Tour de France: 10 Iconic Stage Cities

While the Tour de France will be broadcast live on TV5 MONDE and NBC Sports from July 2 through 24, let’s take a look at ten of the route’s stage cities bursting with character.
The 2011 Tour de France passes Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. © Laurent Cipriani/AP

1. Mont-Saint-Michel

The 8th-century abbey is one of the world’s most visited tourist sites. Biscuits from the renowned Mère Poulard restaurant, cider, calvados and camembert are all regional specialties.

2. Sainte-Marie-du-Mont

This village is located opposite Utah Beach, one of the five sites of the Landings on June 6, 1944. The region is home to museums and military cemeteries commemorating the Battle of Normandy.

3. Saumur

The cavalry soldiers of the French army have been trained here since the 17th century. Saumur is home to the French National Riding School, which now trains the prestigious cavalry regiment: the Cadre Noir.

4. Limoges

Porcelain, enamel and stained glass have made up the rich heritage of this city for more than 1,000 years.

5. Carcassonne

This medieval city lights up every July 14 – Bastille Day – for a spectacular fireworks display. Cassoulet, made using navy beans and meat, is a typical regional dish.

© Kelly Dochy

6. Montpellier

This city is renowned for its Grisettes, a confectionary combining the Mediterranean specialties of licorice and honey.

7. Montélimar

Nougat made using egg white, honey and almonds has been the specialty of Montélimar since 1701

8. Moirans-en-Montagne

Wood has made this town in the Jura département the French capital of toys. The Toy Museum pays homage to this playful heritage.

9. Saint-Gervais-les-Bains

Take a train from the local railway station to get to the Bionnassay glacier, the first step towards Mont Blanc.

10. Chantilly

Famous for its Renaissance château, one of the largest collections of period paintings in France, and gardens designed by Le Nôtre.

Article published in the July 2016 issue of France-AmériqueSubscribe to the magazine.