A balancing act
"One symbol follows another. After Coëtquidan and Saint-Malo, we will be setting up camp in front of Mont Saint-Michel for another stage that promises to be spectacular. Our countryside will get a tremendous publicity boost if the sun decides to come to the party as well. Mont Saint-Michel is France?s second most popular tourist attraction after the Eiffel Tower, and images of it will be broadcast to two billion viewers across the world? All this could almost make us forget that, back on the road, there will a great duel between the rouleurs. As part of the balancing act designed to maintain suspense, we have opted for a shorter time trial than those in recent editions."
The towns / A sporting view
Its name comes from the Celtic people, the Abricantes, a Latin translation meaning Estuary warriors but the history of Avranches is closely linked to that of Mont-Saint-Michel. According to legend, in 708, Bishop Aubert received orders from the Archangel Michael to build a church on the ‘Monte Tombe' in his glory. When the Bishop repeatedly failed to do so, the Archangel pierced a hole in the Bishop's skull with his finger and the Bishop then understood that he had not been dreaming. Aubert's skull is kept at the Saint-Gervais church. Another historic link: the Scriptorial, a museum where you can admire more than 200 manuscripts written in the 9th century by the monks of the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey. But to discover Avranches is also to walk through its town centre streets and climb up to the Jardin des Plantes where you get a wonderful view over the convent and the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. Then you can turn another page in history with a visit to the Patton Memorial. The American General George Patton led the famous ‘Avranches Breakthrough' that freed the town during the Second World War.
Sub-prefecture of Manche (50)
Specialities: jambonnade (ham), white boudin, shallot soup.
Sport: VC Avranchinais (cycling), US Avranches (football). Tour de Normandie, start of Polynormande.
Celebrities: Aubert d'Avranches (bishop), Rene Waldeck-Rousseau (politician), Jean-Luc Ponty (jazz violinist), Samuel Le Bihan (comedian).
Culture: La nuit des Abrincat's (September). Rencontre des cultures (summer). Les éclats de rire (June), Les Estivales (July).
Labels : ville fleurie (3)
Mountain passes & hillsNo mountain passes and hills referenced in this stage
"Wonder of the West" both due to the orginality of its situation and by the beauty of its architecture, Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the main buildings of interest in France. This rocky granite island roughly 1km in circumference rises to 80m high. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site along with the bay that surrounds it, more than 3 million people visit it each year and it is the most visited place in Normandy and the second in France after the Île-de-France. The Abbey, a veritable masterpiece of medieval architecture took five centuries to complete. There are also its ramparts and its main street where the tradition of the shopkeepers from the Middle Ages continues. In the 21st century, Mont-Saint-Michel also finds itself at the heart of a vast programme to protect its maritime character. This will allow in time the impressive spectacle of the water flowing, twice a month. The bay is in effect the biggest tidal theatre in Continental Europe, with up to 15 metres difference between low and high tide.
Commune of Manche (50)
Specialities: omelette de la mère Poulard, lamb, mussels.
Sport: marathon of the Mont St Michel bay (May)
Celebrities: Aubert d'Avranches, Annette Poulard.
Festival: Between sea and sky (July)
Labels: Unesco World heritage.
Jersey wearers after the stage 20
Corporate social responsibility
Since it was founded, Amaury Sport Organisation has been involved in various sponsorship and philanthropy activities. It is the generosity of sport that can be found in a certain number of initiatives aiming to invest in the workings of the disciplines themselves (sponsorship of the French Federation of Cycling), in a humanitarian and social framework, (Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, Actions Dakar, Un Techo Para Mi Pais) or in the environmental sphere (Madre De Dios, selective sorting, etc.). Read more
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