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Discover 3 iconic industrial relics during Paris-Roubaix

Once a year, Arenberg coal mine and two abandoned railway bridges play a starring role during the passage of the spring cycle classic: Paris-Roubaix. 

Just before entering the Wallers-Arenberg forest, the cyclists pass the Arenberg coal mine, one of the most monumental remnants of the coal basin in Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Together with 108 other coal mines and memories, Arenberg forms the "Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin" on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Across the kilometre-long cobblestone strip in the Wallers forest hangs an old railway bridge. Stone waste from the  Arenberg coal mine was transported via a train track to a tens of meters high slag heap. The freight wagons reached the slag heap via the railway bridge above the Trouée d'Arenberg. Today, the rail track is no longer in use.

Cyclist Jean Stablinski

French cyclist Jean Stablinski, who worked for several months in a nearby coal mine, proposed the cobblestone section to the organizers of the Paris-Roubaix cycling race in 1968. Since then, Arenberg has been part of the cycling race route.

A few kilometers further on, the riders pass a second abandoned railway bridge. The two bridge abutments along both sides of the cobblestone strip, the Pont Gibus, are the only thing that still reminds us of the railway. The eight-kilometer-long line connected two major railways in the mining region around Valenciennes

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