2022 Tour de France

See you on Thursday 14 October for the announcement of the route of the 2022 Tour de France.

On the road

AUDE (11)

Region: Occitanie
Population: 372,806
Prefecture: Carcassonne
Sub-prefectures: Narbonne, Limoux
Number of communes: 436
Surface: 6,139 km2
Specialities: cassoulet from Castelnaudary, bourride of eels, lucques (green olives), limos (brioche), fricassee from Limoux, oysters from Leucate (shellfish), truffles, rice and apples from Marseillette, écu du Pays Cathare (goat's cheese), Limoux nougat (confectionery), Aude wines (7 AOP), Limoux blanquette (wine), micheline (liqueur), cartagène (liqueur), Caunes-Minervois marble, boudegue (Occitan bagpipes)
Major sports clubs : rugby union RCNM Narbonne and USC (Carcassonne), rugby league (Lézignan-Corbières, Limoux, Carcassonne), volleyball (Narbonne, Gruissan), women's handball (Narbonne).
Major competitions: Mondial du vent (Leucate), Défi Wind & Défi Kite (Gruissan), Junior Kitesurf World Cup (Saint-Pierre-la-mer), Grand Raid des Cathares, Cross de la Cité (Carcassonne), l'Audoise Gran Fondo (Villeneuve Minervois), Mountain biking Cap Nore / Déval' Nore (Aragon), Critérium de Quillan (Cycling)
Culture & Heritage: The citadels of vertigo, Canal du Midi, Lagrasse Abbey, Fontfroide Abbey. Carnival of Limoux, Montolieu village du livre, Scènes d'enfance (all the department), Artistes à suivre, Fête du Cassoulet, Limoux brass Festival, Jazz in Conilhac, Summer Festival (Lézignan-Corbières), festival des Barques en Scènes (Narbonne), festival de la Cité (Carcassonne), Temps de cirque (all the department), Sortie de case (all the department)
Economy: viticulture, fishing, agriculture, livestock farming, maritime trade, seaside tourism, mid-mountain tourism, thermalism, cultural tourism, oenotourism and truffitourism
Websites and social networks: www.aude.fr / www.audetourisme.com / www.payscathare.com / www.payscathare.org / citadellesduvertige.aude.fr / www.facebook.com/departementdelaude / www.instagram.com/citadellesduvertige / www.aude.fr

Km 12.5

Montréal (Pop: 1,900)
The collegiate church of Saint Vincent dominates the small town of Montréal. It bears witness to the former prosperity of this town of Gallo-Roman origins, which grew rich thanks to the textile industry (wool) and even the manufacture of gunpowder. The town nevertheless experienced many vicissitudes during the time of the Black Prince and the Wars of Religion. The collegiate church replaced a former church that was too small, some of whose elements are still integrated into the current building.

Collegiate Church of Saint Vincent
Construction: 14th century
Style: Southern Gothic
Characteristics: the choir was remodelled at the beginning of the 17th century and the seven paintings by Toulouse painter Despax devoted to the life of Saint Vincent de Saragosse were placed above the choir stalls in 1755. The plaster vault was added in 1783 to hide the framework.
Special feature: the magnificent polychrome carved wooden pulpit, dating from 1755, is the work of Burgundian sculptor Pierre Noireau, buried in Montreal.
Classification: listed as a Historical Monument in 1862

Km 37

Caudeval (Pop: 163)

Castle of Caudeval
Construction: from the 9th century, then 13th, 17th and 19th centuries.
Style: composite
Characteristics: the castle has received very rich and important gypsum decorations, unique in France. These decorations date from the end of the 17th and the end of the 18th centuries.
History: the site was a land of the Counts of Foix. The castle was taken by the troops of Simon de Monfort in the 13th century and then by the Protestants during the Wars of Religion. From the 17th century, the castle became the property of the Counts of Rochecouart-Faudoas.
Special feature: in the middle of the 15th century, it belonged to Jean d'Aulon, squire to Joan of Arc and adviser to the King.
Current use: private property.
Classification: Historical Monument since 1973

Km 55.5

Chalabre (Pop: 1,200)
Pretty village with corbelled houses, situated in the valley of the Hers-Vif, at its confluence with the Blau and the Chalabreil. At the beginning of the 20th century, industry was very active here, particularly in the manufacture of hats.
Founded before the 12th century, the land belonged to the house of Trencavel, who protected the Cathars. After the crusade against the Albigensians, it became the property of the Pons de Bruyères. In 1350, the ramparts were completed, forming a complete fortification around the village, the centre of which is a 13th-century bastide.

