Traditional finish of the Tour de France
45th arrival on the Champs-Élysées
Capital of France, Commune-Department and Prefecture (75)
Population: 2,250,000 (Parisians, Parisians)
Specialties: French gastronomy, more than 13,500 breweries and restaurants
Personalities: Too many to mention!
Sport: Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1 football and women's team, Division 1 handball), Stade Français Paris (rugby Top 14). Events: 2024 Olympics, Paris Marathon and Half Marathon, French Tennis Open (Roland-Garros), judo (Paris Tournament), etc.
Economy: new technologies, research, fashion, luxury, tourism (the 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, Pantheon ...), 173 museums (Louvre, Grand and Petit Palais, Pompidou Center, Orsay, Quai Branly, ...), 3 Operas , 208 theaters and cabarets, 430 cinemas.
Festivals: Fashion week, Solidays (three days of concerts against AIDS), Music Festival, Paris Plage, Pride March, Paris Summer District, Moonlight Cinema, Techno Parade, Spring Streets, Nuit Blanche, Autumn Festival, Garden Festival of Paris ...
Label: banks of the Seine, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Signature: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Wavers but does not sink)
The Tour in Cour carrée of the Louvre
For 44 years since the Tour de France ended on the Champs-Élysées, the last stage has become a showcase event most often concluded by a prestigious victory for sprinters. Until 2012, the course of the Paris parade remained the same (with the notable exception of the time trial of 1989), but the 100th edition of the event, in 2013, was an opportunity to add historical value to this grandiose curtain drop. That year, the final stage started from the Palace of Versailles and ended at dusk with several laps around the Arc de Triomphe, which the race had until then only seen from a distance. In 2003, already, the prologue of the Tour of the centenary had allowed the race to pay tribute to the most famous building of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Two years ago, the peloton rode through Grand Palais, making a stop at Petit Palais, which has always served as a gateway onto the Champs-Elysées. Last year, the peloton made a detour by Avenue Montaigne and its luxury boutiques. This year, the Louvre and its iconic pyramid will be visited by the peloton. The riders will indeed cross the Cour Carrée of the Louvre before making it into the Napoleon courtyard by a ramp and ride along the pyramid from its Seine side. Much criticised on its inauguration in 1989, the p Louvre pyramid celebrates its thirty years this year and is now unanimously accepted as a landmark in the Parisian landscape. The metal structure that supports the glass cladding is made of steel and aluminium and weighs 200 tons; the pyramid stands at 21.64 meters on a square base of 35.42 meters. It is covered with 603 diamonds and 70 glass triangles and was the first major construction to use laminated glass. Its architect, Ieoh Minh Peng, died on May 16.
1919, the Tower resurrects from the ashes of the War
1919 was of course the Tour of the first yellow jersey. But it was much more than that. The first Tour de France of the post-WWI period, it took place because Henri Desgrange wanted it to go ahead despite many obstacles: the roads were still scarred by the conflict, many riders were still incorporated in their regiment, the hotels were requisitioned and the bicycle makers, mobilised by the war effort, had not been able to prepare their best equipment for the race. Never mind. It finally was a loop from Paris to Paris symbolising the return of peace and going through Strasbourg to mark the return of the city into France. Sixty riders started from the Argenteuil bridge on June 29, 1919, the day after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. They were only eleven to reach Paris on July 26 after countless withdrawals, including that of Philippe Thys of Belgium, double title holder in 1913 and 1914, who gave up on the first day of racing. Only ten riders were finally ranked as Frenchman Philippe Duboc was disqualified fifteen days after the finish for having received the assistance of a spectator.
The final winner at the Parc des Princes was Belgian Firmin Lambot, who in the words of the facetious Jean Alavoine, "picked up the dead" to win the GC. But for the Parisians, the real "star" of this 13th edition was s Eugene Christophe, the first holder of the yellow jersey, who finished 3rd despite his many setbacks throughout the event. The "old Gaul" will forever be the first holder of the yellow jersey but the garment, for its first appearance on the race, crossed the border to Belgium.
The last stage in Paris was won by Jean Alavoine, his fifth stage victory in the edition which he finished in second place. The Parisian, who died in Argenteuil during the next war in 1943, won a few months later the Armistice Grand Prix, held over 520 km between Strasbourg and Paris, via Metz.
The Eiffel Tower
Originally soaring to a height of 300 metres, but subsequently extended thanks to many antennas to reach 324 metres, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world for more than 40 years. A symbol of Paris, it is the most popular paid monument in the world with seven million visitors a year.
Upon its completion at the end of the 14th century, it was the largest cathedral in the western world. Construction extended over two centuries on the site of former pagan temples, and it is not uniform in style. It was partially ravaged by a fire on April 15, 2019, which damaged its roof and destroyed its spire. Donations should help rebuild the cathedral, one of the most famous in the world while the debate rages on whether restoring it to its previous condition or rebuilding it in contemporary fashion.
Considered by many as the most beautiful avenue in the world, it was created in 1616 by Marie de Medicis, who decided to have a long tree-lined driveway constructed through what were then fields. It was extended to L’Étoile to complete its current length in 1724. In 1838, architect Jacques Hittorff designed the buildings on the Champs-Elysées.
From Brussels to Paris ends our Tour de France in the plate, with the Paris mushroom. But alas it is not more Parisian than Brussels sprouts are from Brussels! While known as champignon de Paris in France, it is more commonly called Swiss brown or Italian brown mushroom in Britain.
Its real name being agaricus bisporus, it was grown for the first time under Louis XIV at Versailles and under Napoleon in the catacombs of Paris. Hence its name. But it was only at the end of the 19th century that its culture developed, not in Paris, but in Touraine and in the Saumur region. Agaricus bisporus being the easiest mushroom to grow, it quickly conquered the whole planet and is now produced mainly in China and the United States.