The Tour de France and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift on the move for cycling as a means of transport

On the road

CYCLING TOURISM
Closest KM: Fleurie, KM 82

The Beaujolais Geopark's remarkable geological heritage has earned it a place among the seven UNESCO Global Geoparks in France. It would almost be a crime to ride through Beaujolais and talk about its prime soils and stones (golden, red, white, grey and black) without mentioning its vineyards! While the pros duke it out on the 169 km trek between Roanne and Belleville-en-Beaujolais, cycling tourists will seek a reward for their efforts on the Boucles à vélo des crus du Beaujolais. Straddling the hills and the vineyards, these loops have something for everyone, both on the bicycle and on the table, with easy circuits that wind their way around châteaux, cellars and appelations. The region even has "oenoelectric" rides in which participants get to taste local wines after hopping off their bicycles… in moderation, of course!

AUVERGNE-RHÔNE ALPES REGION

Departments: Ain, Allier, Ardèche, Cantal, Drôme, Isère, Loire, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Métropole de Lyon, Savoie, Haute-Savoie.
Population: 8 million
Prefecture: Lyon
Area: 69,711 km2
Specialities: Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône and Savoie wines, Lyon specialities (quenelles, cervelles de canut, saucisson.), potée auvergnate, Savoyard specialities (raclette, fondue, tartiflettes, diots, crozets), cheeses (beaufort, reblochon, cantal, bleu d'Auvergne, Salers, saint-Nectaire...), green lentil of Le Puy, waters (Evian, Thonon, Volvic) verbena, chartreuse.
Sports clubs: Olympique Lyonnais, AS Saint-Etienne, Clermont Foot 63, Grenoble Foot 38 (football). ASM Clermont, Lyon OU, FC Grenoble, Stade Aurillacois, US Oyonnax (rugby union), ASVEL Villeurbanne (basketball), Chambéry (handball), Brûleurs de loup Grenoble, Pionniers de Chamonix (ice hockey)
Competitions: women's football world cup, ski competitions (critérium de la Première neige in Val d'Isère), Tour de France passes, Critérium du Dauphiné.
Economy: (8e European region) high-tech industries, automotive (Berliet), metallurgy, rubber, plastics, chemicals, electronics, food processing, textiles, digital, banks, universities, administrations, viticulture. tyres (Michelin). Design. New technologies (Inovallée) Winter and summer tourism. 
Festivals: Fête des Lumières in Lyon, Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon, quais du polar in Lyon, biennale du design in Saint-Etienne, classical music festival in La Chaise-Dieu
Tourist sites: old Lyon and Croix-Rousse, Puy-en-Velay cathedral, Lake Annecy, Chambéry castle, winter sports in Isère, Savoie and Haute-Savoie, Cantal, thermal resorts, Auvergne volcanoes. Caverne du Pont d'Arc. Castle of Grignan. Bastille of Grenoble. Vulcania. Parc des Oiseaux.
Websites and social networks: www.auvergnerhonealpes.fr

LOIRE (42)

Population: 762,222
Prefecture : Saint-Etienne
Subprefectures : Montbrison, Roanne
Area: 4,781 km2
Specialities: Forez grated cheese, barboton (meat), sarasson, fourme de Montbrison (cheese), andouille de Charlieu
Major sports clubs: AS Saint-Etienne (football), Chorale Roanne Basket.
Major competitions: SaintéLyon (night running raid), Grand Prix de la ville de Saint-Etienne (cycling)
Festivals: Saint-Etienne Book Festival, International Design Biennial, Gourd Festival in Andrézieux, BD'Art Festival in Rive-de-Gier, Rhino Jazz in Saint-Chamond.
Sights: La Bâtie d'Urfé, Charlieu Abbey, Pommiers Priory, Saint-Martin-la-Plaine Zoo, Chalmazel ski resort, Saint-Etienne Museum of Modern Art, Musée des Verts, Bouthéon Castle.
Economy: steel, mechanics, medical textiles, optics, design, retail (Casino).
Websites / social networks:www.loire.fr / www.loiretourisme.fr

Km 10

MONTAGNY

In 2015, Montagny hosted the finish of stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, a 14.5km team time trial from Roanne. The BMC team won the stage with Australian Rohan Dennis and American Tejay van Garderen, allowing the latter to take the leader's jersey. The old town is picturesque with its 12th century chapel and the ruins of its medieval castle. 

