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

FRANCE Magazine's April issue - our cycling special - is out now

FRANCE Magazine's April issue - our cycling special - is out now

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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.

An 1830 painting of shepherds in Landes on stilts by Jean-Louis GintracAn 1830 painting of shepherds in Landes on stilts by Jean-Louis Gintrac

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.

A bottle of potent absinthe. Pic: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence TourismeA bottle of potent absinthe. Pic: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence Tourisme

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.

So what are you waiting for? The April 2020 issue of FRANCE Magazine is out now - order your copy here.

Or take advantage of our great subscription offers and get FRANCE Magazine delivered straight to your door every month!

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