• 79 times a stage town
• Population: 236,000
• Capital of the Aquitaine Region and Prefecture of Gironde (33)
The record man of stage victories in the Gironde city remains, here as elsewhere, Eddy Merckx, who won there four times, and three of these wins were time-trials. Indeed, the Prefecture of Gironde hosted no less than six time-trials in the 1970s, allowing speed racers to dominate sprinters. The last individual time trial that was launched from Bordeaux revealed Jan Ullirich in 1996, in Saint-Émilion.
Bordeaux is of course renowned throughout the world thanks to its wines, but the capital of the Aquitaine region can also boast other areas of expertise: the aeronautics, wood, defence, laser and optics sectors, but also five major technological and industrial research centres. Wine tourism, business tourism and city tourism attract almost 3 million visitors per year, a figure on the up since Bordeaux was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The city can also boast a booming cultural scene: a national opera, seven museums, eight libraries, a fine arts school, many entertainment and exhibition venues, as well as international events (Evento and Novart to name but two). Located at the heart of 27 municipalities that make up the urban area home to a population of 800,000 people, Bordeaux has 240,000 inhabitants within its confines. Open to cooperation, cultural and economic exchanges, naturally it is twinned with 19 cities around the world and welcomes 70,000 students to its universities.
• Stage town for the first time
• Population: 5,400
• County town of Gironde canton (33)
A vintage edition of the Tour is guaranteed this year with the selection of Pauillac, an excellent choice and one of the Médoc’s most prestigious quality labels of origin. Hence, the 2010 edition upholds the tradition of hosting major time-trials among the vineyards, after Santenay in 1988, Saint-Émilion in 1996 and Mâcon in 2002, to name but a few… Pauillac, also famous for its lamb and its magnificent view over the River Gironde, is the twelfth town in Gironde to welcome the Tour and the second in Médoc after Lacanau in 1976.
Half way between Bordeaux and the Pointe de Grave, Pauillac stretches along the banks of the Gironde, Europe’s biggest estuary. It was from here in 1777 that La Fayette set sail to America to help it obtain its independence. There is still a plaque to commemorate this event at the port. However, its name is especially well known throughout the world thanks to its prestigious wine appellation: with 37 châteaux that share 1,200 hectares of vineyard and 18 great classed growths in 1855, including three first great classed growths (the famous Châteaux Latour, Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild), Pauillac is the wine capital of the Médoc area. Tourism has developed around the vineyards (visits to cellars, the village of wine and gourmet delights in Bages, etc.), estuary (with the marina, cruises and excursions to the islands), gastronomy (Pauillac lamb, the establishment of famous chef Thierry Marx) and favourable geographical situation of the town near to the Atlantic coast resorts. This all contributes to making Pauillac today one of the most visited wine tourism destinations in France.