Paris-Roubaix 2024: Route, Tips, and a Touch of History

In this article, we’ll give you a brief history of the race and share the 2024 route with segments, as well as recommendations for hotels and cafes near the starting and finishing points.

The first thing that welcomes the Paris-Roubaix cyclists at the start line is the Bienvenue en enfer banner (“Welcome to hell”). It’s no wonder: due to rough terrain and challenging conditions, the race is considered one of the most challenging in cycling history.

Taking place annually since 1896, Paris-Roubaix is one of the oldest professional road cycling races. It is held for one day in the middle of April in the north of France, starting in northern Paris and finishing in Roubaix, a city by the Belgian border. Winning this race, aka the Hell of the North, the Queen of the Classics or the Easter race, is as prestigious as winning the Tour de France.

This year, the race was held on 6th and 7th April. Mathieu van der Poel won with an average speed of 47.85 km/h.

FloBikes Paris-Roubaix 2024 Highlights: Mathieu van der Poel’s Solo Symphony

History of the Race

Let’s go back to 1895, when two ambitious textile manufacturers from Roubaix, Théodore Vienne and Maurice Perez, had recently constructed a velodrome in their small northern town. This velodrome had already welcomed American track star Major Taylor, but the entrepreneurs desired further publicity for their venture. They approached the Parisian sports newspaper Le Velo, seeking involvement in a race starting in Paris and ending at their newly-built velodrome in Roubaix. 

To learn more about the race in its earlier days, watch “A Sunday in Hell,” a cinematic journey through the 1976 Paris-Roubaix.

Despite its name, the Paris-Roubaix race has not always begun in Paris. Over the years, it has started from various points, including Chatou, Saint-Germain, Suresnes, Argenteuil, Saint-Denis, and Chantilly, with its current starting point being Compiègne. Similarly, the finish locations have been diverse. Before 1914, the race concluded at Croix. Afterward, it ended at avenues de Jussieu, Stadium Jean Dubrulle, Stade Amédée Prouvost, Flanders horse track, avenue Gustave Delory, and avenue des Nations-Unies. 

Since 1989, the race has consistently concluded at the Roubaix Velodrome. Notably, the shower room of the velodrome features distinctive concrete stalls, each adorned with a brass plaque commemorating past winners.

The Story Behind the Cobbles

The cobblestone roads give the race its distinctive character, and the winner receives a sett or pavé as part of the prize. 

The allure of racing on challenging cobblestone roads is a relatively recent phenomenon. Before World War II, such road surfaces prevailed, but with the road improvements, efforts had to be made to maintain the character of the race. A group of the race fans, Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix, has dedicated itself to preserving and even uncovering obscure cobblestone paths. One of the most significant discoveries made by Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix was the Carrefour de l’Arbre, a pivotal cobbled stretch found by Alain Bernard during a leisurely Sunday ride. 

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Paris-Roubaix Route 2024

The 2024 Paris-Roubaix edition stuck to its traditional route from Compiègne to the Roubaix Velodrome. This year’s course spanned 255.9 km, including 55.7 km of cobblestone sections. Despite its minimal elevation gain of 1,414 meters, Paris-Roubaix remains challenging due to these cobblestone stretches.

The cobblestone challenges started nearly 100 km into the race at Troisville à Inchy, with 29 sectors following in rapid succession over the next 50 km. The intensity escalated with the lengthy Haveluy à Waller section at just over 100km remaining, leading into the notorious Trouée d’Arenberg at 90 km to go, marking the beginning of the race’s intense finale. Arenberg is one of three “five-star” sections, signifying the most formidable cobblestone segments.

Following Arenberg, the pace briefly eased with only one sector in the next 10 km before the onslaught of 18 sectors crammed into the final 85km.

Among these sectors, the challenging Mons-en-Pévèle stands out, with its muddy, twisting terrain and steep crown. It often becomes a decisive point for attacks from strong riders aiming to avoid a sprint finish.

After Mons-en-Pévèle, several shorter sectors led to the final crucial section, starting just over 20 km from the finish. This part begins with the Camphin-en-Pévèle four-star section, directly preceding the last five-star sector: Carrefour de l’Arbre.

Carrefour de l’Arbre, known for its potential for crashes and flats, was the last significant obstacle before the sprint in the velodrome. While Trouée d’Arenberg may be the most rugged and Mons-en-Pévèle the most technical, Carrefour de l’Arbre has the potential to alter the race’s outcome dramatically.

After Carrefour de l’Arbre, there are only two relatively straightforward cobblestone sectors in the last 15 km. 

Recommended Places for Paris-Roubaix Route Fans


Hôtel Morphée: 35 Rue de la Cousinerie, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq website 

ibis Compiègne: Zac De Mercières, 18 Rue Edouard Branly, 60200 Compiègne website

Mercure Compiègne Sud: 126 Rue Robert Schuman, 60610 La Croix-Saint-Ouen website | instagram

Logis Clermotel: 60 Rue des Buttes, 60600 Agnetz website | instagram

Campanile Creil: 3 Rue du Marais, 60870 Villers-Saint-Paul website 


Le Fournil de l’Usine: Box A01, 228 Avenue Alfred Motte, 59100 Roubaix website | instagram  

Planckaert Ghislain: 327 Rue de Lannoy, 59100 Roubaix website | instagram

Chez Charlotte: 74 Rue de l’Alouette, 59100 Roubaix website | instagram

Le Bouillon de l’impératrice Eugénie: 22 Pl. de la Liberté, 59100 Roubaix website | instagram

Au Café Jean: 230 Bd Gambetta, 59100 Roubaix instagram  

La Spatule Bleue: 18 Av. Jean Lebas, 59100 Roubaix instagram

Le Fer à Cheval: 116 Av. Jean Jaurès, 59100 Roubaix website 

Equipment for the Race

Paris–Roubaix poses a tough test for cyclists, teams, and gear, often requiring special frames and wheels. Over time, solutions like wider tires and unique bike designs, such as the Specialized Roubaix series, have emerged. Some top riders get custom frames for added stability and comfort, like Tom Boonen, who won in 2005 with a longer wheelbase bike. Others, like George Hincapie, have experimented with shock-absorbing inserts, though not always with success. Canadian rider Steve Bauer tried a unique, semi-recumbent frame by Eddy Merckx Bicycles. 

BikeRadar The Hottest 2024 Paris-Roubaix Tech Trends

Conquered the iconic Paris-Roubaix route or parts of it? Share your epic adventure with us on any social media below! Drop us a line, and we’ll team up to craft a guide that brings your firsthand experience to life for our readers.

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