TOUR DE FRANCE 2015 … Cycling Race …

Summer in France means Tour de France. Of course. And the past few days of warm sunshine have all of us looking forward to Saturday, July 4, the day this year’s race will start. This year the race, its 102nd edition, starts in the Dutch town of Utrecht and will end, as always, on Paris’s […]

Arras preparing for the Tour de France 2015 (copyright Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Arras preparing for the Tour de France 2015 (copyright Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Summer in France means Tour de France. Of course. And the past few days of warm sunshine have all of us looking forward to Saturday, July 4, the day this year’s race will start.

This year the race, its 102nd edition, starts in the Dutch town of Utrecht and will end, as always, on Paris’s Avenue Champs-Élysées on Sunday, July 26.

You can read all about it here.

The tour’s 5th stage goes through the northern French town of Arras, and having just been in Arras I walked along the route – or rather just a couple of hundred meters of the route – that the cyclists will take.

Arras May 2015 - 1

Arras (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The cyclists will set off on Wednesday, July 8, here in Arras and cycle 189.5 kms to the town of Amiens.

The Vauban Citadel (cc marilyn Z Tomlins)

The Vauban Citadel (cc marilyn Z Tomlins)

They will pass the Citadel (Citadelle) (photo above) constructed by the architect Vauban (Sébastien Le Prestre, Marquis of Vauban) from 1668 to 1672 for the defense of the town of Arras.

Inside the citadel is a beautiful small chapel as well as a memorial in the enclave where from 1941 to 1944 the Germans shot to death French Resisters. All of 218 men were shot to death here and for each there is a commemorative plaque. (The Germans, for a reason for their own, did not shoot women: they hanged them instead.)

A commemorative plaque for each French Resister shot to death here by the Germans from 1941 to 1944 (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

A commemorative plaque for each French Resister shot to death here by the Germans from 1941 to 1944 (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

One of those Resisters shot dead here (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

One of those Resisters shot dead here (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Arras Citadel church May 2015 - 14

 

The cyclists will also pass the majestic WW1 Arras Memorial in memory of 34,785 soldiers of the forces of the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who have no known grave. They died in battles between the Spring of 1916 and August 7 1918 when the Allies could finally claim victory over the Kaiser’s Germans.

Arras British Forces Memorial (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Arras British Forces Memorial (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Canadian and Australian soldiers also fell in battles in this region but they are honored at the nearby Vimy Memorial and the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

Arras British Cemetery May 2015 - 5

Arras British Cemetery (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

A tomb for one of the British soldiers who fell here (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

A tomb for one of the British soldiers who fell here (cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Ready for the Tour de France (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The workmen having done their job, Arras is now ready for the Tour de France (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Arras Tour de France May 2015 - 2

The road along which the cyclists will cycle (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Arras (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Arras (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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Should you wish to contact me you can do so by email: marilyn@marilynztomlins.com