On the road

SAÔNE-ET-LOIRE (71)

Population: 555,408

Prefecture: Mâcon

Sub-prefectures: Chalon-sur-Saone, Autun, Louhans, Charolles

Surface: 8,575 km²

Specialties: AOC / AOP: beef of Charolles, poultry of Bresse (chicken, chicken, capon and turkey of Bresse), cream and butter of Bresse, Charolais and Mâconnais goat cheeses, 30 appellations of wines. Other specialties: pochouse, corniottes, snails of Burgundy, ham parsley.

Major sports clubs: basketball: Élan Chalon (Jeep Elite) and Charnay Basket South Burgundy (Women's League 2.) Rugby union: Sports Association Mâconnaise (Federal 1). Swimming: cercle nautique chalonnais (Nationale 1). Rowing: Société des régates Mâconnaise (National) and Cercle d’aviron of Chalon (National). Gymnastics: Gymnastic Alliance Montceau (National 1A). Bowls: Olympic Mâcon Balls (Elite 1) and Ball Sport Digoinaise (Federal 1). Table Tennis: Table Tennis Union Creusot Varennes (Nationale 1). Triathlon: Autun triathlon (National 1).

Major competitions: Tennis: Macon Open and national tournament in Gueugnon. Cycling: Tour de Saône-et-Loire. Côte Chalonnaise Wine Marathon, Mâcon Wine Rally, Côte Chalonnaise Rally, Mâcon-Chaintré International Jumping ***, French Motorboat Championship in Mâcon

Festivals: Chalon on the street in Chalon-sur-Saône, Les Musicaves in Givry, Les Montgolfiades in Chalon-sur-Saône, Les Ligériades in Digoin, Saint Rock Festival in La Clayette, Les Nuits Bressanes in Louhans, Augustodunum in Autun, Les Musicales in Côte Chalonnaise, Jazz campus in Clunisois, Jazz à Couches,  Fête de la Vielle in Anost, The Great Hours of Cluny, Beef Fair in Charolles, Glorieuses de Bresse in Louhans, Tango Swing et Bretelles in Montceau

Economy: wine tourism, cycle tourism (Greenways and cycle routes), gastronomy (12 stars including the only 3 stars of Burgundy), river tourism, industrial tourism (ceramic valley along the Canal du Center), spa (Bourbon-Lancy).

Websites and social networks: www.destination-saone-et-loire.fr / www.country-break-bourgogne.fr / on Facebook: Saône et Loire Tourisme / on twitter: destination71 / on Instagram: destinationsaoneetloire / on Youtube: Destination Saône-et-Loire

Km 8.5

Saint-Amour-Bellevue (Pop: 550)

The stage starts its tour of the Beaujolais appellations in St Amour. Besides the eponymous appellation, the commune of St Amour-Bellevue can also produce the following AOC wines:  Saint-Véran, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Bourgogne aligoté, Bourgogne, Mâcon, Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains, Coteaux Bourguignons, Crémant de Bourgogne, Bourgogne mousseux as well as the Saône-et-Loire IGP. It features on the Beaucjolasi-Maconnais Wine route created in 1986.

RHONE (69)

Population: 1.882 million

Prefecture: Lyon

Sub-prefecture: Villefranche-sur-Saône

Surface: 3,249 km2

Specialties: sausage of Lyon, rosette, cervelles de canut (cheese), tablier de sapeur (beef tripe), dumplings, grattons, onion soup, wines of Beaujolais.

Major sports clubs: Olympique Lyonnais (football), Lyon Olympique Universitaire (LOU, rugby), ASVEL Lyon- Villeurbanne (basketball)

Major Competitions: FIFA Women's World Cup, Run-in Lyon

Festivals: Festival of lights in Lyon, Nuits de Fourvieres in Lyon, Biennial of Lyon, Quais du polar (crime novel festival) in Lyon.

Tourist sites: Festival of Lights, old Lyon, Croix-Rousse, Beaujolais vineyards.

Economy: advanced industries, automobile (Berliet), chemistry, banks, universities, administrations, viticulture.

Websites and social networks: www.rhone.fr / www.rhonetourisme.com

Km 14

Chenas (Pop: 550)

King Philip V the Tall is said to have ordered for vines to be planted in Chenas in 1316. Legend also has it that another king, Louis XIII, would not drink any other wine. The appellation covers the towns of Chénas and Chapelle-de-Guinchay.

Km 17

Romanèche-Thorins (Pop: 2,000)

The windmill which became one of the ten appellations of Beaujolais (Moulin à vent) stands on the commune’s territory. The town has several picturesque castles, a wine museum and a zoo, the Touroparc Zoo. Leon Foillard (1880-1964) vigneron and writer, considered as "the father of Beaujolais", was born in Romanèche.Thorins.

Km 22

Villié-Morgon (Pop: 2,110)

Morgon, one of the ten crus of Beaujolais, is produced in the village. Château de Foncrenne was built in the 17th century by Marquis de St Amour on the site of an old medieval castle. It is today the town hall and a wine-tasting cellar. Among the most famous producers of Morgon, Marcel Lapierre, who died in 2010, was a precursor of nature wines.

Km 30.5

Quincié-en-Beaujolais (Pop: 1,320)

Quincié-en-Beaujolais produces Brouilly, Beaujolais-Vilages and Côte de Brouilly.It is the hometown of popular TV presenter Bernard Pivot, who spent his childhood there and gave his name to the local library. Three pretty castles can be found in town, the medieval castle of Palud, which is said to have accommodated king Louis XI, the Renaissance castle of Varennes, which offers a nice view of Mount Brouily, and the castle of Souzy (18th century).

