Approche historique de la Place Anatole France, un espace en contact permanent avec l’histoire A historical approach to the Anatole France Square: an urban space in permanent contact with history

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Anatole France Square is a public space in the oldest part of the city of Tours. Through the centuries it has undergone many changes, but its unique historical wealth and identity are inseparable from those of the city of Tours as a whole. The purpose of this short chapter is to briefly trace its history. During the Celtic era, the Tours region – called ‘Touraine’ - was occupied by the Gallic people of Turones, so Anatole France Square was probably an agricultural site with orchards. Tours was founded following the Roman annexation of Gaul in 52 BC. The area now covered by the Anatole France Square was not included in the first settlement, implanted in the present Saint-Gatien neighbourhood. In the medieval era, Tours, like many contemporary cities, was divided into two distinct urban centres: the Cité and the Châteauneuf. Even though the square did not belong to either of these neighbourhoods, an abbey dedicated to St. Julien was located on its perimeter and the successive enlargements of the abbey since 1240 are still partly visible. During the Hundred Years War, to defend Tours against the English, the ancient walls of the Cité and the Châteauneuf were replaced by a new wall which enveloped the area now known as Anatole France Square.
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