La Planche des Belles Filles

Snow stadium

The snow stadium has grown dramatically in the last few years. A small family ski resort created in 1975, it is now visited by hundreds of visitors every week. With its five alpine skiing slopes and its 50 kilometres of Nordic pistes, with its snowshoe paths, roller-skate track and paths for trekking and horse-riding, La Planche des Belles filles will soon offer even more activities both in the summer and winter. The project is launched in liaison with the National Park of the Vosges Ballons and environment will remain a priority. 

La Planche des Belles Filles is the only ski resort in the Haute-Saone department - © Olivier Vincent
No previous stage
Vosges massif summit (1,148 metres) in Haute-Saone (70)
Population: 1,080 in Plancher-les-MinesEconomy : tourism, winter sports.
Specialties : cheese, cancoillotte.
Celebrities : Jean-Noël Jeanneney (historian and politician), Laurence Parisot (MEDEF president), Jules Rimet (founder of the football World Cup), Stephane Peterhansel (ten times winner of the Dakar rally ), Nicolas Vouilloz (mountainbike), Patrick Bouchitey (comedian)
Sport :  GranFondo of the Three Ballons, ski.

Timeline

  • Middle-Ages

    The village of Plancher belongs to the Lure abbey.
  • 12th century

    The Plancher-Bas villager is called Planchiacum, from old French planchier meaning habitation.
  • 1488

    Construction of the Plancher-Bas church, dedicated to St Pancras. Until the 15th century – Plancher-les-mines is called Plancher-Haut (Upper-Plancher) and is part of the Plancher village.
  • 15th century

    Exploitation of lead mines in Plancher-les-Mines.
  • 1635

    Thirty Years’ War and massacre in la Planche des Belles-Filles
  • 1680

    Separation of the villages of Plancher-Bas and Plancher-Haut.
  • 1757

    Start of coal exploitation in Ronchamp.
  • 1850

    A cholera epidemic struck the region but spared Plancher-les-Mines. A cross is erected by the population.
  • 1944

    Occupied for four years, Plancher-Haut and Plancher-les-Mines valiantly restore their freedom and receive the War Cross in 1948.
  • 1958

    Closure of the coalmines in Ronchamp.
  • 2012

    Tour de France finish.
The Ronchamp coalmines closed in1958 - © Bourgeois.A
No previous stage
Vosges massif summit (1,148 metres) in Haute-Saone (70)
Population: 1,080 in Plancher-les-MinesEconomy : tourism, winter sports.
Specialties : cheese, cancoillotte.
Celebrities : Jean-Noël Jeanneney (historian and politician), Laurence Parisot (MEDEF president), Jules Rimet (founder of the football World Cup), Stephane Peterhansel (ten times winner of the Dakar rally ), Nicolas Vouilloz (mountainbike), Patrick Bouchitey (comedian)
Sport :  GranFondo of the Three Ballons, ski.

La Planche des Belles Filles and cycling

The only ski resort in the department of Haute-Saône and the last summit of the Vosges, La Planche des Belles Filles is going to make a promising entrance among the Tour de France’s finish sites. Although the final slope seems to be reserved for the strongest climbers, this place takes its name from a collective and hopeless flight of the women of the valley, who wanted to escape from a massacre declared by the Vikings during their conquest in the 15th century.

A rider who would hope to escape if he had the chance is young climber Thibaut Pinot, whose father is the mayor of Melisey, a village on the stage course.

Every year, the Three Ballons GrandFondo race takes place on the Planche des Belles Filles, which as a result is familiar to many amateur riders who have dubbed it the “small Alpe d’Huez”. The race was won last year by Swiss pro rider Guillaume Bourgeois. 

Thibaut Pinot would be on home turf if he took part in his first Tour - © Presse Sports
No previous stage
Vosges massif summit (1,148 metres) in Haute-Saone (70)
Population: 1,080 in Plancher-les-MinesEconomy : tourism, winter sports.
Specialties : cheese, cancoillotte.
Celebrities : Jean-Noël Jeanneney (historian and politician), Laurence Parisot (MEDEF president), Jules Rimet (founder of the football World Cup), Stephane Peterhansel (ten times winner of the Dakar rally ), Nicolas Vouilloz (mountainbike), Patrick Bouchitey (comedian)
Sport :  GranFondo of the Three Ballons, ski.

What to see

Ballons Comtois natural reserve

Created in 2002, the Ballons Comtois Natural Reserve is located at the North end of the Vosges massif. It protects a vast mountain area of 2,259 ha, culminating at the Ballon de Servance at 1,126 metres in altitude. Country paths take the nature lovers across a vast mosaic of rare species of trees and animals, like Tengmalm owls or wood grouses. 

