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, 11 pages)
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.
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 of crystal manufacturing were created in Lorraine: Daum, Baccarat, Saint-Louis and Meisenthal.
Although Alsace is France’s smallest region in terms of its surface area, it is the most densely populated one after Ile-de-France and Nord-Pas de Calais. Its privileged location at the crossroads of Europe has made it the leading exporting region in France.
Alsace is made up of just two counties, Bas-Rhin (Strasbourg) and Haut-Rhin (Colmar). It has always benefitted from a degree of independence with regard to its nature and its functioning, as a result of its administrative and legal tradition.
Despite its small size, which is even less than that of Corsica, Alsace is quite a varied region. This is illustrated by its principal urban areas such as Strasbourg, the seat of the European Parliament and the headquarters for several international organisations. It is a listed World Heritage Site and remains an administrative, university and leading economic centre.
The town’s history and its architectural heritage are linked to the foundation of a female monastery there in the Middle Ages. The Abbey then became a renowned school.
The banks of Gerardmer’s lake have made the town, which has been nicknamed the “Pearl of the Vosges”, a successful tourist destination.
It is highly probable that the monks who settled here in the 7th century were the inventors of this famous cheese, of which 8,000 tons are now produced annually.
Sub-prefectures: Neufchâteau, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges
Sub-prefectures: Altkirch, Guebwiller, Mulhouse, Ribeauvillé, Thann
Béatrice Hess© Presse Sports
Béatrice Hess, the living legend of disabled swimming, Béatrice Hess suffers from a degenerative disease called “osteomyelitis”. She lives in Colmar and has participated in the Paralympic Games five times and has won 26 medals, of which 20 were gold.
“I live in Colmar but I was born in Ribeauvillé. I feel completely Alsatian. It is hard to put this into words, but I don’t feel that I could live elsewhere. I did try this, but I was homesick. I need my Christmas markets which are part of my culture, and my children are bilingual in French and Alsatian. Colmar is like a big village, which has a slightly middle-class atmosphere. It is a small city which has all the essentials: schools, cinemas, shops or museums like the Bartholdi Museum. Personally, I have lived here for thirty years and I like the fact that the city is flat and accessible for people in wheelchairs. Additionally, I live 1 km from the city centre in a house with a garden. This gives me the impression of being in the countryside, which would be impossible in a big city. I think that the people of Colmar consider me as a local personality, which does not mean that I am a star. I think that they are proud of me, without showing it unduly. Nearly all my brothers and sisters live in small mountain hamlets on the heights of Ribeauvillé, in particular in Les Verrières. I like to go and visit them. And also to try the local gastronomy: sauerkraut with fish, “baeckhoff”, (literally the baker’s oven in Alsatian, the dish is made from sliced onions, cubed lamb, beef and pork which have been marinated overnight in Alsatian white wine and juniper berries), Munster (cheese), or asparagus when it is in season.
It is always pleasant to enjoy a good traditional meal. With regard to cycling, I think that it is a wonderful sport, which allows the country’s tourist heritage to be promoted as the Tour de France goes by at the right speed. Personally, I think that it is an individual sport that should be practised in a group. I go handcycling, with a bicycle specially designed for disabled people, in the spirit of bicycle touring.”