Le Curé de Tours (The Vicar of Tours) is a novella originally entitled Les Célibataires (The Celibates) and is one of the best known of all Balzac's fiction writings. Although it was originally placed under Scènes de la vie de privée it was ultimately classified under Scènes de la vie de province of La Comédie humaine.
The action of the novella takes place in or near Tours, with a brief excursion to Paris, in the year 1826. This early novella is a key to understand La Comédie humaine. Balzac's meticulous concern with scene-setting, his increased fascination with dialogue, his conviction that life is a play, his keen obersation of human psychology, especially in celibacy, are already observable in the novella. They will achieve full maturity in La Cousine Bette and Le Cousin Pons.