08/29 > 09/20/2020

On the road

SAVOIE (73)

Population: 437,915

Prefecture: Chambery

Sub-prefectures: Albertville, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Surface: 6,028 km2

Specialties: Raclette, tartiflette, fondue, crozets (pasta in square form, made with buckwheat flour ...), diots and pormoniers, (pork sausages cooked in white wine) Saint-Genix (brioche with red pralines), cake of Savoy , chocolate truffles, bugnes (donuts), génépi (mountain plant liqueur), cheese from Savoy (Tome des Bauges, Beaufort.)

Sports clubs: Chambéry Savoie Handball (D1)

Competitions: world dog sledding championship January 2019, Davis Cup round in February 2018, 2017 world men's handball championships, world rowing championship in Aiguebelette in August 2015, Critérium de la Première neige in Val d'Isère and FIS World Cup in Courchevel (annual), Mountain Bike Trials Trial round (August 2016 in Albertville), Critérium du Dauphiné (annual, in June)

Main tourist sites: in addition to the largest ski areas in the world, the Savoy has heritage and natural sites of magnitude: the abbey of Hautecombe (banks of Lake Bourget), the castle of the Dukes of Savoy (Chambéry), the forts of the Esseillon barrier, the Vanoise national park, the regional natural parks of the Bauges and Chartreuse massifs, lake Bourget and lake Aiguebelette... etc.

Cultural events: Musilac in Aix-les-Bains, Les Estivales in Savoie in Chambéry, Le Grand Bivouac in Albertville, The European Cinema Festival of Les Arcs

Economy: tourism, agro-food, eco-industries, mountain industries, composite materials, information and communication technologies, metalworking

Websites and social networks: www.savoie.fr / www.facebook.com/SavoieDepartement/ / twitter.com/SavoieDepart / @SavoieDepartement / @SavoieDepart

Km 11

Aime-La Plagne (Pop : 4,450)

Aime is best known for the ski resort of La Plagne, which lies on the commune’s territory. The skiing domain of La Grande Plagne offers more than 225 km of pistes. The resort was founded in 1961 by then mayor Pierre Borrione, who wished to save a valley that could not live from farming alone. La Plagne was host to the luge and bobsleigh events at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville. Four Tour de France stages finished in the resort in 1984 and 1987 (Laurent Fignon), 1995 (Alex Zuelle) and 2003 (Michael Boogerd)

Km 18

La Plagne-Tarentaise (Pop : 3,640)

La Plagne Tarentaise was born from the 2016 reunion of communes Bellentre, La Côte-d'Aime, Mâcot-la-Plagne and Valezan. Like most towns in the Tarentaise valley, it is remarkable for is Baroque religious heritage. 2009 slalom World Championship silver-medallist Julien Lizeroux and half-pipe 2009 world champion Kevin Rolland are both members of the local ski club.

Km 25

Bourg-Saint-Maurice-Les Arcs (Pop: 7,300)

Often hailed as the capital of Haute Tarentaise, Bourg St. Maurice is a town of nearly 8,000, active both in winter and in the summer. In winter, most of the action takes place in the ski resort of Les Arcs, regularly hosting major international sporting events. In the summer, sport lovers still have a lot to do. Bourg St. Maurice lies at the bottom of several major mountain passes (Iseran, Roselend, Petit Saint Bernard) and is a perfect starting point for treks and rides. The town is on the course of the l'Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® (UTMB) and the Trace des Ducs de Savoie (TDS). Thanks to its international canoeing stadium, home to several major championhsips, the town is also a water sports hot spot. Bourg St. Maurice hosted the Tour de France four times. In 1939, it was the finish point of the first mountain individual time trial on the Tour de France. Race leader Sylvere Maes won the stage and almost sealed his overall victory. In 1996, another ITT marked the decline of Miguel indurain, dropped the previous day on the ascent to Les Arcs. In 2009, a stage from Martigny was won in Bourg by France’s Sandy Casar. The town in 2018 the launch-pad to stage 12, won in L’Alpe d’Huez by Geraint Thomas.  

Les Arcs resort
Created in 1968, the ski resort of Les Arcs, perfectly integrated with its environment, has since grown constantly (Arc 1800 in 1974, Arc 200 in 1979, Arc 1950 in 2003) to become one of the most popular resorts of the Tarentaise, with its 200 km of tracks and its links with Villaroger and La Plagne. The station was listed as a 20th Century Heritage site in 1999. The resort hosted a Tour de France won by Luc Leblanc in 1996.

Km 46

Cormet de Roselend (1,968 m)

Linking the Beaufortain Valley to the Mont-Blanc massif, Cormet de Roselend has been ridden 11 times by Tour riders since 1979. The latest rider to lead the race at the top was Warren Barguil in 2018.

