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


Stage town for the second time Sub-prefecture of the Loire
Population: 35,000
Personalities: Jean-Baptiste, Jean, Pierre and Michel Troisgros (cooks). René Margotton (painter). Alain Gilles, André Vacheresse (basketball). Jean-Pierre Jeunet (filmmaker). Pierre Étaix (actor and director). Jean-Luc Ribar (football). Jean Auroux (former minister).
Specialities: praluline (brioche). Cotes roannaises Wines.
Sport: 15,000 members in 165 clubs and 52 disciplines. Chorale Roanne (basketball, pro A). Roanne Basket Féminin. Roannais Foot 42. RC Roanne XIII. Club des hockeyeurs roannais.
Events : Terre de Jeux 2024. Tour du Pays Roannais (cycling). Roanne International Tennis Open (challenger). Roanne-Thiers (walking race). Raid Nature 42.
Economy: shops. Hosiery. Weaving, textiles (Carré blanc, Devernois). Roanne Arsenal (Nexter Systems, manufacturer of the CAESAR tank). Michelin (high-end tyres). Paper industry (Délipapier). Food industry (Valentin traiteur, Révillon chocolatier). Call centres.
Festivals: Roanne Blues Festival, Festival Ciné Court animé, Festival des Monts de la Madeleine, Roanne Plage, Festival de musique du Forez, Roanne Table ouverte.
Labels: Accueil Vélo, Vignobles et découvertes. Leader France. Town in bloom (***)
Websites: www.aggloroanne.frwww.roannais-tourisme.com /

Vue aérienne du barrage de Villerest © Ville de Roanne/Guillaume Masseron
Théâtre et Hôtel de Ville de Roanne © Ville de Roanne


Although Roanne has only hosted the Tour de France once, for the start of a stage won by Sylvain Chavanel in Montluçon after a great ride with Jérémy Roy, the town has often featured on the programme of the Critérium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice. During the last visit of the Dauphiné, in 2019, Roanne was the scene of a demonstration by Wout van Aert in a time trial, but also the same day of a very heavy crash by Chris Froome, ending his season and taking the four-time Tour winner on a long road of recovery and convalescence. The city of the Troigros brothers had seen a collective time trial organised in Paris-Nice in 1993 and won by the Once team. Roanne was not able to enjoy the last passage of the Race to the Sun in 2004, as the stage was cancelled due to snow. Roanne was the home of a Tour de France pioneer, Victor Dupré, who took part in the 1903 edition, but had to abandon during the first stage before reaching his hometown. He became world track speed champion in 1909. Inspired by the latter, Joseph Normand took part in four Tours de France between 1920 and 1929. Jo Dessertine, in 1947, Robert Ducard, in 1952 and 1962, Maurice Bénet, in 1966, Pierre Rivory, in 1971, or Antoine Guttierez (1975 to 1978) are the other Roannais to have participated in the Tour de France. 

Wout Van Aert sur le contre-la-montre du Critérium du Dauphiné 2019 © ASO/Alex BROADWAY
Pierre Rivory sur la 10ème étape du Tour de France 1971, reliant Saint-Etienne à Grenoble © Presse Sports


Roanne Castle
Construction: 11th century.
Style: medieval.
History: it was built by Bérard de Roanne, lord of the castles of Roanne and Crozet. It then passed to the Dukes of Roanne and was transformed into a court and prison in 1674. It was bought in 1845 by the family of the Chevalier de Saint-Thomas and became the property of the town hall in 1997.
Characteristics: this is the oldest building in Roanne, of which only a high square keep with rounded corners remains. It is a square tower made of rough stones, pebbles and small blocks of Villerest granite, about twenty metres high. It is surmounted by a slate-covered watchtower which existed in the middle of the 15th century when Guillaume Revel designed the town of Roanne. This keep houses a room that has been listed in the supplementary inventory of Historic Monuments, the room of coats of arms, whose vaulted ceiling is covered with a hundred coats of arms painted in the 19th century on the instructions of its owner, the Chevalier de Saint-Thomas.
Current destination: the keep houses the tourist office. It can be visited in summer on Saturday mornings.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1930.  

