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April 12th 2015
Published: April 12th 2015
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Saturday. This was our first cloudy day, quite a bit cooler than those preceding. Today we left Paris and travelled to Tours on the Loire River. In the morning, before our departure from Paris, we visited a local market for an hour or so. A sumptuous array of produce was on display, and most of us bought a few tasty treats. I can say that the raspberries and the roasted cashews were both delicious. Fruits, vegetables, seafood, olives, cheeses and much more was available. A number of the boys bought hats – I am sure the stall holder was delighted to sell five hats in one go!

We departed Gare Montparnasse just after noon for our 239 km trip to Tours. This took 67 minutes, an average speed of 214 km/h, including two intermediate stops. I’ll leave it to yourself to compare this with rail travel in Australia. In Gare Montparnasse there was a piano available for travellers to use, and Frank, one of our teachers, played several pieces.

Our hotel in Tours – the Grand Hotel – is in a mild art deco style. The rooms are nice enough but it is very noisy, overlooking a busy pedestrian street, McDonalds, and cornering trams. Since our last visit here two years ago, Tours has completed their tramline along Rue Nationale. The trams are very futuristic, looking like something out of a science fiction movie. A number of us rode the tram up to see the Musée du Compagnonnage, a museum of trade masterpieces.

We headed to Tours Cathedral to go to Mass, but found out it was on Sunday night not Saturday night, so we will go back tomorrow. However, this meant we had plenty of time to view the cathedral, which is stunning. Someone was practicing on the organ, and the stained glass, which includes very contemporary works, is the most vividly coloured and splendid I have seen. Really magnificent. I didn’t have my camera with me, so no photos – sorry.

We had dinner outside in the medieval square of the old town. Tomorrow we are heading off to see the Loire Valley, including some amazing castles.

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