• Once a stage town
• Population: 5,000
• County town of Pyrénées-Atlantiques canton (64)
A thermal spa, city of salt, laboured for more than 3,500 years, Salies-de-Béarn has not been visited by the Tour since 1939. That year, it was world title holder, Marcel Kint, who triumphed in this picturesque little town with its sloping roofs. The Belgian rider clinched the fifth of his six Tour stage wins here. The Black Eagle, as he was called, went on to win Paris-Roubaix and Gand-Wevelgem and was a triple winner of the Flèche Wallonne. He also formed a remarkable duo with Rik Van Steenbergen in the Six Jours race.
Salies-de-Béarn, located between Pau and Biarritz, owes its reputation to a unique salt water source created by a geological oddity formed 200 million years ago. Tucked within a loop of the Saleys River, the old quarters of the town surround the Place du Bayaà square like a snail’s shell. The picturesque old houses on stilts with steeply sloping roofs as well as the prestigious town houses dating back to the end of the 19th century recount centuries of an enthralling history, marked by the Black Book of the Corporation des Part-Prenants and the legend of the boar killed by hunters whose corpse was miraculously preserved thanks to the salt contained in the marshes. A town rich in colourful and festive events, the appeal of Salies-de-Béarn also lies in its gastronomy, the vitality of its hops, the charm of its art boutiques and the drive of its associations. Whether for well-being treatment or fitness breaks, golf, water-sports, walks, fishing or simply a change of scenery, Salies-de-Béarn welcomes you to a wonderful setting boasting quality accommodation. Today, a new stage starts: your dream comes true…
• 79 times a stage town
• Population: 236,000
• Capital of the Aquitaine Region and Prefecture of Gironde (33)
Bordeaux is the most visited city on the Tour, after Paris, and race sprinters, who have often won here during the 79 stage finishes hosted here since 1903, will be content. Van Looy, Darrigade, Godefroot, Maertens, Van Poppel and Zabel: the finest specialists have triumphed at the Lescure Velodrome or on the banks of the river. Evidently, in 2010, British and American fans will be hoping to see Mark Cavendish or Tyler Farrar follow in the footsteps of Barry Hoban and Davis Phinney, the only British and American riders to have won in Bordeaux.
A city of art, trade and history, Bordeaux is continuing on its path into the future without abandoning its fondness for culture, gastronomy, sport, nature and all that encapsulates good living. A UNESCO listed world heritage site thanks to its exceptional urban style, the capital of the Aquitaine region features in the leading pack of the most attractive and dynamic French cities. Graced with an important university and research complex, it is developing around an ambitious, sustainable and participative urban project, which is bringing back the pleasure of city living to its inhabitants and putting in place the conditions for new collective economic, social and cultural development. For its residents or visitors, a unique heritage is there to be discovered, combining classic and modern architecture, well-managed mobility and a significant cultural and sporting scene. A city of festivals, this year Bordeaux will be welcoming the Tour de France for the 80th time – a national record after Paris – to its streets, which promise to be lively thanks to the participation and enthusiasm of Bordeaux’s natives and visitors.