The Paris–Roubaix is a one-day professional men's bicycle road race in northern France, starting north of Paris and finishing in Roubaix, at the border with Belgium. It is one of cycling's oldest races, and is one of the 'Monuments' or classics of the European calendar, and contributes points towards the UCI World Ranking.
The Paris–Roubaix is famous for rough terrain and cobblestones (Pavés in French) being, with the Tour of Flanders, E3 Harelbeke and Gent–Wevelgem, one of the cobbled classics. It has been called the Hell of the North, a Sunday in Hell (also the title of a film about the 1976 race), the Queen of the Classics or la Pascale: the Easter race.
The terrain has led to the development of specialised frames, wheels and tyres. Punctures and other mechanical problems are common and often influence the result. Despite the esteem of the race, some cyclists dismiss it because of its difficult conditions. The race has also seen several controversies, with winners disqualified.
From its beginning in 1896 until 1967 it started in Paris and ended in Roubaix; in 1966 the start moved to Chantilly; and since 1977 it has started in Compiègne, about 85 kilometres (53 mi) north-east of the centre of Paris. The finish is still in Roubaix. The race is organised by the media group Amaury Sport Organisation annually in mid-April.
The course is maintained by Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix, a group of fans of the race formed in 1983. The forçats du pavé seek to keep the course safe for riders while maintaining its difficulty.