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Tours is the préfecture (capital) city of the Indre-et-Loire département of France on the lower river Loire between Orléans and the Atlantic coast.

The Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines.

The name of the city comes from the ancient Gallic tribe called the Turones. In Roman times it was nown as Turonensis. Saint Martin of Tours was bishop at the end of the 4th century, and his tomb became a major pilgrimage site; the church of Saint-Martin was one of the great Romanesque pilgrimage churches, like Saint-Sernin in Toulouse and Santiago de Compostela.

The Touraine was a county at the time of the Carolingian rulers (751 to 987 AD). The Vikings pillaged the town in 853 and 903. By 1044 it was held by the counts of Anjou. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Tours had a significant Huguenot population, many of which had been responsible for the building of a huge silk industry. With the Edict of Nantes rescinded in 1685 and the resulting slaughter of thousands of Protestants, the Huguenots fled the country and the once flourishing silk industry of Tours, vanished forever. Some of the Huguenots settled in Ireland where their weaving skills saw them establish some of the great Irish linen factories.

Today, with its extensive rail (including TGV) and autoroute[?] links to the rest of the country, Tours is a jumping off point for tourist visits to the Loire Valley and the chateaux of the kings.



Bishops of Tours
Saint Gatianus - (cf. Denis, Sernin, etc.)
Martin of Tours, bishop July 4, 372-November 8, 397
Gregory of Tours, archbishop 573-594
Franks and Frankish women's monasteries
Alcuin, archbishop 796-804
English possession
French royal possession

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