Best of Tours

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Tours
Gateway to the castles of the Loire Valley, Tours is a vibrant city with an appealing medieval quarter, leafy gardens, and an array of fine museums. The city of 130,000 makes a livelier counterpoint to tiny Amboise to the east, and its myriad restaurants showcase the high-quality ingredients (and wines!) from the Touraine region, which is sometimes described as the “Garden of France” owing to its fine produce. The narrow lanes of Vieux Tours (the historic center) set the scene for memorable strolls, with a stop at a terrace bar or cafe in the Place Plumereau. Tours also has a buzzing nightlife, thanks in part to the sizable university population (around 30,000 students). 

After exploring the historic sites in Tours’ center, head out on a guided tour of the storied chateaux of the Loire Valley. Highlights include the gorgeous gardens of the Château de Villandry, the moated and turreted icon of Azay-le-Rideau, and the imposing medieval towers of Langeais. For deeper insight into the Middle Ages, visit the Forteresse de Montbazon, where you can learn about medieval trades and crafts through demonstrations and hands-on activities (firing crossbows, weaving, making wax seals, and the like). It’s a favorite with families.
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Sully sur Loire
Map of Road Trip through Western France: Paris & the Loire Valley - 5 Days
Road Trip through Western France: Paris & the Loire Valley - 5 Days

If you're short on time and want to see Paris and western France, this five-day road trip is the perfect getaway. Start in the City of Lights to haggle with market vendors and view art at the Louvre, then hit the road for the Loire Valley to the south-west. Here, each château is more magnificent than the last, and an endless variety of French wines are waiting for you to taste them. 

Chenonceau castle and grounds
Map of Road Trip through Western France: Paris & the Loire Valley - 6 Days
Road Trip through Western France: Paris & the Loire Valley - 6 Days

If you've got six days and want to explore Paris and the Loire Valley, consider this short road trip. Start in the capital city where you'll eat your fill of pastries, visit the Louvre, and learn about the city's history. Spend the second half of the trip in the Loire Valley, where magnificent castles dot the countryside and the stories flow like French wine. 

Chateau du Moulin in Lassay-sur-Croisne
Map of Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 9 Days
Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 9 Days

Paris, the Loire Valley, and Bordeaux—when it comes to French history and wine, what more do you need? This nine-day road trip includes this and more: from world-famous art in Paris and the famed castles of Tours to the unparalleled Bordeaux wine and fresh-caught Arcachon oysters. Dive into the French lifestyle as you enjoy fresh seafood in a typical brasserie and haggle with burly vendors at an 18th-century market. 

Chateau of Sully-sur-Loire
Map of Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux  - 10 Days
Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 10 Days

If driving from Paris through western France for ten days sounds like a dream come true, this itinerary is for you. Start in Paris, where art at the Louvre, flaky croissants and a day trip to Versailles will capture your imagination and taste buds. Continue to the Loire Valley to see the famed castles and see where da Vinci lived, then end in Bordeaux for world-famous oysters and wine.

In front of the Louvre
Map of Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Normandy, & the Loire Valley - 7 Days
Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Normandy, & the Loire Valley - 7 Days

If you have a week and want to explore western France, this quick road trip is perfect. Begin your journey in Paris, where you'll spend equal amounts of time exploring the city's history and savoring pastries. Continue to Normandy to visit the preserved city of Bayeux and see D-Day sites. End the trip in the Loire Valley to discover its famed castles and châteaus.

Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux
Map of Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 11 Days
Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 11 Days

Eleven days driving though the pretty countryside of western France—what could be better? Start your trip in Paris—land of espresso, world-famous art, and the gilded halls of Versailles. Hit the road for the Loire Valley, where 300+ castles, each one lovelier than the last, await exploration. End with three days in Bordeaux for a visit to the market and tasting of Arcachon’s oysters.

Water mill in the Old Town of Bayeux
Map of Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Normandy, & the Loire Valley - 8 Days
Road Trip through Western France: Paris, Normandy, & the Loire Valley - 8 Days

Eight days is enough time to see the highlights of western France at a leisurely pace—and this road trip does just that. Spend three days in Paris, where you'll explore the city's history and secrets—both at street level and underground. Continue west to the Atlantic Coast for a vacation on Normandy's seaside, then head to Loire Valley, where 300+ castles line the peaceful country roads.

