The Tour de France is an exciting annual cycling event, starting in Belgium and ending Paris. There are about 200 cyclists in the race, and after the prologue, there are 20 stages in the race. The race begins on June 30 and finishes on July 22 (see Tour de France map below).
photo courtesy of About-France.comWhile all the stages will be exciting, if you are planning on going to France to view any of the race, the latter stages will allow for longer viewing time. The reason for this is that in the first few stages the riders will be riding more closely, while in the latter stages they will be more spread out and won't pass you by in the blink of an eye.
There are 22 teams in the race, with 18 of them being professional teams. Representing the United States are the Garmin-Barracuda Team and the BMC Racing Team.
Many accommodations are already sold out or close to being sold out since most reservations have been made months in advance, so if you have waited until the last minute to plan a trip to the Tour de France, act quickly to secure your accommodations or you may find yourself sleeping on a park bench (believe me, it's been done!). Some adventurous spectators will simply pitch a tent but if you like a nice mattress to sleep on and can't find an available hotel, you might try finding a cottage or Bed and Breakfast with space available.
If you choose to be there for the end of the race, Paris will have more options as far as where to stay.
Some things to keep in mind if you are going to the Tour:
- You want to keep out of the way of the cyclists. Don't be the cause of a crash, keep your personal items out of the roadway, and if you bring your children, don't let them stray into the roadway.
- You might want to rent a car to travel between stages, but keep in mind that some of the mountain passes may be closed to car traffic.
- While waiting for the cyclists to pass by, you will have an idea that they are getting closer when you see the caravan of cars and sponsors' trucks pass through about 45 minutes before the cyclists. They often throw out candy, small souvenirs, etc but beware if there is a crowd where you are. People can get very aggressive over the littlest of things and you don't want to get hurt in the excitement.
- And finally, if the weather doesn't cooperate or you've had it with the crowds, find a nice little bar with a television and sit back, relax, and watch the Tour on the television.
Contact Mary at 732-747-8187 or email Mary@thetravelbugonline.com for more information