Date: Tuesday, July 6 2010
From/to: Wanze to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut
Type: Flat, with cobbles
Start town: Wanze
Situated in the Meuse valley, between Liege and Namur, the municipality of Wanze consists of six villages and a hamlet. Its shopping, housing and business areas are experiencing rapid growth.
The landscape is a combination of modern and industrial, with limestone quarries and a well-known sugar refinery. 2009 saw the arrival of BioWanze, which produces bioethanol at its site close to the Pont Père Pire, a cable-stayed bridge across the River Meuse.
Concerned with reconciling business development with quality of life, Wanze aims to remain a pleasant place to live. Part of the Natural Park of the Valleys of the Burdinale and Mehaigne, the appeal of its rural areas has contributed to the development of eco-tourism.
Walking trails guide visitors around the main sights of the region. Including the ruins of the feudal castle of Moha and the Cycle Museum, featuring an impressive collection of 180 bicycles designed between 1830 and today.
Finish town: Arenberg Porte du Hainaut
Situated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, Porte du Hainaut is a “Communauté d’Agglomération” (urban district community) of some 150,000 inhabitants. This vibrant area has been boosted by renewed economic growth and its strong tourist appeal.
Its 39 towns and villages offer a wide range of attractions: architecture inherited from the industrial era, waters with beneficial properties used in thermal baths, gastronomy based on local produce and colourful festivities celebrating the Giants.
Not forgetting the region’s wide range of leisure pursuits: walking, mountain biking and pony trekking trails through the national forest or along the River Escaut or Scarpe. The finishing point of the third stage of the Tour de France, the mining site of Arenberg has been proposed by France as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Part of the regional Centre of Excellence for Images (Pôle d’Excellence Image), a project has been launched to convert the site to a filming location. The aim is to develop a technological platform to promote research, transfers and professional development in audiovisual and digital services.
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index