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Tours is located on the lower reaches of the Loire river, between Orleans and the Atlantic coast. It is the largest city in the Centre region, in the northwest of France, although it is not the regional capital. Situated at the heart of a European communication network, Tours is one of the major centres of France.
Tours dates its history back to an origin as a Roman settlement - the Gauls called it ‘Turones’. A fourth century Bishop of Tours, St. Martin, developed a posthumous cult following that made the city a magnet for pilgrims, a development that would work to bring Tours much religious renown as well as economic prosperity. By the 1400’s, the town was acting as an unofficial royal seat of power for the likes of Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Louis XII. Silk trade brought about further commercial, and therefore cultural, exchange, the latter ultimately resulting in the stunning architectural and artistic developments that took place in the city from the Late Middle Ages and French Renaissance onwards.