A Small History of Touraine :

Touraine takes its name from a Celtic tribe called the Turones, who inhabited the region about two thousand years ago. In 1044, the control of Touraine was given to the Angevins, who (as the House of Plantagenet) became kings of England in 1154, the castle of Chinon being their greatest stronghold. In 1205, Philip II (also known as Philip Augustus) of France regained Touraine. At this time, Touraine was made into a royal duchy. In 1429, Joan of Arc had a historic meeting with the future King of France Charles VII in Chinon. Throughout the late 15th and 16th centuries, Touraine was a favorite residence of French kings, and the dark and gloomy, medieval castles were converted to Renaissance castles; for this reason the region was named "The Garden of France". These same castles became popular tourist attractions in modern times. The royal duchy became a province in 1584, and was divided into departments in 1790.

Things to do in Tours

 A free city tour will take place on Monday morning (in progress - free, open to all but registration needed) 

Information about all the wonderful places to visit in Tours and its surroundings can be found on the tourist office website (https://www.tours-tourisme.fr/en/incontournables/). The city of Tours provides an exceptional starting point for a historic and architectural tour among medieval villages, world renowned castles, and landscapes with lush vineyards. Among the best places to visit in Tours are the historical downtown (Vieux Tours) and the cathedral. You can also indulge yourself in a wonderful culinary experience by stopping at small artisanal shops like boulangeries (where you can find delicious breads and pastries) and charcuteries (try the rillettes on a piece of bread accompanied by a glass of local wine such as Vouvray or Montlouis). You can finish your day by taking a stroll along the trails that are situated on the banks of the Loire River.

Dinner in Villandry Castle

Our Gala Dinner will be held in the troglodyte (rock dwellings) orangeries of the Villandry Castle located outside Tours. To get there, we organized a bus to shuttle our participants to and from the castle. If you wish to go on your own, here is the address: 3 Rue Principale, 37510 Villandry. Please note that the temperature in a troglodyte gallery can be cool, between 17-19 °C, so dress accordingly (dress code: Business Casual). The Gala dinner is included in the registration fee of each attendee. Additional tickets can be purchased. The gala dinner costs 80euros and includes transportation (to book your ticket please go to: registration)(Link will be active by mid March).  This event is limited to a maximum of 250 people.

The castle of Villandry is the last of the great Loire castles built during the Renaissance in the Loire Valley. Of the old feudal fortress built not far from Tours, only the keep remains (where in 1189, Henry II Plantagenet of England acknowledged his defeat by Philippe-Auguste, King of France). It is to Jean Le Breton, Minister of François I, that we owe its architecture marked by the French Renaissance style: gallery with arcades, richly decorated pilasters, steep roof, etc. After transformations in the 18th century, Joachim Carvallo (a doctor from the Faculty of Medicine in Paris) and Ann Coleman (heiress of American steelworkers) undertook a great work of restoration of the architecture of Villandry. And it is now their great grandson, Henri Carvallo, who manages the estate and its famous gardens. Beyond the monument, the Château de Villandry is known in France and throughout the world for its wonderful gardens. Adults and children alike enjoy strolling around and taking many pictures of the Renaissance vegetable garden, the "gardens of love", the water garden, the garden of medicinal plants, the labyrinth, without forgetting the exuberant sun garden. On a daily basis, the estate's gardeners tend to the vegetables in the greenhouse, prune the rosebushes and boxwoods, and care for all the plants and trees organically. Many species of birds flourish in this site, classified as a LPO (League for the Protection of Birds) refuge.