Vive le vélo! 7 things we learned about France while putting together the April issue of FRANCE Magazine
PUBLISHED: 16:59 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:18 28 February 2020
Stilt-wearing shepherds, gingerbread museums and top Tour de France viewing points - just some of the things we learned in our cycling special
1) The Tour de France attracts 12 million roadside watchers
That's 18 per cent of the population of France!
Discover our top viewpoints for watching the 107th tour in our cycling guide on page 22.
2) There's an actual museum dedicated to gingerbread in Alsace
The Palais du Pain d'Épices in Gertwiller, north of Colmar and run by leading gingerbread brand Fortwenger, is gingerbread lover's paradise.
Enjoy more of beautiful Alsace in Sophie Gardner-Robert's biking tour of this remarkable region on page 41.
3) These French shepherds used to walk on stilts to follow their flocks through the marshes
Shepherds in the département of Landes donned five-feet-long wooden stilts, known as tchangues, to navigate the tricky terrain.
Explore beautiful Landes with Heidi Fuller-love on page 54.
4) This under-the-radar wetlands reserve in northern France is home to over 230 species of birds and 50 butterflies
The Audomarois, near the town of Saint-Omer, are home to an abundance of fauna and flora.
Take a boat ride along the waterways with Rudolf Abraham on page 59.
5) There's a French restaurant and tea shop in London with 850 varieties of tea to choose from
Esteemed tea purveyors Mariage Frères was founded in 1854 and has a British outpost in Covent Garden.
Read our review of Mariage Frères by Janet Brice on Page 67.
6) The trend of Happy Hour originated in the Montmartre district of Paris
It used to be known as the Green Hour - the time to savour the seductive emerald spirit of absinthe.
Sample the history of this famous French drink with Janet Brice on page 84.
7) The Paris Métro station Montparnasse-Bienvenüe was named after the network's founding engineer
Fulgence Bienvenüe was a Breton engineer who impressed Paris officials with his plans for an electric underground railway.
Go underground with Sandra Haurant on a historical tour of the Métro on page 86.
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