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, 10 pages)
Languedoc-Roussillon is one of France’s most spectacularly contrasted geographical regions, lapped by the Mediterranean Sea and dotted with lakes in the south, hemmed in by mountains in the north and rural in between. In contrast, its climate is its one uniform feature and its greatest asset. Mediterranean sunshine has made it a prosperous farming area for centuries, and today this same climate attracts tourists and newcomers alike, fuelling a massive population boom over the last 50 years.
Agricultural production in the area, essentially wine-growing, is feeling the “credit crunch”, despite constant improvements in producing finer quality wine. The tourist industry has emerged as the mainstay of the local economy: the region is the third most popular tourist destination in France.
Generally speaking, a booming service sector has taken over from traditional activities, creating a migratory flow that transforms Languedoc-Roussillon year in, year out. Montpellier and the Hérault are the fastest-growing areas, but the population of the whole region – apart from the county of Lozère – is rising faster than that of any other in France. Languedoc-Roussillon could top 3,100,000 inhabitants in 2030: 34 % more than in 2000.
The Canal du Midi owes its existence in part to Pierre-Paul Riquet, the “Biterrois” (Béziers native), who supervised the works commanded by Louis XIV. A statue in memory of the engineer has been erected in town.
The beach of this seaside resort is unique in the world! Indeed, it is the only one harbouring a shipwrecked liner, which has been converted into museum, restaurant and night club.
The fine sandy beaches stretch out over almost ten kilometres. It is also possible to stroll around Canet-Saint-Nazaire Lake, where a total of 200 migratory bird species have been observed.
The many beaches have enabled the town to develop, becoming one of the prime seaside resorts of the Mediterranean.
Sub-prefectures: Béziers, Lodève
Population: 1 million
Sub-prefectures: Limoux, Narbonne
Sub-prefectures: Céret, Prades
Jacques Brunel, the trainer of the USAP (Perpignan-Roussillon Rugby Club), used to assist Bernard Laporte when the latter was the trainer of the French rugby team. Since 2007, Brunel has been the General Manager of Perpignan Rugby Club.
“Although I had already visited the town and region a few times, it was rather my career as trainer that brought me to Perpignan. I rarely go downtown, since my occupation takes up much of my time. However, as soon as I have a chance, I head for the Castillet district, which houses the Catalan Museum of Popular Art and Tradition, to enjoy a leisurely stroll or dinner in one of the restaurants. I live in Canet, just ten minutes from Aimé Giral Stadium, which allows me to contemplate the sea every evening. It is a very quiet and peaceful area, apart from in July and August.
USAP in the region is an institution. At first, I was surprised by such enthusiasm, but now I am quite used to it. In terms of leisure, although I have little time to spare, I go cycling, since my joints do not let me go hiking any more. This also enables me to discover the region. And of course, I follow the Tour de France! In 1991, I was invited to the Jaca - Val Louron stage, in the Spanish Pyrenees. LeMond, the defending champion, was struggling; he set his wheel in the midst of a great crowd of people, with his team mate, Éric Boyer, pulling him along in his wake. It was a crucial moment. Just like when Miguel Indurain took the lead, having resisted attacks from Chiappucci in the Peyresourde Pass. That evening, the Spanish rider snatched the yellow jersey, never to take it off again and achieved the first of his five Tour de France victories.”