After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover your new country, culture, traditions and everyday life after your class is over.
Examples of typical cultural opportunities: visit to local museums, theatres or wine cellars, a tour of the chateaux of the Loire Valley, canoeing on the river Loire, etc.
Main Sights: Get to Know Tours
Saint Gatien's Cathedral:
The Tours Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours), dedicated to Saint Gatien, its first bishop, was begun about 1170 to replace the just-started cathedral that burned down in 1166 during the quarrel between Louis VII of France and Henry II of England.
Work on Tours Cathedral proceeded at a leisurely pace over the centuries until 1547. The lowermost stages of the west towers belong to the 12th century, but the rest of the west end is in the profusely detailed Flamboyant Gothic of the 15th century. It was completed just as the Renaissance was flourishing, which can be seen in the belfries.
Inside the church there are some of the finest stained glass (13th century). The choir is 13th century; the transept and east bays of the nave are 14th century; a cloister on the north is contemporary with the facade.
The medieval district of the old town is well restored. Small Place Plumereau, the main square of the ‘old town’, is surrounded by ensemble of fahverque houses of the XV century. Walking through labyrinthes of narrow streets is a real treat! The fahverque house Tour Charlemagne is the most remarkable in the city centre.
Basilique de St-Martin:
The Basilique de St-Martin in Tours is a neo-Byzantine basilica on the site of previous churches built in honor of St. Martin, bishop of Tours in the 4th century. Next to it are two Romanesque towers and a Renaissance cloister surviving from the earlier basilica.
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
Discovering the Loire Valley is an eye-opening experience as there are a number of park-lands and forests next door. Such as Brenne with its many lakes, the spectacular game forests of Sologne, the verdant valleys of the Perche or Loire-Anjou-Touraine park.
Discover the gentle relief of the Loire Valley on foot, on horseback or even by bicycle. Visit the Witchcraft Museum at Concressault to the International Park and Garden Festival at Chaumont sur Loire, from the veritable maze of cropland in Touraine to the Maison Picassiette at Chartres.
Chateaux and Chateau de Chambord:
In the surrounding countryside, you will find many famous chateaux, over 1200 in the Loire valley. Chateau de Chambord, is the largest of the Loire castles and the sumptuous Renaissance Palace of king Francois I.
Chateau at Chenonceaux:
South of Tours, the chateau at Chenonceaux may be the finest of the region’s castles. Built in 1520, the building was home to Diane de Poitiers, mistress to Henry II, until his death in 1559, when his widow Catherine de Madici had the Poitiers evicted.
Today, visitors can wander through Catherine’s gardens, rent a rowboat to drift along the river Cher or, in summer, kick back and watch the nightly son-et-lumiere (sound and light) extravaganza on the Chateau grounds. There are magnificent 13th-century cathedrals in Chartres and Tours, as well as abbeys and mansions and charming riverside towns and villages.
Orleans, famous for its associations with Jeanne d’Arc, with a beautiful cathedral, the Musee des Beaux Arts and 16th-century Hotel de Ville; and Bourges, a 15th-century town, complete with old houses, museums and the Cathedral of St Etienne.
The charming little town of Loches, southeast of Tours, has a fine chateau and an interesting walled medieval quarter. It was in the heartland of the Touraine where the true cuisine of France developed (Touraine was given the name ‘the garden of France’). If these delightful towns are not quite enough, Paris is only one hour away by train!
Museums: Experience The History of Past Generations & Cultures
HOTEL GOUIN (Formerly Hotel Gardette, 16th c.):
Touraine Archeological Society collection: prehistory, Gallo-Roman and medieval archeology, medieval, Renaissance.
MUSEE DU COMPAGNONNAGE:
This museum is unique in the world as it contains the masterpieces, tools, illustrated and written records of the Tour de France journeymen since 1840.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM:
Formerly the Tours bailiff s tribunal, 18th c. Museum present the natural history of Touraine