Tours (anc. Civitas Tyronum and Coesaro-dunum), a city of France, capital of the department of Indre-et-Loire, chiefly on a tongue of land between the Loire and the Cher, 120 m. S. W. of Paris; pop. in 1872, 43,368. The bridge over the Loire is one of the finest in France. A handsome street traverses the town, and contains a marble statue of Descartes, who was born near Tours. Only two towers remain of the celebrated cathedral of St. Martin of Tours, destroyed in 1793. The palace of the resident archbishop is of uncommon beauty. The town hall has a large public library and remarkable manuscripts. Cloth, carpets, silks, and many other articles are manufactured. - Tours was the capital of the ancient tribe of Turones, under the Roman emperors of the latest period of Gallia Lugdu-nensis III., and lastly of Touraine. A number of important councils were held here, and the states general of France were repeatedly assembled here in the 15th and 16th centuries. The silk industry first arose here, and was of vast extent until the rise of Lyons. The town had a population of nearly 80,000 at the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, which ruined its prosperity.
Several members of the government of the national defence, including Gambetta, had their seat in Tours during the siege of Paris, till Dec. 10, 1870, when they removed to Bordeaux. The Germans finally occupied Tours, Jan. 19, 1871.