For many spectators, the Tour de France route is an opportunity to discover the riches of the regions it passes through. The tourist guide, published in electronic format this year, lists the outstanding sites of cultural or architectural heritage for each stage.
Download the tourist guide of the stage(.pdf, 12 pages)
Throughout the world, Burgundy is synonymous with the finest and most prestigious wines: Chablis, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Beaune, Mercurey and Pouilly-Fuissé. Indeed they are the symbol of an art of living and a tradition which are the strengths of the four counties which make up the region.
The region was the former land of the powerful Dukes of Burgundy and is also a cereal growing and breeding area. Charolais, Morvan and Nivernais cattle produce some of the country’s most flavourful meats. Dijon mustard is another renowned ingredient of this destination which attracts many tourists to the region.
But Burgundy is also, and has been for a long time, an industrial area, with mining in Montceau-les-Mines and steel-making in Le Creusot. Its industrial activities are more diversified around the urban areas of Dijon, Châlon and Mâcon.
The north of the region, which was limited in this domain for a long time, has benefited for several years from the setting up of human-sized companies which have boosted the economy.
With a little more than 1.6 million inhabitants, Burgundy is less populated than it was 150 years ago, in particular due to the depopulation of Morvan, which on the other hand is one of the region’s tourist attractions.
Like Burgundy, the Champagne-Ardenne region is above all known for producing the most famous sparkling white wine in the world. 350 million bottles of the precious beverage are thus produced each year, even if the production area goes beyond the administrative region alone as champagne is also produced in the counties of Aisne and Seine-et-Marne.
Champagne was the wine of kings and recalls the long history of the region and in particular Reims, where the Kings of France were crowned, from Clovis to Charles X. Champagne is the most prestigious product of this primarily agricultural region and 61.4 % of its land is devoted to this activity. Barley, lucerne, sugar beet and onions are also some of the leading local agricultural products.
The metallurgical industry in Reims and the textile industry in Troyes were the industrial pillars of the region for a long time. It has suffered from the demographic effects of the economic crisis, resulting in a reduction of its population over the last twenty five years. With slightly more than 1.3 million inhabitants, Champagne-Ardenne is one of France’s least densely populated regions.
The region of Lorraine was marked in the 1980s by the economic crisis within the heavy industry sector. It has managed to make a spectacular recovery thanks to the dynamism of its population and its big towns, but also due to its privileged location on the borders of three countries- Belgium, Germany and Luxemburg.
Moreover, the arrival of the high speed rail link (TGV) means that Lorraine is now situated 1h20 from Paris and at the same time, this has made the region closer to major cities such as Frankfurt or Zurich. Its earlier restructuring have made it an innovative region, which has focused on research, the export sector and supporting small and medium-sized businesses. The first region in France to have developed geothermal power and the second one to have favoured photovoltaic energy, Lorraine is also a pioneer in terms of renewable energy. As it is concerned about protecting its natural resources, Lorraine, which is the third leading forest region in France, also boasts the first regional nature reserve in the country to have received a quality label.
Lorraine has not forgotten its heritage and past expertise. The greatest names in crystal manufacturing originated in Lorraine: Daum, Baccarat, Saint-Louis and Meisenthal. Many craft trades are still skilfully carried out there. Remembrance tourism has experienced great success thanks to the region’s exceptional heritage, such as Vauban's many architectural achievements or the “Place Stanislas” (Stanislas Square) in Nancy.
Art enthusiasts will be able to visit Auguste Renoir’s studio. His son, Jean Renoir, the film director, is also buried in Essoyes.
The last home of General de Gaulle is located near the memorial which was inaugurated in October 2008.
Sub-prefectures: Avallon, Sens
Sub-prefectures: Bar-sur-Aube, Nogent-sur-Seine
Sub-prefectures: Langres, Saint-Dizier
Sub-prefectures: Neufchâteau, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges
Dominique Gruhier, is a wine grower who runs “l’Abbaye du Petit Quincy” Estate in Epineuil, which produces excellent red, rosé and white wines that are recommended by many guides.
“Tonnerre is an average size town, which has evidence of the past, such as these ancient inscriptions high up on the facades of some houses. It is a bit like Sleeping Beauty: in order for it to become the local version of Sarlat, it would need to be renovated. Among its riches, there is “La Fosse Dionne”, an underground spring whose entrance was converted into a wash house, or the Saint-Pierre Church, which offers a magnificent view of the town’s overlapping roofs.
In the surroundings, there are several Renaissance castles such as Maulnes, which is pentagonal in shape, or Ancy-le-Franc. The town is surrounded by small low hills where grains and rape are grown and hillsides planted with trees or vines. Naturally the area produces very good wine! Last century, the vineyards were as renowned as they were extensive, but phylloxera and bad climatic years damaged them. Since 1970, they have been replanted. Today there are 250 hectares divided up into 4 appellations. It produces very high quality but little known wines and therefore they are sold a reasonable price. To make up for this lack of awareness, we attract people to come here: at the estate of “l’Abbaye du Petit Quincy” we offer tastings, technical and cookery courses or music performances.
I was a board sports enthusiast and following an accident, I began cycling. I cover short distances, roughly 30 km, on our low hills. It is really great because it is peaceful here and there is little traffic on the roads.”