Known in ancient times as Cropium, Crêches-sur-Saône used to sit on the Via Agrippa, one of the most important Roman roads, which linked Lugdunum (Lyon) and Burdigala (Bordeaux). Nowadays, nestled in between the hills of Beaujolais and Mâcon, accessible by several major European motorways and close to the Paris-Lyon high-speed railway line and the A6, it is a bustling locality with 3,000 inhabitants. Whilst the neighbourhoods adjacent to the N6 are rather urban in character, the area has a more relaxing, rural feel to it when you visit its hamlets, where the wine-growers' stone houses and rammed-earth farm buildings stand alongside more modern constructions. The town's primary activity is trade, but its geographical location also makes it a tourist destination. Many visitors come to stay at the leisure park, complete with a three-star campsite, to enjoy the peace and quiet of the banks of the Saône and visit the nearby vineyards. Crêches-sur-Saône is also the starting point for five mountain bike circuits proposed by the Mâconnais-Beaujolais Federation of Municipalities.
Rive-de-Gier, the River Loire's entry point into the Rhône-Alpes region, is a town of the future, and the meeting point of three sizeable departments: Loire, Rhône and Isère. A water-based town, crossed by the Gier, it is also nature-based, at the gates of the Pilat Regional Nature Reserve and community-based, home to around 100 associations. It is also a town for sports-lovers, proudly represented by its many clubs. The Women's Tour de France has already passed through Rive-de-Gier as well as the Tour du Pilat cycling race. The town is also very proud of the achievements of Cyril Dessel, the wearer of the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey for a stage, a native of the region who enjoys a challenge and who is committed to his town. Winner of the regional town in bloom contest and awarded the Internet Town label, Rive-de-Gier is also the starting point for leading tourist sites such as the dam and its footpaths, the Ballade des Ponts walk, the Maison Marrel and the Combélibert shaft headframe, bearing witness to the mining and industrial past of a town which today has nearly 15,000 inhabitants known as Ripagériens.
Jersey wearers after the stage 1
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