La Planche des Belles Filles

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La Planche des Belles Filles
The western side of the mountain, seen from Ronchamp
The western side of the mountain, seen from Ronchamp
Location Plancher-les-Mines, Haute-Saône
Nearest city Belfort
Coordinates 47°46′20″N 6°46′40″E / 47.77222°N 6.77778°E / 47.77222; 6.77778
Top elevation 1,148 m (3,766 ft)
Website Website

La Planche des Belles Filles (English: "Board of the beautiful girls") is a ski station in the Vosges Mountains, in France. It is located in the Haute-Saône département. Since 2012, the climb to the summit has been used during the Tour de France cycle race.

Etymology and legend[edit]

Statue commemorating legend

The name Belles Filles literally means "Beautiful Girls", but is actually derived from the local plant life. The mountain is attested from the 16th century as lieu peuplé de belles fahys, a "place inhabited with nice beech trees" in the local dialect. Belles fahys later became corrupted into Belles Filles, though there remains a nearby village of Belfahy. Meanwhile, Planche, "board", is derived from the nearby small town of Plancher-les-Mines.

A folk etymology, in contrast, holds that the mountain took its name from the time of the Thirty Years' War. According to legend, young women from Plancher-les-Mines fled into the mountains to escape Swedish mercenaries as they feared being raped and massacred. Rather than surrender, they decided to commit suicide and jumped into a lake far below. One of the soldiers then took a board on which, with his dagger, he engraved an epitaph for the "beautiful girls".[1][2] A wooden statue, created by a local artist, is a reminder of the legend.[3]

Cycle racing[edit]

From Plancher-les-Mines the climb to the finish at 1,035 m (3,396 ft) is 5.9 km (3.7 mi) long, gaining 503 m (1,650 ft) and averages 8.5% with a maximum of 14%,[4] but with a short stretch from 22% to 28% near the finish.[5]

Tour de France[edit]

It was the finish of Stage 7 in the 2012 Tour de France, 199 km (124 mi) from Tomblaine on 7 July.[4] The stage was won by Chris Froome with his Team Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins taking the race lead.[6]

Two years later it was the finish of Stage 10 in the 2014 Tour de France which was won by then race leader Vincenzo Nibali[7][8]

In 2017 it was the finish of Stage 5 of the Tour, with Fabio Aru winning by 16 seconds from Dan Martin, and Chris Froome taking the yellow jersey.[9]

It has been said in cycling circles that since the Planche was introduced into the Tour in 2012, whoever is in the yellow jersey on this stage would go on to win the Tour overall. As of 2017, this has been proven true in all three occasions that a Tour stage has finished there.

Year Stage Start of stage Distance (km) Category Stage winner Yellow jersey
2017 5 Vittel 160.5 1  Fabio Aru (ITA)  Chris Froome (GBR)
2014 10 Mulhouse 161.5 1  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
2012 7 Tomblaine 199 1  Chris Froome (GBR)  Bradley Wiggins (GBR)


  1. ^ "Légende de La Planche des Belles Filles" (PDF) (in French). Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "La légende . ." (in French). Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Sculpture de Jacques Pissenem". Légende de la Planche des Belles Filles (in French). Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Stage 7: Tomblaine – La Planche des Belles Filles". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  5. ^ MacMichael, Simon (4 July 2012). "TDF Stage 7: Video Preview - La Planche des Belles Filles". Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins takes yellow jersey". BBC Sport. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Le tracé tour de France 2014" (in French). 23 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "La Planche des Belles Filles dans le Tour de France" (in French). ledicodutour. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Tour de France: Aru wins on La Planche des Belles Filles". Immediate Media Company. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 

External links[edit]