Sacre Bleu!  That most famous of our national institutions, the British pub is going a little bit French in one Yorkshire town to celebrate the Tour de France racing through its streets on July 5.


All 19 pubs in and around the market town of Otley have translated their names into French for the big event, displaying two meter wide banners with the French equivalent of the pubs’ names.  Names such as the Le Cygne Blanc (White Swan) and Le Taureau Noir (Black Bull) will adorn pub facades.


The move, organised by the Otley Pub Club, follows a well established tradition of Otley pubs changing their names for big events. In 2011 all the pubs renamed themselves ‘The Yorkshire Princess’ to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton whose family came from Yorkshire. Before that it was The Queen’s jubilee and before that the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.

Greg Mulholland, local MP for Leeds North West and president of Otley Pub Club said: “There is huge excitement in Otley about the world’s greatest cycle race, Le Tour, coming though the town and large crowds are expected.

“Otley is a famous cycling town and a famous pub town and it is right that the pubs will be getting involved in this once in a lifetime event. It is very appropriate and a bit of fun that the pubs will all sport their French names to say Bienvenue á Otley! I also hope that the thousands of visitors to the town will use the occasion to explore our pubs. Allez Le Tour, Allez Otley, Allez Les Pubs!”

Otley is the first town on the route of the Tour de France in Yorkshire following Le Grand Depart from Leeds on July 5. The town has a long and very active cycling tradition and the famous Otley Town Centre Cycle Race (opening round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Races) takes place a few days before. The pubs, along with many other businesses are putting on a wide variety of extra attractions to cater for the big crowds. These include many with French themes including music at The Fleece (La Toison) continental breakfast and cycle themed films at North Bar (Bar Du Nord) and Tour de France themed beers at the Old Cock (Le Vieux Coq) amongst others.


Andy FitzGerald, chairman of Otley Pub Club added, “We’d like to thank Otley BID for its support for our project to mark the Tour which shows how Otley’s pubs can pull together to mark big occasions and help promote the town.”


Otley is a thriving old market town just north of Leeds on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. It is famous not just for its award winning pubs and as a magnet for real ale fans, but also its markets, cafes, pork pies, cycling, walking and folk festivals and a very active community life. Unlike other small towns, Otley has been successful in attracting significant investment (over £2m in recent years) to refurbish and reopen several of the pubs in the town and on the outskirts.


Otley Pub Club is an organisation created by local pub supporters and local publicans. Free to join, it is a way for Otley people to support their local pubs and enjoy the wide selection of real ales and for publicans to communicate with each other and their customers. The club campaigns on behalf of pubs where needed and organises social events, runs a web site and publishes a popular monthly newsletter and the successful Ale Trail leaflet. For more information visit www.otleypubclub.co.uk


Picture shows Tony and Melanie Grey, the landlord and landlady of one of Otley’s famous pubs, the Junction, accepting their French banner from Otley Pub Club president Greg Mulholland and committee member Andrew McKeon. Left to right:. Tony Grey, Greg Mulholland, Melanie Grey and Andrew McKeon.


Those pub names in French

The Bay Horse*                                Le Cheval Bai

The Black Bull *                                Le Taureau Noir

The Black Horse*                              Le Cheval Noir

The Bowling Green                           Le Terrain de Boules

The Cross Pipes*                              Les Pipes Croisées

The Fleece*                                      La Toison

The Horse and Farrier                      Le Cheval et Maréchal-ferrant

The Junction                                     La Jonction

The Manor *                                      Le Manoir

North Bar                                          Bar Du Nord

The Old Cock                                    Le Vieux Coq

Otley Tavern                                         La Taverne D’Otley

The Red Lion                                     Le Lion Rouge

The Roebuck                                     Le Chevreuil

The Rose & Crown                            La Rose et  La Couronne

The Royalty                                       La Royauté

The White Swan*                               Le Cygne Blanc

The Yew Tree                                    L’If Arbre

Whitakers Arms                                Les Armoiries De Whitaker


* Pubs that are on or overlook the race route through the town.

To see pictures of theOtley Pubs go to the Gallery page and select LE GRAND DEPART

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