Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule

Come dancing

The Tour de France was at the heart of the cultural season in St Pourcain sur Sioule since the inhabitants attended a conference on the race by Jean-Paul Ollivier in April while one of the leading plays shown at the local theatre was an adaptation of the famous Albert Londres text on the Tour de France known as "Les Forçats de la route". The text was told by two actors riding vintage bicycles. But another date is becoming a fixture of the local calendar since its first edition last year, the In-Off Allier Dance Festival. The 2012 festival was a huge success in spite of a violent storm that hampered the outdoors exhibitions.

The festival includes al types of dances, form ballet to hip-hop and traditional dances. Last year's edition had focused on African dances and the audience were delighted to attend dancing contests of djam and touvoukane. An African meal was also served to visitors.

In 2013, the festival took place on July 6 with animations in the marketplace and in pensioners homes as well as workshops on the Town Hall square. The festival itself took place in the theatre and on an outdoors stage.

Web sites

Jean-Paul Ollivier - ©Eric HOUDAS
No previous stage
Population: 5,200
Chef-lieu de canton of Allier (03)
Slogan: Life at 100 pc
Specialities: wine, le saint-pourci-noix (cake), andouillette of Saint-Pourçain, potato pie, honey.
Economy: Wine
Sport: Tour cycliste Saint-Pourcinois, ARCCSP cyclo club
Celebrities: Blaise de Vigenère (16th century scholar), Andre Lakoine and Jean Cluzel (politiicians), Remi Laurent (actor)
Festivals: printemps du Saint-Pourçain (April), Festival viticole et gourmand (wine and food, August), La Ficelle (December), Photosynthèse.  
Labels: ville fleurie (3)

Timeline

  • 5th century

    St Pourcain, a former pig-keeper who made miracles, creates an abbey.
  • 10th century

    The town becomes a priory and grow in importance.
  • 13th century

    St Pourcain wine is served at the table of King Louis IX.
  • 14th century

    St Pourcain is protected by ramparts and houses a royal monetary mint.
  • 1523

    Birth of Blaise de Vigenere, diplomat and scholar.
  • 18th cenutry

    St Pourcain wine is at the peak of its reputation.
  • 1790

    The town is renamed Mont-sur-Sioule.
  • 1816

    Souitte is annexed to Saint-Pourçain.
  • 1987

    Creation of La Ficelle brotherhood.
  • 2009

    St Pourcain wines obtain the AOC label.
  • 2013

    Twinning between the tourism offices of St Purcain and Mont St Michem.
Blaise de Vigenère, portrait by Thomas Le Leu
No previous stage
Population: 5,200
Chef-lieu de canton of Allier (03)
Slogan: Life at 100 pc
Specialities: wine, le saint-pourci-noix (cake), andouillette of Saint-Pourçain, potato pie, honey.
Economy: Wine
Sport: Tour cycliste Saint-Pourcinois, ARCCSP cyclo club
Celebrities: Blaise de Vigenère (16th century scholar), Andre Lakoine and Jean Cluzel (politiicians), Remi Laurent (actor)
Festivals: printemps du Saint-Pourçain (April), Festival viticole et gourmand (wine and food, August), La Ficelle (December), Photosynthèse.  
Labels: ville fleurie (3)

Web sites

Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule and cycling

The start of Tour de l'Avenir stage in 2010 was given in this wine city. A new generation of Colombian riders emerged at he time, led by Nario Quintana, who won the overall classification. The stage proper finished at Col du Beal and was won by Belgium's Yannick Eijssen, who now rides for BMC.

