CrĂ©dit photo : Mairie de Saint-Arnoult
Saint-Arnoult, population nearly 6,000, is in the Yvelines Department approximately 50 kilometres from Paris. Once a major stagecoach stop, the town still boasts several beautiful 15th- and 16th-century houses and faĂ§ades with emblazoned doors as well as the 12th, 16th and 17th-century Saint Nicolas priory church and its 6th-century crypt.
Walking down towards the RĂ©marde you reach the fountain dedicated to Saint Arnoult, the patron saint of children with weak constitutions and walkers, who was buried here in 535 and had the town named after him. Some of the many mills and laundry-houses that once lined the riverâ€™s banks are still standing. Villeneuve Mill, the burial place of Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet, is a foundation for research on the two writers. The Moulin Neuf, or New Mill, houses the Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions, which shows how our forebears used to live. Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines is also famous for the A10 tollgate, the biggest one in Europe. For many motorists, it marks the entrance to ĂŽle-de-France through the Dourdan and Rambouillet massifsâ€™ big forests. This is an old tradition here: in the times of Gaul, the Carnutes chose this site to charge travellers entering their lands.
CrĂ©dit 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 â€śphilosophyâ€ť pays off and strengthening a situation that is the envy of many heavily industrialised towns.
The town of â€śliving wellâ€ť
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 â€śsleeping beautyâ€ť 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 â€śexportâ€ť 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. Whatâ€™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 lakeâ€™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 RĂ©publique 20km raceâ€”proof, if any were needed, that Toursâ€™ 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 â€śSportâ€™ouvertesâ€ť in September.