Every summer we drive through France, and the place we always stop for a weekend is Tours. It's a beautiful medieval city in the Loire Valley, surrounded by vineyards and stunning chateaux.
I like to bring the dogs on holiday, so we travel with Irish Ferries. The sailing times are perfect for arrival in Tours for dinner.
Our favourite hotel is Chateau de Beauvois, a four-star boutique hotel in a stunning setting. Think Renaissance tower, tall ceilings, chandeliers and ornate furnishings.
On arrival, we'd have a swim in the pool and a drink at the pool bar before dinner in the hotel restaurant, Louis XIII, which is excellent. You really know you're on holiday at this point!
On Saturday, we'd do a day trip to either Chinon or Amboise, both about 40 minutes away. They are medieval towns with castles and a stunning approach along the Loire.
Tours old town is always buzzing in the evening. We love Place Plumereau for a pre-dinner drink on Saturday night. Two of our favourite restaurants are L'Embellie and Le Marche Gourmand. Both are relaxed and casual, with excellent food.
After Sunday morning breakfast on the terrace, there is a beautiful forest walk behind the hotel. It's a perfect end to a weekend that balances the city, the countryside and old-world French charm.
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