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)
Renamed Île-de-France (Island of France) in 1976, after previously being known as the Paris Region, it is the most densely populated region in France and tops the table of French regions per capita GDP. Its 11, 7 million inhabitants are contained in eight counties: Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines. The urban district of Paris only spans 20 % of the region’s surface area, but nevertheless represents 90 % of its population.
Counting 18, 4 % of the French population and a working population of 5,5 million, Île-de-France is Europe’s leading economic region, in terms of its GDP, and fifth in the world, after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Osaka.
Even if the services sector dominates the regional economy, accounting for 83 % of jobs, Île-de-France nevertheless remains France’s top industrial region, but also boasts a dynamic agricultural sector (cereal growing). Tourism – Paris remains the most popular tourist destination in the world – is also a major asset.
Indirectly, the Tour owes much to Bry-sur-Marne’s most famous former inhabitant: Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype (first photographic image), is the distant ancestor of all the photographers that have immortalised the event in print.
Vestiges of an old-world Paris are kept alive in Champigny: the open-air dance halls on the banks of the Marne have kept their appeal intact and welcome fans of this “vintage” epoch for a meal by the river.
Sub-prefectures: Fontainebleau, Meaux, Provins, Torcy
Sub-prefectures: Le Raincy, Saint-Denis
Sub-prefectures: L'Haÿ-les-Roses, Nogent-sur-Marne
Jean-Christophe Rosé, a documentary film maker and a sports fan, has notably produced “Marcel Cerdan” (2008), “Maradona, The Golden Kid” (2006), “Pelé-Garrincha, Gods of Brazil” (2002), “The Odyssey of a Long-Distance Runner” (1997) and “The Tour Operators”, in 2001, which allowed him to get an insider’s view of the Tour de France.
“I find that Paris is a city that has a sky, a beautiful overcast sky, a little leaden, which blends perfectly with the grey stonework of the city. And to have a river, which also happens to be the Seine, is an added bonus. I’m sensitive to the harmony of colour between air, earth and water. Very “Left Bank”, I love my local area at the corner of the rue du Bac and the boulevard Saint-Germain. I discovered this town when I was 12, newly arrived from the white peaks and natural environment of Geneva. At first, I thought that Paris was a big black hole. I would take refuge in the Parc des Princes, because of its sky and its green pitch and, of course, to admire the somewhat legendary athletes. At that time, there were three or four local football clubs, and cycling, with the finish of the Tour.
In 2000, I made a film about the Tour and the Cofidis Team, called “The Tour Operators”. In the sport of cycling, riders share a common background and when you’re not part of their world, they are wary, even if I did get on well with Massimiliano Lelli, the Cofidis skipper on the road, partly because I speak Italian. I found the Tour like a big beehive of activity with a multitude of family units. Indurain and then Armstrong overpowered the Tour. Anquetil dominated the race but was also subject to serious weak spells. The event in itself is greater than its riders. The fact that nobody no longer “rules” over the Tour is in my opinion an immense advantage.”