“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.”
- John Hope Franklin

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Virtual Tour of Tours

While I was talking on Skype yesterday with friends, I found it very useful to use GoogleMaps to help me explain a bit about where I live. Rather than post my own pictures, here are a few links to Google's revolutionary street-view technology which will allow you to virtually "walk" around some of the cool places I frequent in the city.

This is my house...57 Rue du Général Renault! It's a pretty residential neighborhood on the southern outskirts of Tours proper. Nobody has a yard here, but some places (like ours) have a drive-through area to a gravel lot out back where cars can park, since the streets are usually jam packed & you'd otherwise have to park blocks away to find a spot.

This is Saint-Gatien...the cathedral in Tours. Very old, very big & very impressively decorated - churches in particular are very interesting to me, as the engineering required to keep them standing for so many centuries really boggles my mind. For more detailed info, check out my previous post. 

This is my school...l'Institut de Touraine. Founded in 1912 as a school for international students, l'Institut welcomes around 2500 students each year and has had a total of over 150,000 students from more than 120 countries pass through its doors. While I'm only spending 2 weeks here, many come for months at a time.

This is Place Plumereau...one of the oldest squares in Tours. Dating from Medieval times, Place Plumereau is in the Vieux-Tours (Old Tours) section of town still has some of its original half-timber buildings (although they are leaning in every direction today) which have been restored and converted into many bars, cafés and family-run shops. This is by far the most touristy area of town and a hot spot for students to hang out come nightfall.

This is Place Jean Jaurès...the heart of downtown Tours. If you look to the right, you can see the impressive Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), and directly to its left is Le Palais de Justice ("Palace of Justice"...or just a fancy way to say court house. Don't think it'd seem so fancy if you're being dragged there in handcuffs though!) 

Running between the two is Rue National, along which one can find many clothing stores, shoe stores, banks and of course cafés. When looking at l'Hôtel de Ville, if you turn right you can head down Boulevard Heurteloup, and turning left gets you to Boulevard Béranger. Each street has large islands running down the center separating the left and right traffic lanes, and on various days each week different markets pop up here.  For example, today (Wednesday) was the flower market, where they also sell fresh fruits & veggies and random knock-off designer bags, belts, glasses, etc. And on Sundays both streets house massive flea markets where one can buy everything from recent comic books, to estate-sale type trinkets, from antique couches and furniture to taxidermied animals (I happened across a fox, a stuffed duckling, a dog...all very creepy) and pretty much anything else that someone used to use and now wants to sell. There was even a man walking a goat through here, because everyone knows how much goats enjoy going to tag sales....

So now you know a little bit more about where I spend my days wandering around - always finding new things to fascinate me!


  1. Hey Rach,

    It looks like you are finding your way around your new home just fine! Kinda makes you miss the mess in downtown Westfield doesn't it??! Keep the posts coming-it makes me feel like I can be there with you! Have a blast :)

  2. Girrrrrrrl,
    Becoming quite the "techie".
    To bad you can't remember many details about the places you have seen and been. Need to get me one of those Parisian Tag Saleing Goats.
    Love ya kid!
    Aunt Wen