A lively day in Tours

Nothing engages a train car full of French people than when an old lady tells two Americans that their country’s cheese sucks.  On our way to Tours, France, an elderly woman took up conversation with HOB, and in finding that we are American, loudly and in great detail denounced our country’s cheese, much to the amusement (and agreement) of our fellow passengers. This was an appropriate introduction to Tours: a town both lively and home to great cheese.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Tours, since most of the guide books focus on it as a spot to catch a guided tour of Loire chateaus or a place to learn French.  Over and over I read “The most pure French is spoken in Tours.”  The idea of  “pure French” is creepy and nationalistic to me, and as someone who thinks of language as fluid, dynamic and personal,  it also seems just plain incorrect.  We did see plenty of evidence of (non-creepy)  language schools, and cafes and bars full of attractive young adults.

The real attraction in Tours is the food, most especially the raw milk goat cheese.  Our first stop was the market, where we purchased AOC Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine and Celles-sur-Cher.  And, after a second stop for a mighty fine loaf of local bread, we had the fixings for a memorable lunch.  Just don’t call it pure….

How we got to Tours: bus  and train from Chauvigny.
Where we slept: ibis budget Tours Centre.  Price: €45 for a double.  Recommended: meh.


The bread was so excellent at Boulangerie Grimaud at Place Grand Marché we had to come back for more.  They have a neat machine you put your euros in to pay for you bread, so the sales staff don’t soil your tasty bread with dirty money fingers.


Hey, that looks like American Cheese!


Delicious local goat cheese from the market.  The log is Sainte-Maure de Touraine, it had a straw in the middle and was the more milder tasting of the two.  The round cheese is Celles-sur-Cher, which was so so stinky in all the right ways.


We saw several examples of this local specialty in Tours–the Hummer.  I can’t think of a better name for a bloated white bread sandwich with orange cheese and three hamburger patties.  Inexplicably, we opted to picnic on market foods instead of trying this delicacy.


  1. The rillettes of Tours are justly famous. When I get ambitious, I try to make them here in the USA. So far, my success has been minimal!


    1. Oh my, I want to try those!


  2. what a pity – stumbled upon your blog 2 months too late! Husband and I did a trip to Normandy (from India) in July-August, went to Tours (and many other locations like Bayeux etc .., excellent travel experience, no crowds, pleasant weather) but we would have loved to try the food and restaurant you recommended …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What an amazing trip you had–including India!

      Seeing the Bayeux tapestry was one of my best experiences ever. Did you enjoy it?


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