RHÔNE (69)

Population: 1.882 million
Prefecture: Lyon
Sub-prefecture : Villefranche-sur-Saône
Area: 3,249 km2
Specialities: oenology, agriculture, tourism. Wine growing: beaujolais, condrieu, côte rôtie, Monts and Coteaux du Lyonnais. Charcuterie including andouillette Bobosse. Cheeses.  Fruit (Bessenay cherry).  Tête de veau (calf's head) and its gribiche sauce on Mondays at the calf market in St Laurent de Chamousset /Les mousselines de Tarare, etc.
Major sports clubs: Olympique Lyonnais (football), Lyon Olympique Universitaire (LOU, rugby), ASVEL Lyon- Villeurbanne (basketball).
Major competitions: women's football world cup, Run in Lyon
Festivals: Fête des lumières in Lyon, Nuits de Fourvières in Lyon, Biennale de Lyon, Quais du polar in Lyon. 
Sights: Festival of Lights, Old Lyon, Croix-Rousse, Beaujolais vineyards.
Economy: high-tech industries, automobile (Berliet), chemicals, banks, universities, administrations, viticulture.
Websites:  www.rhone.fr  www.rhonetourisme.com

Km 15.2

THIZY-LES-BOURGS

The new commune includes the communes of Bourg-de-Thizy, La Chapelle-de-Mardore, Mardore, Marnand and Thizy, which became delegated communes on 1 January 2013. Two former ministers come from Thizy: Jean Auroux, whose Auroux laws modified the labour code in 1982, and Michel Mercier, Justice Minister in 2010. The family of Jean Gabin (whose real name was Jean Moncorgé) also came from the village of Mardore, where his grandfather was born. Thizy was the start town for the 5th stage of the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné, won by Wout Van Aert in Chaintré.

Km 36

RANCHAL

In the village can be found Notre-Dame-de-la-Rochette, a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, built in the 19th century thanks in part to a gift from Empress Eugénie. The statue of the Madonna is the work of Joseph-Hugues Fabisch, the artist who sculpted the Virgin of Fourvière in Lyon in 1851. The Germans established an important military camp in Ranchal in 1942.

Km 40.3

POULE-LES-ECHARMEAUX

On Col des Echarmeaux is a statue of Napoleon I, the work of a local man, Jean Molette (1819-1889). A clog maker by profession and a sculptor, he made this statue during the Second Empire when he lived in Les Echarmeaux. Here is the text of the verses inscribed on the base: O! you mighty hero whom the universe admires O! you who gave us glory with the Empire Let my hand in its leisure retrace And your many exploits and your august face. Georges Martin, who took part in three Tours de France in the immediate post-war period, lived in Poule-les-Echarmeaux. In 1949, he took 4th place in a Paris-Roubaix edition that ended in confusion after Serse Coppi and André Mahé won the race jointly due to a switching error by the breakaway riders.

Km 62.1

AVENAS

Deux-Grosnes is a new commune created on 1 January 2019 by the merger of the communes of Avenas, Monsols, Ouroux, Saint-Christophe, Saint-Jacques-des-Arrêts, Saint-Mamert and Trades. The heritage of the new entity is mainly made up of the churches of the former communes that make it up and small private castles.  

