UNVEILING OF THE ROUTES FOR 2023

The unveiling of the routes for the 2023 Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will take place on Thursday 27th October from 11.30 (UTC+2) at the Palais des Congrès convention centre in Paris.

Prefecture of Aude Stage town for the 12e time
Population:
48,200 (Carcassonnais, Carcassonnaises), 116,000 in Carcassonne Agglo (82 communes)
Specialities: cassoulet (a universal cassoulet academy), petit carcassonnais (madeleine), Micheline, Or Kina (herbal liqueur). Wines of the Aude: Minervois, Cabardes, Corbières, Malepère, Limoux...
Personalities: Fabre d'Eglantine (1750-1794, poet and revolutionary), André Chénier (1762-1794, poet and revolutionary), Paul Lacombe (1837-1927, composer), Jöe Bousquet (poet), Prosper Montagné (1865-1948, French chef), Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (rehabilitated the Cité), René Nelli (poet), Jean Camberoque (painter), Jean-Michel Signoles (industrialist), Claude Marti (Occitan singer, writer and poet), Olivia Ruiz (singer), Stephan Eicher (Swiss singer, recorded an album called Carcassonne in 1993), Automne Pavia (judo, European champion and Olympic and world medalist)
Sport: Union Sportive Carcassonne (rugby union for 117 years), Association Sportive Carcassonnaise (rugby league, 14 French Cups and 11 French Championships).
Competitions : Aude Petanque Championship (March), Horse races at the Fajeolle racecourse, Spartam Race Carcassonne (obstacle course, May), Carcassonne Triathlon (May), International Swimming Meeting (June), Carcassonne Marathon and Half Marathon (June), Ronde des vendanges (pedestrian race, September), Swimrun de Carcassonne (September), Grand Raid des Cathares (October), Frappadingue Occitane X'Trem (obstacle race, October), Cross de la Cité (December) Cycling club: Avenir Cycliste Carcassonnais (ASC Cyclisme, created in 1920).
Economy: tourism since the 19th century after the restoration of the Cité (2,450,000 visitors per year). Business tourism with the new Convention Centre in the heart of the town. Sud de France Carcassonne airport. University (2,000 students). ENAC (National School of Civil Aviation). Nine vineyards in the commune of Carcassonne.
Festivals: Scènes d'enfance (March), Festival de Carcassonne (110 shows on 10 stages, July), Embrasement de la Cité (14 July, 700,000 spectators), Feria de Carcassonne (August), Fête du Vin (October), International Political Film Festival (December), Magie de Noël (Christmas Magic, December)
Labels: 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Canal du Midi since 1996 and the Medieval City since 1997) / City of Art and History / Tourist Office classified in category 1 / Quality Tourism / Tourist resort
Websites and social networkswww.carcassonne.org / www.tourisme-carcassonne.fr / www.carcassonne-agglo.fr www.grand-carcassonne-tourisme.fr / www.aude.fr / www.audetourisme.com / www.laregion.fr / http://www.tourisme-occitanie.com/ / https://sud-de-france.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/VilledeCarcassonne / https://www.facebook.com/tourismecarcassonne / https://www.facebook.com/departementdelaude / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/CarcassonneAgglo/ / @CarcaInfos / @TourismeCarca / www.instagram.com/departement_de_l_aude / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/TourismeOccitanie/ / https://twitter.com/Occitanie / https://www.instagram.com/tourisme_en_occitanie/?hl=fr

© Ville de Carcassonne
Cite de Carcassonne is a medieval citadel located in the French city of Carcassonne. Street in town © Getty/Borisb17
© Ville de Carcassonne

CARCASSONNE TODAY  

In 2022, the city is pursuing its proactive sports policy by developing a soft and environmentally friendly mode of transport. It is extending its cycling area to more than 35 km of developed tracks. This year will also see the launch of the Cité des Sports complex: 9,700 m2 devoted to a wide range of sporting activities. This complex will include all the developments of the Albert Domec stadium as well as the renovation of the Carcassonne Olympique sports centre, the Acacias, the installation of photovoltaic shades on the car parks and the creation of a Sports-Health Centre. The main objective of these works is to provide the city of Carcassonne and its users with a modern complex adapted to current needs and in line with the qualitative expectations of sportsmen and women. This new complex will also be able to accommodate a training centre for sports professions and to host international teams and competitions.

Aerial view from top on medieval village, Carcassonne in France in spring season. Full frame horizontal crop with tourist attraction in centre © Getty/Tommy Lee Walker

