Facade of a thousand letters at the Champollion Museum (Picture: N. Blaya-CG46)
Twice a stage town.
Stage for the first time in 1978; start.
Most recently in 2004; winner: David MoncoutiĂ©.
Sub-prefecture of the Lot. 10.500 inhabitants.
Imagine a rich medieval town where the living is easy. As you take a stroll along its streets and squares, Figeac unveils its shops, homes, palaces and cityscapes from the middle ages. Hometown of Jean-FranĂ§ois Champollion, Figeac also has an Egyptian flavor to it. As a tribute to the man who first unlocked the mystery of the hieroglyphs, the town has turned his native home into a museum, which was extended in 2007 to include the history of all written languages. Creativity also finds its place in Figeac, whether it be hitech industries and aircraft manufacturing (propellers and flight commands for Airbus), or modern art and architecture. Joseph Kosuthâ€™s Square of Scriptures and Mark Mimramâ€™s walkway across the CĂ©lĂ© are testimony to this fruitful dialogue. Tourists also flock to Figeac for its festivals: Â«Le ChaĂ®non manquant Â» in the springtime (street theater), Â«Les TrĂ©teaux de France Marcel MarĂ©chalÂ» in the summer (theater).
â€˘ Office de Tourisme
â€˘ Conseil gĂ©nĂ©ral du Lot
Anchored in the Occitan culture, Toulouse enjoys a two-century history (Picture: City of Toulouse â€“ Patrice Nin)
25 times a stage town
First time in 1903, winner : Hippolyte Aucouturier
Last time in 2003, winner : Juan Antonio Flecha
Prefecture of Haute-Garonne Pop : 440, 000
4th largest city in France and capital of the Midi-PyrĂ©nĂ©es region, Toulouse is very much a southern town with a Spanish flavor to it. Spanning over two thousand years, its history has brought numerous influences to its distinctively Languedoc heritage. Bidding for the 2013 European culture Capital nomination, Toulouse boasts an intense artistic and cultural life, as well as clement weather! Every year, some 20,000 new inhabitants succumb to its many charms. Toulouse has always been at the heart of the air and space adventure, from the pioneering days of Jean Mermoz and Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, to manufacturing satellites and the Airbus A380. With 90,000 students and 10,000 scientists, Toulouse leads the way in hi-tech industries, most notably nanotechnology, biotechnology, on-board electronics and health care with the CancĂ©ropole.