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)
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.
For 150 years archaeological excavations have been carried out on this ancient site which overlooks the region.
Turenne Castle, which now houses the town hall, has large grounds which offer a pleasant place for visitors to relax.
Sub-prefectures: Béziers, Lodève
Population: 1 million
Mathilde Monnier© Marc Coudrais
The choreographer Mathilde Monnier, is the director of the National Choreographic Centre of Montpellier and her shows have been performed throughout the world.
“In 1994 when I was appointed as the director, I discovered Montpellier. It is a bit of a hybrid city, which is captivating, very luminous and remains on a human scale. There are many charming places to visit like the “Place de la Canourgue”, “La Place Saint-Roch” or “La Place du Marché aux Fleurs” (Flower Market Square). From Montpellier you can easily go to the beach, the valleys of Cévennes and the mountains. I go walking in the valley of the Buèges River with its vineyards, chalk cliffs and limestone plateaux.
For the “Montpelliérians”, I am “the dancer”. They associate me with the word “dance” without necessarily understanding my role. On the other hand, when I present a show, I do feel a certain kind of pressure as the spectators are as demanding as they are experienced. I must not only satisfy them: I must astonish them!
I watch cycling on television and greatly admire Jeannie Longo who is almost the same age as me. As I ride my bike daily, I realise how courageous she is and what her body is capable of doing. I also feel that when she speaks about her sport, it is with pride and simplicity, in a dignified way. Women riders are somewhat of a mystery to me yet I find similarities between contemporary dance and cycling, such as keeping your body in shape on a daily basis. I consider dancing to be a kind of sport even if a dancer’s body performs artistic gestures.”