Stage 4 takes us from Luxembourg into Vittel in the Vosges, home to some very good mineral water:
Vittel is another spa town like Chaudfontaine and Aachen and like Mondorf-les-Bains, the Luxembourgish starting location of this stage. Vittel, as most of these spa towns, was used by the Romans, but the modern baths were established in 1854 by lawyer and sometime political exile Louis Boulomie around what’s now called La Grande Source.
Of course, Vittel probably gets the award for the most often seen water in the Tour de France. It lends its name to the bottled water brand that sponsors, among other things, the giant spider that holds the flamme rouge at one kilometer before the finish. Vittel the brand appears to have worked out a cool payments for ecosystem services plan with the farmers in the region to help prevent nitrates from leaching into the groundwater that is later bottled.
Quite a bit of carnage inside la flamme rouge this afternoon. Let’s hope the race settles down after this drama.