YoAs the end of winter approaches, some men and women head to the north of France. They carry picks, shovels and brooms. Your destination is the cobblestone paths, some of which were laid out more than 200 years ago at the behest of Napoleon Bonaparte. If moss or grass grows on it, remove it. If puddles form, make a small passageway to one of the surrounding fields so the water can drain away. And when the pavers have sunk due to erosion, they build a new base and then put the stones back on top.

It is a battle against nature that is actually impossible to win because it starts anew every year. The association that manages it is called: “Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix”.