Tours dates its history back to an origin as a Roman settlement.  The Gauls called it “Turones,” and eventually this name would morph into its modern moniker.

The city was very much involved in the early AD spread of the Christian religion.  A fourth century Bishop of Tours, St. Martin, developed a posthumous cult following that made the city a magnet for pilgrims, a development that would work to bring Tours much religious renown as well as economic prosperity.

By the 1400’s, this Loire town was acting as an unofficial royal seat of power for the likes of Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Louis XII.  Silk trade brought about further commercial, and therefore cultural, exchange, the latter ultimately resulting in the stunning architectural and artistic developments that took place in the city from the Late Middle Ages and French Renaissance onward.

Now the Loire Valley’s largest city, much of 21st-century Tours’ Tour-ism lies in its history, its previous achievements self-consciously and perpetually on display in order to bring in more and more visitors to bolster its economy.