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Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 18

Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 18: ITV4

Geraint Thomas looked a touch red-eyed and tired when interviewed after the stage. I hope that's not a symptom of any weakening.

Ned Boulting (short, as you may know, for Edgar Usain Boulting) said in the podcast that he had been talking about surfing during commentary. I'll have to take his word for it.

Interviewed after the stage, Arnaud Démare said he was 'super-heureux', and the sub-titles translated it as super-happy. That counts.

Super-happies: 6

Iconics: 3

Correct predictions of stage winners on this website: 2 out of 18

Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 18: comments

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Stage 19, Tour de France 2018

Col & Géant du Tourmalet

Le Géant du Tourmalet, by Soumei Baba, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 19 of the Tour de France 2018 is 200.5km from Lourdes to Laruns. 

Read about Stage 19 of the 2018 Tour de France.

Stage 18, Tour de France 2018: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 18, Tour de France 2018: Trie-sur-Baïse

Church at Trie-sur-Baïse

L'Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, Trie-sur-Baïse, by PierreG_09, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Trie-sur-Baïse is a settlement of 1,062 people. It takes its name from Jean de Trie, seneschal of Toulouse. He represented the King in signing the paréage which set up this ville bastide in 1323. A ville bastide is a Medieval new town, with a large central square by the church and castle, surrounded by arcades. The streets are a on a grid pattern, and the whole town would originally have been encircled by defensive walls.

Trie-sur-Baïse was besieged and pillaged by the Black Prince in 1355, during the One Hundred Years War, then rebuilt from 1363. 

The Carmelites founded a monastery here in 1365. The monastery was burnt by the Protestants in 1569, during the Wars of Religion, and only the monastery church survived; the rest of the monastery was rebuilt, but dismantled during the French Revolution, again leaving only the church.

The main church in the village is the Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (pictured above), which was begun in 1444. According to legend, the location was decided when snow fell and settled everywhere except this spot, where a cross-shaped patch remained bare.

Trie is at a crossroads, with five routes heading off in different directions, including to Lannemezan and Tarbes.

Stage 18, Tour de France 2018: Aire-sur-l'Adour


Aire-sur-l'Adour, by Frédérique Panassac, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Aire-sur-l'Adour is a town on the river Adour in the Landes département. 

Historically, it was the residence of the kings of the Visgoths, from 466 to 507AD. It was later a stop on the route of a pilgrimmage to Sant-Iago-de-Compostella, and had two hospitals for pilgrims. In 1814, Wellington beat Napoleon's Marshal Soult in a battle here.

This is a wine-producing area, making wines labelled Tursan.

Stage 18, Tour de France 2018: Pau

Chateau de Pau

Chateau de Pau, by Turol Jones, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Pau is a city of 78,506 people (the inhabitants are called Palois) on the river Gave de Pau. It's the historic capital of the province of Béarn.

There are views of the Pyrenees from the boulevard des Pyrenées. Alphonse de Lamartine said, 'Pau has the most beautiful view of the earth just as Naples has the most beautiful view of the sea.'

Boulevard des Pyrenées, Pau

Boulevard des Pyrenées, Pau, by ludovic, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The origin of the name Pau is uncertain. It could come from pal, referring to the palisade or fence around the first castle in Pau. Another possibility is that pal means rockface, and refers to Pau's position at the foot of mountains.

A castle was built by the Viscounts of Béarn, probably in the C11th, to protect a ford of the Gave de Pau. Pau became the capital of Béarn in 1464. It then became the seat of the Kings of Navarre in 1512. Henri of Navarre went on to become King Henri IV of France, in 1589. In 1620, Béarn lost its independence from France, although the Parliament of Navarre continued to govern local matters (with laws in the Occitan dialect).

In the Belle Epoque (usually defined as 1871 to 1914), Pau developed as a tourist destination for the royal, aristocratic, and rich. Scottish doctor Alexander Taylor helped make it a popular destination for a winter cure. Later, aviation and petrochemicals (following the discovery of natural gas in Lacq) were significant industries here, and more recently, the services sector has grown. There's a large student population at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour.

The Chateau de Pau is one of the city's main attractions. It was originally a fortification guarding a ford of the Gave de Pau, reinforced in the C14th by Gaston III of Foix-Béarn. In the C16th, as the seat of the Navarre dynasty, it was transformed into a residence. 

Henri of Navarre was born in the chateau. Wikipedia has a garbled explanation of Henri's connection to the castle, which has the hallmarks of a computer translation from French: 'The future Henri IV takes the trouble to be born December 13, 1553, and the story did the rest. The fame of the king...gives the castle, which did not see him grow up or die, a particular taste, and the right to claim honours those who give birth supermen.' Right. I, who not uderstand all things to men, a special smell, this translation glorious three and a half ten out of.

Palais Beaumont, Pau

Palais Beaumont, Pau, by Turol Jones, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

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