Patrimonio

Las últimas salidas de etapa desde Carcasona han beneficiado a los atacantes dispuestos a exponerse, fuese cual fuese su palmarés. En 2014, de camino a Bagnères-de-Luchon, Michael Rogers se sumó a una escapada voluminosa hasta obtener su única victoria del Tour. Dos años más tarde, el trayecto entre Carcasona y Montpellier acabó regalando duelos inolvidables, como el protagonizado por Chris Froome y Peter Sagan en el que se impuso el eslovaco.

Bagnères-de-Luchon

En 1910, la reina de los Pirineos entró en la historia al acoger la meta, y después la salida, de las dos primeras etapas de alta montaña del Tour de Francia, con sendas victorias de Octave Lapize. Cien años más tarde, sería Thomas Voeckler quien se impusiese en Bagnères-de-Luchon, al igual que en 2012. Por último, en 2016, la fantástica proeza de Chris Froome en la bajada hasta la ciudad le valió un hueco en lo más alto de la clasificación general… y en los manuales de técnica de descenso por su postura innovadora.

En el camino

AUDE (11)

Region: Occitanie
Population: 374,868
Prefecture: Carcassonne
Sub-prefectures: Narbonne - Limoux
Number of communes: 436
Surface: 6,139 km2

Specialities: cassoulet of Castelnaudary, bourride d’anguilles (eels soup), Lucques olive, limos (bun), fricassée de Limoux, Leucate oysters, truffle, rice, Marseillette apple, écu of Pays Cathare (goat cheese), nougat of Limoux, wines of Aude (7 AOP), Blanquette de Limoux (sparkling wine), micheline (spirit), cartagène (liquor), marble in Caunes-Minervois, boudegue (Occitan bagpipes)

Sport clubs: Rugby union clubs RCNM Narbonne and USC Carcassonne, Rugby League clubs Lézignan-Corbières, Limoux and Carcassonne, Volleyball (Narbonne, Gruissan), women’s handball (Narbonne). Competitions: Mondial du vent (Leucate), Défi Wind and Défi Kite (windsurf, Gruissan), kite-surf junior World Cup (Saint-Pierre-la-mer), Grand Raid des Cathares, Cross de la Cité (running, Carcassonne), Audoise granfondo (Villeneuve Minervois), Mountain bike Cap Nore / Déval’ Nore (Aragon), Critérium de Quillan (cycling).

Culture: Citadelles du vertige, Canal du Midi, abbeys of Lagrasse and Fontfroide. Carnival of Limoux, Montolieu book village, Scènes d’enfance (Children Stages), Artistes à suivre, Fête du Cassoulet, Limoux brass Festival, Jazz in Conilhac, Festival d’été (Lézignan-Corbières), Barques en Scènes Festival (Narbonne), festival de la Cité (Carcassonne).

Economy: viticulture, fishing, agriculture, breeding, maritime trade, seaside tourism, green tourism, thermal baths, truffles and wines.

Websites and social networks : www.aude.fr / www.audetourisme.com / www.payscathare.com / www.payscathare.org / citadellesduvertige.aude.fr / www.facebook.com/departementdelaude / www.instagram.com/citadellesduvertige

Aude’s cultural diversity is marked by the presence of medieval castles, vertiginous citadels from the Cathar period, Romanesque abbeys and cloisters, the medieval City of Carcassonne, Roman Narbonne, prehistoric caves or the famous Canal du Midi lined by centenary plane trees. Aude also has a varied and rich wildlife and natural environment. Its biodiversity is among the richest in France and it is preserved in 17 protected natural areas and footpaths. In the field of sport, this results in a number of open-air activities appealing both to locals and to visitors (raids, trails, treks, windsurfing, kite-surfing...) Aude is also a land of authenticity and good living. It remains a territory of gastronomy as Languedoc cuisine is peerless. Its local products like cassoulet make a perfect combination with the strong and characteristic wines of the region.