Castle of Chalabre
Construction: 13th century (including the keep), 15th and 18th centuries.
History: The castle was entrusted by Simon de Montfort to Baron Pons de Bruyère le Châtel in 1210, and was subsequently altered several times over the centuries.
Current destination: the association that manages the castle has transformed it into a historical and participatory leisure park. Equestrian show in a chivalry ring, knighting of a child from the public, javelin agility (balloon bursting), medieval dances, medieval tree climbing, etc.

ARIÈGE (09)

Population: 152,340
Prefecture: Foix
Sub-prefectures: Pamiers, Saint-Girons
Surface area: 4,890 km².
Specialities: Bethmale (cheese), Flocons d'Ariège (confectionery), Azinat (type of garbure), Mounjetado (mountain cassoulet), hypocras (medieval aperitif), cutlery, wool, horn objects...
Sports: white water sports, cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing, hiking, sledging, downhill skiing, dog sledding, biathlon, mountaineering, climbing, mountain biking, fishing, horse riding, bicycle touring, paragliding, accrobranche, canyoning, water skiing, golf.
Major competitions: Trail des Citadelles, Ronde de l'Isard, L'Ariégeoise, Trail des Crêtes, Mountain Festival, Marathon of Montcalm, Mérens Horse National Days, Challenge des trails ariégeois.
Festivals : Été des Théâtrales in Couserans, Spectacles de Grands chemins en vallées d'Ax, Mirepoix historical festival, Foix Terre d'histoire, Autrefois le Couserans, Médiévales in Mazères, Saint-Lizier en Couserans Festival, Foix Jazz Festival, Jazz'Velanet festival, Tarascon Latino festival, Terre de Couleurs festival, RITE festival (dances, songs and music from around the world), Résistances film festival, Coulisses d'automne festival, MIMA, Mirepoix puppet arts festival...
Economy: thermalism, "4 seasons" tourism, agropastoralism, hydroelectricity, talc mining, aeronautical subcontracting, textiles, wood industry, etc.
Websites and social networks: www.ariege.fr / www.ariegepyrenees.com / www.grands-sites-ariege.fr / www.facebook.com/tourisme.ariege / twitter.com/tourismeariege / www.instagram.com/ariegeledpt / twitter.com/ariegeledpt

Km 77

Lavelanet (Pop: 6,100)
A rugby stronghold, Lavelanet is also the birthplace of one of the most famous French footballers, Fabien Barthez. Its textile past has left its mark on the town, which is now refocusing on other activities, notably tourism. However, the city honours its reputation as the textile capital of the Ariège. Its textile and horn comb museum, housed in an old factory, was renovated in 2008. The aim: interactivity. Weaving, spinning, vegetable dyes... Various workshops allow visitors to experiment, touch and visualise everything that makes up the history and current status of textiles, from the Cathar era to the high-tech fabrics manufactured today in Lavelanet.
Lavelanet has twice hosted the Tour de France for stage departures in 2002 and 2008.

SIGHT:

Chemin des Filatiers greenway
Inaugurated this autumn, this greenway follows the route of the old railway line which, from 1903 to 1973, saw the passage of goods wagons linked to the industry of the Olmes region (textiles, horn combs). The 42 km long greenway can be used on foot, mountain bike or horseback. It links Lavelanet to Mirepoix via Chalabre (Aude) and Camon, with passages to discover the villages in between.

Km 83

Montferrier (Pop: 500)
The commune of Montferrier is home to the Monts d'Olmes winter sports resort, created in 1968, and from which comes Perrine Laffont, Olympic champion in 2018.

Km 89

Col de Montségur (1,059 m)
The pass was used for the first time in the Tour de France as a third category climb in 2002 during the thirteenth stage from Lavelanet to Béziers, with Laurent Jalabert leadin the way. It was climbed from the other side during the 2019 Tour de France as a second category pass during the fifteenth stage from Limoux (Aude) to Foix - Prat d'Albis at 60.5 km from the start: Michael Woods was in the lead.

