Tours © Ligeris
Located at the junction of the Loire and the Cher Rivers, the holiday destination of Tours is a great base for exploring the valley. The town was badly bombed during the last war and many buildings were replaced with ugly apartment blocks. Tours is, however, surrounded by magnificent châteaux and is a fun place to spend the evenings; the streets and bars are filled with locals and tourists and the huge student population ensures that the nighlife buzzes almost every night of the year.
Within the city the cathedral is worth a visit while on holiday. Its flamboyant Gothic façade is flanked by towers dating from the 12th century, inside are some glorious 13th-century stained-glass windows and the handsome 16th-century tomb of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne's two children. There is also a fine provincial museum in Tours, in the Palais des Archevêques, with a number of Old Masters works' including some by Degas, Delacroix, Rembrandt, and Boucher. It is a pleasant city to walk around - the old town especially - and there are a number of pretty pathways and parks to explore. It is also fun to cycle along the river Loire and this is a good way to orientate oneself in the city.