Rather than weaving links to its past as a textile centre, which endowed it with an exceptional heritage, the former world capital of wool is following its own path to become a "capital" in many other areas: fashion, street art, zero waste, the digital economy and —of course— cycling! Welcome to the city that transformed its thousand chimneys and old industrial bastions into fertile ground for creativity, experimentation and innovation.
Roubaix, a land of cycling… and soft mobility
Leading the pack of cycling cities, Roubaix has a long-running connection with cycling, epitomised by the Queen of Classics, which it has hosted since 1896. Roubaix is home to the Parc des Sports, a cycling venue like no other in Europe. Its main site is the historic André Pétrieux Velodrome, where the legends of cycling proudly hold the fabled cobblestone trophy of Paris–Roubaix aloft. There is also the Jean Stablinski regional indoor velodrome, which hosted the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the 2023 French Track Championships. Last but not least, the BMX circuit is where the annual BMX Open takes place. The Vélo Club de Roubaix and its Continental team, which flies the flag for pro cycling, are also part and parcel of city life.
The city has also been adding more bicycle lanes and paths year after year and they now span the entire municipality. It also boasts a public bicycle sharing system completed by City Hall in 2021, with 500 bicycles and e-scooters available from over 150 stations. Finally, Roubaix is heavily sport-oriented and proud of its "Terre d'Excellence Cycliste" and "Terre de Jeux 2024" labels, as well as its 3-laurel wreath "Ville active et sportive" rating and its 2-bicycle "Tour de France Cycle City" rating.
A city of art and history
The history and heritage of Roubaix are worth exploring and sharing. The award of the "City of art and history" label in 2001 spurred on new efforts to write and rewrite history. In Roubaix, heritage is so much more than just old stones. It also impregnates the everyday life of Roubaisiens. Roubaix delivers on its promise with La Piscine Museum, which welcomes 250,000 visitors a year, as well as reimagined spaces such as La Condition Publique, a real laboratory for culture and social, urban and environmental innovation. There are, of course, other must-see places such as La Manufacture (a textile history museum), the churches of Saint Joseph and Saint Martin, the Motte-Bossut factory, the City Hall and Parc Barbieux, the largest urban park to the north of Paris.