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Avenas
Construction: 12th century.
Style: Romanesque.
History: look for the Louis... some historians think that the church was erected by Louis the Debonair (also called The Pious) in commemoration of the victory obtained by Charlemagne over Ganelon at the mountain of Torvéon when he was passing through Avenas in 824 or 830. Others attribute it to Saint Louis during his visit to Mâcon on 12 July 1248. Still others opt for Louis VI or Louis VII as the founder. The problem is to identify King Louis who is represented and quoted on the south panel of the church altar.
Characteristics: it is a simple Romanesque building with an open roof over the nave. The transept crossing is crowned by an openwork dome on arcades, two short cross vaults and an apse with adjoining arcades. The four pilasters are decorated with flowers and their capitals are in the form of leaves, flowers, a human head and a two-headed snake.
Special features: in the centre of the choir is an altar carved from white limestone. It is a parallelepiped made of four blocks of limestone, created around 1120. It is attributed to the "sculptor of Cluny III", the style shows similarities with that of the tympanum of Macon. Three sides of the altar bear scenes in high relief, four columns are in the corners
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1901.

Km 64.2

CHIROUBLES

Chiroubles is one of the six Beaujolais vintages (out of ten) crossed during this stage with Juliénas, Chénas, Fleurie, Morgon (Villié-Morgon) and Régnié. A spelling remark: if the villages which gave their name to these wines are written with a capital letter, the wines which are produced there are written with a small letter: beaujolais, juliénas... Chiroubles is an AOC since 1936. Like all Beaujolais wines, this red wine is produced from Gamay grapes. Chiroubles is an appellation exclusively on granite slopes at an average altitude of 410 metres. In the village, don't miss the Estivales in July, with free concerts. In 2021, Chiroubles hosted the finish of the 4th stage of Paris-Nice, won solo by Primoz Roglic.

Km 76

JULIENAS

The tour of the Beaujolais appellations continues in Juliénas, where the visit is not limited to wine tasting. Maison de la Dîme, which belongs to one of the great names of Beaujolais, the Foillard family, is worth a visit and is listed. As its name indicates, taxes were once collected there. The castle of Juliénas, former property of the lords of Beaujeu and wine exploitation as it should be, is also of patrimonial interest, just like the castle of Bois de la Salle, former monastery which accommodates the cooperative cellar.  AOC since 1938, Juliénas produces reds made from Gamay grapes. Juliénas has in the past hosted the start of two stages of Paris-Nice, the last one in 2016 for a victory in Romans-sur-Isère by Nacer Bouhanni.  

Maison de la Dîme
Construction: 17th century.
History and characteristics: its superbly preserved façade with galleries and arcades is reminiscent of Italian Renaissance houses. Until the Revolution, this beautiful residence was used to collect the ecclesiastical tithe (dime in French) for the benefit of the Chapter of Saint-Vincent-les-Mâcon and the parish priest. The tithe corresponded to about 10 pc of the harvest. Here the winegrowers had to pay "one bucket of grapes out of every twelve harvested". The restoration of Maison de la Dîme, owned by the Foillard family since the 19th century, was completed in 1986. A vineyard, in the Julienas appellation, is still attached to the property.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1926.

Km 78.8

CHENAS

Third vintage and appellation of this stage in Chénas, whose wine, AOC since 1936, was according to legend the only one that King Louis XIII accepted at his table. It is said to have been brought to the court by draughtsman Gabriel Pérelle, director of the plans and maps of the king's cabinet, after a meeting with Jacques de Montmorency, the king's ballet master, originally from Belleville-en-Beaujolais, who made him discover the region and its wines. A plot of vines still bears his name "Chénas en Pérelle", which represents 9 hectares of the appellation.

Km 82.6

FLEURIE

From the chapel of the Madonna of Fleurie, the view over the Saône valley is magnificent. Fleurie produces one of the ten crus of the Beaujolais region and has had an AOC since 1936. In 1946, the village allowed Marguerite Chabert to become the first woman president of a cooperative cellar in France. A fresco at the entrance to the village represents this woman of character, who died in 1993. During her 40-year term of office, Fleurie's production increased sixfold. In 2008, Fleurie hosted the start of a stage of Paris-Nice, won in Saint-Etienne by Finnish rider Kjell Carlström.

