Between Yvelines and Normandy, Dreux, 32,000 inhabitants, is a green belt town an hour from Paris in a charming valley with a river running through it and surrounded by ancient forest land. Legend has it that the town was once a place used to train Druids who lived in the remote areas of Carnutes, an ancient oak forest. Dreux also has royal associations. It was an earldom that changed hands many times, a strategically located hereditary possession that was conquered, lost, fortified, protected, besieged and closely bound to the history of the Kingdom of France. It is a former Crown estate that was the prerogative of the Fils de France (children of the King and dauphin), and the presence of a Royal Chapel here symbolises this sacred authority. Nature plays an important role in the town, which has been awarded the French “3 fleurs” label denoting a floral town. Nature is present in the form of parks and gardens, carefully tended town-centre flowerbeds and water absolutely everywhere. In the past twenty years, major urban renovation and re-development work has been carried out, re-shaping the town and its historic centre, making it an even more beautiful place to live. Unlike the legend, this pleasant lifestyle in Dreux is for real. The start of Paris-Tours is a great opportunity to discover this wonderful and singularly charming walled town. Values generally associated with sport such as determination, teamwork and respect also apply to the town itself. Dreux loves a challenge and is always moving onwards and upwards. Many sports competitions are regularly organised there and cycling has pride of place. After Paris-Brest, the Tour de l'Avenir, the Tour d'Eure-et-Loir and the Critérium bike race, it is obviously proud to play host to Paris-Tours, on the occasion of the 110th edition of the race.
Eure-et-Loir sees itself as a dynamic rural department. Alongside the traditional images such as Chartres Cathedral, Beauce Plain and the Perche Hills, the Eure-et-Loir department is constantly looking to the future with plans to develop and expand its two major urban centres, Chartres and Dreux. Eure-et-Loir Department is ideally situated with easy access to Île-de-France and Greater Paris. One of its objectives is to become the leading rural department in terms of digital cover, while retaining its traditional quality of life. Eure-et-Loir is delighted to have played host to the start of Paris-Tours since 2009, in accordance with the agreement signed by the Conseil Départemental and Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), in keeping with this spirit of modernity and tradition. The department very much sees itself reflected in the values associated with cycling: the rewards of hard work of effort, courage, panache and team spirit that is vital for everyone to succeed. This year the race will start in Dreux, having set off from La Loupe, Voves, Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais, Authon-du-Perche, Bonneval and from Chartres twice. The town of Dreux, which would love to welcome the Tour de France, is proud to play host the start of the 110th edition of “the autumn classic”. A week before the World Championships in Qatar, the line-up promises to outstanding and the succession of Matteo Tentin, last year's winner, will be fiercely contested. Paris-Tours Elite race will be preceded by Paris-Tours Espoirs category, for under 23-year-olds, starting in Bonneval. These two events are highlights on the annual cycling calendar and part of the overall strategy of the department, presided over by Albéric de Montgolfier, to promote the area by hosting top-level sports competitions.
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