Wander round the famous historical quarter, relax on the banks of the Loire, go shopping, visit chateaus and museums… There is no shortage of activities in Tours and the surrounding area, a region famous for its laid-back lifestyle and the richness of its heritage.
An attractive city at the heart of the history of France
Situated an hour from the capital, Tours is often called “little Paris”. As the finest city in the Centre-Val de Loire region, it is active in every aspect of life: community, economic, sporting… Tours offers a rich cultural program throughout the year and is home to a large number of businesses and shops. Touraine is also at the heart of the famous region of the chateaus of the Loire, which once hosted kings of France, Joan of Arc and Leonardo da Vinci. Tours is surrounded by almost 50 famous chateaus such as Amboise and Chambord, and the unmissable Chenonceau. Touraine is also the birthplace of such prominent writers as Rabelais, Ronsard or Balzac.
A lively city, both by day and by night
Tours is a great city in which to live, go shopping, and meet up with friends… A short distance from the Institute, the historical quarter is appreciated for its numerous cafés and terraces, particularly in Place Plumereau, considered one of the most beautiful squares in France to have a drink. In nice weather a “guinguette” (popular open-air bar-restaurant) attracts students, families and tourists to the banks of the Loire. Tours is also home to a number of cinemas, an opera house, an ice rink, swimming pools, a contemporary art center (CCCOD), and several concert venues for jazz lovers (le Petit Faucheux) or electronic music enthusiasts (Le Temps Machine), for example.
Loire Valley: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Known as the “Garden of France”, Touraine is blessed with many parks and green spaces, such as the famous French gardens of the Château de Villandry. Crossed by the Loire, the last wild river in Europe, the region is known for hiking, hot-air ballooning, visiting vineyards… Tours is also on the route of the Loire à Vélo cycle path which joins the center of France to the Atlantic.
French traditions and gastronomy
The wines of Chinon, Bourgueil, Vouvray or Montlouis, goat’s cheese, charcuterie, macarons... Touraine is a region famous for the quality of its wines and local products. Around the Institute are a number of gourmet or inexpensive restaurants, pizzerias, crêperies and foreign restaurants, etc. The wine and cooking workshops organized by the Institute also introduce students to French gastronomic heritage.