In the UK we have seen highway signs proclaiming “Britain’s Tidiest Town”, “Tastiest Cuppa” for tea lovers, and even “Cleanest Loo”, all to indicate that a community had been awarded the nation’s top honor in a certain category. France has similar declarations that are proudly posted at the roadway entrance including “Most Beautiful in France”, “Village in Bloom”, “City of Art and History”, and “Active and Sportive”. The level of achievement, typically from 1 to 4, is indicated by the number of stars, flowers, Olympic laurels, or other appropriate symbols based on the theme of the award. Carcassonne has won many of these and thanks to the Tour de France that whizzed through town last weekend, we also have a bicycle emblem as a Ville à Vélo otherwise known as a City by Bike.
Earlier this month I wrote about Carcassonne’s work towards improving the level of achievement of being a City in Bloom and now those efforts can be directed towards bicycles. Towns that host the Tour across the country are encouraged to become a Ville à Vélo to demonstrate their commitment to mobility by bicycle be it for daily use, recreation, or competition. The judges take into account:
- The infrastructure in place and planned for cycling routes
- Improvement of cyclist safety
- Education in schools and awareness campaigns for the public
- Bike parking and theft prevention
- Maintenance and repair facilities
- Assistance to clubs and associations promoting the sport
Although I said that the Tour “whizzed” through town, they were actually here for portions of 3 consecutive days since Carcassonne was both an arrival and a departure point plus their recovery day in between. Although a city must pay to have the Tour visit, the return on that investment is apparently worth it. There are more details in our blog post from last year when the racers were also in town for 3 days. Should you come to Carcassonne for a visit and wish to join the cycling crowd, you could rent a bike and follow one of the routes in this booklet “Walks, Nature and Heritage” that includes directions for people on foot and on bikes.
Groupie alert: If you’re on that rental bike during the next Tour you might ride by one of the 14 hotels where the riders are housed for their stay in town in hopes of catching them relaxing. Under the headline, “Where to see the teams”, one of our local newspapers published the complete list indicating which team was staying where.
3 thoughts on “Tour de France: City by Bike”
We first visited Carcassonne during the Tour de France 2014
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Sounds like it’s time for a revisit! To see the Tour here again, however, you’ll have at least another year to plan because the newspaper says it won’t be back in Carcassonne in 2023.
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We saw the Tour in La Rochelle in September ‘20 while my daughter was visiting. There were not nearly the crowds there normally would be due to it being the first summer of Covid, but it was amazing to see their speed in person. It’s great to see Carcassonne spending the money to bolster its important place on the map!
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