Km 12.5

MONTREAL (Pop : 1,900)

The Collegiate Church Saint Vincent dominates the small city of Montreal. It is the witness of the former prosperity of this city of Gallo-Roman origins which prospered through the textile industry (wool) and the manufacture of gunpowder. The city went through many vicissitudes at the time of the Black Prince or during the wars of religion. The collegiate replaced a former church and some elements of it are still integrated into the current building. Its construction, in southern Gothic style with a single nave, dates from the early fourteenth century. The choir was remodelled in the early seventeenth century and the seven paintings of Toulouse painter Despax, dedicated to the life of St. Vincent of Zaragoza, were laid in 1755 above the stalls. The plaster vault was added in 1783 to hide the frame. Note the magnificent pulpit carved polychrome, dating from 1755, work of the Burgundy sculptor Pierre Noireau, buried in Montreal.

Réintroduction du Saumon Atlantique 
Fédération de pèche de l'Ariège

Km 17.5

LA FORCE (Pop: 220)

The small village of La Force hit the headlines because the city signs were routinely stolen by Star Wars fans. The municipality has since installed equipment less easy to debunk...

Km 24.5

FANJEAUX (Pop: 820)

The city was deeply marked by the Albigensian crusade and especially by the personality of Saint Dominic, charged in 1207 after the "colloquium of Pamiers" to evangelize the Cathar strongholds of Fanjeaux and Montreal. St. Dominic had created a year earlier in the hamlet of Prouilhe the first monastery of the order of the Dominicans. The house of St. Dominic, the cloisters of the Dominicans, the convent of St. Dominic Cammazou and the cross of Fanjeaux pay tribute to the founder of the Dominican order. Each year since 1965, seminars are held in Fanjeaux in July to discuss the medieval history of the region.

SIGHT

Monastery and Basilica of Prouilhe
In 2006-2007, the monastery of Prouilhe, founded by Saint Dominique, celebrated its eighth centenary. By gathering at Prouilhe some women "converted from Catharism by his preaching and his example", Dominic cast from 1206 the first bases of the "Preaching" of Prouilhe, preliminary to the founding of the Order of Preachers. The monastery is the cradle of the Dominican order. Sold as national property in 1792, it served as a quarry for the inhabitants of Fanjeaux, who removed the stones and ornaments for their homes. The rebuilding of the monastery began in the mid-nineteenth century on the initiative of Father Henri Lacordaire and the first nuns settled in 1889. The basilica was built in 1893 in the neo-Byzantine style then in vogue.

GEOLOGICAL HERITAGE

Talc

The structuration of the Pyrenees was achieved with large movements of rocks, by folds or fractures. Thus very different rocks are brought into contact. This promiscuity sometimes causes them to react and form new minerals. Thus towards Luzenac one finds a gigantic deposit of talc. This mineral with a very silky touch has multiple uses for the chemical, paper and food industries...

MNHN – Patrick De Wever, professeur 

ARIEGE (09)

Population: 153,000 
Prefecture: Foix
Sub-prefectures: Saint-Girons, Pamiers
Surface: 4,890 km2

Specialties: Bethmale (cheese), Flocons d'Ariège (confectionery), Azinat (Garbure type soup), Mounjetado (mountain cassoulet), hypocras (medieval aperitif), cutlery, wool, horn objects 

Sports Clubs: Sporting Club Pamiers, Union Sportive Saverdun, Sporting Club Saint-Girons, Union Sportive Foix (rugby union), Guidon Fuxéen (cycling), Boss Club des Monts d'Olmes (freestyle skiing). Events: Trail of the Citadels, Ronde de l'Isard, L'Ariégeoise (5,000 cyclists), Trail des Crêtes, Montcalm Marathon Challenge. 

Main tourist sites: castle of Foix, Saint-Lizier Palace of the Bishops, Mas d'Azil cave, Niaux cave, Medieval city of Mirepoix, Ecogolf Ariège-Pyrenees, Montbel lake, Montségur castle.

Festivals: Festival of Saint-Lizier in Couserans, Jazz in Foix, Jazz'Velanet festival in Lavelanet, Tarascon Latino festival, Terre de Couleurs (Colourful Earth) festival, Festival RITE: dances, songs and music of the world, Resistances Film Festival, Les coulisses d’automne festival, MIMA: Festival of the arts of the puppet in Mirepoix, Summer of the Theatre festival in Couserans, Historical Festivals of Mirepoix, Foix Land of history,  Couserans historical festival, Medieval festival in Mazères, Tout Foix Tout Flamme ...

