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Tours is the capital of the French Indre-et-Loire department. The city has a beautiful historical center (Vieux Tours) with well-preserved, partially wooden, houses, and a pleasant central square (Place Plumereau) with cafés and restaurants.
Almost 150,000 people live in the city itself, but the population in the entire urban area of Tours and surroundings is twice as high.
The city has the largest university of the Centre region, the Université Francois Rabelais. The university and the associated hospital are the city's largest employers. There's also a French air force base and tire manufacturer Michelin is based here. There's a modern business park in the Deux-Lions district where mainly high-tech companies and research institutes are located.
Aeroport Tours-Val de Loire is situated 6 kilometers northeast of the center. It's easily reachable by rental car via the Avenue de la Tranchée and Avenue André Maginot. The way to the airport is clearly signposted.
Tours has good public bus transport. The central bus station is located near the City Hall (Hôtel de Ville). A streetcar line is being constructed. It's expected that the first streetcars will be operational in 2013. High-speed trains (TGV) stop in Tours and connect the city with Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon.
The center of Tours is partially a pedestrian area and it may be difficult to find a parking place in the street. There are several underground parking garages to park your rental car: underneath Place de la Gare, underneath Place des Halles (ideal for a visit to the historical center) and underneath Place Anatole-France (for shopping in the Rue Nationale). Thanks to the beltway around Tours, it's easy to get from one part of the city to another.
Tours has a good choice of accommodations ranging from business hotels to cozy family hotels. There are also many bed & breakfasts, called chambres d'hôtes in France. In general, you don't need to book your room in advance, unless you want to stay at a specific hotel.
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