Basilica of St. Martin, Tours

Basilica of St. Martin, Tours (must see)

The beginning of the story of the Basilica of St. Martin goes all the way back to the 4th Century, when a small chapel was established here. The chapel was dedicated to St. Martin, who was the bishop of Tours at that time. Destroyed and rebuilt many times since, it was architect Victor Laloux that designed the Roman-Byzantine basilica on the site today.

The first basilica was built in the fifth century over the ruins of an earlier chapel. The basilica was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours and it was erected over his tomb. Alcuin, an adviser of Charlemagne, was appointed Abbot of the monastic establishment of Saint-Martin's, developed as a collegiate church and governed by a community of canons.

The medieval chapel was destroyed in the French Revolution. Only two old towers connected to the medieval chapel are still standing today. Between the years of 1896 and 1924 the present church was built by Victor Laloux in a neo-Byzantine style on the site of the original basilica. The church was dedicated in 1925.

It has been said the exterior design is reminiscent of an old European synagogue. The interior has white stone walls and stained glass windows showing scenes in the life of the Saint. The new, modern crypt of the church holds the remains of Saint Martin.

The Basilica is located in the Tours Old Town. Saint Martin was third bishop of Tours. He is one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints in France. Because of his military experience and his leadership of French Christians, Saint Martin is seen as a protector of France.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Tours. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Basilica of St. Martin on Map

Sight Name: Basilica of St. Martin
Sight Location: Tours, France (See walking tours in Tours)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Tours, France

Create Your Own Walk in Tours

Create Your Own Walk in Tours

Creating your own self-guided walk in Tours is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Tours Old Town Walk

Tours Old Town Walk

Having successfully preserved much of its historic heritage, Tours is particularly famous for its original medieval district – Vieux Tours. The bulk of it is concentrated around three squares: Place du Grand Marché, Place Plumereau and Place de Chateauneuf.

A stroll through the Old Town, day or night, offers many delights, and is best started at Place Plumereau. Lined with wood-framed,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

The French city of Tours is forever linked to the Battle of Tours, a pivotal event in European history. Taking place in 732 AD, this momentous encounter saw the Frankish leader Charles Martel, a devout Christian, successfully repel a substantial army of Spanish Moors, thus effectively halting the Muslim advance and ensuring the preservation of Christianity throughout Western Europe.

Had it...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Tours Introduction Walking Tour

Tours Introduction Walking Tour

The Roman Emperor Augustus named the city Caesarodunum (Hill of Caesar). But it was always Tours. Caesar left the Tours Ampitheatre, the largest amphitheater of the Empire. It's good to be Caesar.

Tours is located on the River Loire. It stands between Orleans and the Atlantic shore. It is famous for the Battle of Tours in 732 CE when Spanish Moors led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi was...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles