Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines > Paris Champs-Élysées
07/23/2023 - Stage 21 - 115,5 km - Flat
On the road
While rural areas are the first thing that comes to mind when talking about cycling tourism, many cities are weaving urban routes to invite visitors to explore them in a different way. Cycling can also be a draw in itself, as is the case in major European capitals such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen: cycling as a banner to rally around, a theme that cities embrace to become more attractive and beguile you with their living environment! Riding down the lanes on the banks of the Seine or along the canals, you will see Paris in a different light. If you feel like getting away, Île-de-France is a real cycling hub, with four routes to choose from: the Véloscénie (450 km to Mont Saint-Michel), La Seine à Vélo (420 km to Le Havre), the Avenue Verte London-Paris (470 km) and the Scandibérique (French part of the EV3, which links Norway to Santiago de Compostela, with a 1,700 km section in France)… Plenty of opportunities to pedal around while waiting for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in which the Yvelines department will host the cycling events!
ILE DE FRANCE REGION
Departments: Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val de Marne, Val d'Oise, Yvelines.
Population: 12,271,794 (2020)
Surface area: 12,011 km2
Specialities: Paris ham, champignons de Paris (button murshroom), brie de Meaux and Melun, Coulommiers, Paris-Brest (cake), mustard of Meaux, asparagus from Argenteuil, poule gâtinaise, poule de Houdan (poultry).
Major sports clubs: Paris Saint-Germain, Paris FC, Red Star (football), Racing Club de France (Lagardère Paris Racing), Racing 92, Stade Français (rugby and omnisports), Paris Saint-Germain, Ivry, Tremblay, Pontault-Combault (handball)
Major competitions: finish of the Tour de France, French Open tennis, Six Nations Tournament, 2024 Olympic Games, 2019 Women's World Cup, Paris-Bercy Tennis Masters. Racecourses (Auteuil, Longchamp, Saint-Cloud, Maisons-Laffitte, Vincennes)
Festivals: Banlieues Bleues, Solidays, Rock en Seine, Fête de l'Humanité, Suresnes Cité Danse, Paris Plage, Fête des Loges, Foire du Trône.
Economy: Europe's leading region in terms of GDP. Tourism (Paris is the world's leading tourist destination), public services, universities, retail and services, automotive, energy, research, luxury goods industry.
Sights: Paris (Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Orsay, Orangerie, Quai Branly, Centre Pompidou), Basilica of Saint-Denis, Versailles Palace, Châteaux of Fontainebleau, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Vincennes, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Rambouillet. The medieval town of Provins.
Websites and social networks: https://www.iledefrance.fr/
Population: 1.45 million
Sub-prefectures: Rambouillet, Mantes-la-Jolie, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Surface area: 2,284.4 km2
Specialities: Paris Brest, artisanal syrups, chocolates, the Noyau distillery in Poissy, cheeses and yoghurts from the medal-winning Coubertin farm and Viltain, several breweries including La Volcelest in the Chevreuse valley, the professional winery "La Bouche du Roi" in Davron, I-Grec yoghurts, the biscuit and honey factory Les Deux Gourmands (also winners at the Salon de l'agriculture), and over 120 local producers and craftspeople. Monstrueux (monstrous - spinach) from Viroflay.
Sport: the leading sports region in Ile-de-France, with almost 400,000 members and 3,000 sports clubs; numerous sporting events every year, including the start of the Paris-Nice cycle race, training sessions for Paris Saint-Germain, and the final stage of the Tour de France, which will start in Yvelines until 2023. Yvelines will host the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024: track cycling (Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines), mountain biking (colline d'Elancourt), BMX (vélodrome national de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines), golf (Golf National à Guyancourt), equestrian events and modern pentathlon (Jardin du Château de Versailles).
Economy: #1 in the Paris Region for private R&D, with nearly 40 research laboratories, including 8 international partners, and 17,500 researchers in a wide range of fields: automotive and mobility, aeronautics, aerospace, new technologies, biomedical and health, etc. #1 industrial department in the Paris Region, with 106,000 companies representing more than 400,000 jobs; sectors of excellence (automotive industry, aerospace industry, eco-industries, ICT); tourism (In 2019: 2.5 million hotel nights in 2019, 3.1 million tourists in the Yvelines, €823 million in tourist consumption generated in Paris and the Paris Region by tourists who stayed mainly in the Yvelines).
