tours, from where it spread within France. Upon hearing of Sister Marie of St Peter’s reported visions, he started to burn a vigil lamp continuously before a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus and helped spread the devotion within France. The devotion was eventually approved by Pope Pius XII in 1958 and he formally declared the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus as Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) for all Roman Catholics.[1] The Oratory of the Holy Face on Rue St. Etienne in Tours receives many pilgrims every year.

Tours has further Christian connotations in that the pivotal Battle of Tours in 732 is often considered the very first decisive victory over the invading Islamic forces, turning the tide against them. The battle also helped lay the foundations of the Carolingian Empire[2]

At present, there is also an attempt by the local and international Muslim community to build one of the largest mosques in Europe, in Tours, adjacent to the site marking Europe's historic victory over Islam.[3][4]


Tours was the birthplace of:

Twin towns



  1. ^ Dorothy Scallan. "The Holy Man of Tours." (1990) ISBN 0-89555-390-2
  2. ^ Davis, Paul K. (1999) "100 Decisive Battles From Ancient Times to the Present" ISBN 0-19-514366-3
  3. ^ Brussels Journal
  4. ^

See also

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tours (pronounced "Tuurh") is an important French city (population 140,000, 360,000 with the suburbs) located on the river Loire in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Touraine, the region around Tours, is renowned for its wines and for the perfection of its local spoken French.

Get in

By train

TGV from Paris is the fastest way to get to Tours from the capital and costs about 40 Euros each way. It takes just over an hour to get to Paris Montparnasse, and about two hours to get to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on a direct train. You could also take the normal SNCF train which passes Orleans and Blois too, it takes about 2 hours depending on which train you take.

By car

Tours is situated at the centre of a highway crossroads: the A10 to Paris or Bordeaux, the A85 towards Nantes and Bourges, and the A28 towards Le Mans and the rest of Normandy. the A10 passes between Tours and St Pierre des Corps, from where you can turn off to get to the city centre.

  • The bus network in Tours is one of the best in France and many people think that Tours doesn't need Subway or Tram because of the very good bus service. A bus ticket costs 1.25 Euros and can be used for an hour.
  • Cycling is one of the best ways to see the city; Tours lies at the heart of the Loire à Velo project which has made the entire Loire Valley cyclable, and there are numerous bike rental stores.
  • Tours isn't a very big city so walking is a beautiful experience.
  • There are numerous underground car-parks in the city, such as at Place de la Gare (underneath the large square outside the train station), Place des Halles (underneath the Halles market, ideal for visiting the old town), and at Place Anatole-France (easy access to the shops on Rue Nationale).
  • Tours Cathedral
  • Place Plumereau and the Old City Le Vieux Tours, [1].
  • Loire river banks
  • Flower Market
  • Tours Castle, [2].
  • Places to visit, [3].


Walk through the old city, which is very colorful and full of old houses in the unique Tours style.

Visit the place where Joan of Arc had her armor made, right in the heart of Tours.

  • Cathédrale St. Gatien - An amazing sight to see.
  • Les Prébendes, with pathways through flowerbeds and a small stream.


The Université Francois-Rabelais offers French courses for people of any level and from any country starting at the beginning of September and ending in May, costing between 1,000 and 1,500 euro. Classes are held at the Fromont campus west of the city centre in a quiet residential neighbourhood.


The 3 major places where you can do shopping are : Rue Nationale, Rue Bordeaux and Atlantes(shopping center). Most people who work in these shops are young so there is a large possibility that they will speak English. Never start speaking English with someone before asking politely : "Parlez-vous anglais?" (pronouncation : par-lay voo on-glay)

  • Place Plumereau and Rue Colbert are arguably the best 2 places to eat in Tours.
  • There are many Kebab (Shawerma) restaurants all over and the meal(Formule : Kebab,Chips and a drink) costs 5 Euros.
  • Rue Colbert has cuisines from all over the world(Iranian, Turkish, Arab, Japanese, French, Italian....etc).
  • They have a Beer Academy.
  • lots of pubs in the old town around Place Plumereau.
  • The Pale, 18 Place Foire le Roi, is an Irish pub popular with Erasmus and American exchange students, a great place to go if you are feeling lost and don't speak any French as the clientele is about 75% Anglophone and all the staff are Irish.
  • Le Café Chaud, 33 Rue Briconnet, is a nightclub aimed at 18-30s, cool bar area on ground level and downstairs club area with cheesy music, a dancefloor and another bar. Try a cocktail, they are very large and reasonably priced, the 'Malmaison' is popular. Open every night.
  • Le G.I., 13 Rue Lavoisier is Tours' main gay club. Mostly gay men (with female friends) and lesbians, although anybody is admitted on the weekends. Expect to pay about 10-15 Euros entry but that price includes a drink ticket which can be redeemed at the bar. You need to ring the doorbell to get in, which is an outdated safety procedure, however don't be put off by this as the door staff are welcoming. Nobody arrives before 1am.
  • ZooStation - huge out of town club on the north end of Tours, free parking with a car, however to avoid getting lost on the way it is advisable to jump into a taxi and say "Zoostation s'il vous plait", the driver will know where you mean and will cost about 10 Euros each way. Drinks are pricey but the entrance fee is low, the music is mostly American and French R&B. Best enjoyed if there is a group of you as Saturday nights are busy and, like any large club, there may be some people who are out to pick a fight.
  • L'Excalibur, 35 Rue Briconnet, just next to Le Café Chaud is very small but is the place to be for the "uber-cool" crowd.


