With its fancy 15th century renaissance façade this former town mansion building is a stunner and, though the building it conceals was damaged by fire following the bombings of 1940, the restorations are not discernable.
Inside is the archaeological museum run by the ‘Archaeological Society of Touraine’ – unfortunately there is a rule of ’no photos’ inside. The interesting and eclectic collection includes material dating from the palaeolithic and Roman history of the Touraine area to the late 19th century. It warrants a visit, though unless you have a specialised interest your stay is unlikely to be extended. Guided tours are available.
This museum is unique in the world. It contains the masterpieces, tools, illustrated and written records of the Tour de France journeymen since 1840.
Open 16.09 - 15.06, 9 - 12 am and 2 - 6 pm except Tuesday. 16.06 - 15.09, 9 - 12.30 am - 2 - 6 pm every day except 14 July.
Closed 1st Jan, 1st May,14 July, 1st Nov,11 Nov,25 Dec.
Last visitors admitted 30 minutes before closing time.
The building of the museum is the former archbishop palace in Tours. One of France best provincial museum, it houses wide range collections of painting and rugs from the great houses of Touraine during the Revolution, supplemented by loans from the Musée du Louvre and the French state, gifts, bequests and acquisitions.
The collection of paintings are breath-taking. A 200 years old Lebanon cedar tree will greet you right at the entrance of the museum.
TIP: go there late in the afternoon, around 6pm I think, entrance is free by then!