Km 87.2

VILLIE-MORGON

Fifth cru of Beaujolais of this stage with the morgon, which took the name of one of the two villages which merged to form the current locality. Resulting from a particular soil made up of decomposed rocks and friable schists, it allures by its fullness in mouth. It is one of the most powerful of the Beaujolais wines. Between two glasses of wine, architecture lovers will appreciate the imposing stature of the Château de Fontcrenne, now the village hall. The Marquis of Saint-Amour built it on the site of an old medieval castle in the 17th century. The property also has a beautiful animal park (birds, deer...), all open to the public.  Villié-Morgon has hosted several major cycling races, starting with the Tour de France, which stopped here in 1984 for a 51-km time trial to Villefranche, won by Laurent Fignon ahead of Sean Kelly, Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond. Another time trial of around fifty kilometres took place in 2012 between Villié-Morgon and Bourg-en-Bresse with a victory by Bradley Wiggins, on his way to winning the Tour de France and the Olympics. The Tour de l'Avenir has also stopped here twice. 

Km 92.8

REGNIE-DURETTE

Last of the six vintages visited on this stage, Régnié is also the last of the ten crus of the Beaujolais since the appellation was only created in 1988. Essentially produced in Régnié-Durette, regnié counts some acres in Lantignié. In the commune, the Grange-Charton estate, owned by the Hospices de Beaujeu since 1806, has been listed as a historical monument since 1994 for its 19th century buildings. The Renaissance castle of La Pierre, which is said to have resisted an attack by the formidable Baron des Adrets during the Wars of Religion, is also listed.  The village hosted the Tour de France for its 19th stage in 2002, a 50-km time trial through the vineyards to Mâcon.   

Km 97.5

BEAUJEU

Beaujeu did not directly give its name to Beaujolais, but both derive from beaujou, which in dialect meant "beautiful mountain". Beaujeu is, however, the historical capital of the ancient province of Beaujolais. From this prestigious past, the town has preserved an important heritage, notably the famous hospices de Beaujeu, which have been selling their wine for charity since 1797, 64 years before the hospices de Beaune. The town hall houses the Marius-Audin Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, while the Maison du Terroir is located in a timber-framed house listed as a historical monument, where the tourist office is also located. It was at the start of Beaujeu, in Paris-Nice in 2017, that Julian Alaphilippe signed a resounding victory in a time trial at the top of Mont Brouilly.

Km 129

VAUX-EN-BEAUJOLAIS

Vaux-en-Beaujolais is the village that inspired Gabriel Chevallier's 1934 novel Clochemerle, which has become the archetype of the village spirit in deepest France.

Km 149.9

QUINCIE-EN-BEAUJOLAIS

Quincié-en-Beaujolais is a mainly wine-producing village, which produces four AOC wines: beaujolais, beaujolais-villages, brouilly and côte-de-brouilly. It is also the village where the journalist Bernard Pivot grew up with his grandmother. He has a residence there and the municipal library bears his name. He was also a local councillor. The commune has three castles, the most notable of which is the 13th-century Château de la Palud, where King Louis XI once resided. The imposing Château de Varennes, which is now a vineyard, is also a venue for weddings and seminars. In 2017, Quincié-en-Beaujolais was the start of a stage of Paris-Nice won in Bourg-de-Péage by André Greipel.  

Château de la Palud
Construction: 16th century.
Style: Renaissance.
History: the castle of La Palud, built in the Middle Ages, is the property of the Barjot family, one of whose members, Guillaume Barjot, received King Louis XI in the Beaujolais in 1482. The Barjots were rivals of the Nagu-Varennes family, who occupied the other castle in the village. In the 17th century, this family acquired it and donated it to the nuns. The castle was dismantled during the Revolution. It is now uninhabited and part of an agricultural estate.
Characteristics: the main building has a high roof with dormer windows. The main facade is flanked by two massive round towers with slender spires, lit by rare openings. To the left of what was the drawbridge, two narrow twin bays surmount the door. They have a replica above, in the attic.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1994.