AJ du Vieux Tours 5, Rue Bretonneau, is a cheap, safe and clean hostel with no curfew. Individual, long-stay rooms are ideal for international students in Tours as the staff speak English and is a great way to make friends quickly. Has communal bathroom facilities and meals are available to buy in the cafeteria area. Also has cooking facilities for making your own meals. Great location next to a couple of internet cafés and all the bars and pubs of Place Plumereau, and just across the road from the main campus of the Université Francois-Rabelais.

Stay safe

Tours is a relatively safe city. The usual rules of safety apply: do not take risks. It is a very young town, because it is very much a university town. There is a great deal to do and the people are friendly. Like always ... stay safe.

Get out

You will want to go and have a drink at night around Place Plumereau, where many people go out. It is particularly cute in summer, when the square is filled with chairs and you just sit, not even knowing whose chairs they are.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TOURS, a town of central France, capital of the department of Indre-et-Loire, 145 m. S.W. of Paris by rail. Pop. (1906), town 61,507; commune, 67,601.67,601. Tours lies on the left bank of the Loire on a flat tongue of land between that river and the Cher a little above their junction. The right bank of the Loire is bordered by hills at the foot of which lie the suburbs of St Cyr and St Symphorien. The river is crossed by two suspension bridges, partly built on islands in the river, and by a stone bridge of the second half of the 18th century, the Pont de Tours. Many foreigners, especially English, live at or visit Tours, attracted by the town itself, its mild climate and situation in "the garden of France," and the historic chateaux in the vicinity. The Boulevard Beranger, with its continuation, the Boulevard Heurteloup, traverses Tours from west to east dividing it into two parts; the old town to the north, with its narrow streets and ancient houses, contains the principal buildings, the shops and the business houses, while the new town to the south, centring round a fine public garden, is almost entirely residential. The Rue Nationale, the widest and handsomest street in Tours, is a prolongation of the Pont de Tours and runs at right angles to the boulevards, continuing under the name of the Avenue de Grammont until it reaches the Cher.

St Gatien, the cathedral of Tours, though hardly among the greatest churches of France, is nevertheless of considerable interest. A cathedral of the first half of the 12th century was burnt in 1166 during the quarrel between Louis VII. of France and Henry II. of England. A new cathedral was begun about 1170 but not finished till 1547. The lower portions of the west towers belong to the 12th century, the choir to the 13th century; the transept and east bays of the nave to the 14th; the remaining bays, a cloister on the north, and the façade, profusely decorated in the Flamboyant style, to the 15th and 16th centuries, the upper part of the towers being in the Renaissance style of the 16th century. In the interior there is fine stained glass, that of the choir (13th century) being especially remarkable. The tomb of the children of Charles VIII., constructed in the first years of the 16th century and attributed to the brothers Juste is also of artistic interest.

An example of Romanesque architecture survives in the great square tower of the church of St Julien, the rest of which is in the early Gothic style of the 13th century, with the exception of two apses added in the 16th century. Two towers and a Renaissance cloister are the chief remains of the celebrated basilica of St Martin built mainly during the 12th and 13th centuries and demolished in 1802. It stood on the site of an earlier and very famous church built from 466 to 472 by bishop St Perpetuus and destroyed together with many other churches in a fire in 998. Two other churches worthy of mention are Notre-Dame la Riche, originally built in the 13th century, rebuilt in the 16th, and magnificently restored in the 19th century; and St Saturnin of the 15th century. The new basilica of St Martin and the church of St Etienne are modern. Of the old houses of Tours the hotel Gouin and that wrongly known as the house of Tristan l'Hermite (both of the 15th century) are the best known. Tours has several learned societies and a valuable library, including among its MSS. a gospel of the 8th century on which the kings of France took oath as honorary canons of the church of St Martin. The museum contains a collection of pictures, and the museum of the Archaeological Society of Touraine has valuable antiquities; there is also a natural history museum.

