Villers-Cotterêts Cycling Grand Prix (Picture: Sylvie Dufour)
Situated at the heart of Retz Forest, a green haven of some 35,000 acres, Villers-Cotterêts owes its rich historical past to the château François I built there, an impressive ensemble and a tribute to Renaissance architecture. It was there that François I signed a royal edict, in 1539, making French the official language in administrative and legal matters. Villers-Cotterêts is the birthplace of Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers. A museum is devoted to the novelist, and also to his father, a general in Napoleon’s army, and his son, famous playwright in his own right and author of The Lady of Camellias, which Giuseppe Verdi later turned into La Traviata. Numerous sights recall Dumas’ memory all around town. The poet Charles-Albert de Moustiers was also born in Villers-Cotterêts, and writers La Fontaine, Racine and Claudel are native sons of the area. Located a mere 75 km from Paris, Villers-Cotterêts lies close to major TransEuropean means of communication. Young and dynamic, both industrial and artistic, Villers-Cotterêts has all it takes to charm visitors.
Joigny overview (Picture: City of Joigny)
Lying at the foot of Saint-Jacques Hill and next to Othe Forest, Joigny is blessed with a unique architectural heritage, boasting no less than 20 buildings listed as Historical Monuments. Visitors will enjoy the Gondi chateau, the many churches and half-timbered houses, not to mention the gourmet restaurants! Though devoted to maintaining its historical riches, Joigny also knows how to look towards the future, providing all sorts of facilities and services to meet the needs of families and young people: day-care centers, leisure centers, youth centers, and many sports facilities, including a multisports center and a pool of unique architectural design. The exhibition center and the concert hall offer a wide range of cultural and artistic opportunities. Finally, Joigny is most attractive for investors. Thanks to its geographical location and transport infrastructures (both train and roads), as well as top-notch telecommunications, Joigny is the place for innovative companies.