Km 90

Montségur (Pop: 125)
In the heart of a wild and preserved nature, Montségur is known for its famous castle with a rich and moving history, but also as a mountain village in a protected Pyrenean valley. Montségur was the high place and the martyred village of Ariège Catharism. The Cathar religion crystallized in the 11th century around a desire to return to the Christian sources. Detached from the goods of this world, the Cathars followed the model of the apostles and rejected the Roman Church, its appetite for power and holy war. Their ideas found a resounding echo and by the end of the 12th century had spread to all the Occitan counties. In 1208, the Pope launched a crusade against those heretics who dared to challenge Rome. The south-west was put to fire and blood. The tragedy culminated in Montsegur in 1243. A large crusading army surrounded the fortified village, where 500 heretics stood up to an army of 6,000 men. Despite cold and hunger, deadly battles and betrayals, the besieged held out for almost a year. At the end of their strength, they surrendered in March 1244: 225 Cathars, around their bishops, refused to recant their faith and were burnt alive at the foot of the fortress. In 1321-1330, the last Cathars were exterminated and the greater Occitania region was annexed by the kingdom of France. It was the end of an epic that had lasted three centuries.
In Montségur, but also in Miglos, Roquefixade, Lordat and Usson, the ruins of the castles, standing insolently amidst luxuriant vegetation, evoke the message of tolerance and humanity of the Cathar knights. In Montségur, the ruins of the castle are open to visitors, as well as a museum retracing its history.

The path of the Bonshommes
From the 11th to the 16th century, it was an important economic axis that linked the Ariège and the Bergueda. The last Cathars in exile, fleeing imprisonment, spoliation and death, used this route to seek refuge in Catalonia. This cross-border Pyrenean route follows the same paths through the same landscapes as those men and women pursued by the Inquisition. On foot (in 10 to 12 days), on horseback or by mountain bike, this exceptional walk takes you to unforgettable sites.
www.chemindesbonshommes.com

Km 102

Fontestorbes intermittent fountain
This is one of the ten Vaucluse resurgences in France and one of the most spectacular. For most of the year, the fountain flows constantly. During periods of low water, it becomes abruptly intermittent through a phenomenon of rhythmic and regular variations in flow. The entire cycle takes about 60 to 90 minutes. Fewer than thirty intermittent phenomena have been recorded in the world. The fountain's intermittence has never been fully explained because divers have never managed to ascend the siphon that causes the phenomenon.
Thanks to the purity of its water, the artisanal lemonade of Fontestorbes was born in 1885. The neighbouring village of Bélesta had three lemonade makers who shared the local market, at a time when the soft drinks we know today did not exist and the only soft drink available was lemonade... Today, only one of them remains, which has been producing the same lemonade for 130 years.
limonade-de-fontestorbes.com

AUDE (11)

Region: Occitanie
Population: 372,806
Prefecture: Carcassonne
Sub-prefectures: Narbonne, Limoux
Number of communes: 436
Surface: 6,139 km2
Specialities: cassoulet from Castelnaudary, bourride of eels, lucques (green olives), limos (brioche), fricassee from Limoux, oysters from Leucate (shellfish), truffles, rice and apples from Marseillette, écu du Pays Cathare (goat's cheese), Limoux nougat (confectionery), Aude wines (7 AOP), Limoux blanquette (wine), micheline (liqueur), cartagène (liqueur), Caunes-Minervois marble, boudegue (Occitan bagpipes)
Major sports clubs : rugby union RCNM Narbonne and USC (Carcassonne), rugby league (Lézignan-Corbières, Limoux, Carcassonne), volleyball (Narbonne, Gruissan), women's handball (Narbonne).
Major competitions: Mondial du vent (Leucate), Défi Wind & Défi Kite (Gruissan), Junior Kitesurf World Cup (Saint-Pierre-la-mer), Grand Raid des Cathares, Cross de la Cité (Carcassonne), l'Audoise Gran Fondo (Villeneuve Minervois), Mountain biking Cap Nore / Déval' Nore (Aragon), Critérium de Quillan (Cycling)
Culture & Heritage: The citadels of vertigo, Canal du Midi, Lagrasse Abbey, Fontfroide Abbey. Carnival of Limoux, Montolieu village du livre, Scènes d'enfance (all the department), Artistes à suivre, Fête du Cassoulet, Limoux brass Festival, Jazz in Conilhac, Summer Festival (Lézignan-Corbières), festival des Barques en Scènes (Narbonne), festival de la Cité (Carcassonne), Temps de cirque (all the department), Sortie de case (all the department)
Economy: viticulture, fishing, agriculture, livestock farming, maritime trade, seaside tourism, mid-mountain tourism, thermalism, cultural tourism, oenotourism and truffitourism
Websites and social networks: www.aude.fr / www.audetourisme.com / www.payscathare.com / www.payscathare.org / citadellesduvertige.aude.fr / www.facebook.com/departementdelaude / www.instagram.com/citadellesduvertige / www.aude.fr