Hotel of the sub-prefecture
Built: 1752.
Style: classic.
History: sometimes attributed to Lyon architect Jean-Antoine Morand for the intendant Jacques de Flesselles, it seems that it was actually built in 1752 for the Goyet de Livron family, whose name it bears. In 1771 and 1773, it welcomed the two sisters Marie-Joséphine and Marie-Thérèse of Savoy, future wives of Louis XVIII and Charles X. In 1804, Pope Pius VII stayed there during his trip to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon I, and in 1815, Marie-Thérèse of France, the only surviving child of Louis XVI, stayed there in her turn. In 1824, the Livron family sold the mansion to Joseph Devillaine, a local banker, who made it the headquarters of his bank. After his bankruptcy, he sold the building to the State in 1850, which transformed it into a sub-prefecture. 
Characteristics: the mansion has a grand staircase with a remarkable wrought iron banister and a strong room. The first floor houses an octagonal salon in the Louis XV style, with a wooden floor and inlaid locks and keys on each of the four doors, representing the signs of a card game. This room was used as the sub-prefect's office until 1981.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 2014.  

Joseph-Déchelette Museum
Construction: late 18th century.
Opening of the museum: 1923.
Style: classic.
History: the museum was established in 1923 in the private mansion belonging to the wife of Joseph Déchelette, an archaeologist and former curator of the museum, who died in combat in 1914. 
Characteristics: its collections include numerous archaeological pieces from the Roanne region, but also a collection of Egyptian objects. The museum also displays paintings from the 15th to the 20th century, sculptures and decorative arts objects, including a unique collection of revolutionary earthenware. 
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1981.  

Roanne to Digoin Canal
Built between 1830 and 1836, over 56 kilometres punctuated by ten locks, the canal, fed by water from the Loire, links Roanne to Digoin via Briennon. At Digoin, it joins the Canal du Centre and the Canal Latéral à la Loire and thus the entire network of French waterways. Following the "quiet canal" is to discover Roanne and its surroundings in a different, contemplative way. By bike, the towpath runs alongside this waterway and allows for a shady family stroll.  

Vineyards of Côte Roannaise
The Côte Roannaise vineyards are located on a 20-kilometre long slope bordered by the famous National 7 road. It is in a hilly countryside, dotted with remarkable villages, where the wine growers express their know-how. Recognised as an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) since 1994, the Roannais vineyards now have around thirty winegrowers covering more than 200 hectares and around ten villages.  

Banks of the Loire, Roanne
Since April 2021, the banks of the Loire have had a new look. A completely redeveloped area covering 5 hectares combines greenery, paths, games and leisure activities. This summer, for the Tour, and during very hot days, visitors and the people of Roanne will be able to cool off thanks to the long water mirror measuring 70 m x 5 m installed on the esplanade.

Le pont et les bords de la Loire © Ville de Roanne
Vue sur les vignobles de la Côte Roannaise © Getty/BREGAND
Le canal de Roanne à Digoin © Ville de Roanne/Guillaume Masseron
Le Musée Joseph Déchelette à Roanne © Creative Commons 4.0/Chabe01
Hôtel Goyet de Livron, actuel hôtel de la sous-préfecture de Roanne © Creative Commons 4.0/TCY
Le château de Roanne © Creative Commons 4.0/Chabe01


Praluline is a butter brioche with pink pralines, created by Auguste Pralus in 1955 in his chocolate factory in Roanne. The pink pralines are made with almonds from Valencia (Spain) and hazelnuts from Piedmont, coated with pink sugar, crushed and then incorporated into the brioche. Praluline is a registered trademark, since 13 May 1961. Each year, Pralus produces 100,000 Pralulines and 110 tonnes of chocolate. The company employs forty people and had a turnover of 3.3 million euros in 2008 (30 pc of which is exported).

La praluline © Creative Commons 0/Benoît Prieur

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