Economy: hydrotherapy, round-the-year tourism, agropastoralism, hydroelectricity, talc exploitation, aeronautics subcontracting, textile, wood industry ...

Websites and social networks: www.ariege.fr / www.facebook.com/ariegeledepartement / www.facebook.com/ariege.velo/ / twitter.com/ariegeledpt / www.instagram.com/ariegeledpt

Km 66

PAMIERS (Pop: 15,500)

The largest town in Ariege hosted the Tour de France for the first time in 2010 and Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, who recently retired, had clinched the second of his four stage wins on the Tour. He also discovered the climbing abilities that enabled him in the next two years to go for both the GC and the polka-dot jersey. A former metallurgy stronghold, the town of composer Gabriel Fauré, a rugby union land, is a pleasant and bustling little city.

SIGHT

Saint Antonin cathedral
The church, a cathedral since 1499, was built in Toulouse brick, typical of the region. From the original 12th century church, only a portion of the gate survived. The Religion Wars only spared the bell-tower, which could be used as a watchtower. The rebuilt nave was only completed in 1689. It is often attributed to architect Francois Mansart, which is not impossible but other sources think it was the work of his nephew Jules Hardouin-Mansart.

Km 86

PAILHES (460 hab.)

To see for the medieval castle dominating the village, restored in the last 15 years by a handful of enthusiasts decided to rehabilitate it. It is likely that this peak of strategic importance was occupied since the Roman period. Most of the buildings, including the tower, the entrance gate and the west facade, date from the 14th century. The castle was owned by powerful families. First the Amiel, from the eleventh century, and the Villemur who kept it until the eighteenth century. History records that Henry III of Navarre, (King of Navarre and Count of Foix in 1579, future Henry IV) was the host of the Baron of Pailhes in 1579. Until 1987, visitors could admire the "bed of Henry IV”, listed in 1965 and acquired by the General Council of Ariège in July 1989. It has been transferred to the castle of Foix.

Km 93.5

SABARAT (330 people)

The astronomy observatory of Sabarat, located near the cave of Mas d'Azil, proposes a set of activities related to astronomy: discovery, observation of the sky with instruments, animations, advanced courses, astro-photography, children classes.

LANDSCAPE OF THE DAY 

Plantaurel mountain

This mountain is formed from limestone folds that cross the department of Ariège from east to west, to the south of the Palassou puddingstone cuesta. It is characterised by its folds, escarpments, cross-valleys and streams. This is a landscape of forests, stones and waterways, and the point where the Arize river emerges from the Mas d'Azil mountain is one of the most famous sights in Ariège - the cave's opening in the form of giant arch gives this view a singular, mysterious charm.

Km 98.5

LE MAS-D’AZIL (Pop: 1,200)

Le Mas d’Azil is a world famous prehistoric town in which the Azilian age (9,500 years BC) was defined and studied. Its Prehistoric Museum hosts the famous “Faon aux oiseaux” (fawn with birds). The cave, one of the most interesting curiosities in Ariege, was dug by the River Arize beneath the Plantaurel hills. It is a natural tunnel, 420 metres long and 50 metres wide, rich of historic memories. It served as a refuge for the first Christians, then for the Cathars and the Huguenots. Fortified in 1303 by the Counts of Foix, it sheltered the Huguenots who fought to the bitter end and forced the Catholics out.

Km 124

SAINT-GIRONS (Pop: 6,500)

St Girons started out as a suburb of St Lizier known as Bourg de Vic but it gradually took over when Bernard de Comminges ravaged the main locality in 1130. The important burg of Villefrance, on the left bank of the Salat, was an independent town from 1300 to the Revolution, when it was included into St Girons. The capital of Couserans has grown around a pretty old town at the confluence of the Salt, Lez and Baup rivers. The castle of the viscounts of Couserans stands by the river. The church was rebuilt in 1857. St Girons was the start of a Tour stage six times in the past, the last in 2017, when Warren Barguil won in Foix.  

