I remember that Wednesday evening, two weeks ago. I was jet-lagged, stressed, and hungry. As we entered the city of Tours, Place Jean Jaurès greeted me and Hôtel de Ville (the city hall) was impossible to miss. At that moment, everything was forgotten. I think most travelers can relate. Located in the center-west of France, Tours captured my heart the moment I laid my eyes on it. After so many months of preparations and the anguish of wondering, “what if?”, I then opened my eyes and realized that I was here. The feeling was indescribable.
Although it is not as well known as Paris, Tours is beautiful and full of rich history. At one point, it was the capital city of France. It stands on the lower part of the Loire River and between the city called Orleans and the Atlantic Coast. It is part of the region called d’Indre-et-Loire. Tours is well known for its wines, (however, every city in France claims to be well known for their wines, so I can’t speak to that).
During Gallic times, Tours was essential as a crossing point at the Loire River. At one point, it was part of the Roman Empire (1st century AD) and it was called Caesarodunum, which means,“hill of Caesar”. However, it was changed to Tours in the 4th century. It was during the Roman Empire that the Amphitheatre of Tours was constructed; one of the five largest of the Roman Empire. The castles, the medieval buildings, and its fascinating history make the Loire Valley a mystery worth exploring.