Outstanding sites: Versailles Palace, Château de Rambouillet, Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Domaine de Madame Elisabeth in Versailles, Château de la Madeleine in Chevreuse, Château de Breteuil, Vallée de Chevreuse, Parc du Vexin français, Domaine royal de Marly-le-Roi, Villa Savoye in Poissy, Zola house in Médan, Maurice Ravel House Museum in Montfort-l'Amaury, Maurice Denis Museum in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Houses of Jean Monnet in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne and Léon Blum in Jouy-en-Josas, Collegiate Church in Mantes-la-Jolie, Collegiate Church in Poissy, Thoiry Zoo... The top 10 most visited sites in the Yvelines also include: Île de loisirs de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Trappes, France Miniature in Elancourt, Ferme de Gally in Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole, Bergerie Nationale in Rambouillet and Espace Rambouillet in Sonchamp.
Festivals : Yvelines Cinéma (August), Electric Park Festival (September, Chatou), Thoiry Wild Lights Lantern Festival (from October, Thoiry), Pulsations Fesrtival (September, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines), Electrochic (March, Versailles Grand Parc), Maki festival (June, Carrières-sur-Seine), Jazz à toute heure (March), Fête des Loges in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (late June to mid-August), Fantaisies Musicales, Summer Opera (September), Ravel Days (October), Blues sur Seine (November), National Antique and Ham Fair.
Websites / FB / Twitter: https://www.yvelines.fr/ / www.yvelines-infos / Facebook : @Yvelines.78 / Twitter : @Les_Yvelines / Linkedin : Département des Yvelines / Instagram : @les_yvelines / www.sortir-yvelines.fr / https://www.facebook.com/tourisme.yvelines/ / https://www.instagram.com/ytourisme/?hl=fr / Facebook : @tourisme.yvelines / Twitter : @Ytourisme /
A link between Paris and Normandy, the Yvelines department stretches across the western part of the Paris region. Castles, museums, artists' houses and authentic villages are all part of its rich historical heritage. With 85 pc of its territory covered by natural areas, it is the green lung of the Ile-de-France region and a popular tourist destination. A department with a wealth of assets, it stands out for its economic dynamism, centred on sectors of excellence such as the automotive, aeronautical and healthcare industries....
Proud of its "Terre de Vélo" (Land of Cycling) label of excellence, the department has made the development of soft mobility one of its priorities and is pursuing a sustainable policy to develop intermodality, extend its cycle network and encourage cycling for all. Connected to Europe's three main cycle routes – Green Avenue London Paris®, Véloscénie between Paris and Mont Saint-Michel, and La Seine à Vélo - Yvelines is a natural 'slow tourism' area.
With its 400,000 members, the sporting world contributes to the dynamism of the Yvelines and the vitality of the region. Cycling plays a key role, with a number of major events being held here. Starting with Paris-Nice, the result of a loyal partnership with ASO (since 2010), which will host the first two stages of the famous Race to the Sun until 2025: in 2023, La Verrière and Bazainville were be stage towns. This year will see the return of the start of the final stage of the Tour de France (finish on the Champs-Élysées) at the Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in July, preceded by the Fête du Tour in early June.
As the host of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Yvelines will be a prime location for athletes and the general public, with numerous preparation centres and 5 event venues. The region will host 10 disciplines, 5 of which are cycling-related: track cycling, para-cycling, road cycling, mountain biking and BMX racing, at the Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, on the hill at Élancourt and in the Valley of Chevreuse. Modern pentathlon and equestrian sports, as well as golf, will take place at the Château de Versailles and the Golf National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines respectively.
Château de Ternay
Construction: from the 15th century. 19th century.
History: Château de Ternay is mentioned in 1482 in the registers of Villepreux. The property was modified in the 19th century in the Directory style. Sacha Guitry lived here from 1937 until his death in 1957. An illustrious actor, playwright and film director, Sacha Guitry, who had decided to make the Ternay estate his second home, was very attached to the town of Fontenay-le-Fleury. On 4 and 5 July 1939, he celebrated his marriage to French actress Geneviève de Séreville in the church of Saint Germain in Fontenay-le-Fleury.
Current use: Château de Ternay is now privately owned.