Km 34

Saint-Lager (Pop: 1,030)

Two chateaux are worth mentioning in Saint-Lager, a village producing Brouilly: the castle of Saint-Lager (13th to 17th century, partly listed), whose vineyards once occupied the foothills of Mount Brouilly and now belong to Château def Pizay. But also the castle of Ravatys, which belong to the Pasteur Institute and whose revenues are used for medical research.

Km 38

Odenas (Pop: 930)

The castle of Chaize
In 1670, François de la Chaize of Aix, Sénéchal de Lyon, brother of the Respectable Father of La Chaize, confessor of King Louis XIV, bought the land of La Douze in Odenas. From 1674 to 1676 is built the new castle on plans of Jules-Hardouin Mansart, Superintendent of Royal Buildings and Thomas Blanchet, painter-architect of the Town Hall and Palais St Pierre in Lyon. The creation of the gardens is entrusted to André Le Nôtre, gardener of the King. Completed in 1676, the estate took the name of Château de la Chaize. Between 1677 and 1693, the domain grows, is raised to the rank of county then marquisate.
The largest area of ​​Beaujolais (its area covers nearly 300 ha), the castle was bought in 2017 and is the subject of an ambitious restoration.

Mount Brouilly
Visible for miles around, Mount Brouilly has been covered with vineyards since Roman times. From its wooded summit, the Notre-Dame-des-raisins chapel watches over the vineyard. It was built after a wish of the population to place the vineyard, affected by various plagues (hail, powdery mildew), under the protection of the Virgin Mary. Mount Brouilly has always been a place of worship. Even today, the Virgin is celebrated during the feast of the Nativity, on September 8, and during the more secular festival organised by the Friends of Brouilly on the last Saturday of August. In 2017, Julian Alaphilippe snatched an impressive time trial victory at Mont Brouilly on Paris-Nice.

Km 86

Tarare (Pop: 10 00 inhabitants)

A city of textile since the 18th century, when it was the capital of muslin and curtain, Tarare reconverted in the manufacture of a flooring material known as Taraflex. It still maintains a Gerflor factory, which remains the main employer on town. The family of Abbé Pierre was from Tarare, just like Bayern Munich and France’s midfielder Corentin Tolisso, who was born here in 1994.

Km 115

Saint-Laurent-de-Chamousset (Pop: 1,850)

Known since the 15th century for its veal market, Saint-Laurent-de-Chamousset is also notable for its beautiful Chamousset castle where King Francis I stayed in 1533, as well as Henri IV.

Km 142.5

Sainte-Foy-l'Argentière (Pop: 1,280)

Castle of the Marquis de Fenoyl
Mentioned in the 15th century, it was enlarged at different periods, passing into the hands of several families. It has belonged to the Fenoyl family since 1771. In the early 18th century, the castle consisted of three U-shaped houses and four towers surrounding a courtyard. After the construction of the church, to keep the balance with the south-west tower, another turret was added.

Km 154

Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise (Pop: 1,350)

Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise is one of 100 cities ranked among the "most beautiful detours of France". An old fortified city, it has been protected by three successive ramparts still easy to identify in the town’s topography.  The Riverie Gate, a remnant of the medieval defence of the city, takes you into the old town with its half-timbered houses, mullioned windows or an old hotel in the Art Nouveau style. The collegiate church dominating the city on its spur, is a 15th century masterpiece listed as a historical monument. Built on the former site of the city’s castle, it has retained a martial look. Because of its location, it provide an interesting point of view on the surroundings.

Besides its historical past, the city also developed industrial and craft specialties: carpentry and millinery but also tannery and delcatessen. The city is the capital of dry sausage and houses the factory of one of the most popular partners of the Tour de France, Cochonou. All the local specialties and traditions are on display at Maison des Métiers (House of Trades) where passionate volunteers reproduce the gestures of the hatters, blacksmiths, clog makers, lace makers of old.

Saint-Symphorien is also the hometown of former French president of the council Antoine Pinay, who is buried here.

LOIRE (42)

Population: 762,222

Prefecture: Saint-Etienne

Sub-prefecture: Montbrison, Roanne

Surface: 4,773 km2

Specialties: râpée, barboton (meat), sarasson, fourme de Montbrison (cheeses)

Major sports clubs: AS Saint-Etienne (football), Choir Roanne Basketball.

Major competitions: SaintéLyon (overnight running raid), Grand Prix of the city of Saint-Etienne (cycling)

Festivals: Saint-Etienne Book Festival, International Biennial of Design, Fête de la Courge in Andrézieux, BD'Art Festival in River-de-Gier, Rhino Jazz in Saint-Chamond.

Tourist sites: zoological park of Saint-Martin-la-Plaine, Chalmazel ski resort, museums of Saint-Étienne, Bouthéon castle.

Economy: iron and steel industry, mechanics, medical textiles, optics, design, retail (Casino).

Websites / social networks: www.loire.fr / loiretourisme.com / loireforez.com

Km 182

Sorbiers (Pop: 8,000)

Kazakhs Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrei Kivilev lived in Sorbiers after their arrival in France and Kivilev was buried there after his fatal accident on Paris-Nice in 2003. The city was also the residence of many AS Saint-Etienne players.

Km 196

Saint-Priest-in-Jarez (Pop: 6,200)

Le Clos Fleuri, the restaurant owned by Pierre Gagnaire’s parents, was in St Priest. Pierre Gagnaire took it over in the 1970s on his way to becoming one of the famous chefs in the world. In 2015, he was named by his peers “the greatest starred chef in the world”. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Saint-Etienne-Metropole is also located in St Priest.

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