Along the Boulevard du General-Leclerc, you can see the building of an old factory. In fact it was the Cotton Spinning Mill Motte -Bossut.
In the past, Roubaix was one of the most important industrial cities of textile in the North. And this textile industry resulted in hundreds of factories.
Like this cotton spinning mill which is build as it was a castle with two towers and a lift bridge.
Around 1960 a lot of these factories closed, and luckily, they restored some of the old factory buildings.
Like this building which is now used by Euroteleport, an important international telecommunication centre and as Centre des Archives du Monde de travail (centre for Labour Archives).
At the Grande Place in Roubaix you can see the very beautiful City Hall (or town hall), which is designed by Victor Laloux in 1911.
Just stop here for a moment and admire the beautiful decorations. This building is decorated with great relief’s which symbolise different occupations which a heave a link to the textile industry.
Like this you can see the complete wool handling from the sheep till the shipping.
Eglise St Martin or the Church of St Martin is also located on the Grande Place of Roubaix, just opposite of the City Hall.
The first church dates from the 10th century, but as the city did grow, so did this church. The only old part that remained is the bell tower which dated from 1511.
So this eglise St Martin got its final Neo-Gothic look in the middle of the 19th century.
If you have time (and if you are interested), you should enter the beautiful church of St Martin at the Grande Place of Roubaix.
By the way, there is no entrance fee.
Inside on the right side you can se a beautiful tomb stone. It belongs to the petit fils of Pierre de Roubaix (the grandson of Pierre de Roubaix)
The giant cobble.
At the entry of Le Velodrome there is this giant cobble.
The sign says:
Le pavé, Embleme de la course cycliste Paris - Roubaix
Installé a l'occasion de la 100ieme edition de l'epreuve
14 april 2002
Offert par les amis de Paris - Roubaix et la Ville de Roubaix.
The Cobble, symbol of the bicycle race Paris - Roubaix
Installed at the occasion of the 100th edition of the race
14 April 2002
Offered by the friends of Paris - Roubaix and the City of Roubaix.
Le Velodrome dans le parc des Sports in Roubaix.
Here is the finish of the world famous bicycle race Paris - Roubaix.
History is written at this Velodrome, moments of glory and disillusionment.
Big names have passed this finish line here like Rik Van Steenbergen, Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Francesco Moser, Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle, Johan Museeuw, Peter Van Petegem, . . .
At the end of the trip Monts et Moulins 2004 (hills and mills) organised by the Velo Club de Roubaix Cyclotourisme, we had the occasion to make a tour at the Velodrome de Roubaix.
That was kind of a unique experience.
But after all that was not so easy, especially because these bends are much steeper then I thought, also you need a high speed to stay at your same level, if not you are back on the lower blue strip in no time.
Just outside Le Parc de Sports, you will find Espace Charles Crupelandt.
Espace Charles Crupelandt is the last cobbled section of the bicycle race Paris - Roubaix.
Also it is special cobbled section, it is specially applied to honour Charles Crupelandt (1886 - 1955), and he was the only Roubaisien (inhabitant of Roubaix) who won this bicycle race (in 1912 and in 1914)
Espace Charles Crupelandt is 300m long.
Due to the occasion of the 100th edition of the bicycle race the Espace Charles Crupelandt (see previous tip) will be adapted to a sort of Hall of Fame.
In between the cobbles were placed pieces of Marble with the names of all the winners of the famous bicycle race Paris - Roubaix.
At the picture you can see the stone of Johan Museeuw winner in 1996 - 2000 and 2002.
At the main square (Grande Place), you can not miss the City Hall.
It was designed by Victor Laloux in 1911, (Victor Laloux, the architect of the railway station Gare d'Orsay in Paris).
This building symbolises the wealth that the textile industry brought to Roubaix.
The decorations of the front are just magnificent.
Of course it sounds a bit strange to visit a museum of Art in a former swimming pool.
But this is (was) not just a swimming pool, och no it was a beauty of architecture. Completely build in the Art-deco style.
But due to the uprising chlorine smoke, the concrete of the ceiling was damaged, and it was not safe anymore to use this place as a public swimming pool.
So many years after its closing it is completely restored and used as a museum. If you ask me a magnificent initiative.
Once you have paid your entry fee in order to enter the museum of Art and Industry La Piscine in Roubaix, you will be surprised.
As it is kind of funny, because if you want to get in you must enter via the changing cubicles.
That is also something which is so great on the restoring of this former swimming pool; it still looks like a swimming pool.
If you enter via the changing cubicles, watch the cloth hooks; they are beautifully integrated into the tiles.
In the past it was common that the rich and important people were buried inside the church.
That is why you can see tombstones in the floor in many churches.
But of course these dead bodies were put under the church floor (under a special tombstone). But as the body started to decompose, it also started to smell. And this smell entered the church. That is the way the saying "stinking rich" was used as after some time these dead rich started to stink.
So later on no more bodies were buried inside the church, but these rich were remembered by a kind of remembrance plate near the high altar, these plates are named epitaphs.
When you are coming from the Grande Place, where the city hall and the St Martin Church are located, and you go towards the railway station of Roubaix (Avenue Jean-Baptiste Lebas), you will pass a small square named Place des Martyrs de la résistance (Square of the victims of the resistance).
At this square there is a big school, it is the National High school for Art and Industrial textile (1889)
This was the pioneer of metal architecture; nowadays it is used as laboratory for research innovating textiles. Our guide told us that worth seeing are the library, the amphitheatre, courtyard and the classified gardens.
Unfortunately, we had no time to visit this.
In the St Martin's Church (eglise St Martin) at the Grande Place in Roubaix you can see a remarkable altarpiece.
This altarpiece illustrates the life of St John the Baptist. This altarpiece is made from multicoloured wood and our guide told us that originally came from Antwerp. This beautiful altarpiece dates from 15th - 16th century.