Saint Vincent de Paul gave his first sermons here when he was tutor to the de Gondi family. The town boasts a fine heritage of old houses, including the Maison Saint-Vincent, the second home of the Daughters of Charity founded by Saint Vincent de Paul, now a venue for exhibitions and conferences, and the Grand'Maisons estate, a listed 18th-century château transformed into a hotel for receptions, weddings and banquets. Villepreux was the destination of the Royal Alley of Villepreux, designed by Le Nôtre and linking the Versailles Palace with Saint-Cyr-l'École, Fontenay-le-Fleury, Rennemoulin and Villepreux. Abandoned, the avenue, which ran through the King's hunting grounds, is now the subject of a major restoration programme.
Château de Villepreux
Style : classic
History: the Francini family built the mansion that later became the château of the Villepreux seigneury. The Francinis were the kings' fountain builders: two brothers, Thomas and Alexandre, were highly talented hydraulic engineers. From 1661, they devoted themselves to the Versailles Palace. Thanks to the variety and profusion of the water features they designed, the Francinis became the magicians of the Versailles park. In 1768, François-Honoré, the last of the Francinis, sold the seigneury of Villepreux to Louis XV. François Heurtier, architect for the royal buildings, bought the château from Louis XVI in 1788. After the Revolution, the Merlins, owners of the Grand 'Maisons farm, acquired Château de Villepreux. The most famous farmers of Grand 'Maisons were the Barbé family, who farmed the estate for almost two centuries.
Current use: the estate is now used for receptions and seminars.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1970.
Until the 19th century, Les Clayes remained a predominantly agricultural area. In the 14th century, a hunting lodge was built, which was frequented by Diane of Poitiers. Around 1556, she is said to have planted a remarkable tree that now bears her name in the park of the same name. Between 1800 and 1810, a new château was built near the hunting lodge; it was burnt down by the Germans in 1944, leaving only two towers. In the 19th century, other middle-class residences were built, such as Château des Bruyères (also since destroyed), and then, with the town's connection to the railway in the 1860s and the urbanisation of the Paris region between the wars, more modest dwellings were built. It was especially after the Second World War that the population grew significantly, leading to the creation of new suburban neighbourhoods, high-rise buildings (L'Avre district, Toit et joie residence) and, since the end of the century, shopping areas (Alpha Park, One Nation). Every two years, the Parc de Diane plays host to the Clayescibels music festival.
A miniature park in Élancourt, opened in 1991. The park features 117 French monuments and sites, reproduced in miniature on a scale of 1:30, over a five-hectare area laid out in the shape of a map of France, with basins at the locations of the seas and oceans that border France, as well as the island of Corsica. The estate is criss-crossed by a large number of miniature railway tracks on which trains run, made up of models reproducing SNCF equipment (TGV, Corail trains, etc.). Since 2004, a self-service attractions area has been reserved for young children.
COMMANDERY OF LA VILLEDIEU
History: the first milestone on the road from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela, the Commandery was founded by the Knights Templar between 1150 and 1181. When the order was dissolved in 1312, all the property at Villedieu-Maurepas came under the command of the Hospitallers of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. All that remains of the original buildings is the millstone chapel, which was listed in 1926. A huge statue of a Templar was placed on the roundabout in front of the Commandery in 2022.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1926.
The 2023 edition of Paris-Nice started from La Verrière last March. The stage around town was won by Belgian sprinter Tim Merlier. The grounds of Château de la Verrière (16th century) have been listed as a Historical Monument since 1985. It is now a mental health establishment.
The arrival of a rail-line in the mid-19th century gradually transformed Trappes into a railway town, home to many railway workers. The village then became an industrial centre, attracting a workforce that started out in the provinces (particularly the large Breton community) and then moved there after the Second World War. Trappes then became the archetypal low-income suburb, with its blocks of flats and large immigrant population, but since the beginning of the 21st century it has been the focus of a vast renovation and regeneration campaign. Trappes was the starting point for the first edition of the legendary Paris-Brest-Paris cycle race in 1891. Some of the biggest names in football (Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka) and entertainment (Omar Sy, Djamel Debbouze, Sophia Aram) grew up in Trappes.
Les Dents de scie
Construction: 1926 to 1931.
History: the Dents de Scie workers' housing estate was designed by architect Henry Gutton and his son André. The forty semi-detached houses were built close to Trappes station, as they were intended for railway workers. The homes are detached, each comprising a 66-m2 four-bedroom on a semi-buried basement, with a private garden accessible from the inside. Thanks to the efforts of local residents and the local authority, the buildings were rehabilitated instead of being demolished, as originally planned, and have now been listed.
