Marché hebdomadaire, devant la Maison communale© Commune de Wanze
• Stage town for the first time
• Population: 13,000
• Town in the Province of Liège (Belgium)
Tour supporters may not be familiar with the name of Wanze, but it will ring a bell with all Flèche Wallonne fans. Indeed, Wanze is located close to Huy and its famous Mur, where the finish of the Ardennes Classic is held each year. Wanze also hosts an international flea market for cycling collectors and enthusiasts.
Situated in the Meuse valley, between Liege and Namur, the municipality of Wanze consists of six villages and a hamlet. Its shopping, housing and business areas are experiencing rapid growth. The landscape is a combination of modern and industrial, with limestone quarries and a well-known sugar refinery. 2009 saw the arrival of BioWanze, which produces bioethanol at its site close to the Pont Père Pire, a cable-stayed bridge across the River Meuse.
Concerned with reconciling business development with quality of life, Wanze aims to remain a pleasant place to live. Part of the Natural Park of the Valleys of the Burdinale and Mehaigne, the appeal of its rural areas has contributed to the development of eco-tourism. Walking trails guide visitors around the main sights of the region. Including the ruins of the feudal castle of Moha and the Cycle Museum, featuring an impressive collection of 180 bicycles designed between 1830 and today.
Office de Tourisme de La Porte du Hainaut© Samuel Dhote
• Stage site for the first time
• Population: 144,000 for the 39 towns of the urban community including 5,600 for Wallers-Arenberg
• City and Urban Community in Nord (59)
After the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour pays homage to Paris-Roubaix with a finish in Arenberg, where the world famous cobbled sector, the “Drève des Boules d’Hérin” is located. Now more familiarly known as the “trouée” (the trench), it is here that the Queen of the Classics has so often selected its winners and its losers. It was Jean Stablinski, a pit face miner in Wallers, who first recommended the site to the race organisers.
Situated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, Porte du Hainaut is a “Communauté d’Agglomération" (urban district community) of some 150,000 inhabitants. This vibrant area has been boosted by renewed economic growth and its strong tourist appeal. Its 39 towns and villages offer a wide range of attractions: architecture inherited from the industrial era, waters with beneficial properties used in thermal baths, gastronomy based on local produce and colourful festivities celebrating the Giants. Not forgetting the region’s wide range of leisure pursuits: walking, mountain biking and pony trekking trails through the national forest or along the River Escaut or Scarpe. The finishing point of the third stage of the Tour de France, the mining site of Arenberg has been proposed by France as a UNESCO world heritage site. Part of the regional Centre of Excellence for Images (Pôle d’Excellence Image), a project has been launched to convert the site to a filming location. The aim is to develop a technological platform to promote research, transfers and professional development in audiovisual and digital services.