The chief public monuments are the fountain of the Renaissance built by Jacques de Beaune (d. 1527), financial minister, the statues of Descartes, Rabelais and Balzac, the latter born at Tours, and a monument to the three doctors Bretonneau, Trousseau and Velpeau. Tours is the seat of an archbishop, a prefect, and a court of assizes, and headquarters of the IX. Army Corps and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade arbitration, a chamber of commerce and a branch of the Bank of France. Among its educational institutions are a preparatory school of medicine and pharmacy, lycees for both sexes, a training college for girls and schools of fine art and music. The industrial establishments of the town include silk factories and numerous important printing-works, steel works, iron';foundries and factories for automobiles, machinery, oil, lime and cement, biscuits, portable buildings, stained glass, boots and shoes and porcelain. A considerable trade is carried on in the wine of the district and in brandy and in dried fruits, sausages and confectionery, for which the town is well known. Three-quarters of a mile to the south-west of Tours lie unimportant remains of Plessis-les-Tours, the chateau built by Louis XI., whither he retired before his death in 1483. On the right bank of the Loire 2 m. above the town are the ruins of the ancient and powerful abbey of Marmoutier. Five miles to the north-west is the large agricultural reformatory of Mettray founded in 1839.

Tours (see Touraine), under the Gauls the capital of the Turones or Turons, originally stood on the right bank of the Loire, a little above the present village of St Symphorien. At first called Altionos, the town was afterwards known as Caesarodunum. The Romans removed the town from the hill where it originally stood to the plain on the left bank of the river. Behind the present cathedral, remains of the amphitheatre (443 ft. in length by 394 in breadth) built towards the end of the 2nd century might formerly be seen. Tours became Christian about 250 through the preaching of Gatien, who founded the bishopric. The first cathedral was built a hundred years later by St Litorius. The bishopric became an archbishopric when Gratian made Tours the capital of Lugdunensis Tertia though the bishops did not adopt the title of archbishop till the 9th century. About the beginning of the 5th century the official name of Caesarodunum was changed for that of Civitas Turonorum. St Martin, the great apostle of the Gauls, was bishop of Tours in the 4th century, and he was buried in a suburb which soon became as important as the town itself from the number of pilgrims who flocked to his tomb. Towards the end of the 4th century, apprehensive of barbarian invasion, the inhabitants pulled down some of their earlier buildings in order to raise a fortified wall, the course of which can still be traced in places. Their advanced fort of Larcay still overlooks the valley of the Cher. Affiliated to the Armorican confederation in 435, the town did not fall to the Visigoths till 473, and the new masters were always hated. It became part of the Frankish dominions under Clovis, who, in consideration of the help afforded by St Martin, presented the church with rich gifts out of the spoils taken from Alaric, confirmed and extended its right of sanctuary, and accepted for himself and his successors the title of canon of St Martin. At the end of the 6th century the bishopric was held by St Gregory of Tours. Tours grew rapidly in prosperity under the Merovingians, but abuse of the right of sanctuary led to great disorder, and the church itself became a hotbed of crime. Charlemagne re-established discipline in the disorganized monastery and set over it the learned Alcuin, who established at Tours one of the oldest public schools of Christian philosophy and theology. The arts flourished at Tours in the middle ages and the town was the centre of the Poitevin Romanesque school of architecture. The abbey was made into a collegiate church in the 11 th century, and was for a time affiliated to Cluny, but soon came under the direct rule of Rome, and for long had bishops of its own. The suburb in which the monastery was situated became as important as Tours itself under the name of Martinopolis. The Normans, attracted by its riches, pillaged it in 853 and 903. Strong walls were erected from 906 to 910, and the name was changed to that of Chateauneuf. Philip Augustus sanctioned the communal privileges which the inhabitants forced from the canons of St Martin and the innumerable offerings of princes, lords and pilgrims maintained the prosperity of the town all through the middle ages. A 13th-century writer speaks with enthusiasm of the wealth and luxury of the inhabitants of Chateauneuf, of the beauty and chastity of the women and of the rich shrine of the saint. In the 14th century Tours was united to Chateauneuf within a common wall, of which a round tower, the Tour de Guise, remains, and both towns were put under the same administration. The numerous and long-continued visits of Charles VII., Louis XI., who established the silk-industry, and Charles VIII. during the 15th century favoured the commerce and industry of the town, then peopled by 75,000 inhabitants. In the 15th and 16th centuries the presence of Jean Fouquet the painter of Michel Colomb and the brothers Juste the sculptors, enhanced the fame of the town in the sphere of art. In 1562 Tours suffered from the violence of both Protestants and Catholics, and enjoyed no real security till after the pact entered into at Plessis-les-Tours between Henry III. and Henry of Navarre in 1589. In the 17th and 18th centuries Tours was the capital of the government of Touraine. Its manufactures, of which silk weaving was the chief, suffered from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685). In 1772 its mint, whence were issued the "livres" of Tours (librae Turonenses) was suppressed. During the Revolution the town formed a base of operations of the Republicans against the Vendeans. In 1870 it was for a time the seat of the delegation of the government of national defence. In 1871 it was occupied by the Germans from the 10th of January to the 8th of March.

See P. Vitry, Tours et les chateaux de Touraine (Paris, 1905); E. Giraudet, Histoire de la vile de Tours (Tours, 1873); Les Artistes tourangeaux (Tours, 1885).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also tours



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun


  1. The capital of the Indre-et-Loire département, in Centre, in France




Proper noun


  1. Tours


  • Anagrams of orstu
  • trous

Simple English

Tours is a city in the centre of France. It has about 143,000 inhabitants.


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