Characteristics: the architects were inspired by German projects that applied the theories of minimum housing and the hygiene movement. The aim was to provide residents with modern comforts in functional spaces. Each pavilion has a garden, water points and laundry facilities. The bungalows are set at a 45° angle along a public road, hence the name of the housing estate. The buildings were initially made of brick but were clad in plaster in 1938. The Dents de scie housing estate incorporates some of the architectural principles set out by Le Corbusier in his Modern Art work: the flat roof, the stilts, the free facade without beams or pillars.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1992. 20th century heritage.
Montigny-le-Bretonneux, a small market-gardening village on the estate of the Versailles Palace, grew thanks to the creation of the new town of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the 1970s. The castle of Montigny-le-Bretonneux, or Château de la Couldre, was built in 1863 by the mayor at the time, Vincent Notta. In 1973, the château was bought by the local communes. After renovation, the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines conurbation moved its offices there. The property includes 13 hectares of parkland (with free access) and a château with around thirty rooms, now converted into a pensioner’s home. The town's sports park is named after Jean Maréchal, who won Paris-Roubaix in 1930 before being relegated in favour of Julien Vervaeke, whom he was accused of bringing down. He took part in the 1931 Tour de France before leading the Île de France team in the 1950 and 1951 editions. Very popular, he ended his life in the Yvelines and is buried in Maule.
National Museum of Port-Royal-des-Champs
Museum opening: 1962
History: the "Petites écoles" building and its 19th-century extension were purchased by the French state in 1952. The museum's organisation was entrusted to Bernard Dorival in 1953. It was inaugurated on June 14, 1962 in the presence of André Malraux, Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs. The Granges farm was bought by the state in 1983. The site of the abbey ruins, which had housed a private museum since the early 1840s, was donated to the State by the Société de Port-Royal in 2004.
Characteristics: the National Museum of Port Royal des Champs houses a rich collection of engravings, old books, portraits and works that bear witness to the history and drama of conscience that took place in the abbey a few centuries ago. It includes paintings by Philippe de Champaigne and Jean Restout. The tour also includes works written in Port-Royal in the 17th century and engravings from the 17th and 18th centuries. A number of Jansenist devotional objects are also on display. A section devoted to the 18th-century convulsion movement, thanks to government acquisitions and a large deposit from the Société de Port-Royal, includes drawings by Jean Restout.
After seven centuries of reign by the local lords, in 1693 Guyancourt became part of the Sun King's great park, which extended around the Versailles Palace. After the French Revolution, farming dominated. This disappeared with the urbanisation of the new town of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, which has since been transformed into a conurbation. Guyancourt is home to almost 900 companies, including the Renault technocentre, Bouygues and Crédit Agricole. It is also home to some remarkable monuments, including Saint-Victor church and the Bouviers battery. The French Open golf tournament is held here every year, and in 2018 it hosted the Ryder Cup.
National Golf Course
History: commissioned by the President of the French Golf Federation (FFG) in the 1980s, the golf course was designed and developed by Hubert Chesneau, on land located between the communes of Guyancourt and Magny-les-Hameaux. The plans were submitted in 1986 and the work lasted from 1987 to 1990.
Characteristics: it comprises two 18-hole courses: the Albatros, which hosts top-level competitions, and the Eagle for golfers of all levels, as well as a 9-hole 'school' course, l'Oiselet. The Golf National, which regularly organises the French Open, hosted the Ryder Cup in 2018 and will be the venue for the golf competitions at the 2024 Olympic Games.
History: this former military battery was built in 1879 and occupied by the army until 1932. From 1933, it was leased to the Hispano-Suiza company, which used it as a factory and built industrial buildings on its outskirts. Hispano-Suiza left the site in 1993. Purchased by the Ministry of Defence in 1999, the battery was converted into a cultural music facility in 2006. On the five hectares of land around the battery, office buildings were constructed in 2009 and a municipal music school opened its doors to the public in September 2010.
Characteristics: the main building is a remarkable example of late 19th-century military architecture. The complex is made up of a juxtaposition of single-oriented longitudinal cells on the north-east facade, with architectonic vaults, lined at the rear by a vast volume with no openings whatsoever. The materials used are limestone, millstone and brick.
Current use: amplified music venue, rehearsal studios and restaurant.
The area, which is mainly occupied by a military camp and mostly by apartment blocks, is home to around 5,000 people, including defence personnel and their families. The Satory camp was used as a detention camp for Communards arrested by the authorities in 1871: many died of disease or were shot. The Satory camp was also the place where Clément Ader flew his first aeroplane, the Éole, in 1897.