Bayeux
Map of Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 13 Days
Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 13 Days

If spending thirteen days driving from Paris through Normandy to Bordeaux sounds like your perfect getaway, this trip is for you. Get to know the sweet side of France on a pastry tour in Paris, breathe in the fresh ocean air in Normandy, and view castles (including da Vinci’s former residence) in the Loire Valley. End in Bordeaux to sample the best of France’s wine and cuisine.

Chenonceau at Sunset
Map of Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 14 Days
Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 14 Days

Spend two weeks exploring the highlights of western France, from the City of Lights to the quiet villages of the Loire Valley. Sample pastries in Paris and head underground to see the catacombs, then hit the road for the beaches on the Normandy coast. End the trip in Bordeaux, where you’ll haggle with vendors for fresh seafood at an 18th-century market.

Colorful parasols on Deauville Beach
Map of Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, & More - 15 Days
Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, & More - 15 Days

Fifteen days is enough time to get off the beaten path in western France on this road trip from Paris to Bordeaux. Start in the capital city, where you'll visit the Louvre and enjoy afternoon walks along the Seine River. Head west along the Atlantic Coast to explore WWII history and explore small fishing villages and beaches, then continue south for countryside castles, Bordeaux wine, and the famed Arcachon oysters.

Beach in Deauville
Map of Western France Road Trip: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 16 Days
Western France Road Trip: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 16 Days

Spend sixteen days exploring everything western France has to offer, from the metropolitan culture of Paris to the peaceful countryside of Bordeaux. See art at the Louvre, take a day trip to the gilded halls of Versailles, and vacation like the French on the Normandy seaside. Visit Mont-Saint-Michel—the abbey on an island—before continuing south to the land of resplendent châteaus and free-flowing wine.

Richelieu quay of Garonne river in Bordeaux
Map of Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 17 Days
Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, & Bordeaux - 17 Days

From the streetside cafes of Paris to the fresh seafood markets of Normandy, this seventeen-day road trip through western France has it all. Spend a few days in the capital viewing art and eating your weight in pastries, then head west along the coast to vacation like the French on the Normandy seaside. Wrap the trip up in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux, famous for their countryside castles, 18th-century farmer's markets, and the freshest oysters in France.

Low Tide in Arcachon Bay
Map of Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, & More - 18 Days
Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, & More - 18 Days

If spending eighteen days driving from France's capital down the western Atlantic Coast sounds like the perfect getaway, this itinerary is for you. Start in Paris for flaky croissants and strong espresso, then hit the road for the coast. Vacation like the French on the Normandy seaside as you explore medieval and WWII history, then continue to the Loire Valley to see resplendent châteaus. End in Bordeaux, where the wine and oysters are unparalleled. 

Spend two leisurely days driving around the Brittany region
Map of Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley - 14 Days
Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley - 14 Days

This epic trip loops around three beloved regions in France with a nice mix of free time and guided tours. Start in Normandy to visit historical sites—spanning 900 years—between Bayeux and Omaha Beach. Next is Brittany where you'll have free time (and a car) to explore the wild, rugged coastline at your own pace. Then experience UNESCO-listed villages and castles in the Loire Valley before finishing with two days in Paris.

Vieux Port in Honfleur
Map of Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Cognac, Bordeaux, & More - 19 Days
Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Cognac, Bordeaux, & More - 19 Days

Drive along the Atlantic Coast on this nineteen-day road trip through western France. Start in Paris to see world-famous galleries at the Louvre and walk along the Seine River, then head west to explore the fishing villages and beaches of the Atlantic Coast. Visit Mont-Saint-Michel, the abbey on an island, and enjoy fresh seafood in a typical brasserie. End the trip in Bordeaux to sample the best of France’s wine and cuisine.

Normandy Countryside
Map of Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Cognac, Bordeaux, & More - 20 Days
Road Trip Through Western France: Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Cognac, Bordeaux, & More - 20 Days

Vacation like the French on the Normandy seaside on this 20-day road trip through western France. You'll walk through the gilded halls of Versailles, immerse yourself in history on the D-Day beaches, and sample the best of France’s wine and cuisine in Bordeaux. For a taste of authentic western France life, haggle with vendors for your lunch at an 18th-century market, then head to the beach to enjoy wine and seafood on the water.