Km 66

Beaufort (Pop: 2,100)

Overlooking the Doron, the vestiges of the château de Beaufort, built on the site of a Roman villa, reflect the long history of the village. Home of the Beaufort lords, the King of France and the House of Savoy, the castle has been inhabited since the 16th century by religious congregations. Beaufort is also famous for giving its names to a famous cheese made in the Beaufortain, Tarentaise and Maurrenne valleys. Beaufort has been protected by an AOC appellation since 1968. It has been dubbed “the King of the Gruyeres”. It is made from whole milk produced by cows of the Tarine or Abondance breeds. Beaufort is also the village of writer Roger Frison-Roche, who discovered the beauties of the mountain which inspired most of his works here before settling in Chamonix.  

Beaufort cheese
Dubbed the Prince of Gruyères, Beaufort is a smooth, ivory to pale yellow cheese with a fruity taste of extreme finesse. This cooked pressed cheese is made from the milk of the purebred cows or Abundance populating the mountain pastures in the summer. More than 10 kilos of milk are needed to get a kilo of Beaufort. Once demoulded, the cheese is refined in a cellar for 5 to 12 months, regularly returned and rubbed with a mixture of salt and cheese crust called "morge". If the monks and farmers of the region have always produced cheese, the Beaufort appeared towards the end of the 17th century. Highly esteemed in the middle of the 18th century, it found its definite identity around 1860, when two local carpenters invented the circles of wood that wrap it. The dairy cooperative of Haute-Tarentaise, located in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, brings together 55 milk producers and produces about 650 tons of Beaufort each year.

Km 73

Villard-sur-Doron (Pop: 670)

The pretty Beaufortain village is the hometown of Marie Dochet, eight times alpine skiing Paralympic champion and 20 times world champion. Atop the village lies the Bisanne 1500 ski resort on the road to col des Saisies. In 2016, Rafal Majka was leading the way in Bisanne 1500.  

Km 83.5

Col des Saisies (1,624 m)

Rated 1st category, Col des Saisies has been climbed eleven times by the riders of the Tour de France (if we exclude the ascent of the Bisanne in 2016 on a slightly different route). On their last visit, in 2010, Frenchman Jérôme Pineau was leading the way at the top. In 2017, on the Tour de l'Avenir, Egan Bernal won at the finish of a stage which handed him the leader's jersey. The Colombian has since gone one step further!

Km 84

Les Saisies (770 inhabitants in Hauteluce)

The resort, often visited by the Tour, is a stronghold of cross-country and alpine skiing, known for the local Piccard dynasty, whose eldest Franck was crowned Super-G Olympic champion in Calgary in 1988.

During the Second World War, Col des Saisies became a refuge for the French Resistance. On August 1, 1944, under the code name "ebonite", the largest parachuting of weapons carried out by the Allies took place for the benefit of the Resistance: 78 flying fortresses sent from London dropped 899 containers of weapons intended for 3,000 men of the Savoy maquis.

Before the development of winter sports, the pass was essentially a vast mountain pasture. The area has been urbanised since the 1970s, culminating with the organisation of biathlon competitions during the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992.

The "Espace Diamant" domain is shared with the villages of Les Saisies, Crest-Voland, Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe and Flumet. The domain of 192 km of alpine ski slopes and 146 km of Nordic ski slopes is served by 85 ski lifts.

Km 104.5

La Giettaz (Pop: 420)

Le Tour returns to its roots, for in 1911, on its first incursion in the Alps, the riders tackled their first alpine pass, Les Aravis, by La Giettaz. French teammates Emile Georget and Paul Duboc were first at the top.

Km 110.5

Col des Aravis (1,487 m)

The pas was ridden by Tour de France riders 40 times since 1911, the year when the Tour first tackled the highest passes in the Alps (Col Bayard was the pioneering climb in 1905). Emile Georget was the first rider to reach the summit in 1911 and Thomas De Gendt the last in 2016.

 

HAUTE-SAVOIE (74) 

Population: 807,360

Prefecture: Annecy

Sub-prefectures: Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, Thonon-les-Bains

Surface: 4,388 km2

Specialities: Tartiflette (Péla), Raclette, Savoyard fondue, atriaux (pork with liver), crozets, polenta, farcement (grated potato and dried fruits), potato fritters, cardons (vegetables), tome of the Bauges (cheese), bugnes, bescoins (biscuits with anise seeds), milk jam, grolle (liquor with coffee), Savoy cake, rissoles (pastry with puff pastry)

Sports clubs: Evian-Thonon Gaillard (football), Chevaliers du Lac Annecy (ice-hockey), Hockey Club du Mont-Blanc Saint-Gervais-Megève, FCS Rumilly (rugby union), ski alpin.

Competitions: Lake Annecy international triathlon (June), Lake Annecy international marathon, lake crossing.

