Hub of the Loire, Tours is a lot more than just a gateway to the châteaux and wine of the region. This ancient Roman city fizzes over with life: there's the markets, arts and crafts, fashion and of course cuisine to be sampled. If this introduction makes Tours sound like a jack of all trades and master of none, then you're mistaken, Tours is quite masterful at several, but it does offer something for everyone when it comes to choosing the best places to stay in Tours.
Tours is more than just a gateway to the Loire châteaux, but many of the region's 59 châteaux are easily visited from Tours. Including some of the most famous, the Château de Chenonceau, Château d'Amboise and Chambord. And some of the most beautiful: Château d'Usse, Villandry and Château d'Azay-le-Rideau.
On the wine front you're in the heart of the Touraine region, known for its crisp, dry whites, which go extremely well with the rich foods. There's no better place to sample some of the region's bounty than Las Halles the covered food market - make sure you try some local goat's cheese, and maybe some rabbit?
If you're interested in developing knowledge as well as a nose for the wines of Touraine, start your odyssey at the Touraine Wine Museum. As well as wine tastings they have information on the history of wine making in the region, and the 69 different Unesco-protected vineyards. And famous sample sales.
The town itself is easy to get around on foot, with many of the prettiest bits of the city within walking distance of the heart of old Tours. As well as the Cathedral of Saint-Gatien, the Priory of Saint-Cosme and the ruins of the Basilica of St. Martins, people with an interest in history or religion may also want to visit the spot where Joan of Arc's armour was made.
Art lovers should visit the Museum of Fine Arts, which has a fine collection of works, including paintings by Rubens, Degas, Delacroix and Rembrandt. And Tour's Clos Luce is a fascinating museum dedicated to the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci.
Tours is also known for its shopping. Both new and second-hand clothes, antiques and original art. The Rue Nationale is a good place to start, especially if you're on the look out for hard to find French fashion labels, but this is also where you'll find the galleries.
Cycling is a popular way to get in and out of Tours, and there are numerous bike rental services. And many of the Loire's great châteaux are within a cycle ride of the best places to stay in Tours on the Loire a velo.
Excellently positioned townhouse B&B in downtown Tours. Varying rooms sleep from two up to five. Ideal for groups and families, and great value.
Tours, Loire Valley
A townhouse B&B in a great location opposite the theatre in the centre of Tours. Simple and contemporary bedrooms are functional rather than aesthetic. Good value for a clean and simple city spot.
Attractive townhouse B&B with large wooden-beamed rooms, some with private balconies. Well placed for sight seeing and excellent value for money.
Semblançay, Loire Valley
Excellent restaurant with rooms in a picturesque village. Contemporary and comfortable rooms and family rooms, lovely garden courtyard and terrace, and a relaxed ambience. A great spot for families, groups and local explorers.
Dissay sous Courcillon, Loire Valley
In a delightful village in the Loire valley, this 12th century former monastery has been in the same family for many years. Three spacious rooms, each with a garden view, are full of character with exposed beams and antique furnishings. A perfect retreat for families; peaceful and lots to do!
Elegant rural chateau with an excellent spa and gourmet restaurant. Beautiful gardens and terraces and stately salons. A country escape ideal for weddings, foodies, and families.
Rochecorbon, Loire Valley
An art and design hotel with fantastic spa and art exhibitions. Rooms and suites in black and white with almost neon lighting. Excellent for receptions, meetings, and weddings. All very modern!
Vouvray, Loire Valley
Stunning sand-stone country estate cum luxury B&B with vineyards. Rooms, suites, apartments and two cottages cater to families, groups and weddings. All decorated in elegant style with valley views. Fabulous swimming pool, terraces, and gardens.
Tours, Loire Valley
Stunning chateau turned hotel, run by a Count and Countess. Huge bedrooms and suites with four poster beds and opulent decoration. Rooms, suites, and family suites to suit families, groups of friends, or perhaps a wedding party. Excellent food by arrangement.
Perched on a cliff and overlooking the Loire, this hotel is entirely unique. Carved into the rock, bedrooms are exciting and elegantly decorated with complementing fabrics and fittings. There is a fine restaurant with views of the river. Fresh seafood and local produce. A treasure on the Loire.