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The route Espoirs 2008

Bonneval Tours 179 km Sunday 12 October
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Crédit photo : P. Forget

Between the cathedral and castles, Bonneval offers plenty of medieval charm in the verdant setting of the Loir and Ozanne Valleys. Bonneval, a paradise of sports fishermen and touring cyclists in a quiet site, is working on modernising itself and preserving its heritage. This green holiday resort offers many relaxing activities, including hiking, horse-riding, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, tennis and exploring the fortified town in electric boats. In 2008 the “Little Venice of the Beauce Region” will host the start of the Paris-Tours Espoirs for the 15th time.



Crédit photo : Yves Brault

A very easy-to-reach city

Tours has always been a crossroads. It lies at the hub of five motorways, straddles a major European communication axis, boasts an international airport and is easy to reach at any hour with a motorway exit two minutes from the town centre. The town centre is just an hour from Paris on the TGV high-speed train, which also links Tours to big French and European cities with many direct daily connections.

Intense scientific research

Despite its glorious past in the automobile industry, Tours is not known for being a manufacturing centre. However, the city does have a reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in high value-added areas closely connected to university research, in particular medical. The city and its suburbs are part of three competitiveness clusters (Cosmetic Valley, Elastopole and the European Energy Efficiency Cluster), demonstrating that this “philosophy” pays off and strengthening a situation that is the envy of many heavily industrialised towns.

The town of “living well”

Although Tours possesses a remarkable built heritage and has been the scene of major historic events in every period, the city is not stuck in the past but on the move, belying its “sleeping beauty” reputation. Archaeologists say it was founded not under Augustus but Tiberius, a Roman emperor who loved good wine.
The Italian-style opera house, ancient music ensembles, regionally important conservatory, national choreography centre, theatre centre, contemporary art centre and jazz concert hall (the biggest one in France) regularly stand out because of the actions they develop, the artists they present in the city or the “export” of the shows they create here.

Tours loves sports

A healthy mind in a healthy body is an old saying that has particular resonance in Tours, where team sports, especially volleyball, ice hockey and football, often put the town on the front page of sport sections. But in Tours sports also means the simple pleasure of running along the banks of the Loire or rowing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing at one of the many bodies of water. What’s more, people can enjoy their favourite outdoor activities in over 600 hectares of parkland, woods and forests in town or nearby, in particular at the lake’s brand new aquatic centre and the new compact golf course in the centre of the metropolitan area.

Every year 10,000 people participate in the Tours and Nouvelle République 20km race—proof, if any were needed, that Tours’ inhabitants love sports. With 160 clubs including 32,600 members in over 120 disciplines, there really is something for everyone. All the sports clubs and associations presented their offer at “Sport’ouvertes” in September.