• 1 fois ville-étape / Once a stage town
• 26,000 habitants / Population: 26,400
• Préfecture de l’Aveyron (12) / Prefecture of Aveyron (12)
In 1984, nothing could top Cyrille Guimard’s Renault-Elf-Gitane team on the routes of the Tour. Pierre-Henri Menthéour triumphed in Rodez and, the previous day, Pascal Poisson won in Blagnac. Prior to that, Pascal Jules had already won a stage and Renault won the team time-trial. The Yellow Jersey was worn by another team member, Vincent Barteau. He was soon to cede the jersey to team leader Laurent Fignon, who went on to win his second Tour de France with outstanding brio.
Rodez is the administrative centre of the Aveyron department and the former capital of the former French province of Rouergue. The history of this two-thousand year old town was for a long time associated with the rivalry between the Counts and Bishops of Rodez. Indeed, a wall divided the town in two. Today, Rodez offers a wide range of discoveries and exceptional visits, starting with the Notre-Dame cathedral. Dominated by its 87-metre high bell tower, it displays in a nutshell the architectural styles of the 13th to 17th centuries, whilst the new stained glass windows created by Stéphane Belzère give it a modern touch. The links between the historical and modern heritage is the guiding line of the tour through Rodez and its urban area: the Fenaille archaeological museum boasts a collection of menhir-like statues that is unique in France in a remarkably restored site; the Denys Puech modern art museum (named after the winner of the Rome Grand Prize for sculpture in 1884) is the hub for modern design in the town. In several years time, Rodez will welcome the Soulages museum, dedicated to the internationally-renowned painter of the same name.
• 8 times a stage town
• Population: 8,500
• County town of Haute-Garonne canton (31)
The Tour de France has stopped eight times in Revel since 1966 and every time a powerful fighter has won: Rudi Altig, Paolo Savoldelli and Joachim Agostinho, Charly Mottet and Erik Dekker. Mottet will be able to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his first stage victory on the Tour there. Yellow Jersey for six days in 1987, the Sallanches rider admitted after this solo number in Revel that he would no longer seek final victory in the Tour in order to devote his energy to stage wins. The Drômois kept his word and won two more stages the following year, when he finished 4th for the second time in Paris.
Revel, at the foot of the Black Mountain, is a former medieval town. It has taken advantage of its heritage and transformed it in keeping with the expectations of its 9,400 inhabitants. Dominated by the belfry, its central square surrounded by timber-framed houses becomes, on Saturday morning when the market takes up residence, a place of many flavours, aromas and colours. Near to the town, the Saint-Ferréol Lake welcomes sportspersons and nature lovers. Created in the 17th century by Pierre-Paul Riquet to feed the Canal du Midi, its history is recounted at the Canal du Midi museum and gardens. Revel also boasts the “Arts and Crafts Town” label, thanks to the excellence of its cabinet-makers, French polishers, engravers, lacquerers, ironmongers and upholsterers, to name but a few… There is also an exhibition on the craftsmens’ know-how at the “Veneering and related crafts” centre, which brings together the Wood and Veneer museum and the IMARA, a training centre for arts and crafts. Finally, under the moniker of “At the sources of the Canal du Midi”, Revel-Saint-Ferréol belongs to the major sites in the Midi-Pyrénées region.