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The Espoirs Route 2012

Bonneval Tours 183 km Sunday 7 October
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Bonneval: the moats and the fortifications© P. Forget

Between the cathedral and the châteaux, Bonneval offers its medieval charm to visitors in the lush green setting of the valleys of the River Loir and the River Ozanne.

Situated in a calm setting, Bonneval is a paradise for sports fishermen and bicycle tourists, and is working on modernising itself while preserving its heritage.

This green holiday resort offers many relaxing activities such as hiking, trekking, cycling, tennis, and canoeing and exploring the fortifications of the town in electric boats.

In 2012, the “Little Venice of the Beauce” will host the start of the 70th of edition Paris-Tours Espoirs for the 19th time.



Gabare© The city of Tours

A very accessible city
Tours has always been a crossroads. It is situated at the centre of five motorways which form a star-shaped pattern, on a major European communication axis and boasts an international airport. It is surprisingly easy to reach at all times with a motorway exit two minutes from the city centre. The city centre can be reached in an hour on the TGV high-speed train from Paris, which also links Tours to big French and European cities with many direct daily links. The appeal of Tours and its urban community will be strengthened in 2013 with a tramway that will be put into service which will become one of the landmarks of the urban landscape.

Extensive scientific research
Although Tours is not renowned as being an industrial city, despite its glorious past in the automobile industry, it is known for its innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in high value-added sectors of activity closely linked to university and in particular medical research work. The city and its suburbs are part of three competitiveness clusters (Cosmetic Valley, Elastopole and the European Energy Efficiency Centre), demonstrating that this “philosophy” pays off and strengthening a situation that is the envy of many heavily industrialized towns.

A “well-being” city
Tours has remarkable architectural heritage and has been the scene of major historic events in every period. The city is not stuck in the past but on the move, belying its “sleeping beauty” reputation. Archaeologists say it was founded not under Augustus but Tiberius, a Roman emperor who loved good wine. Its Italian-style opera house, its early music groups, its conservatory which is renowned throughout the region, its national choreography centre, its drama centre, its contemporary art centre and jazz concert hall (the biggest one in France) are regularly to the fore because of the actions they develop, the artists they present in the city or by “exporting” the shows that are created here.

Tours loves sport …
A healthy mind in a healthy body… This old saying is particularly true of Tours, where team sports, especially volleyball in League A and football in League 2, often put the city in the sports spotlight. 
But sport in Tours also means the simple pleasure of running along the banks of the River Loire or rowing, canoeing, sailing and windsurfing on one of the many lakes. Moreover, more than 600 hectares of parkland, woods and forests in the city centre or nearby allow people to enjoy their favourite outdoor activities, in particular at the lake’s brand new water park and on the new compact golf course in the centre of the urban area. 
Every year 10, 000 people take part in the Tours and Nouvelle République 10 and 20-km race, proof, if any was needed, of the enthusiasm that Tours’ inhabitants have for sport. With 33, 000 members who belong to 160 clubs representing more than 120 disciplines, there really is something for everyone at all levels, which was proved by the “Sport’ouvertes” event, where all the sports clubs and associations presented their offer to the public in September.