Festivals: Venetian Carnival (February), International Animated Film Festival and International Animated Film Market (June), Crime Book Festival "Les Pontons flingueurs" (June). Fête du Lac (August) Italian Film Festival (October), Foire de Saint André (December). OH2 Festival in Saint-Gervais (July), Megeve Jazz Contest.  Pays du Mont-Blanc Baroque Festival.

Remarkable sites: lake Annecy, château of Annecy, Mont-Blanc, Aravis, ski resorts of Chamonix, Saint-Gervais, Megève, Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz.

Economy: clock-making (Cluses), mechanical industry (Dassault, Alcatel), agriculture and food industry (dairy, chesse, reblochon, tome, Evian waters), tourism, sport industry (Dynastar, Salomon, Mavic)

Websites: www.hautesavoie.fr, www.haute-savoie-tourisme.org

Km 116

La Clusaz (Pop: 1,770)

La Clusaz took its name from the word “cluse”, meaning a steep road or valley between two mountains. It was first called Clusa Locus Dei (God’s Enclosure) until 1772, when it was given its present name. For centuries, life in La Clusaz was extremely harsh, timber and reblochon cheese providing the only meagre resources. Skiing was introduced in 1907 and transformed local life. The first ski club was founded in 1926 by the village schoolteacher. In 1928, a skating rink was created and 1935 saw the installation of the first ski lift. Since then, many champions were born or trained in La Clusaz, from Guy Perillat to Edgar Grospiron, Regine Cavagnoud or Vincent Vittoz. While the Tour de France frequently rode through the resort, it has never stopped there.

Km 138

Plateau des Glières Memorial

Chosen as a parachuting ground by the Allies, the Plateau des Glières sheltered in February and March 1944 more than 460 members of the French Resistance, responsible for receiving weapons for the whole of Haute-Savoie. The Department of Memory and Citizenship of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the County Council offers free or guided tours on the site, and for any type of audience. The historic tour allows visitors to discover the daily life of the guerrillas during the winter of 1944 and to visit the National Monument to the Resistance, built on the tomb of Lieutenant Tom Morel, the first leader of the Maquis des Glières. The maquis des Glières, evacuated on March 26, 1944 after an attack by the German army, became the symbol of the Resistance and the site its first direct fighting against the occupiers. The Tour de France already visited Plateau des Glieres in 2018. Julian Alaphilippe, going for the KOM jersey, led the way.

Km 150.5

Fillière (Pop: 9,500)

The merger in 2017 of the municipalities of Aviernoz, Evires, Ollières, Saint-Martin-Bellevue, and Thorens-Glières made Fillière the second largest commune in Haute-Savoie after Annecy. Fillière - named after the river flowing through it - has the particularity of being only a provisional name. The municipalities concerned wanted to be called Val-de-Glières, a name rejected by the state. The new town will be served by the Léman Express, the new cross-border train line set up in 2019.
Thorens-Glières is the birthplace of Saint François de Sales, very popular in Savoie, who became the patron saint of journalists.  

Saint Francis de Sales
A prominent figure in French Catholicism and Savoy, Francis de Sales is also considered one of the forerunners of the press, which led him after his death and his beatification to become the patron saint of a profession without which the Tour would not exist.
Born in 1567 at the Château de Sales, near Thorens (Haute-Savoie) to a family of rural nobility, Francis was sent to Paris to study law. At the same time, he took theology courses. After his license, he went to Padua where he obtained his doctorate. Registered as a lawyer at the Chambéry court, he finally decided to devote his life to his faith in a region upset by the struggles between Calvinists, omnipresent in the Alps, and the Catholic Church.
Francis de Sales renounced all his titles of nobility as well as his mandate as senator of Savoy to dedicate himself to the reconquest of souls. Charged by the Bishop of Geneva, in exile in Annecy, to evangelise the Chablais, won by the Reformation, he surveyed the territory and had texts printed which he sent to out-of-reach localities, distributed and posted them. Those publications were similar to newspapers and made Francis de Sales the colleague and predecessor of Henri Desgrange, Félix Lévitan, Jean-Marie Leblanc or Christian Prudhomme, all the journalists who became directors of the Tour.
To reach the illiterate, François de Sales preached in towns and villages, in squares, and his eloquence was such that he successfully accomplished his mission in two years and spent Christmas of 1596 in Thonon. Settled in Annecy, he undertook to reorganise his diocese in depth, trained priests, restored monasteries while fulfilling diplomatic missions. He never stopped writing and his influence on the Catholics of his time was immense. In 1610, with one of his followers, Baroness Jeanne de Chabal, he founded a new congregation, the Order of the Visitation. Exhausted by the energy deployed for his mission, he was stricken with apoplexy and died three days after Christmas 1622, at the age of 55.  

Follow us

Receive exclusive news about the Tour