Tours Cathedral and La Psalette Cloisters, Indre-et-Loire visitors guide

Photo of Tours Cathedral and La Psalette Cloisters (Loire Valley region)

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In the eastern part of the city of the town of Tours in the Loire valley you can visit two exceptional monuments: the cathedral of Tours and the la Psalette cloisters, attached to the cathedral.

Explore Tours cathedral and cloisters

France This Way comment: there are several historic highlights in the town of Tours, but our favourite is certainly the cathedral, and the la Psalette cloister that is entered through the cathedral: both are very impressive examples of religious architecture.

Cathedral of Saint-Gatien in Tours

Cathedral of Saint-Gatien

The cathedral as we see it today was built over a long period, from the 12th century to the 16th century, and is in the gothic style. Before you enter the cathedral you will want to take the time to examine the detailed stonework of the facade, including the main doorway and the two symmetrical towers.

Among the highlights in the cathedral are the three rose windows and the 15 stained glass windows around the chancel. You can also see the tomb where the children of Charles VIII are buried in the corner of the south transept.

If you can arrange to visit the cathedral aroud dusk you can see the nightly spectacle of light and movement projected on to the facade of the cathedral.

Cloisters of la Psalette

The cloister of la Psalette is on the north side of the cathedral, and entered through the cathedral - a small entrance charge is payable for this part of your visit.

Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, the cloister is built over two levels and incorporates elements in the gothic style and also parts that are in the later renaissance style. The levels are joined by a beautiful spiral staircase. The area inside the cloisters has a nicely maintained symmetrical garden and is surrounded by galleries. In the corner opposite the entrance you can see the spiral staircase.

The galleries around the cloisters are from different periods and have different characteristics: the gallery to your left was built in 1442 and is the oldest and medieval in style, while the other galleries are more decorative with pilasters (false columns) in the renaissance style on the outside and vaulting in the flamboyant gothic style on the inside. Also at this level is a small chapel and the entrance to the staircase.

The design and decoration of the staircase will perhaps remind you of the staircase in Blois castle. Although the staircase here is smaller it is thought that the design is based on the staircase at Blois.

Upstairs in the la Psalette cloister you can see two of the the rooms where the monks worked: the scriptorium and the library. Most impressive though is the terrace, which has remarkable views of the cathedral, the gargoyles and cloisters.

Cloisters of la Psalette in Tours

Attractions nearby

Elsewhere in Tours you can discover a charming medieval centre around Place Plumereau as well as various other churches and historic monuments.

To the east of the town you can visit the Chateau de Chenonceau as well as the town of Amboise, which has several important monuments including a castle. To the west of Tours you will want to visit the gardens of Chateau de Villandry and the picturesque Chateau of Azay le Rideau.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Indre-et-Loire guide and the Loire Valley guide.

See also:

Map of Tours Cathedral and La Psalette Cloisters and places nearby

Visit near Tours Cathedral and La Psalette Cloisters with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Indre-et-Loire

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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Le jardin des Prébendes d'Oé: remarkable garden
  • Cloisters of la Psalette: national monument
  • Tours: town of art and history
  • Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire: ville fleurie 4* (2 km)
  • Les jardins du prieuré de Saint-Cosme: remarkable garden (3 km)
  • Parc et jardins du château de Valmer: remarkable garden (15 km)
  • Les jardins du château de Villandry: remarkable garden (15 km)
  • Aquarium du Val-de-Loire: aquarium (16 km)
  • Amboise: secteur sauvegarde (22 km)
  • Les jardins de la Chatonnière: remarkable garden (23 km)
  • Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau: national monument (23 km)
  • Réserve de Beaumarchais: zoo or wildlife park (26 km)

The French version of this page is at Tours Cathedral and La Psalette Cloisters (Francais)