Km 145

Gorges of Saint-Georges
The Aude, from its source at Lake Aude, has eroded the limestone as it passes through the karstic bars of the Pyrenees, such as the Pierre-Lys gorges, but also the Saint-Georges gorges. This fault is 300 m long, 15 m wide at road level, with steep cliffs of over 150 m.
Located in the commune of Axat, south of this town (part of the left bank of the Aude in the gorges is in the commune of Artigues), these gorges have long been an obstacle to the ascent to the source of the Aude.

Km 155

Lapradelle-Puilaurens (Pop: 270)

Castle of Puilaurens
Built: 1229
Style: Cathar fortress
Characteristics: although some stones have been ripped out, notably on the battlements and the edges of the windows/door (of better size), and the buildings in the courtyard have been destroyed, the castle is in good condition.
History: passed into the hands of St Louis around 1250, who made it one of the five "sons of Carcassonne", the perched castles protecting the kingdom from Spain. It was abandoned in 1659 when the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed, which fixed the border.
Current use: as a place of visit open to the public.
Classification: listed as a historical monument in 1902

PYRÉNÉES-ORIENTALES

Population: 481,691 (2019)
Prefecture: Perpignan
Sub-prefectures: Céret, Prades
Surface area: 4 116 km2
Specialities: wines (Rivesaltes, Banyuls, muscats, Byrrh), veal, Catalan cream, cargolada (charcuterie), botifarres (black pudding), mel i mato (cottage cheese with honey).
Sports clubs: USAP Perpignan (rugby union), Dragons catalans (rugby league).
Competitions: Roussillon circuit (karting)
Tourist sites: Palace of the Kings of Majorca, Canigou peak, Saint Martin du Canigou abbey, Quéribus castle, Saint-Michel de Cuxa abbey, Céret modern art museum, Canalettes caves, Salses fortress, seaside tourism in Collioures, Argelès-sur-Mer.
Economy: agriculture, arboriculture, viticulture (Banyuls, Rivesaltes, muscat), tourism, electronics, mechanics, plastics.
Websites / FB / Twitter: www.pyrenees.fr, www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/ @pyrenees_fr

Km 160

Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes (Pop: 640)
The heritage of Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes is quite rich. From a civil point of view, the town has a few old houses, one of which has a listed 13th century tower (Tour du Viguier). On the town hall square, you can admire the half-timbered houses, one of which has become the municipal library. Militarily, it is above all the castle of Castel-Fizel, in ruins, which holds the attention: castle of defense of the hamlet of Saint-Jaumes until the construction of the "fort" of Caudiès in the village. The site of a sound and light show created and animated by the youth of Caudiès, it received an award from the Ministry of Culture in 1972. There is also a redoubt at the Col Saint-Louis, and the ruins of the Maures castle (13th century). The parish church is the main religious building of the town; dedicated to the Nativity of Notre Dame, it was built in the 16th century.

Chapel of Notre-Dame de Laval
Construction: 15th century
Style: Romanesque
Characteristics: it consists of a single nave ending in a pentagonal choir and a superb portal, Notre-Dame-de-Doumo, from the 10th century. It contains a marble altar and tabernacle (1781), and the altarpiece of the high altar is sculpted (15th century). The chapel also contains a group of St Anne and Mary (16th century), a Virgin (15th century), plus an inscription (1483) and three 17th century paintings.
A little history: processions were organised for centuries to the chapel, in thanksgiving for the protection of the Virgin of Laval from the epidemics of plague and cholera.
Classification: Historical Monument since 1982.

Follow us

Receive exclusive news about the Tour