PORT-DE-BOUC : POOL A
A city born after the French Revolution Port de Bouc experiences, intermittently, renewed activity from the Renaissance to the Revolution.
In 1794, Bonaparte visited Port de Bouc and became aware of its strategic importance. Having become emperor, he had various works undertaken, including the digging of the canal from Arles to Port-de-Bouc.
For several years, interventions, reports, reviews multiplied on this subject. General Council and Borough Council intervened with the senator of Bouches-du-Rhône. Finally, on June 20, 1866, Napoleon III’s Minister of the Interior notified the representative of the department that a law dated June 13 had established the section of Port de Bouc as a commune, distinct from the communes of Fos-sur-Mer and from Martigues. The following July 26, the first mayor of the new commune was appointed by order of the senator of the department. They are Isidore Barthélémy, Robert Strozzi, specialist in the history of Port-de-Bouc.
SAINT-RAPHAËL : POOL B
Saint-Saint-Raphaël is a town of more than 35,000 inhabitants, located in the Var department, in the heart of a territory of 90 square kilometers between the Estérel massif and the Mediterranean Sea.
With 5 million overnight stays per year, Saint-Raphaël is a classified tourist resort renowned for its 34 kilometers of coastline, its hiking trails in the Estérel, the famous Corniche d’Or (golden corniche) and its 5 ports. The ports of Santa Lucia and the Old Port are labeled “Blue Flag”, an international eco-label rewarding efforts in the areas of tourism, the environment and sustainable development. The Old Port also holds the Afnor “Clean Ports” certification, a European certification awarded to ports committed to the fight for the preservation of aquatic environments and the sustainable development of coastal and marine activities.
With more than 300 events per year, Saint-Raphaël conducts a very varied cultural policy that is accessible to all audiences: the Rencontres de l’Avenir, the conferences at 6:59 p.m., the Book Festival, the Live summer concerts, the Saint-Raph Jazz Festival, the Laughter Festival, the Chalk Festival, the Louis de Funès Museum…
ARLES : POOL C
Arles is a city located on the Rhone, in the region of Provence in the south of France. It is famous for having inspired the paintings of Van Gogh, which influenced the contemporary art exhibited at the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation.
Once the provincial capital of ancient Rome, Arles is also renowned for its many ruins dating from this era, including the Arles amphitheater, now hosting plays, concerts and bullfights.
SAINT-MAXIMIN-LA-SAINTE-BAUME : POOL D
Villa-Latta, a small Gallo-Roman town, which took its name after the death of Saint Maximin, owes its fame since the 13th century to the discovery of tombs attributed to Saint Maximin and Saint Mary Magdalene. According to tradition, Marie-Madeleine, after having spent long years of penance in the cave of Sainte-Baume, was buried in the crypt of Saint Maximin. Baume is the Provençal equivalent of “cave”. It was the district capital from 1790 to 1795. For a time it took the name of Marathon in honor of Marat.
SISTERON : QUARTERFINAL
Sisteron, known as “Porte de la Provence”, is located on the banks of the Durance and facing the cliffs of the Rocher de la Baume. Sisteron is a privileged stopover. “Here a country ends, another begins” because it marks the passage between Provence and Dauphiné, between the Alps and the sea.
The Citadel, a remarkable historic monument built on a rocky outcrop, dominates the Durance valley and offers a breathtaking panorama of Haute-Provence.
Originally built as a border between the Dauphiné region and Provence. Declared a historic monument, it bears 8 centuries of architecture and history over an area of 10 hectares.
MANOSQUE : QUARTERFINAL
A small rural town, Manosque has become, over the years, the most populated town in the Alpes de Haute-Provence department. A thousand-year-old city, it leaves hardly any trace of its existence before Roman times when it became famous for its large regional market.
Manosque has gradually become urbanized. However, the olive grove and the cultivation of the vine remain significant.
In the 1960s, the town saw its population increase with the arrival of the Atomic Study Center (CEA) of Cadarache.
DIGNE-LES-BAINS : THE FINAL
Prefecture of the department, Digne les Bains is also known to be the historic capital of lavender. The most recognized of the festivals is undoubtedly the Lavender Corso.
Between the Alps and Provence, the city stretches in a landscape of medium mountains.
Digne les Bains is a spa resort with a solid national reputation.
The Geopark also lists many fossil sites, such as the Ammonite Slab concentrating 1,500 fossils of ammonites, nautiluses or pentacrines.
We also find the Ichthyosaurs of Robine and Chanolles aged respectively 185 and 107 million years are accessible by hiking trails.