The prefecture of Yvelines owes its reputation above all to its palace, undoubtedly one of the best known in the world. It is still in Versailles that deputies and senators meet in congress at the palace to ratify any changes to the constitution. Situated 17 km from Paris, the town is mainly residential and touristy, but has a good university infrastructure. Louis XIV, the Sun King, imagined the destiny of Versailles and its palace with the highest ambitions. His key role in the history of France also goes hand in hand with a close relationship with the Tour, which set off from the palace in 2013 for the final stage of its hundredth edition. In 1989, a time trial starting in Versailles became a royal battle between Laurent Fignon and Greg LeMond. The time trial to the Champs-Élysées ended with the tightest gap in history: an eight-second lead for the American in the final overall classification. Previously, the royal city had been the starting point for the final time trial of the Tour de France on eight occasions, sending Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Luis Ocana on the path to success.
Construction: 17th century
History: the former hunting lodge of Louis XIII was transformed and enlarged by his son Louis XIV, who installed the Court and the government of France here in 1682. Until the French Revolution, successive kings embellished the palacein turn. The Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Apartments of the King, the Museum of French History: over the centuries, the Versailles Palace, the seat of power until 1789, has continued to evolve.
Characteristics: The Versailles Palace is one of the finest examples of 17th-century French art. In the 1670s, Louis XIV had the grand flats of the King and Queen fitted out. Mansart's Hall of Mirrors is the most emblematic feature of these apartments, which were used for parades and receptions par excellence. Expansion continued in the following century, notably with the construction of the chapel and the opera house. Today, the château has 63,154 m2 divided into 2,300 rooms. Although it lost its role as the official seat of power in 1789, in the 19th century it was given a new purpose: to become the museum of French history, as Louis-Philippe wanted it to be when he came to the throne in 1830. Many of the palace's rooms were then home to new collections retracing the great events of French history, which were added to until the early 20th century.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1862, then 1906 and 1964. UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The Grand Trianon
Characteristics: the Grand Trianon was built by Jules Hardouin Mansart in 1687 on the site of the "Porcelain Trianon", which Louis XIV had built in 1670 to escape the splendour of the court and to shelter his love affair with Mme de Montespan. The Grand Trianon is without doubt the most refined group of buildings in the entire Versailles estate. Mansart described it as a "small palace of pink marble and porphyry with delightful gardens", following to the letter the instructions of Louis XIV, who was heavily involved in its construction. Heavily influenced by Italian architecture, the palace extends over a single level. Renowned for its formal, ordered and geometric gardens, the "Marble Trianon" was surrounded by tens of thousands of perennial and tuberous plants from the moment it was built. Listed as: Historical Monument since 1862. Unesco World Heritage Site in 1979.
From the Petit Trianon to the Queen's gardens, via the hamlet, the estate, opened in 2006, reveals all the intimacy of Marie-Antoinette. Here, Louis XVI's wife loved to rediscover the pleasures of a simple, country life, far from the glitz and glamour of Versailles. She is the only queen to have imposed her personal taste on Versailles, flouting the old court and its traditions to live as she saw fit. In her estate at Trianon, given to her by Louis XVI in 1774, she found the haven of intimacy that allowed her to escape etiquette. No one was allowed to enter without her invitation.
Famous for its 'monstrueux' (monstrous), a variety of spinach that has long been unique to the town, Viroflay is now a large, upmarket residential suburb of the capital.
Population: 1.63 million.
Sub-prefectures: Antony, Boulogne-Billancourt
Surface area: 176 km²
Specialities: honey from Levallois-Perret, vines from Suresnes.
Sport: Top 14 and Champions Cup with Racing 92 (rugby union), Paris 92 (women's handball), Betclic Elite and Eurocup with Nanterre 92 (basketball), Betclic Elite and Eurocup, Boulogne 92 (rowing), BLR92 (foil), Metropolitans 92 (basketball), Traversée Hauts-de-Seine > Paris, Journée du Cheval at Haras de Jardy. Cross du Figaro at Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.
