Feel our top 5 sensory experiences in Tours…

See craft items at the Musée du Compagnonnage. This is the only museum of its kind in the world, where you can learn about the customs of the travelling guild tradesmen, whose creation of everything from ironworks to saddles to pastry were a major tradition in Touraine.

Hear horses’ hooves on a tour of the cobbled streets by horse-drawn carriage in July and August.

Smell garlic and basil at the eponymous fair in July, and an aromatic glass of Sancerre, one of the Loire Valley’s many famous wines.

Taste fresh fish served with beurre blanc. The Loire Valley is famous for its wonderful variety of freshwater fish: trout, eel, bream and pike headline menus everywhere, delicately cooked and smothered in this rich butter sauce.

Touch the paddle of a canoe or kayak. Skim silently along the Loire, Vienne, Erdre and Cher rivers, getting up close to the valley’s wildlife (including beavers and birds) and pausing to explore the rivers’ deserted islands.

At the heart of the Loire Valley with all the most famous châteaux close by, the city of Tours (External link) delights visitors with its medieval centre and cultural heritage, great shopping areas and guinguette riverside cafés. It has a quiet, relaxed atmosphere despite its 40,000 resident students and is a recognised Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (Town of Art and History). Take a stroll along Rues Colbert, Briçonnet and du Grand Marché where you’ll find sites bursting with history including Hôtel Goüin and the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Other must-see attractions include the magnificent St-Gatien cathedral and the basilica housing Saint Martin’s tomb, superb city parks and gardens such as the Jardin Botanique, and the covered markets and flea market.

Getting to ToursBy air: Tours-Val de Loire Airport; 102km from Poitiers-Biard Airport; 215km from Nantes-Atlantique AirportBy train: 1h15m from ParisBy road: A10 (240km from Paris)

Further information:Tours Tourist Office78-82 rue de Bernard Palissy37042 ToursTel: +33 (0)2 47 70 37 37 (External link)