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)
Catalonia is a region that stretches out over 32,000 km², that is to say the size of Belgium and is situated in North East Spain. It borders France and the Principality of Andorra to the north, Aragon to the west, the community of Valencia to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the east.
It represents an Autonomous Community within Spain, which is administratively divided into four regions: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona.
The population of Catalonia is roughly 7 million inhabitants. Catalan is the mother tongue of roughly 60 % of the population and Castilian of almost 35 % of it. Catalonia is the second leading region in Spain (after Andalusia) and is also one of the richest and most dynamic ones.
Around 210 BC, Catalonia was conquered by the Romans and was Latinized. In the 5th century, the Visigoths took possession of this region and gave it its current name: Gotholonia (the country of the Goths). The region was then captured by the Arabs in 712 and recaptured by Charlemagne at the end of the 8th century. It was united with the Kingdom of Aragon in the 12th century and kept its flag. In 1472, it became part of Spain and continued to be very independent despite a severe repression in the 18th century. It resumed an autonomous status in the 1930s, which was repealed by Francoism, but was restored in 1978.
On an economic level, Catalonia is more industrialized than the rest of Spain. It has one of the most powerful banking sectors in Europe and has established itself as the leading tourist destination in Spain thanks to Barcelona, its coastal beaches and its ski resorts.
Tourists who have come from throughout Europe gather together on the wide beaches of the Costa Brava’s biggest seaside resort. The sea front bustles with visitors.
When the fishing boats arrive, the fish auction is a godsend for seafood enthusiasts. On a different note, in the town there is a museum to the glory of the football player Fabregas!
Towns: Ripollès, Garrotxa, Upper Empordà, Lower Empordà, Pla de l’Estany, and Selva
Towns: Upper Penedès, Anoia, Bages, Lower Llobregat, Barcelonès, Berguedà, Garraf, Maresme, Osona, Vallès Occidental and Vallès Oriental
David Pujadas, was born in Barcelona and has presented the 8.00 clock news on the France 2 channel since 2001. At the beginning of the year his booked called “Are you experiencing pressure?” was published by Flammarion.
“I have never lived in Barcelona but I was born there. In fact, my mother gave birth to my sister in Barcelona .She wanted to do this again and move closer to her family-in-law who lived there as my father is Spanish. Afterwards I spent many holidays there and then I came back in 1992 as a reporter for the Olympic Games. I feel at home there. It is an original capital, which has a cultural and intellectual richness and is a relaxed city which comes to life at night. My family, my uncle and my aunt still live in Sants, the district around the station. When I go to see them, I know that I am going to spend four hours having a meal (laughs).
I like Güell Park designed by Gaudi, the Ribera district with the Picasso Museum, the Barri Gotic, the Barceloneta, the Passeig de Gracia and Montjuïc, where I went on the merry-go-rounds when I was a child. What I noticed is that old and young people are often together and that going out with your parents is not an issue. Personally, I can just about speak Catalan but not Castilian and I am a fan of the Barcelona Football Club. My father took me to the Camp Nou Football Stadium for the first time in 1978 for a European Cup match against Anderlecht. I was impressed by the height of the stands and the roaring crowd. As for cycling, I follow the mountain stages of the Tour very closely. I have memories of Thévent who defeated Merckx in 1975, or of Van Impe who was the winner in 1976. This year I am going to see a stage in Ariège for the first time”.