Notre-Dame du Haut de Ronchamp chapel

Imagined and conceived by Le Corbusier, the chapel of Ronchamp is a unique building, remarkable by its shapes, proportions and play of light, which make it the emblematic site of the region. Le Corbusier was chosen by the population to rebuild their church, destroyed during WWII. It was not an easy choice: an agnostic, the famous architect had already had been in conflict with the Church for a previous project at la Sainte Baume near Marseille. But the local clergy and the population held to their decision and the church was completed in 1955.

Ronchamp mining museum

The museum, evoking two centuries of mining history in the region, opened its doors in 1976. At the height of its activity, the coalmines employed some 1,500 people and produced 200,000 tons of coal each year. The site closed in 1958. 

Plancher Bas church

It is dedicated to St Pancras and was built in 1488. A big fire destroyed it in 1771 but it was rebuilt the following year. The church has two 17th century altarpieces depicting the Virgin of the Rosary and St Pancras’ martyrdom. Two 18th centuries statues represent St Guerin and St Joachim.

In Champagney

House of Negritude

In 1789, Champagney had only 2,000 inhabitants, most of them poor, illiterate and remote from Africa as can be. Still they voted for the abolition of slavery in a plea addressed to King Louis XVI. To celebrate the decision, a House of Negritude devoted to the history of abolitionism has been created in town.

In Luxeuil-les-Bains

Thermal spa

The town takes its name from the hot and cold springs whose virtues have been known since antiquity. Combining the charms of an 18th cenury building to the most up-to-date techniques, the spa welcomes hundreds of patients affected with rheumatism. 

Chapel Notre-Dame du haut de Ronchamps - © CG Haute-SaôneHouse of negritude, in Champagney - © CG Haute-SaôneLuxeuil-les-Bains - © CG Haute-Saône
No previous stage
Vosges massif summit (1,148 metres) in Haute-Saone (70)
Population: 1,080 in Plancher-les-MinesEconomy : tourism, winter sports.
Specialties : cheese, cancoillotte.
Celebrities : Jean-Noël Jeanneney (historian and politician), Laurence Parisot (MEDEF president), Jules Rimet (founder of the football World Cup), Stephane Peterhansel (ten times winner of the Dakar rally ), Nicolas Vouilloz (mountainbike), Patrick Bouchitey (comedian)
Sport :  GranFondo of the Three Ballons, ski.

The 1635 massacre

La Planche des Belles-Filles was the scene of an abominable massacre in 1635, during the Thirty Years’ War. Between 1618 and 1648, the bloody conflict opposed German protestant princes and the Holy Roman Empire. Warfare intensified when France joined along with Sweden to help the German princes against Charles V. Combat was led by reckless mercenaries who ravaged the regions they captured. Alsace, Vosges and France-Comte were especially affected by cruel Swedish soldiers of fortune, who plundered and raped daily. In 1635, in the midst of a snowy winter, the men led by Swedish chief Mansfeld, working for Richelieu, invaded the Rahin valley and stayed in Plancher-les-Mines.

The locals fled in the mountains with their meagre possessions and cattle. Spouses and daughters, especially at risk from the Swedes, climbed all the way to the Ballon d’Auxelles, the highest peak of the region, hoping to be safe in such a remote place. But the locals were given away and killed one by one to the exception of a child, who ran way to warn the women. Yet his footprints were easy to trace in the snow and the mercenaries were on his heels. To avoid a dreadful fate, all the women jumped to their death in a frozen pond. It is said that the pond and the surrounding mountain have since been known as Plancher des Belles Filles (peak of the beautiful girls) in memory of the dead women. Another legend has it that fairies used to live in the area and mix up with the locals. 

A sculpture recalls the legend - © Marc Paulien
No previous stage
Vosges massif summit (1,148 metres) in Haute-Saone (70)
Population: 1,080 in Plancher-les-MinesEconomy : tourism, winter sports.
Specialties : cheese, cancoillotte.
Celebrities : Jean-Noël Jeanneney (historian and politician), Laurence Parisot (MEDEF president), Jules Rimet (founder of the football World Cup), Stephane Peterhansel (ten times winner of the Dakar rally ), Nicolas Vouilloz (mountainbike), Patrick Bouchitey (comedian)
Sport :  GranFondo of the Three Ballons, ski.
video07/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit La Planche des Belles Filles

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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