Rather than weaving links to its past as a textile centre, which endowed it with an exceptional heritage, the former world capital of wool is following its own path to become a "capital" in many other areas: fashion, street art, zero waste, the digital economy and —of course— cycling! Welcome to the city that transformed its thousand chimneys and old industrial bastions into fertile ground for creativity, experimentation and innovation.
Roubaix, a land of cycling… and soft mobility
Leading the pack of cycling cities, Roubaix has a long-running connection with cycling, epitomised by the Queen of Classics, which it has hosted since 1896. Roubaix is home to the Parc des Sports, a cycling venue like no other in Europe. Its main site is the historic André Pétrieux Velodrome, where the legends of cycling proudly hold the fabled cobblestone trophy of Paris–Roubaix aloft. There is also the Jean Stablinski regional indoor velodrome, which hosted the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the 2023 French Track Championships. Last but not least, the BMX circuit is where the annual BMX Open takes place. The Vélo Club de Roubaix and its Continental team, which flies the flag for pro cycling, are also part and parcel of city life.
The city has also been adding more bicycle lanes and paths year after year and they now span the entire municipality. It also boasts a public bicycle sharing system completed by City Hall in 2021, with 500 bicycles and e-scooters available from over 150 stations. Finally, Roubaix is heavily sport-oriented and proud of its "Terre d'Excellence Cycliste" and "Terre de Jeux 2024" labels, as well as its 3-laurel wreath "Ville active et sportive" rating and its 2-bicycle "Tour de France Cycle City" rating.
A city of art and history
The history and heritage of Roubaix are worth exploring and sharing. The award of the "City of art and history" label in 2001 spurred on new efforts to write and rewrite history. In Roubaix, heritage is so much more than just old stones. It also impregnates the everyday life of Roubaisiens. Roubaix delivers on its promise with La Piscine Museum, which welcomes 250,000 visitors a year, as well as reimagined spaces such as La Condition Publique, a real laboratory for culture and social, urban and environmental innovation. There are, of course, other must-see places such as La Manufacture (a textile history museum), the churches of Saint Joseph and Saint Martin, the Motte-Bossut factory, the City Hall and Parc Barbieux, the largest urban park to the north of Paris.
Compiègne is buzzing with anticipation for the 45th Paris–Roubaix start from the city. The 120th edition of the race is a new opportunity to show that Compiègne is a cycling hub. Compiègne, a recipient of the "Ville active et sportive" label since 2018, has just been given a three-laurel wreath rating in recognition of its efforts to promote sports for all.
The third laurel wreath shows how far City Hall and the 14,000-strong local sports scene have come in four years. The award of the "Terre de Jeux" label and the registration of seven top-flight preparation centres for 15 different sports, which will roll out the red carpet for foreign delegations ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, illustrate this achievement. No other French department has as many preparation centres as Oise, with Compiègne at its helm.
Works have recently been completed on the international BMX Race track, a 400 m supercross track built to the standards of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. Compiègne also hosted the General Assembly of the Association Internationale des Organisateurs de Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC), whose President is Christian Prudhomme, in the presence of the UCI President, David Lappartient. The Sports Department of the Compiègne Region Conurbation will again organise the Salon de Paris–Roubaix during the team presentation on Saturday to be as close to the riders as possible. The event will lure to its stands bargain hunters in love with cycling. Educational institutions at the cutting edge of research.
Compiègne is home to a real higher learning hub, with about 3,500 students. The University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC), recognised as the top post-baccalaureate general engineering school (2018–2019 Eduniversal Ranking), and the Higher School of Organic and Mineral Chemistry (ESCOM) make Compiègne an attractive place to do business and boost the city's national and international profile. A land of remembrance.
The Internment and Deportation Memorial makes Compiègne a true open-air museum and makes sure these poignant events are never forgotten. Visitors can explore the living reality of history to gain a better understanding of these dark years and vigorously say "never again".
Monuments such as the Abbey of Saint Cornelius, the churches of Saint James and Saint Anthony, the King's Great Stables and the Gothic-style City Hall hark back to the rich past of the city. Ever since the Merovingian era, numerous sovereigns who wanted to hunt in Compiègne have had residences built here. Louis XV, Napoleon and Napoleon III were the driving forces behind what is now known as the Château de Compiègne. The Armistice that ended World War I was signed in a clearing in the north of Compiègne.
1) Diversion for sector no. 29 (Troisvilles) Take sector no. 29 for 900 m, turn left onto D643 (km 97.2) until Inchy and then take D134. Merge back onto the course at km 99.
2) Diversion for sectors no. 28 and 27 (Viesly) Just before sector no. 28, turn right (km 102,5) and then left (D134). Merge back onto the course at km 109.2 (Fontaine au Tertre).
3) Diversion for sector no. 26 (Solesmes) In Solesmes (km 114.1), follow D958 in the direction of Valenciennes. Merge back onto the course at km 123.1 (Vendegies-sur-Écaillon).
4) Diversion for sectors no. 24, 23, 22 and 21 (Verchain-Maugré) In Verchain-Maugré (km 125.5), follow D40A in the direction of Denain. Merge back onto the course at km 144.9 (Thiant).
5) Diversion for sector no. 20 (Haveluy) In Haveluy (km 152.6), follow D40 and drive through Wallers. Merge back onto the course at the entrance to cobbled sector no. 18 at km 166,9.
6) Diversion for sector no. 17 (Hornaing) In Hornaing (km 173,3), continue on D81 towards Wandignies-Hamage and merge back onto the course at km 178.7.
7) Diversion for sector no. 13 (Orchies) At the exit from Orchies (km 195.7), continue on D938, drive over A23 and turn right onto D549. Merge back onto the course at km 200.6 (Auchy-lez-Orchies).
8) Diversion for sectors no. 11 and 10 (Mons-en-Pévèle) Right before cobbled sector no. 11 (km 208), continue straight ahead on D917 until Pont-à-Marcq. Merge back onto the course at km 215.9 (Pont-à-Marcq).
9) Diversion for sectors no. 7, 6, 5 and 4 (Cysoing) In Cysoing (km 229.1), go straight ahead at the traffic light and follow D90. Merge back onto the course at km 241.5 (Carrefour de l'Arbre).