Since 1977, the cobblestones of the Place du Château have provided a foretaste of the race and the peloton.© B.D. – Town of Compiègne
Compiègne, a sporting, dynamic town steeped in history
The title of the most sporting town in France, awarded to Compiègne in 2009 by the French sports newspaper L’Equipe, proves that the town likes sport. Its facilities welcome more than 11, 000 sports enthusiasts who can perform many disciplines there and Compiègne Forest allows them to freely play outdoor sports on a regular basis.
Every year, with the return of spring, Compiègne is pleased to host the start of the Queen of the Classics which is always the occasion to organise a great festive weekend. Throughout the day on Saturday, the Paris-Roubaix Fair which is organised by the Sports Office and has successfully replaced the second-hand bicycle sale, will be held in the prestigious setting of the Saint-Nicolas rooms, the town’s former “Hotel Dieu” (the name that was previously given to the principal hospital in French towns). In the afternoon, during the presentation of the riders, the village of the urban area’s clubs will bring together children and adults who will be able to try out the BMX course and admire the amazing jumps of the dirt bike riders. In the evening, the nocturnal race along the streets of the town centre will provide supporters with a foretaste of the Queen of Classics. Moreover, an international eventing competition, bringing together the best riders will be organised during this weekend. Additionally, bicycles will also be honoured again on the weekend of 23 and 24 April, with the organisation of the third and fourth rounds of the BMW European Championship in Compiègne.
A dynamic and economic technology park
Companies operating in a range of business sectors ensure steady economic and employment growth. The town meets all the criteria for a true economic centre: an innovative technological university (UTC), as well as major manufacturing groups with a strong research focus. Compiègne is a high-technology town, the first in the Picardy region to receive official recognition of this status (“technopole labélisée”), created by a partnership between the town and the Université Technologique de Compiègne (UTC), an internationally renowned training centre for biomedical, chemical, computer and mechanical engineering. The town’s development is based on two world-class competitive clusters - industry and agricultural resources and I-trans, of which Compiègne is a partner. In order to make moving around easier, two new man roads will be created this year: the north-east bypass and its viaduct, which is more than 2, 000m long, and a second bridge in the town centre.
An ever-present history
History has left many marks in Compiègne. Enjoy a pleasant stroll through Compiègne’s ancient streets, between the impressive Gothic Town Hall and the castle, a former residence of the Kings of France and the Emperors Napoleon I and Napoleon III. Compiegne has witnessed some major historic events, including the signature of the Armistice in 1918. Inaugurated in February 2008, the Internment and Deportation Memorial is a moving tribute to all those deported to the Nazi concentration camps.
This year La Piscine Museum is celebrating its tenth anniversary© A. Loubry
A colourful finish made in Roubaix
Paris-Roubaix has been promoting the values of courage, dedication and surpassing oneself to the whole world for over one hundred years since the first edition of the race took place in 1896. Because the Hell of the North can lead to Heaven, today Roubaix offers a great deal more than just being the finish town for those who wish to discover it.
Roubaix is exceptional, astonishing and enlightening, and has many surprises in store for those who are prepared to forget their pre-conceived ideas! The town has developed its singularity and prides itself on offering its inhabitants a truly cosmopolitan lifestyle. The former textile town has taken advantage of its history to create an environment favourable to the development of service sector activities: services, a teaching and research centre, a transport network, etc.: Roubaix has known how to develop its resources to attract people!
Fashion loves Roubaix
Roubaix is an ambitious and visionary town which has taken up a variety of challenges and carried out major projects. Today the face of the town has completely changed. It has skilfully taken advantage of the area’s many resources and in particular counts on active partnerships between public and private companies, by giving a new boost to its town centre, around shops, culture and fashion. Lastly, it offers its inhabitants a quality living environment. Roubaix is a town that keeps its sights set on the rest of the world and on new technologies, and as a result it has attracted the textile and image competitive cluster in the Union area, as well as many well-known and up-and-coming marketing, communication or mail order companies.
What else does it have to offer? The town is recognized for its creativity and its enterprising spirit in the fields of fashion and textile creation (the Fashion and Designers District) as well as its dynamism and its young population with almost 10, 000 students and the EDHEC international campus which has recently opened.
A town of art, history and sport
Roubaix’s industrial heritage has made it a national example, attracting tourists from all over the world. It is a town of art and history and is focusing on making culture available to everyone thanks to a network of nationally renowned structures and facilities: La Piscine and the Manufacture des Flandres Museums, the Colisée Concert Hall, the Condition Publique Factory which has been transformed into a cultural centre, the Nord-Pas de Calais National Choreographic Centre directed by Carolyn Carlson, etc.
In the sports field, the variety and quality of the facilities allow the town to regularly host very high level competitions in a number of different disciplines (cycling, fencing, wrestling and “futsal”, (an indoor version of football), etc.). In addition to its indoor sports complexes and outdoor grounds, it will have the pleasure of being the home to the future regional covered velodrome in 2012, which will further establish Roubaix’s foothold as the regional cycling capital.