The Tour de France started as nothing more than a publicity stunt to sell some newspapers. At its heart, the Tour remains just that, a vehicle to sell tires, shoes, bikes, telephones and countless other items that the eager sponsors of the teams and the race want to promote. To this day, it is a combination of the tawdry, the magnificent, the base, the noble, the crassly commercial and the spectacular. Others have noted that its roots are in the lowest and the highest motivations of human endeavor. That is why it is so fascinating.
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France. Today it is one of the world’s leading business and cultural centers, and its infl uences in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities. Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is “La Ville-Lumière” (“The City of Light”), a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting.