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Tours, France: Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours


About Saint Martin of Tours:

He was the born in 316 AD and was a convert to the Faith. He was first French saint to be canonized who was not a martyr.

Painting of St Martin of Tours giving half his cloak to a beggarThe story handed down by tradition tells of him as a young soldier who, when confronted by a poor beggar who pleaded for Martin’s assistance, removed his magnificent military cloak from his shoulders, drew his sword, and divided the garment in two, placing half of his cloak around the impoverished beggar.

He founded the first monastery in France near Poitiers, about 70 miles south of Tours, and was later made Bishop of Tours.

After his death in 397 AD, his body was brought to Tours on a cold November day and the story is told that the sun shone and flowers bloomed, which later came to be called the “Summer of Saint Martin”. Over 2,000 Religious gathered for his funeral. Pilgrimages were held to his burial site at the Basilica in Tours, and it also became a popular resting spot for those making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from the Southwest part of France.

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours on November 11.


About the Basilica of Saint Martin in Tours:

His cloak was preserved in a building called a capella, from which our word chapel comes. The original church where he was buried was destroyed during the French revolution but has now been replaced with an even larger one.

In one of of the windows (bay 20) in the Chartres Cathedral, you will find a beautiful window with scenes depicting the life of Saint Martin. He is one of four patron saints of France and has many churches both here and throughout the world named in his honor.


Traveling to Tours:

Tours is about 150 miles Southwest of Paris.  You can book day trips from Paris that include a visit to the Basilica, a wine tasting and more.

Tours is also easily accessible by train from Paris or other major French cities. If you are traveling from Paris, the high-speed TGV trains (from Montparnasse Station) will get you there in a little over one hour, or the regional trains (from Austerlitz station) will take about two hours, so you can actually make this a day trip if you wish.

Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.

The train station is about one-half mile from the Basilica.

Address: 7 Rue Baleschoux, 37000 Tours

GPS coordinates: 47° 23′ 34.1844” N, 0° 40′ 58.8504” E

Tel:    +33 02 47 05 63 87 Fax: +33 02 47 05 23 51

email: use the contact form on their website

Click here for the official website of the Basilica of Saint Martin in Tours (in French).

Click here to find hotels & restaurants in Tours, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

If you are traveling in the U.S. state of Louisiana, we suggest you visit the Church of St. Martin de Tours in Saint Martinsville, Louisiana.

⇐ Back to Catholic shrines and places of interest in France

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