The home town of Jules Ferry, founder of the secular educational system that would go on to become mandatory during the Third Republic, will be part of the course of the Tour de France for the first time. Howeverm Saint-Dié-des-Vosges is also known for its International Festival of Geography, which has brought researchers, academics, teachers and amateurs geographers together since 1990. The city’s vocation for geography goes all the way back to 1507, when the American continent was named by members of the Gymnase vosgien, including Martin Waldseemüller, a German monk and cartographer who authored the first known map of the New World.
The prefecture of the Haut-Rhin was the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, the man who gave American democracy a face when he designed the Statue of Liberty. From a sporting perspective, the city is known for the exploits of the participants in Paris-Colmar, a major racewalking event now known as Paris-Ribeauvilllé. In 2009, Heinrich Haussler also got a taste of glory when he took a solo win under torrential rain in Colmar.