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, 7 pages)
The Region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, situated in the extreme south-east corner of France, encompasses six counties including the former counties of Provence, Nice and part of the Dauphiné. Bounded by the Mediterranean, flanked by the Italian border and by mountains in the East, PACA boasts outstanding assets as a tourist destination, enjoys exceptional amounts of sunshine and lays claim to an assorted and delicious selection of local produce (wines, oils, fruit, and seafood). This is why it is the leading tourist destination for French holidaymakers and the second most popular tourist destination for overseas visitors, after Paris. The region plays host to an estimated 35 million tourists each year. Its pleasant surroundings and vibrant character have also always been immensely popular with painters and artists.
A very urban area – counting four cities with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants: Marseilles, Nice, Toulon and Aix-en-Provence (Avignon is not far behind) – it is also the fourth most populated region in France with 4,5 million inhabitants.
In addition to tourism, ultra-modern industrial activities and cutting edge technologies – Sophia-Antipolis and Cadrache - are gradually replacing more traditional industries, notably shipbuilding – Marseilles, la Ciotat, Toulon – and the region’s agricultural sector continues to expand and improve in quality.
Also known as the Augustus Trophy, this imposing edifice is the predominating feature of La Turbie, also home to the training centre for Monaco’s football team.
The medieval fortress that towers over the town is the oldest in France. It is in particular its exceptional location on the coast that inspired the former Tour rider and writer Louis Nucera.
Population: 1,2 million
Jean-Luc Ettori© Presse Sports
Jean-Luc Ettori, the goalkeeper of the AS Monaco Football Club between 1975 and 1994, holds the record with regard to his number of first division match appearances. He spent his entire career as a goalkeeper in Monaco. He was the sports director of the club until May 2008.
“I came to Monaco when I was 20, and today I am 53. It is like a big village where everyone knows each other, at least indirectly. Contrary to what people believe, film stars, business men and sportsmen are not Monaco’s sole residents. The heart of the Principality is made up of natives, who live there harmoniously in a friendly atmosphere. I love the “Place d’Armes”, at the foot of the “Rocher” (Rock), with its big terraces, the “Place des Marchés”, or the popular district of the former railway station. I have many memories which are associated with these places. I also like going for lunch on Fontvieille Port, or just to take a stroll there.
Typical Monegasque dishes include stockfish, flaked cod with a tomato sauce, or “pissaladière”, a kind of onion and anchovy tart. Naturally you can take advantage of the sea in Monaco. I own a boat but I have left it in the port of Menton as you cannot find a mooring spot in the Principality. As my body is a bit debilitated, I no longer do any sport. But just like everyone else, I follow the Tour de France and the mountain stages in particular. Bernard Hinault, who was both intelligent and courageous, is still my favourite rider. I also remember that after a qualifier for the European Cup in Monaco, we promised that we would cycle from the Principality to our training centre in La Turbie, which was a very long climb. On that day, I realised that it was a sport which was too hard for me.”