+ Choose a zone on the map: Nord - Sud
London, Canterbury, Dunkerque, Gent, Waregem, Compiègne, Villers-Cotterêts, Joigny, Chablis, Autun, Semur-en-Auxois, Marcoussis, Paris - Champs-Élysées
Bourg-en-Bresse, Le Grand-Bornand, Tignes, Val-d'Isère, Briançon, Tallard, Marseille, Montpellier, Castres, Albi, Mazamet, Plateau-de-Beille, Foix, Loudenvielle - Le Louron, Pau, Orthez, Gourette - Col d'Aubisque, Castelsarrasin, Cahors, Angoulême
London is the sixth European capital to be chosen for the Tour’s Big Start and joins Amsterdam (1954), Brussels (1958), Berlin (1987), Luxembourg (1989 & 2002) and Dublin (1998).
Capital of Great Britain, on the Thames. Population 2,400,000 (Londoners). Outer London: 6,400,000.
Originating around a bridge built by the Romans at the beginning of the 1st century AD, London is England’s leading port. The political and financial metropolis is made up of three distinct areas: the business centre around the City, the residential West and the industrial East.
Essential sightseeing: the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, British Museum, Greenwich.
Primary ecclesiastical centre of England, in the Duchy of Kent.
Its legendary cathedral, part of which was built by French architect Guillaume de Sens, was the centre for the largest European pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. Its history is linked to the tragic destiny of Archbishop Thomas Becket, murdered on the order of Plantagenet King Henry II in 1170.
Municipality of West Flanders. Population 35,000.
It organises one of Belgium’s most famous steeplechase races which still attracts large crowds to the Gaverbeek racecourse.
In Waregem, in 1957, Van Steenbergen won a memorable championship ahead of Louison Bobet and André Darrigade.
Principal canton town of the Aisne. Population 10,123 (Cotteréziens).
In the heart of the Retz forest, one of France’s most extensive State forests, Villers-Cotterêts developed under the influence of François I who renovated the royal château and imposed the French language in official instruments (order of 1539). Birthplace of Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), author of the Three Musketeers; a museum retraces the life and work of the two Dumas (father and son). Opening in 1992 of a European high school.
Principal canton town of the Yonne, on the river Yonne. Population 10,032 (Joviniens).
A typical Burgundy town renowned for its gastronomy, in the vicinity of the Othe forest.
Built in an amphitheatre shape, it features an architectural heritage of quality (Château des Gondi with its Renaissance exteriors, church of Saint-Jean, old houses).
The town has twin “Art et Histoire” and “Plus beaux détours de France” labels.
Birthplace of novelist Marcel Aymé (1902-1967).
Principal canton town of the Yonne, on the Serein. Population 2,590 (Chablisiens).
Burgundy’s Golden Gateway. Since the Middle Ages, its ancient vineyard has assured the region’s prosperity and produced universally renowned white wines.
Sightseeing: the Saint-Martin collegiate church, the Obédiencerie with its old press, the Hospice or Hôtel Dieu
Principal canton town of the Côte d’Or, on the Armançon. Population 5,000 (Semurois). Altitude: 286 metres.
One of Burgundy’s most important strongholds in the 16th century, this fortified town featured eight monasteries and convents prior to the Revolution. Splendid vestiges include ramparts, keep and Notre-Dame collegiate church. Every 31 May, it organises France’s oldest horserace, created in 1639.
The town has a total of 3,500 schoolchildren.
Savoie winter sports resort. Population 2,000 (Tignards). Altitude: 2,100 metres.
The old Savoyard village, that was swallowed up by the lake, created by the dam in 1952, has since become a world famous resort known for its ski area: the Espace Killy, Tignes - Val d’Isere; the most beautiful ski area in the world.
Tignes, a cosmopolitan and sporty resort, positions itself as a reference for high level sports of many disciplines. In addition to the benefits of the altitude, athletes enjoy Tignes’ natural stunning environment, especially with the famous Grande Motte glacier on which we can ski all year round.
This small town of 2000 inhabitants benefits from an exceptional climate, situated in the Hautes - Alpes. An old fortified town on the river Durance, it is the heart of a fruit and wine region and is crossed by the Napoleon route. Its 17th-century church, St Grégoire, hosts an Armenian pilgrimage since 1954 and its 14th - 16th century château, listed a historical monument, hosts numerous activities: shows, concerts, medieval festivals, exhibitions and, in 2007, a new museum section. The Gap-Tallard airfield is a unique centre for all sports and airborne leisure activities.
Principal canton town of the Tarn. Population 11,300 (Mazamétains).
Situated in the foothills of the Montagne Noire, this dewooling centre, had its heyday in the 18th Century when its fame was assured by wool, hide and leather crafts. Today, the town has diversified its activities and branched out towards food processing, textiles and wood working.
Elegant private mansions and attractive parks can be discovered by strolling around the town.
Laurent Jalabert country.
Principal district town of Charente, on the river Charente. Population 20,000 (Cognaçais).
This metropolis of grape eaux de vie has made cognac or brandy famous throughout the world.
Apart from the inevitable tour of the brandy storehouses, the old district is well worth a visit with its superb 15-18th century private mansions, as well as the town’s art and history museum, and that of the arts of cognac making. For 20 years now, Cognac has hosted the Detective Film Festival.
Birthplace of King François I (1494-1547) and of one of the founding fathers of the European Union, Jean Monnet (1888-1979).
Municipality of the Essonne, near to Montlhéry, 25 kms south of Paris. Population 7,860 (Marcoussiciens).
From its past, Marcoussis has kept the château de Montagu, a 15th-century fortified manor.
Since 2002, the Domaine de Bellejame is home to the Centre National du Rugby (CNR). Research centre in the field of electricity.
With four other municipalities, Marcoussis created, in 2003, the “Green Triangle of Hurepoix Market-Gardening Towns” with a view to halting the decline in this type of activity.