A sign above a garage door on the main street through Javron-les-Chapelles in the Mayenne department in north-west France shows the distance to Paris and Brest. This was the route of the Paris-Brest-Paris cycle randonneur event which used to run along the N12 main road.
The 1,200km race — later an Audax event — started in 1891 and ran along the main N12 road.
According to the History of PBP:
In 1891 the Petit Journal organized the first Paris-Brest-Paris. Pierre Giffard, head of the newspaper, promoted the 1200km race to demonstrate the practicality of the bicycle.
Nearly 90 years later the route was changed:
1979 is remembered for the change of route. The start remained at Montesson, but the National-12, used since 1891, was abandoned, replaced by smaller, less dangerous roads. The finish was moved to Montesson.
Today the ride passes to the south and through the town of Villaines-la-Juhel about 10km to the south of Javron.
The sign on the building is today just a reminder of the route’s old course and there is nothing else on the building to indicate any connection to the event, nor is there any date on the sign or building.
Paris-Brest-Paris 2015 will take place from 16 to 20 August.