Tours is a French city located in the centre west of France. It is the administrative centre of the Indre-et-Loire department, and also the biggest city of the Centre region, with 136,940 inhabitants called the Tourangeaux and Tourangelles. In fact, the number of inhabitants varies depending on what is taken into account: Tours commune gathers 136,940, while Tours agglomeration counts more than 300,000 inhabitants.
Worldwide renowned for its beautiful castles, Tours is also a dynamic competitive technological and scientific pole. Thanks to its 25,000 students in Universities and specialized institutions, and to its large companies and laboratories, the city has a significant potential.
Tours area is worldwide renowned for the Châteaux de la Loire. Even though there is no famous castle in the city itself, the city is surrounded with amazing castles. Hence, the city is the right place to stay if you want an easy access to visit all of them.
Thanks to its position at the crossroads of north-south and east-west European axis, Tours is accessible from everywhere. It is besides, thanks to this position, close to Paris, that Tours developed and had a lot of influence during Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Tours’ heritage is very rich as its origins date back to the 1st century AD. At this time, it was a Roman city and was called Caesarodunum, which means ‘Caesar’s hill’. During the 4th century the name evolved as Civitas Turonorum and finally became Tours. At this time, one of the 5 largest amphitheatres of the Empire was built in Tours.
Another very important period for the city was during Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Tours was considered as the capital city of France, and kings and nobles used to have their own castles in the area. As an example, Louis the 11th settled there and brought with him plenty of activities that enabled Tours to develop and prosper. The renowned Châteaux de la Loire are the vestiges of nobles’ castles and mansions from the Renaissance.
One of the activities brought by Louis the 11th was the silk industry. The activity flourished so well, that by the 16th century 800 masters and 6,000 compagnons were practising this art. Nowadays, this savoir-faire is preserved in the Jean Roze and Le Manach manufactures. Tours’ silk is sold to interior designers, museums and castles: Chambord and Palais de l’Elysée are among the most prestigious customers. A project of building a museum of Silk Art and Techniques in Tours is under examination.
Given the assets the city boasts, Tours is a very affordable city. Indeed, while the national average for house prices is €3,200/sq m, average price for Tours is €2,485/sq m. It can be understandable as 75% of housing is apartments, thus cheaper than houses. To buy a house however, you will have to plan spending around €171,000 and €268,000. Both houses and apartments are excellent investment for a buy-to-let as 66% of residents are tenants and the area is very touristic.
To get updated info about property prices in Indre-et-Loire, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Centre Property Prices.
Tours’ area is a beautiful region that attacts many tourists, especially among British people. In the city itself you will be charmed by the traditional architecture and the tranquillity given by parks and the Loire River. Not to mention the amazing 40 castles located all around Tours!
Culture, art and historical heritage: Tours is listed as ‘Art and History City’. As previously mentioned, its influence started during the Roman era. Some vestiges of this time can be seen in the north-east of the city, in the Cathedral quarter: Wall of the Castrum of the Roman Empire, Postern of the City, thermal baths of a private house, and Gallo-Roman Tower, between others. Walking in the city, do not miss the Vieux-Tours. It is a quarter that follows an east-west axis, and has its centre around the Plumereau square. The architecture of the quarter is a mix between medieval and Renaissance houses and mansons. And finally, as Tours was the favourite destination of Kings and nobles, you will have guessed that religious monuments are numerous and impressive: Cathedrals, Basilicas, Churches, Abbeys, all kind of religious monuments can be found in Tours! And as you go out of the city you can visit around 40 amazing castles.
Street markets: Tours has kept this old tradition from the Middle Ages of having street markets every day. When supermarkets did not exist, people used to do their “shopping” on the street markets. It was also the opportunity to meet with their neighbours and exchange news and recipes. Hence, in Tours you will find plenty of markets every day but Monday. In addition to the traditional ones where you will mainly find food, there are theme markets: flowers and manufactured goods, on Wednesday and Saturday; iron, second-hand clothes and flea markets on Wednesday and Saturday; handcraft markets on Saturday; food markets the first Friday of each month, Flea markets the fourth Sunday of each month. Do not miss the annual fairs of: Garlic and Basil, Tours’ fair, Christmas market.
Parks and natural environment: Tours is a beautiful flowered city that has been awarded several times for its flowers and green spaces. With 50 parks and gardens, for a total of 40,000 sq m, Tours has won 4 flowers and a gold medal at the Entente Florale European contest for the quality of its green spaces. It is also worth mentioning that the Loire river, the one that runs through the city, is the unique river to be listed as world heritage by the UNESCO. There is a celebration every year, called the Jours de Loire, when people can discover all the secrets of the last wild river in France.
Location – transport links: Tours’ position, at the crossroads of the north-south and east-west axis of Europe, made it one of the most important cities in France. From Tours, motorway network goes in all directions; hence, you can easily reach any of large cities. Here are some distances: to Paris, 240km, 2h10 by car and 55 minutes by train; to Bordeaux, 330km, 3h15 by car and 2h30 by train; to Nantes, 196km, 1h45 by car and 1h30 by train; to Lyon, 432km, 4h by car and 3h30 by train. Moreover, Tours has an international airport, which makes distances even shorter. The low-cost airline buzz has started scheduled flights into the city’s airport from Stansted. From Tours, you are only 1h15 from London.
Rental opportunities: because the area is very popular among tourists, owning a property in Tours’ surroundings could bring you an income, as well as the obvious enjoyment of having a home in this beautiful region. The valley is one of the best areas to let to holidaying families or couples. And potential rents, in high season, can span anywhere from £400 for a two-bedroom, poolside, attached gîte to over £800 for a detached country house sleeping six. Moreover, as 66% of residents in Tours are tenants, you will not find difficulties renting your property, even among French people.
75% of dwellings in Tours are apartments, thus you will be more likely to buy one of them than a detached-house. However, Tours’ architecture is very rich because of the influence of noble families and the royal Family themselves. If you have the funding, you will love the traditional detached-house that Tours has on offer!
Timber frame houses: this kind of houses were constructed during the 15th century, when Tours was in its economical and demographical boom. They were salesmen and craftsmen stalls, had high and decorated gable over the narrow streets. Between wood beams, the assemblage of bricks creates beautiful geometrical effects. During the 17th century, thanks to the revival of the building activity, houses with wood-stair that overlooks the courtyard were also built. You will find this kind of houses in the city centre, in the old part of the city.
Manoirs: this kind of housing was built during the 16th century by wealthy families. They had an equivalent status as mansions or private castles. During the following centuries the manoir was more in between the big farmhouse like Maisons de Maître and the seigniorial castles.
Detached-houses: they are usually stone houses with a slate roof. You will be likely to find big houses outside the city centre; they usually come with a nice piece of garden, a big traditional stone fire place, a welcoming living-room and a traditional kitchen. Depending on the size of the house, they can have 3, 4 or 5 bedrooms, and usually they come with a beautiful timber stair. Most of these amazing houses have been built by the compagnons; hence the quality is beyond reproach.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Centre.
|Take a closer look at the Indre-et-Loire property market:|
|Amboise Property Information||Chinon Property Information|
|Loches Property Information||Richelieu Property Information|