Saint-Lizier cathedral
Built in the 11th century, the St Lizier cathedral displays remarkable Romanesques frescos. The cathedral and the cloister are listed as World Heritage sites as part of the St James Way. 

Km 137.5

AUDRESSEIN (Pop: 105)

The village took part in a local 19th century revolt known as “la guerre des demoiselles” (the young ladies war). While its parochial church is the 13th century St Martin, the Notre-Dame de Tramesaygues church is the one worth a visit. Built and improved from the 13th to the 16 th century, it is a World Heritage site thanks to its campanile, its medieval frescos and its painted porch. A pilgrimage existed as early as 1139 and the original chapel was extended gradually to hold the pilgrims. The pilgrimage gained momentum when a congregation settled in the chapel in 1315.

HAUTE-GARONNE (31)

Population: 1,335,333
Prefecture: Toulouse
Sub-prefectures: Muret ,Saint Gaudens
Surface: 6,309 km²

Specialties: Aeronautics (Airbus, ATR, EADS, Thales, Aeroscopia), Space (CNES, City of Space). Cassoulet, Toulouse sausage, foie gras, duck breast, Toulouse violet, AOP Fronton wine, AOC Cadours garlic, Pyrenean IGP lamb, Bigorre black pig (AOC), Lauragais red calf (Label Rouge).

Sport Clubs: Stade Toulousain, Toulouse Football Club, Fénix Toulouse Handball, Toulouse Métropole Basket, Spacers Volley, TOXIII, Union Sportive Colomiers Rugby

Festivals: 31 Summer Notes, Jazz sur son 31, Festival of television creations of Luchon, Printemps du rire (Spring of laughter), Rio Loco, Comminges Festival in Saint Bertrand de Comminges, Toulouse Organs

Economy: Aeronautics and space, Tourism, 4 ski resorts, viticulture (Fronton)

Remarkable sites: The vaporarium of the thermal baths of Luchon, Saint Bertrand de Comminges listed as "Most beautiful villages of France", Martres-Tolosane and Revel labeled "Cities and Crafts of Art", Lake of Saint Ferréol, Canal du Midi listed by UNESCO with its green way, Lake of Oô in the Central Pyrenees, Museum Forum of the Aurignacian Rugby, caving, water sports on the Garonne (canoeing, hydrospeed, rafting), sports (mountaineering, horse riding, climbing, hiking) Winter sports (skiing, snowshoeing, sled dogs), mountain biking (Espace FFC Pyrénées Comminges), Sailing (paragliding, glider, ULM)

Websites / FB: www.haute-garonne.fr / hautegaronnetourisme.com www.facebook.com/tourisme31.fr

Km 159.5

Fabio Casartelli memorial

The memorial to Fabio Casartelli can be found shortly after the Portet d’Aspet, the pass on which he met his death in 1995. The 1992 Olympic champion crashed heavily in the descent. The marble monument, sculpted by Bruno Luzzani, was inaugurated in October 1995. It represents a wheel gradually changing into an Olympic flag. Casartelli’s bicycle when he crashed can be seen in the Madonna del Gisallo chapel on top of the eponymous mountain pass in Italy.

REGIONAL NATURAL PARKS

Smoothly running for all in the Natural Regional Parc des Pyrénées Ariégeoises!

In the heart of the hard and genuine Pyrenees…, the Natural Regional Parc des Pyrénées Ariégeoises, with its mountain, its piedmont plainsand its limestone slopes is the perfect place for the bike.
The most athletic ones gladly launch an attack on the Col de la Core, Col du Port, Port de Lers or the “Mur de Péguère”- high ports of call of the Tour de France - and discover both the beautiful mountain villages of the Couserans and the stunning landscapes.
Cyclosportive meetings loversjoin each year the Ariégeoise, that takes them on the tracks of the Tour de France racers, with 5 circuits that gather around 4500 participants…
Families rather go for the safety of the VoieVerte(cycling path) thattakes them, from Vernajoul to Saint Girons, through 42km with little difference in height, to the Pyrenees piedmont villageswhere they will make gourmet stopovers at local producers.