Heritage : Grande arche de la Défense, Paris la Défense Arena, Seine musicale in Boulogne, tour aux Figures in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Mont-Valérien memorial in Suresnes, Ile-Saint-Germain departmental park in Issy-les-Moulineaux, île-de-Monsieur departmental park in Sèvres, departmental Estate of Sceaux, Albert Kahn departmental museum, Departmental Estate of la Vallée-aux-Loups – House of Chateaubriand, National Estate of Saint-Cloud, National Estate of La Malmaison, Sèvres Manufacture and Ceramics Museum, Rodin Museum in Meudon, Garden of Arts trades and design (Sèvres/Saint-Cloud) Festivals and cultural events: Festival Chorus des Hauts-de-Seine, La Défense Jazz Festival, Festival Rock en Seine, Festival de l'Orangerie de Sceaux
Economy: La Défense business district (16,000 employees, 400 private companies, 20,000 residents, 17,000 students)
Websites and social networks: www.hauts-de-seine.fr / / www.facebook.com/hautsdeseine.ledepartement/
Chaville is well known to cycling fans for having hosted the Paris-Tours classic for nine years between 1979 and 1987, when it was renamed Blois-Chaville and then Créteil-Chaville. Joop Zoetemelk, Sean Kelly and Phil Anderson were among the winners in Chaville.
City of Ceramics
As an international centre for the "arts of fire", its mission is to support contemporary creation and make its collections accessible to as many people as possible. The manufactory's 120 ceramists produce ceramic art objects, both re-editions of old models and contemporary creations using traditional techniques. The city of ceramics hosted the start of the final stage of the 2015 Tour de France, won on the Champs-Élysées by André Greipel.
Meudon grew up around the church dedicated to Saint Martin. Meldun became Melodunum, then Meudon at the foot of the castle that dominates the village. From the 16th century onwards, a vast pleasure residence replaced the fortified building and became the home of the love affairs of King Francis I and his mistress Anne de Pisseleu. For Meudon, the 19th century was a time of change. The observatory gazed up at the stars, the Inventions Office tracked down technical innovations, Captain Charles Renard made the world's first closed-circuit flight in the airship La France at Hangar Y and Marcellin Berthelot discovered the secrets of plant chemistry. Artists were at work: Auguste Rodin brought beauty to life in his sculptures, Isadora Duncan danced, Richard Wagner composed and painters tirelessly painted the bucolic landscapes of the Seine. In the 20th century, Meudon-la-Forêt emerged from the fields, Renault colonised the Ile Seguin before cutting-edge technology replaced assembly lines on the banks of the Seine. Artists continued their quest, with Jean Arp inventing abstract art, Alberto Magnelli assembling colours and shapes, Marcel Dupré improvising, Louis-Ferdinand Céline crying out his despair and François Stahly sculpting monumental fountains. The great architects were not to be outdone, turning Meudon into a laboratory: Prouvé, André Bloc, Van Doesburg. In 1986, the town hosted the start of a team time trial won by Laurent Fignon's Système U team. In 2018, Arnaud Démare won the first stage of Paris-Nice from Chatou.
The town of Issy-les-Moulineaux is best known to followers of the Tour for having housed the headquarters of the Tour's organising company, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), before it moved to Boulogne-Billancourt. The newspaper l’Equipe and many of the media accredited to the Tour de France have had their offices in the town, particularly in the Val de Seine basin, a huge office complex dedicated to the media and new technologies. The town has a real cycling past: its Palais des Sports bears the name of Robert Charpentier, a local boy who was Olympic road champion in 1936 ahead of Guy Lapébie. Charpentier took part in the 1947 Tour, but the war deprived him of a pro career to match his amateur career. Issy-les-Moulineaux is also home to Thierry Adam, who was a long-time Tour commentator on France Télévisions. The town, which grew out of the amalgamation of the villages of Issy and Moulineaux, was also a stronghold of aviation in its early days, as can be seen from the number of streets and places (Guynemer, Voisin) dedicated to airmen.
Paris is known worldwide for the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Moulin Rouge and Louvre museum. All the top sights are well worth a look on your first visit to the French capital and there's plenty to entertain all interests - from art and history to music and literature. But look beyond the famous landmarks and you'll find many more interesting areas and attractions to discover. From the hilltop Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre, down through Pigalle and Le Marais to the banks of the river Seine and across into the Latin Quarter. Stroll through picturesque streets, rest your feet in one of the city's parks, stop for coffee or a glass of wine at pavement cafes, and soak up the atmosphere of this magical city.
Top 5 things to see and do in Paris:
1. Get on your bike: tour the city on two wheels
2. Find a hidden gem - like the Statue of Liberty!
3. Get your Instagram pics on colourful Rue Crémieux
4. Discover some lesser-known museums
5. Stay within reach of the iconic Eiffel Tower
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