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French property watch: Indre-et-Loire champions finer things in life

From exquisite chateaux to ‘the most bourgeois city in France’, nothing about this department is mundane

Château de Chinon on the bank of the river Vienne in Indre-et-Loire Pic: Pecold / Shutterstock

Department 37 capital: Tours

Main cities/towns: Joué-lès-Tours, Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, Saint-Avertin, Chinon, Loches 

Indre-et-Loire seems to want for a catchier name. The departmental council prefers using ‘Touraine’, the pre-Revolution name, for most of the area it covers.

‘The purest French’

Tours is the main city by far. It and surrounding communes, grouped into Tours Métropole Val de Loire, make up nearly half the population of the department.

Tours is sometimes called the most bourgeois city in France and residents claim they speak the ‘purest French’.

The Loire, the longest wild river in France without any dams on it, is the star attraction of the department, along with the chateaux built in its valley.

Weather and work

Traditionally marking the boundary between the north and south of France, the department typically has cool to mild winters but hot summers, with temperatures over 30C common.

Around Tours is a fair bit of industry, notably the large railway yards and maintenance depots at Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, but Tours tries to rise above the need to dirty one’s hands and instead celebrates the finer things of life.

High prices around Tours

House prices in Tours tend to be high – not surprising when Paris is less than an hour away by TGV – and looking for property below or around the €50,000 mark might bring up a few viager investment opportunities but little else.

In the countryside, it is another matter. For the truly courageous, there is a roofless farmhouse (but with stone walls still mainly standing) and 9,000m² of land for €15,000 in a commune in the far south.

Transport links

Indre-et-Loire has no fewer than four motorways, as well as the TGV line, which means transport links are good.

Ryanair usually has four flights a week to London from Tours airport in season, and one out of season.

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