Panoramic view (Picture: Jacques Jany)
1 time start town in 2002.
Cantonal capital. 7,500 inhabitants.
Situated in Cathar country at the foot of Montsegur castle, Lavelanet stands alongside the Touyre river, where the three valleys meet, on the outskirts of the counties of Foix and Carcassonne. The town derives its name from the word â€śavelanaâ€ť, meaning â€śhazelnutâ€ť, as it used to be surrounded by hazelnut trees, which still can be seen on its coat of arms. With a longstanding tradition in clothe making, Lavelanet has more recently turned to so-called â€śsmart fabricsâ€ť which call for much know-how and highly technical manufacturing. Ideally located just one hour to the south of Toulouse and Carcassonne, Lavelanet enjoys well-preserved natural surroundings perfectly suited for outdoor activities. Nestled in lush greenery, surrounded by picturesque villages, very close to Monts dâ€™Olmes ski resort, the town enjoys many cultural and sporting events.
â€˘ Conseil gĂ©nĂ©ral de lâ€™AriĂ¨ge
The Archbishopâ€™s Palace (Picture: J.M Colombier / City of Narbonne)
7 times stage host.
First time in 1935; winner RenĂ© Le GrevĂ¨s.
Most recently in 2003: start town.
Sub-prefecture in the Aude dĂ©partement.
For over twenty centuries, Narbonne has been presenting visitors with a multitude of facets. Founded in the 5th century B.C. atop MontlaurĂ¨s hill, the town became the capital of the Elysians, one of the most ancient tribes in the Western Mediterranean area. Rome settled there in 118 B.C. and renamed it Narbo Martius, its first colony in Gaul. Its harbor, now lying at the bottom of Bages pond, once flourished and rivaled with Marseilles. The Via Domitia, a major landmark dating back to Antiquity, stands as proof that Narbonne and its region have long reached out to Europe and the Mediterranean. Christianized in the 3rd century, the city prospered in the Middle Ages, most notably during the 12th and 13th centuries when the Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur cathedral was erected. After more quiet times, Narbonne once again expanded from the 19th century onwards with the advent of railways and the growth of winemaking. Today, wine remains the cornerstone of Narbonneâ€™s prosperity.