Km 180.5

SAINT-BÉAT (400 hab.)

St Beat overlooks the Garonne in a spectacular setting lined by mountains. In this authentic location, St Beat displays its lovely medieval architecture and its many shops. Known as a marble production centre since antiquity, it is still renowned today for its sculpture festival and the many statues to be found in the streets. 

SIGHTS

Marble quarries
Very productive under King Louis XIV, the quarries – also known as “Roman breeches” – were later neglected before being rediscovered in the 19th century. Nowadays, nine quarries are still exploited including an underground one. 

St Beat castle
The castle of St Beat is one of few feudal citadels in the Pyrenees not to have been altered by the passing of time. It dates from the 12th century and was enlarged by King Henry IV. Discovered by the Romans, St Beat was famous for its marble and it became a royal city in the Middle-Ages. Yet its lords seldom lived in the castle, leaving it to heirs until the 16th century. A lock on a road linking France and Spain, it was never attacked by either side even though it was sometimes involved in neighbourood disputes.
www.lesvalleesdesaintbeat.fr

PROVINCE OF LLEIDA (Spain)

Population: 443,032 (2012)
Capital: Lleida (Lérida) Autonomous province of Catalunya and Spain
Surface: 12,028 km2
Specialities: snails, Catalan specialities.  

Sport clubs: Lleida Esportiu (football), Lerida birthplace of former French Open tennis winner Albert Costa.

Competitions: nature and mountain sports (skiing, trekking, rafting), 11 ski resorts and 460 km of pistespistes. 2008 European capital of sport.  

Main tourist sites: Romanesque churches of Vall de Boi (World Heritage sites), National Park of Aigüestortes and lake Saint-Maurice, Montsec Astronomic Park, Cathedral of la Seu Vella (Lerida), Château of Gardeny, Lleida Museum.

Festivals: Musiques disperses (March), Jazz Tardor (November), Latin-American film festival in Lerida. 

Economy: agriculture, tourism, textiles; chemicals; food industry

Sites Web/ FB / Twitter: www.lleidatur.com, www.catalunyaexperience.fr/category/la-catalogne-par-region/terres-de-lleida-infos, www.turismedelleida.cat

HAUTE-GARONNE (31)

Population: 1,335,333
Prefecture: Toulouse
Sub-prefectures: Muret ,Saint Gaudens
Surface: 6,309 km²

Specialties: Aeronautics (Airbus, ATR, EADS, Thales, Aeroscopia), Space (CNES, City of Space). Cassoulet, Toulouse sausage, foie gras, duck breast, Toulouse violet, AOP Fronton wine, AOC Cadours garlic, Pyrenean IGP lamb, Bigorre black pig (AOC), Lauragais red calf (Label Rouge).

Sport Clubs: Stade Toulousain, Toulouse Football Club, Fénix Toulouse Handball, Toulouse Métropole Basket, Spacers Volley, TOXIII, Union Sportive Colomiers Rugby

Festivals: 31 Summer Notes, Jazz sur son 31, Festival of television creations of Luchon, Printemps du rire (Spring of laughter), Rio Loco, Comminges Festival in Saint Bertrand de Comminges, Toulouse Organs

Economy: Aeronautics and space, Tourism, 4 ski resorts, viticulture (Fronton)

Remarkable sites: The vaporarium of the thermal baths of Luchon, Saint Bertrand de Comminges listed as "Most beautiful villages of France", Martres-Tolosane and Revel labeled "Cities and Crafts of Art", Lake of Saint Ferréol, Canal du Midi listed by UNESCO with its green way, Lake of Oô in the Central Pyrenees, Museum Forum of the Aurignacian Rugby, caving, water sports on the Garonne (canoeing, hydrospeed, rafting), sports (mountaineering, horse riding, climbing, hiking) Winter sports (skiing, snowshoeing, sled dogs), mountain biking (Espace FFC Pyrénées Comminges), Sailing (paragliding, glider, ULM)

Websites / FB: http://www.haute-garonne.fr/ / http://hautegaronnetourisme.com/ https://www.facebook.com/tourisme31.fr

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