Yannick Eijssen in Paris/Nice in 2011 – ©Presse Sports
No previous stage
Population: 5,200
Chef-lieu de canton of Allier (03)
Slogan: Life at 100 pc
Specialities: wine, le saint-pourci-noix (cake), andouillette of Saint-Pourçain, potato pie, honey.
Economy: Wine
Sport: Tour cycliste Saint-Pourcinois, ARCCSP cyclo club
Celebrities: Blaise de Vigenère (16th century scholar), Andre Lakoine and Jean Cluzel (politiicians), Remi Laurent (actor)
Festivals: printemps du Saint-Pourçain (April), Festival viticole et gourmand (wine and food, August), La Ficelle (December), Photosynthèse.  
Labels: ville fleurie (3)

Web sites

Places to see

Clock or belfry tower:

Built in 1480 over one of the olds towers of the monastery, it was first used as a watchtower. It was later equipped with a clock and a bell.
Inside the tower, a staircase can be admired from the House of the Bailiff, housing the museum of wine and local history.

Sainte-Croix church:

The old Sainte-Croix priory church is a large building which required several construction phases. Its porch dates from the early Romanesque period and is topped by the bell tower. The Gothic nave is covered with a timber roofing. The stalls of the 15th century monks, the 15th century Ecce Homo polychrome statue and the 18th century altar are the most beautiful items inside the church as well as a 19th century Cavaille-Coll organ.

Charles De Gaulle bridge:

The bridge dates from the late 17th century. It was renovated several times after floods and the damages of WWII.

Museum of wine and local history:

The museum, set in the 16th century House of the Bailiff, houses a dozen rooms in which is told the story of St Pourcain wines and the town history.

Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule (03), the church tower and the clock tower (belfry)Ste Croix church in Saint-Pourçain-sur-SiouleSaint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule - Charles-de-Gaulle bridge. ©MOSSOT
No previous stage
Population: 5,200
Chef-lieu de canton of Allier (03)
Slogan: Life at 100 pc
Specialities: wine, le saint-pourci-noix (cake), andouillette of Saint-Pourçain, potato pie, honey.
Economy: Wine
Sport: Tour cycliste Saint-Pourcinois, ARCCSP cyclo club
Celebrities: Blaise de Vigenère (16th century scholar), Andre Lakoine and Jean Cluzel (politiicians), Remi Laurent (actor)
Festivals: printemps du Saint-Pourçain (April), Festival viticole et gourmand (wine and food, August), La Ficelle (December), Photosynthèse.  
Labels: ville fleurie (3)

Web sites

La ficelle

The Brotherhood of the Companions of La Ficelle was launched in 1987 to perpetuate a 15th century tradition. According to the story, a St Pourcain inn-keeper at the time used to serve his wine in earthenware pots and could not see what his clients had drunk. He had the idea to plunge a rope (ficelle) with regular knots to find out the quantity of wine left in the pots. The knots gave birth to the measures now known as pints, half and galopin. For the last 25 years, La Ficelle is celebrated on the first Saturday in December. To become a member of the Brotherhood, one needs to express an interest in the St Pourcain wines and especially the Ficelle.

For each enthroning ceremony, the members are gathered in their winegrower costume with a blouse and a black hat with red ribbons. The dean leads the ceremony. After the oath, the new member drinks wine in a copper cup and receives the diploma of the Companions of La Ficelle and a copper decanter.

Each year, the official bottle of La Ficelle changes and is conceived by a famous cartoonist. On July 24, 2008, when the Tour de France came close to St Pourcain, French television journalist Jean-Paul Ollivier was enthroned as a companion.

Vineyards - ©atelier photo De JongheVineyards - ©atelier photo De JongheConservatoire Chareil - ©Rémy TouzainVineyards - ©atelier photo De Jonghe
No previous stage
Population: 5,200
Chef-lieu de canton of Allier (03)
Slogan: Life at 100 pc
Specialities: wine, le saint-pourci-noix (cake), andouillette of Saint-Pourçain, potato pie, honey.
Economy: Wine
Sport: Tour cycliste Saint-Pourcinois, ARCCSP cyclo club
Celebrities: Blaise de Vigenère (16th century scholar), Andre Lakoine and Jean Cluzel (politiicians), Remi Laurent (actor)
Festivals: printemps du Saint-Pourçain (April), Festival viticole et gourmand (wine and food, August), La Ficelle (December), Photosynthèse.  
Labels: ville fleurie (3)

Web sites

Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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