Le Tour de France 2012: Stage 15

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

The Tour de France 2012, the world’s premier cycling event kicked off last Saturday with the Prologue in Liège, Belgium and will conclude on July 22 with the traditional ride into Paris and laps up and down the Champs-Élysées. Over the next 22 days the race will take its course briefly along the Northwestern coast of France through  Boulogne-sur-Mer, Abbeville and into Rouen then into the mountains of the Jura, Swiss Alps and the Pyrenees.

We will be Live Blogging Le Tour 2012 every morning at The Stars Hollow Gazette starting at 7:30 AM EDT. Come join us for a morning chat, cheer the riders and watch some of the most beautiful and historic countryside in Europe.

Stage 15 Towns: Samatan and Pau

Samatan

Samatan is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. This is the first time Samatan has been a stage town for Le Tour.

Samatn, Fr From its many hills, Samatan, at the gates of Gascony and Toulouse, offers a great view on the Pyrenees with the pikes of Arbizon and Midi de Bigorre in the background. Its harmonious landscape, green and relaxed, is scattered with small woods and isolated farms in the huge check-board of the fields. This is why Samatan logically turned to green tourism with an emphasis on gastronomy and trekking.

The town has been equipped since the 1980S by a holiday village on the banks of a now renowned lake. It comprises a hotel nd adining rooms with a panoramic view over the lake. 2012 is an important year for the holiday centre as the lodgings will be entirely refurbished while the outside greens have been renovated in the respect of environment. Among the novelties, a spa has been added to the many activities on offer while access for the disabled has been improved.

Pau

 Pua is a commune on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département in France. The site was fortified in the 11th century to control the ford across the Gave de Pau. It was built on the north bank, equidistant from Lescar, seat of the bishops, and from Morlaàs, and became the seat of the viscounts of Béarn. Pau was made capital of Béarn in 1464. During the early 16th century, the Château de Pau was made more habitable by Gaston III, count of Foix and became the residence of the kings of Navarre, who were also viscounts of Béarn.

In 1188, Gaston VI assembled his cour majour there, predecessor of the conseil souverain and roughly equivalent to the House of Lords (but predating it). Gaston VII added a third tower in the 13th century. Gaston Fébus (Gaston III of Foix and Gaston X of Béarn) added a brick donjon (keep).

Pau was birthplace of Henry IV of France. His mother, Jeanne d’Albret, crossed into France to ensure her son would be born there. The baby’s lips were moistened with the local Jurançon wine and rubbed with garlic shortly after birth. When Henry IV left Pau to become King of France, he remarked to local notables that he was not giving Béarn to France, but giving France to Béarn.

Napoleon III refurbished the château and Pau adding streets of Belle Époque architecture, before the fashion transferred to Biarritz. Pau is still a centre for winter sports and equestrian events, with a steeplechase. King Charles XIV of Sweden, the first royal Bernadotte, was also born in Pau.

Following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln stayed in Pau in the late 1870s, toward the end of her life.

Pau Porte des Pyrénées is a territory of 250,000 men and women with a strong sense of common identity based on peace, sharing and passion. It is a natural outdoors sports destination with the Eaux-Vives Stadium, a golf course, trails for walking and rambling… Nature is everywhere in the town, in its numerous parks and gardens or its plots of land maintained by the sheep. It is also a cultural destination with the Chateau de Pau, its light show and outdoor nightime spectacles in its gardens.  Royal land, the city was the birthplace of Henri IV and Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte who became King of Sweden. It is also the land of good cheer with many homegrown produce: the Jurancon wines, la poule au pot, foie gras, sheeps’ milk cheese. Finally Pau makes the most of an innovative global economy: geosciences, food processing, aeronautics, horse breeding and Pau Broadband Country, the first high speed network in France. Pau has everything on offer to tempt you to stay either for a day, a weekend or your whole life so you can adopt brand Pau Porte des Pyrénées!

The bikers took the today off in the city of Pau. Stage 16 tomorrow will start in Pau  

1 comment

    • TMC on July 18, 2012 at 12:25 am
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