Whether you are passionate about cycling or merely curious, you have to witness at least once in your life the legendary Paris—Roubaix bike race. Anything can happen during this indescribable, time-honoured event, with each new turn producing more spills, flat tires, and mechanical mishaps to the excitement of onlookers. And to extend the experience, check out some of the other events and attractions centred around biking, in Roubaix and beyond.
Best spots to see the race !
The Trouée d'Arenberg
Imagine: the peloton arriving at full speed, stretching 2.4km from front to back, filling from side to side a (cobblestone!) path that is barely 3 metres wide. You may not be able to win the race during this stage, but you can certainly lose it ! Perhaps now you understand why the “drève des Boules d’Hérin”—the road’s official name—has a 5-star difficulty rating.
A little tip: “The most spectacular views can be found at the entrance to the Trouée, the exit, or packed right in there at the middle !
Warning: accessible parking is limited due to roadblocks, so be sure to check the traffic announcements a few days prior.”
- the Tourism Office of Porte du Hainaut
The Carrefour de l’Arbre
A slightly less gruelling stretch than the Trouée d’Aremberg, this stage is nevertheless famous for its strategic significance in the race. Just 15km from the finish line in Roubaix, it is the last cobblestoned stretch to lead a charge and make a move for the win…or else give up!
A little tip: “Traffic is blocked along the RD 90 between Cysoing and Baisieux. What you can do is park on the side of the road, go back up the cobblestoned stretch towards Camphin, then head to the T junction before reaching the Carrefour de l’Arbre.”
- François Doulcier, President of Amis de Paris-Roubaix
It began as a finish line: two Roubaisien industrialists wanted to put the spotlight on their new velodrome, and so dreamed up a race that, unlike other races, would leave Paris instead of ending up there. As the velodrome’s place in modern culture changes over time, certain aspects of it enter into modern lore : like the famous cold shower stalls, which are still in use by those with an appreciation for tradition.