The objective of this article is to give you ideas for a wine tasting weekend in Tours… without a car. We promise you a bit of biking, walking, but above all a weekend full of gustatory discoveries. Prepare your palate and come explore the city of Tours and the wines of the region!
Arrival in Tours by train, let's start a weekend around wine!
In just over an hour from Paris, the TGV drops you off in the city center.
You will be seduced by the Tours train station, built in 1847 and designed by local architect Victor Laloux. Its neo-Renaissance style, the facade adorned with stone columns, vaulted ceilings and walls decorated with mosaics make it an iconic building of the city. Along with the City Hall and the Saint-Martin Basilica, but that’s the Sunday’s program because you need to take advantage of Saturday to visit the winemakers. On Sundays, most of the wine cellars are closed.
When you exit the Tours train station, you will immediately be charmed by the beauty of this historic city located on the banks of the Loire River. Tours is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and exceptional architecture, which reflects its medieval and Renaissance past. But to discover it in more detail, you will have to wait for 24 hours. For now, let’s focus on Vouvray!
Setting off to Vouvray vineyard for a first wine tasting
Before setting off to explore the vineyards of Vouvray, don’t forget to grab something to eat. There are few restaurants on site, but you can find two excellent bakeries (boulangeries in French) near the train station. The first one is 100 meters to the right when leaving the station, while the second one is at the top left of Bernard Palissy street.
That being said, there are still one or two options for a “simple” and nice lunch, we’ll give you some tips later.
Then, rent your bikes from one of the rental shops in front of the tourist office, located at the bottom of Bernard Palissy street.
Take a portion of the Loire à Vélo trail, on the north bank of the Loire. This picturesque bike path offers you easy access to the Vouvray vineyard.
Afraid of getting lost? We recommend downloading the excellent Géovélo app (a local Touraine company, by the way!).
Tasting of wine at Domaine Le Capitaine in Rochecorbon
In about twenty minutes by bike, you will arrive in the village of Rochecorbon, in the heart of the Vouvray AOC, renowned for its white wines made from the Chenin Blanc grape variety. Vouvray is the largest producer of white wine in the Touraine region, with vineyards that extend over more than 2,000 hectares. The wines produced here are considered among the best in the region.
You can visit several winemakers in Vouvray, taste their wines and discover the different production methods. Local winemakers are often happy to share their expertise with visitors and organize tastings of their wines.
For those in a hurry, one of the closest wineries arriving from Tours is Domaine Le Capitaine.
Other possible options include Château Gaudrelle or Domaine Bourillon Dorléans, also located in Rochecorbon. All three offer tastings of dry, medium-dry and sparkling white wines. No red wines in Vouvray, your wine tasting weekend will be all about white wines!
After this wine tasting, have a lunch by the Loire with what you bought in the city for a peaceful picnic. Or, starting from spring, try the Guinguette de Rochecorbon (also called Guinguette du Lulu Parc) to taste delicious local dishes while enjoying the view of the river.
Bike ride through the vineyards and second wine tasting of the weekend!
Hop back on your bikes and head a little further into the village of Vouvray, about 15 minutes away. There, you can taste wines from some of the most beautiful local producers in the Vouvray AOC.
On the rue de la Croix Buissée, you can taste wine at Huet, but a reservation is essential. Huet is a renowned wine producer founded in 1928, known for its dry and sweet white wines. The most notable wines from this domain are Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux and Le Clos du Bourg Sec. Wine lovers often consider the Huet domain as one of the best Vouvray producers, so get ready to tantalize your taste buds!
Another possibility, but add an extra 15 minutes of biking, is to go taste wine at Vincent Carême, who is located in a very pretty house in Vernou-sur-Brenne and also offers tastings not to be missed. Also in Vernou, you can visit the Domaine Sylvain Gaudron, with a friendly and educational welcome in a troglodyte cellar.
Back to Tours : getting ready for dinner!
After returning your bikes (tomorrow’s program will be 100% pedestrian), go and check into your room for the night. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a break and freshen up before heading out again.
Tours offers a wide range of accommodation options for visitors, from small neighborhood hotels and chain hotels to interesting bed and breakfast options.
If you’re looking for a charming and unique option, La Maison Jules has become somewhat of an institution in the city center. This guest house has spacious and comfortable rooms, tastefully decorated to help you unwind after a busy day.
After a day of wine tasting in the Rochecorbon region, it’s time to recharge with a delicious dinner in the city.
Food and wine on Colbert street in Tours.
In the Cathedral quarter, Colbert street is a small pedestrian street lined with restaurants and bars offering traditional French cuisine (but not just that… but for that night, we suggest you eat local). You can make a reservation at Turon, Chez Gaster, or Les Canailles.
Turon offers a menu that includes appetizers such as venison pâté en croute and gravlax salmon, as well as dishes such as 12-hour cooked beef paleron and chorizo-crusted sea bream. Chez Gaster offers cuisine made from raw ingredients sourced directly from local farmers and market gardeners. Les Canailles has a vintage and intimate decor. The menu offers options such as Cajun-spiced pork confit, guinea fowl supreme, and veal fillet… ice cream treats and happy coffee to finish off.
And what about the wines?
Well, it’ll be an opportunity to try some reds! The must-try red wines from the region are Chinon, Bourgueil, and Touraine AOC. Let the owner guide you, his choices will always be excellent.
A well-deserved sleep before moving on to the rest of this great wine weekend in the Loire Valley.
We now only have to wish you a good night, in verse, please!
Tours is the city where wines are beautiful,
And delicate dishes make a feast at the table,
Good sleep comes with sweet felicity,
Wishing you a good night in this lovely city.
The rest of this wine weekend in Touraine, to the next episode. Until then, enjoy the tastings!