Km 155

ODENAS

Part of the territory of Odenas is home to Mont Brouilly, which has become an early season classic since its inclusion on the Paris-Nice route in 2014 (Tom-Jelte Slagter's victory in Belleville), 2016 (stage cancelled due to snow), 2017 (Julian Alaphilippe's time trial victory) and 2021 (Primoz Roglic's victory in Chiroubles). The mountain is topped by the chapel of Notre-Dame aux Raisins, which is the object of an annual pilgrimage on 8 September. It was built to protect the vineyard after the hail, frost and powdery mildew that ravaged it between 1850 and 1852. The foundation stone was laid in 1854 and the inauguration took place in 1857. The altar has the inscription "To Mary against powdery mildew", while on the façade is inscribed "To Mary, protector of the Beaujolais". The largest wine estate in the Beaujolais, Château de la Chaize, is located in the municipality.  

Château de la Chaize
Built: 1676.
Style: classic.
History: it is the largest of the wine châteaux in the region. The building, designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and the gardens, designed by Le Nôtre, are located on the slopes of the Beaujolais mountains, in the Brouilly region. Built between 1674 and 1676, it remained in the La Chaize d'Aix family, through the Montaigu and then Roussy de Sales branches, for more than three centuries, until it was bought in 2017 by a Lyon-based company director, Christophe Gruy.
Characteristics: the castle consists of three symmetrical bodies, facing the garden, with the two wings ending in a pavilion. The roof is made of slate tiles. The colour of the whole building is ochre and reminds one of an Italian influence. This influence can also be seen in the interior with the colonnade in the vestibule and the "King's room", topped by a fresco depicting Love and Psyche.
Gardens: opposite the castle is a formal garden with parterres and a "sunny" vegetable garden, covering one and a half hectares. In the 17th century, the garden formed a whole with fountains and coloured gravel laid out in an arabesque on the lawns. At that time, a team of 24 gardeners worked in the garden. Today, only 32 yew trees remain, as well as five "cake" shaped beds.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1972.

Km 158.3

SAINT-LAGER

Mont Brouilly is partly located in the commune, which was renamed Mont Brouilly during the Revolution.

Km 164.4

SAINT-JEAN-D'ARDIERES

Saint-Jean d'Ardières merged in 2019 with Belleville to form the new commune of Belleville-en-Beaujolais. In the village, the first Maison des Beaujolais was opened in 1952 to showcase the wines of the region.   

Château de Pizay
Foundation: 1030.
Style: medieval, Renaissance and classical.
History: in the year 1030, Gosmard de Pizeys, vassal of the Sires de Beaujeu, built the towers of the castle of Pizay. The name of Pizay is then registered at the Abbey of Cluny. For nine centuries, Gosmard's descendants took over the castle, building a keep in the 14th century and later a French garden, attributed to Lenôtre. The estate changed ownership in 1916, only to be bought by the insurance company Groupama Rhône Alpes in 1981. The residence was then transformed into a 4-star hotel. The wine business continued and even prospered, with 50 hectares under cultivation. Pizay produced wine for the first time in the Régnié area, thanks to a sharecropping plot in the commune of Régnié-Durette. In 1998, the owners acquired Château de Saint-Lager and its 14 hectares of vines on the Brouilly hill.
Characteristics: the Tanay tower, a square "keep" with four corner watchtowers, a circular staircase tower and the enclosure built around 1070, all near a Renaissance dwelling and a 19th century chapel, remain from the medieval fortified house.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1972. 

The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, stretching from central France to the Swiss-Italian border, combines historic cities and vast natural beauty. Amongst green national parks you can find dormant volcanoes and mountain ranges ideal for hiking and sports.   Make the most of a rest day in Clermont-Ferrand. This interesting city offers impressive attractions and architecture, not yet overrun by tourists. Take in the majestic Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption or visit one of the museums to learn about art and local industry. This is also the birthplace of the Michelin brothers, so expect fine cuisine!   Wine connoisseurs cannot miss out Beaujolais, a chance to sample the local produce among vineyards and beautiful villages. Santé!

Top 5 things to see and do:

1. Wander round Clermont-Ferrand's city centre
2. Hike up Puy-de-Dôme for epic views
3. Tour the wine-making region of Beaujolais
4. Appreciate the region's history 
5. Dine in the birthplace of the Michelin brothers

 

Provided by lastminute.com

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