The Cathedral of Tours - Amazing Cathedrals in Europe - Visiting Tours #1

What is the most famous building in Tours?

The wonderful French - gothic Cathedral of Tours is certainly the most famous building of the town.

Its white façade is particularly impressive and in the interior the tall naves will amaze you.

The Cathedral of Tours is dedicated to St Gatien and even if you don't have much time to spend in the town of Tours, you should absolutely visit it.

What should I look for in the Cathedral of Tours?

As said the cathedral is absolutely magnificent seen from outside and inside too, but one particular "jewel" we absolutely recommend you to visit.

The jewel is the tomb of the children of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany by Michel Colombe, 1506: an early monument of the French Renaissance.

Charles Orland and Charles, the sons  of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany, died respectively at the age of 3 and 26 years.

Because of their very young age the monument is even more rare and impressive.

The sculptures of the two children lying in state one next to the other one are at the same time extremely beautiful and moving.

Before to visit this tomb take also a look to our post about the tomb of the parents of the Duchess Ann of Brittany in the Cathedral of Nantes: you will immediately make out the strong connection between the two funeral monuments, connected not only by the amazing historic character of the Ann of Brittany.
(click here to read about Nantes Cathedral).

Why Charles Orland aged only 3 is so famous in the French History (also... the story of How you can never avoid your destiny) ?

The 10 October 1492 Charles Orland was born and  was automatically Dauphin of France (this is the reason why a dolphin is also sculptured next to him on his tomb, dauphin meaning dolphin in English)
Charles Orland was immediately the subject of controversy.

His parents wanted to name him Orlando (French: Orland), after Roland, the Carolingian hero of The Song of Roland whose name was rendered thus in Italian. The godfathers (Louis, Duke of Orléans, next in line for the throne, and Peter II, Duke of Bourbon) refused to allow a future king of France to be given such a foreign name and begged for him to be named instead after his ancestors: Louis, Philippe or Charles.

The chronicler Philippe de Commines describes Charles Orland a "beautiful child and daring in word, not fearing the things that the other children are accustomed to fear", Charles Orlando was a healthy and vigorous child, who grew well and strong, a fluent speaker by age 3.

He was the pride and joy of his parents. His mother doted on him, buying him presents; his father described him as the "most beautiful of gems". Both insisted on being kept informed of his health and his progress, by means of letters and messages.

The King also took a series of measures in order to protect his heir. Hunting in the forest of Amboise was prohibited; the gates of the city were reduced to four, making it easier to monitor traffic and to seal the city where necessary; archers were posted at the strategic points of the castle; and the child was constantly in the prayers of François of Paule.

Sadly, in the autumn of 1495, an epidemic of measles struck Touraine, Charles VIII (who after returning from Italy remained in Lyon, where he was joined by the Queen), ordered the child to be even more closely cloistered in Amboise. But to no avail: Charles Orlando contracted measles, and in spite of the efforts of the doctors and the prayers of the monks, he expired on 16 December 1495.

Charles VIII, deeply affected, but advised by his physicians to remain staunch and cheerful, succeeded in hiding his sorrow; Anne gave herself up to her grief so violently that for a time her life, and her sanity, were feared for.

This is one of the many sad chapters of the heroic and tormented life of the Duchess Ann of Brittany.
(Read more about the amazing life of the Duchess Ann of Brittany on our post about Nantes Cathedral)

A great thanks goes to Anne-Claire and Ludo Chêne-Geffroy for making this post possible.

What else should I visit in France?

Read our page Visit France for more posts and destinations.


What are the other amazing cathedrals in

Here a full list of the posts about the amazing cathedrals of Europe already published:

An act of love and an act of power (Visiting Nantes #2 - The Cathedral) 

The Cathedral of Light - Visiting the model of Ken Follett's Kingsbridge Cathedral in The Pillars of Earth  - Salisbury Cathedral

What else should I visit in France?

Read our page Visit France for more posts and destinations.

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