CARCASSONNE AND CYCLING  

The burning of the Cité, a grandiose pyrotechnic show, attracts more than 500,000 people every year on the evening of Bastille Day. Among the riders who set Carcassonne ablaze, Jean Stablinski won a stage in 1962 in the middle of one of his best seasons, between a stage victory in the Tour of Spain, which he finished in sixth place, a new French champion title and above all his world championship title. Last year, Mark Cavendish crowned an exceptional return to form to clinch the last of his four stage wins and equal Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins; Other recent starts from Carcassonne have been favourable to the boldest, willing to expose themselves regardless of their pedigree. In 2014, Michael Rogers took the road to Bagnères-de-Luchon and was part of a large breakaway, which he dominated in the finale to take his only Tour victory. Two years later, the Carcassonne-Montpellier route ended with a famous duet between Chris Froome and Peter Sagan. With the last word going to the Slovak. And in 2018, it was again in Bagnères-de-Luchon that Julian Alaphilippe strengthened his polka-dot jersey by winning in the Pyrenees. The day before, for the last finish in front of the city walls, it Danish rider Magnus Cort Nielsen won the stage.  Albert Bourlon was three days ahead of the 1947 Tour and had a fireworks display when he left the medieval city of Bagnères-de-Luchon, where the stage ended. The former Renault worker went fishing for bonuses and ended up winning at the finish line, 16 minutes ahead of his first chaser, at the end of a 253 km breakaway, the longest in the history of the Tour. "I didn't expect to win the stage. I would have been content to pocket the bonuses, which represented twice my monthly salary," he explained. It was also a form of revenge for this modest rider who had even been forgotten by the race commissaires in the classification of the stage ridden two days earlier: "Did you see me this time?  At over 30 years of age, this feat allowed him to finish 21e of the Tour de France. This was an unprecedented feat for Albert Bourlon, who left for his longest breakaway in October 2013 at the age of 96.

Albert Bourlon lors de l'étape Carcassonne - Luchon du Tour de France 1947 © Pressesports
Jean Stablinski à Carcassonne suite à sa victoire d'étape du Tour de France 1962 © Pressesports

SIGHTS  

Medieval city

Construction: ancient Gallic oppidum (c. 300 BC), cathedral and count's castle in the 11th and 12th centuries.  
Style: medieval, neo-medieval (Viollet-le-Duc restoration in the 19th century)
Area: 1,361 ha
Characteristics: located on the right bank of the Aude, the medieval city is a fortified city unique in Europe for its size and state of preservation with its 52 towers and two concentric enclosures that total three kilometres of ramparts. Its history is marked by 2,000 years of conquest and by the imprint of Catharism and the Crusades.
History:  the centre of power of the Counts of Carcassonne and then of the famous Trencavel family in the 12th century, it became a royal stronghold governed by a seneschal after the Albigensian crusade (1209-1229) when the royal forces seized Carcassonne, accused of complicity with the Cathars. It guaranteed the border between France and Aragon until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. In the 19th century, the town was on the verge of demolition and used as a stone quarry. For more than 50 years (from 1853 to 1911), Viollet-le-Duc and his successor Paul Boeswillwald restored it to its medieval appearance: destruction of the parasitic constructions between the two enclosures, grey slate roofing of the towers and restoration of the decorations and hoardings were undertaken. In the 1960s, the Gallo-Roman towers were covered with tiles.
Listing: Unesco World Heritage Site.  

City Theatre

Built: 1908
Characteristics: the theatre, which is located inside the medieval city, was created in 1908, on the site of the old Saint-Nazaire cloister. It had nearly 6,000 seats (just over 3,000 authorised today) and the audience was seated on benches or simple chairs.
Special features: In 1957, actor and director Jean Deschamps created the famous Festival de la Cité, which has been held every summer since then. The theatre was modified in 1972. As a tribute to Jean Deschamps' work, the Grand Théâtre de la Cité was renamed Jean Deschamps Theatre on July 15, 2006.  

Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi was built by Pierre Paul Riquet in the 17th century to link the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It was once used to transport goods and people, and is now used by many boaters and tourists.  Since 1996, the Canal du Midi has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The locks, bridges, aqueducts and canal bridges that run along the 240 km of waterway are evidence of both a technical feat and a work of art.  

Bastide Saint-Louis

It was conceived in the 13th century under the impetus of King Saint Louis, who created a second medieval city. Although burnt down by the Black Prince, the Bastide has kept its original orthogonal plan to this day. Its prosperity as a cloth-making town in the 17th century, and then the wine trade from the 19th century onwards, led to the construction of several mansions with remarkable architecture. Around 700,000 visitors come each year on foot from the Cité, using the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge), to discover the original shops of the Bastide, in a southern town atmosphere, to the banks of the Canal du Midi.  

Vineyards (living heritage)

The "Cité de Carcassonne" is a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) appellation covering 3,000 hectares divided into 27 farms, 9 of which are located in the commune of Carcassonne, right under the ramparts of the Cité. The vineyards are an invitation to get away from it all and to discover large natural areas with changing landscapes: Malepère, Corbières, Minervois, Montagne Noire offer Cévennes-like views with their deep chestnut groves, Tuscan atmospheres from the hills with their clusters of cypress trees.

© Ville de Carcassonne
© Drone Plongée
Medieval town of Carcassonne and vineyards © Getty/javarman3kphoto
© Ville de Carcassonne
© Ville de Carcassonne/JDeschamps

TO EAT  

Fougasse with fritons  

Heir to an exceptional historical heritage, Carcassonne is also a gourmet stopover that reveals all the richness of the Languedoc region. Among the specialities to be savoured during a trip along the Canal du Midi, fougasse aux fritons is both simple and tasty. This peasant preparation was originally conceived to enrich the flavour of the bread with the remains of the pig.

La fougasse aux fritons © Getty/MarkGillow

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