The course featured 9 kms of coastline, 8 kms downhill, 1408 steps 400 meters from the woods, and 50 riders competing in Montmartre. It was 1943. Also see, what the racing was like in 1932, 1974, and what is thought to be the first cyclocross race
Think about a cyclist in wartime. He can’t use the main roads; he has to ride or walk across unmade roads and worm his way through the undergrowth and clamber across ditches. Think of that and you’ll get the principle of the cross cyclo-pédèstre.
Like Le Tour, the racing was created to sell more newspapers.