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PARIS

Traditional finish of the Tour de France
47th finish on the Champs-Élysées
Capital of France, commune-department and prefecture (75)
Population: 2,190,000 (Parisians)
Specialities: French gastronomy, over 13,500 brasseries and restaurants
Personalities: too many to mention!
Sport: Paris Saint-Germain (football Ligue 1 and women's team, handball Division 1), Stade Français Paris (rugby Top 14). Events: Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Paris Marathon and Half Marathon, French Tennis Internationals (Roland Garros tournament), Judo (Paris Tournament), etc.
Economy: new technologies, research, fashion, luxury, tourism (most visited city in the world, about 30 million tourists each year)
Culture: 31 monuments (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sacré-Coeur, Invalides, Panthéon, etc.), 173 museums (Louvre, Grand and Petit Palais, Centre Pompidou, Orsay, Quai Branly, etc.), 3 opera houses, 208 theatres and cabarets, 430 cinema screens.
Festivals: Fashion week, Solidays (three days of concerts against AIDS), Fête de la Musique, Paris Plage, Marche des fiertés, Paris Quartier d'été, Cinéma au clair de lune, Techno Parade, Printemps des rues, Nuit Blanche, Festival d'Automne, Fête des Jardins de Paris...
Label: UNESCO World Heritage Site on the banks of the Seine
Signature : Fluctuat nec mergitur (It is beaten by the waves but does not sink)
Websites: www.paris.frwww.parisinfo.com

Aerial view of Montmartre hill with Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in Paris at sunset © Getty/pawel.gaul
Paris © Getty/PocholoCalapre
Eiffel Tower or Tour Eiffel aerial view, is a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France © Getty/saiko3p

PARIS AND CYCLING

Tour 1922: two Parisians in the imelight

A century ago, in 1922, the Tour de France, won for the seventh time in a row by a Belgian rider (Firmin Lambot this time), allowed two Parisian riders to shine.
Robert Jacquinot, a native of Aubervilliers, braved the unseemly storm that had hit the peloton to win the first stage in Le Havre, which started from the Luna Park at Porte Maillot. The amusement park was located exactly on the site of the current Palais des Congrès, where the Tour unveils its route every year in October.
Escaping with Eugène Christophe, Jacquinot took advantage of a puncture of the "Old Gaul" to win his first laurels in the race before repeating the feat two days later between Cherbourg and Brest. Wearing the Yellow Jersey for three days, he finally gave up: in 1923, he finished only one of the seven Tours de France in which he participated.
It was Jean Alavoine, another famous Parisian, although born in Roubaix, who took over and won three stages in the Pyrenees (including a crazy 482-km stage between Les Sables d'Olonne and Bayonne). He even wore the Yellow Jersey until Geneva before losing out to the Belgians and repeated punctures.
According to the statisticians of the time, the unlucky Jean Alavoine punctured 46 times on the road of the Tour! Nevertheless, he remains one of the great pre-war riders, with 17 stage victories and four podiums in 11 participations chopped up by the Great War. Despite the longevity of Mark Cavendish, for example, he remains the rider who has won stages with the greatest gap in years, since 14 years separate his first stage laurels in the 2009 Tour from his last in the 1923 edition.
His nickname of "Gars Jean" (Boy Jean)came from Robert Jacquinot, whom Jean Alavoine had tried to pick up when he discovered him spread out on an embankment at the Col de Peyresourde in 1923. "So, what, Robert, are you not well?" Alavoine worried, with his usual kindness. And Jacquinot replied, politely raising his cap: "It's not going well for me... But I salute you, Gars Jean!”

Robert Jacquinot lors du Tour de France de 1923 © Pressesports/Fonds Excelsior
Jean Alavoine en 1922 © Pressesports

SIGHTS

Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower was 300-metres high when it was built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition, and was subsequently extended by numerous antennae, reaching 330 metres today. It has remained the highest building in the world for over 40 years. A symbol of Paris, it is the most visited paying monument in the world with 7 million visitors per year.

Notre-Dame de Paris
When it was completed at the end of the 14th century, it was the largest cathedral in the West. As it was built over two centuries on the site of former pagan temples, the style is not uniform. The cathedral underwent a major and sometimes controversial restoration between 1844 and 1864, led by architect Viollet-le-Duc.
On 15 April 2019, a major fire ravaged the cathedral, destroying the spire and almost the entire roof. President Emmanuel Macron pledged that it would be rebuilt within five years.

The Champs-Élysées
Considered the most beautiful avenue in Paris and, by Parisians, the most beautiful avenue in the world. Created in 1616 by Marie de Medici, who decided to lay out a long tree-lined avenue in these fields. Its current layout up to the Etoile was completed in 1724. In 1838 the Champs-Élysées were laid out by architect Jacques Hittorff.

Louvre Museum
Every visit to the capital is worth a visit to the Louvre, the largest museum in Paris is full of treasures. It brings together works of Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848, as well as works of ancient Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman civilisations, graphic arts and Islamic art. From room to room, the former royal palace unveils its masterpieces: Mona Lisa, the Raft of the Medusa, Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace... In total, some 35,000 works. In its eight centuries of existence, the Louvre has been marked by many architectural trends, from the medieval fortress of the 12th century to Pei's glass pyramid (1989). The latest addition: architects Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti designed the new setting for the Islamic arts, an undulating glass roof covering the Visconti courtyard and flooding the 2,800 m² of the new department with light. Visiting the museum at night is particularly pleasant: less crowded, the Louvre offers a different atmosphere and breathtaking views of the Pei Pyramid, Cour Carrée and the Seine.

Eiffel Tower in Spring © Getty/Nikada
The Notre Dame Chatedral in Paris at the river Seine © Getty/gehringj
Champs-Élysées street, seen from Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France. © Getty/portishead1
Napoleon courtyard of the Louvre museum at night time, with Ieoh Ming Pei's pyramid in the middle. © Creative Commons 3.0/Benh Lieu Song

TO EAT:

Champignon de Paris (Button Mushroom)
Its real name is bispore agaric, and it was first cultivated under Louis XIV in Versailles and then under Napoleon in the catacombs of Paris. Hence its given name in France. But it was only at the end of the 19th century that its cultivation developed, not in Paris, but in Touraine and the Saumur region. As the bispore agaric is the easiest mushroom to grow in a mushroom house, it quickly conquered the whole planet and is nowadays produced mainly in China and the United States.

Full frame background of white button champignon mushrooms © Getty/Tennessee Witney

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