Located 2 hours from Paris, 1 and a half hours from Brussels and 45 minutes from Lille, Denain is a land of contrasts. This green and blue town, packed with trees and crossed by the Scheldt Canal, is at the junction of a road and river network that puts it in a prime location in the heart of the Hauts-de-France region.
The former capital of coal and steel still boasts a rich architectural and historical heritage from its mining and industrial heyday, including a couple of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its majestic Italian-style theatre is a 1/5 replica of the Opéra Garnier, while its festival hall stands as a symbol of the town's prosperity and growth at the turn of the 20th century.
However, Denain's greatest asset are its human values. Its sharp values were forged in the fires of industry: first, an appreciation of effort through work, then, solidarity in everyday life, and finally, respect for people of all origins and social status.
Numerous athletes have embodied this culture: Jean Degros, who won the 1965 top-tier French basketball league with Denain Voltaire, which now plays in the Pro B league; Fabien Gilot, a gold medallist in the 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay in the 2012 London Olympics; the ladies of the Tennis Club de Denain, who claimed the French team championship in 2012 and 2014; and many others who continue to make Denain a hotspot of competitors and champions!
Denain has also been an Olympic and Paralympic hub since it was awarded the "Terre de Jeux 2024" label in 2021, proving its commitment and aspiration to be at the heart of the adventure of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, put more sport in the lives of the people who call it home, promote sports across the board, and foster the development of women's sports and disabled sports.
Cycling lovers also feel right at home in this land of cycling. Since 1959, the town has helped to organise the Grand Prix de Denain, a bicycle race currently ranked as a UCI ProSeries that never fails to attract famous pros and big crowds that know their stuff when it comes to cycling. Furthermore, since 2018 it has been the only French race other than Paris–Roubaix to feature the cobbled sectors.
In 2021, our town was filled with pride to host the inaugural edition of Paris–Roubaix Femmes. Building on the popular success of this historic sporting celebration, Denain and the people who call it home are eager to roll out the red carpet for the international elite of women's cycling again.