Europe | France | Loire Valley | Tours – Chocolat in Tours
Jet lag and very little sleep couldn’t stop me from returning to the great city center of Tours just hours after we arrived by chartered bus from Paris for the second choir trip. With the Eiffel Tower off in the distance, it seemed sacrilege to bypass Paris altogether! But alas, we are not here just to be tourists, but to provide a refreshing change of scene to the French: Americans–Californians, no less–singing beautiful music in French, Italian, Latin and other languages.
My first full day in Tours was spent freely, getting to know a few members of my choir better while visiting the heart of the city, the Saint Gatien Cathedral, built in all its glory between the 13th and 16th centuries. It still stands tall and peacefully above the cobbled streets that circle around it. It was definitely a quiet retreat from the chic and bustling city outside its doors. We continued down a pedestrian-friendly street lined with small and inviting cafes, ranging from Indian and Italian food to the casual pannini or kebab shop. No cafe here is without its outdoor cuisine of food and conversation under the shade of colorful umbrellas, it seems.
We came upon the brick and timber façades of the apartments gently leaning over the busy square of cafes and bars that are so frequented by residents and tourists alike on these warm summer evenings. I stopped at my favorite pannini shop and just people-watched, as you do sitting in an environment like this with few worries hanging in the balance.
One of the alumni choir members I was with showed us his favorite Chocolatier just a few blocks away. He has come back to this hospitable city several times since his first trip with the choir five years ago. He claims this Chocolatier is the reason he is determined to live here in Tours. What with creamy chocolate Madelines that melt in your mouth, or a chocolate-orange coin modeled after Tours` ancient currency, I can see why. Like many places in Europe, this one appreciates and takes pride in its history, shown through cuisine and pleasing delicasies.
Our first rehearsal today went well, despite the heat, but a refreshing jog in the streets of Tours, followed by a pannini, was all I needed to round off my second day here. More from me after we have had our first concert….