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The largest city in the Loire Valley

Located on the lower reaches of the River Loire between Orléans and the Atlantic coast, Tours is the largest city in the Loire Valley. The surrounding Touraine region is known for its wines, its châteaux, and for the unaccented perfection of its spoken French. The religious importance of Tours centres on the popular figure of St. Martin, Bishop of Tours from 371 to 397, whose relics were the focus of medieval pilgrimages.

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Another important figure is Gregory of Tours, a church historian and bishop in the 6th century. All but two towers of the great medieval Basilica of St. Martin were destroyed in the Revolution, but this has since been replaced with a basilica that enshrines the few relics of Martin that survived the destruction. The Flamboyant Gothic Cathedral of St. Gatien has some fine 13th-century stained glass windows.

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