As I'm gearing up to move to France in September, I still don't know which city I'll be placed in. I'll get my exact assignment next month or in June, but I do know that I'll be in Région Centre teaching at the primary (elementary-school) level, hopefully in a medium-to-large-sized city. So, I thought I'd do a little exposé on this part of France!
|Région Centre. As you can see, it's super close to Paris!|
Tours (pronounced "tour") is the city that's near and dear to my heart. I spent this past summer interning there, and it's just gorgeous and amazing. It's close to all of the Loire Valley châteaux (castles) and a hot second away from Vouvray. You better believe I did lots of wine tasting! Tours is a medium-sized city with a population of about 135,000 over 13 square miles. Okay, maybe it's small, but its metropolitan area has a wide span! Tours is two hours away from Paris by train, or just one hour by TGV. This is my first-choice city for next year. (Note: I took the photos of Tours below.)
|Hôtel de Ville de Tours (City Hall of Tours)|
|Gare de Tours (Tours Train Station)|
|Tours along the Loire River|
Orléans (pronounced "or-lay-ahn," unless you can do the nasal vowel at the end) is most famous as Joan of Arc's hometown. There's even a museum/replica of her home! The city's population is about 115,000 over about 10 square miles, and it is the capital of Région Centre. Orléans is between Tours and Paris, so it's about an hour outside of Paris by train.
Châteauroux (pronounced "shah-toe-rue") is a bit smaller than Tours and Orléans. There's no real "claim to fame" here and I've never been here, but doesn't it look charming? Its population is just under 50,000 for 10 square miles. Châteauroux is about two hours by train from Paris, and there is no TGV option from here.
While I've never been to Bourges (pronounced "boorj") either, a good friend of mine is from here. Alexis and I were assigned to each other as Skype partners while he was in school in Bordeaux, and my friends and I actually visited him while in France this past summer! (He's currently pursuing the French equivalent of an MBA in Paris.) Of the four cities listed here, Bourges is the largest (at about 26 square miles) but has a small population (about 65,000). And seriously...how gorgeous is that cathedral and its gardens? Like Châteauroux, Bourges is about two hours by train from Paris and with no TGV option.
Which of these cities would you want to visit?