• 8 times a stage town
• Population: 8,500
• County town of Haute-Garonne canton (31)
Revel on the Tour is also the victory in 1969, in a time-trial circuit around the town, of the legendary racing phenomenon of the epoch, Eddy Merckx. The Belgian rider won his second individual time-trial of that year’s Tour there and went on to win his first Tour de France. The following day, the route followed a shortcut in comparison with the 2010 edition, arriving in Luchon, with Raymond Delisle in the lead.
The “Bio Vallée Lauragais” cluster is an integral part of the green economy that can be found in the Pays Lauragais area, a zone with a high farming and agri-food potential in the Midi-Pyrénées region, the leading organic region in France. “Bio Vallée Lauragais” was created in order to bring together various partners and cultivate innovative methods for developing businesses. This project is a response to the new requirements of “ethical consumers” of natural and organic products. With significant experience in the agri-food sector, Revel possesses the necessary economic structures to support businesses that wish to set up here. Drawing on the expertise of committed farmers and breeders, small and medium sized firms can ensure they develop whilst promoting the quality and biodiversity of the land. “Bio Vallée Lauragais” aims to pool initiatives and driving forces to work towards sustainable development that combines authenticity and innovation. Revel, a town on a human scale, offers a living environment in keeping with its convictions.
Domaine du SAQUET – Ax 3 Domaines© Alain BASCHENIS
• 3 times a stage town
• Population: 1,500
• Winter sports resort of the township of Ax-Les-Thermes in Ariège (09)
If Ax-les Thermes is a regular point of call on the Tour since 1933, its ski resort, Ax-3 Domaines, hosts the race since 2001. Stage finishes are held at the Plateau de Bonascre, one of the three skiing areas that make up the resort. In 2003, an impressive little Spanish climber here abandoned his usual reserve to claim the first of his three Tour stage victories: five years later, Carlos Sastre won the Tour.
If Ax 3 Domaines, which includes the Bonascre, Saquet and Campels skiing areas, has become the resort which is all the rage in the Pyrenees, it is due to the charm of its slopes snaking through the fir trees, the beauty of its mountain landscapes but also thanks to the constant development of the site which invests in order to modernise its ski-lifts, encourage snow cover, redesign the ski runs and optimise “skiability”. 700 metres lower, less than ten kilometres away, lies Ax les Thermes. A stroll through its streets dating back to the Middle Ages reveals the Bassin des Ladres pool, the spas and spa tourism centre. In the area surrounding the town, there is a wealth of tourist attractions: the Orlu mountains and wildlife reserve, significant heritage dating back to the Middle Ages (Romanesque art, relics of the Cathar era), the local features related to spa therapy (spa tourism, the casino) and high altitude farming (farm produce). In addition to this, the town is not far from the border with Andorra, making the valleys around Ax a tourist centre that is typical of the Pyrenean character.