Author Topic: 2010 Tour de France  (Read 6226 times)

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Offline Brooksrider72

2010 Tour de France
« on: February 01, 2010, 12:35:02 pm »
My wife and I are planning to go to France this summer for two weeks.  We are not bringing our bikes, but will be renting a vehicle and possibly bicycles while we are there.  We are mainly going to see a couple of Tour de France stages, but intend to visit Paris and it's sights, and possibly other places while we are there, not just Tour de France cycling.  We are wondering if any members could give us some helpful hints or suggestions to make this trip more enjoyable?  For instance:
Would it be a good idea to see some beginning stages like the cobbles and early Alps or go to the Pyrennes and then see the finish? 
How is the best way to see a mountain stage?
Can you get anywhere with a car OR is cycling a necessity to get to viewing/spectator locations?
What are some resources (internet/books) to help us with tips on seeing/possibly meeting the racers, what to do & what not to do,etc...?

We would LOVE your help - any you can give.
Thanks alot!


  • Guest
Re: 2010 Tour de France
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 01:36:43 pm »
All I can tell you is from having watched tour coverage and having been on an organized tour built around the Giro.

Most of those people you see parked along the popular mountain stages have been there for days.  And moving on to the next spot after the stage goes through can be a nightmare, expecially if you are parked along a non-through road because all the vehicles parked along the sides of the roads and all those that go up with the race have to come back down.  And there are a zillion race-related vehicles besides the team cars that you rarely see on TV.

Also keep in mind that lodging can be a nightmare as well.  During our Giro trip we had to stay a ways way from the route several times because all the hotels were booked solid.  The TdF is the Giro on steroids.  There are not only the teams, but technical support and media crews from all over the world.

We rode portions of alpine stages. Consider getting bikes, leaving the car at the bottom of a climb and then riding up before the stage comes through.

Offline Tourista829

Re: 2010 Tour de France
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 07:37:24 pm »
Tour De France-This may be very basic, but I have a suggestion. If you are into camping, find a good spot, the day before, on the route, and pitch a tent. You can either park your car there or use rental bikes to carry your gear and supplies. Then when the congestion subsides, you can leave or have a nice ride back to your car.

Paris-I also rented a bike and got to see a lot of the city. I must say, I felt safer riding in Paris, than I do in my home of Tampa, Florida. I once hired a car service, via the concierge at the Hotel Le Faubourg-Paris Sofitel*, 15, rue Boissy, near the American Embassy, and took a tour of the city. It wasn't inexpensive but amazing!  I saw and learned about things in Paris, that would have taken years to discover. In Paris, the department stores are like ours use to be before the big box retailers. The view of the city, from La Samaritaine, on the Quai Du Louvre, is magnificent and a great place for lunch or afternoon tea. May I suggest two restaurants for dinner. They both have great food and atmosphere. "The Buddah Bar", 8 Bis Rue Boissy D'Englais, has an amazing atmosphere and 7 different types of Asian cuisines. The restaurant, at the top of the Georges Centre Pompidou 6eme etage‎( 6th floor) 4 Rue Beaubourg 75004 Paris, France tel# 01 44 78 47 99, is very special and a nice place to go, on your last night in Paris. If you would like more info, my email address is in my profile. *Sofitel is in a great location, not cheap, but within walking and biking distance to many museums, attractions and wonderful shopping. Have a wonderful trip :)

Offline BrianW

Re: 2010 Tour de France
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2010, 12:31:52 pm »
I have been a staff person on two different tours that followed the TdF (2004, 2005), and have seen the Tour in the Alps, Provence and in Paris. You learn a lot driving a van and shepherding lots of paying guests to and from the Tour stages! Feel free to e-mail me directly for specific questions and hints, but some general thoughts:

1. Mountain stages are, of course, the best for spectators, as on the flats all you'll see is the peloton blowing by for a few seconds. If you are in an area to see a flat stage, by far the best viewing is at the Depart (start) or the finish. I prefer the Depart, as you'll see the riders warming up, signing in, and otherwise milling about. You can also try to get autographs if you are into that.

2. For the mountain stages, it is possible to get a good spot without camping out the night(s) before. But, it takes effort and the use of your feet (either to walk or pedal a bike :-). I was on Alpe d'Huez the time-trial  year (2004) and got there mid-morning, but still got a decent viewing spot (and that was the craziest and biggest crowd I've ever seen). Likewise, on the Galibier in 2005. The trick is to get there early enough to get to a good spot before the road is totally closed. They will close the mountain roads to cars usually 24 hours before the race comes through, but you can still get up under your own power up until maybe two hours before the race comes through (the caravan comes through about an hour before the riders). I'd HIGHLY suggest taking or renting a bike in order to get you into the areas where cars are banned.

3. As far as where to spend your time, it depends on when you are going, what else you want to see, and whether you are willing to put up with crowds. Again, the mountain stages are the best for overall viewing and "experience." It's a great vibe with all the crazy, international crowds up in the mountains. The addition of the cobbled stages in Belgium this year also add an interesting option. The finish on the Champs in Paris is great fun if you are still around. If you are going to check that out, stake your spot out early on the cobbled section leading up to the Arch d'Triomphe, maybe even paying a local restaurant a few extra Euros to let you hang out for the day. You could do a nice tour this year following the route by flying into Paris, taking the train to Lyon, renting a car there and viewing the Alpine stages, those in Provence, the Pyrenees, up into Bordeaux and then the finish in Paris. However, I'd suggest picking either the first half with the Belgian section and the Alps or the second half with the Pyrenees and the finish in Paris. Honestly, after a while it starts to look the same, even for a die-hard TdF fan and you'll start to get burned-out. For ideas on itineraries you could always scope out commercial tour groups and see what they are doing.

The "official" newspaper of the Tour, l'Equipe, publishes a schedule every day of when the Peloton will pass a given area/street/town. It's invaluable for planning. Make sure to pick one up every day. I think this info might be available on the Web ahead of time, but I can't recall where.

Lodging can be challenging to find in the more popular areas, since you are competing with the teams and all the TdF personnel, the organized groups, and other fans. Best to start booking NOW!

A note about photography: if you want to take good photos of the race, a film or digital SLR is a must. Point and shoot cameras generally have too much of a shutter lag to catch the action. See the below attachment for my favorite photo that I took during the 2005 Tour (Botero reaching the top of the Galibier).

Feel free to e-mail me directly with specific questions. briwasson A T verizon DOT net

Offline Tourista829

Re: 2010 Tour de France
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 01:36:40 pm »
Briwasson, that was an excellent post, thank you for sharing your information with us all.

Offline BrianW

Re: 2010 Tour de France
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 03:45:53 pm »
Glad to be of some help!

In referring to the time schedules for the various stages, you can see what I'm talking about here.

See the 2009 for last year's time breakdowns as an example. Click on the "time schedule" tab to see:

The 2010 times aren't yet posted, but when they are they will be at

Offline BrianW

Re: 2010 Tour de France
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 03:51:52 pm »
Forgot to mention: pretty good route maps at the link I posted above.

For following the Tour it's also imperative to get good, detailed Michelin maps for each department you will be in. Helps to find all those tiny back roads that can help you avoid roadblocks!

Offline Galloper

Re: 2010 Tour de France
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 03:52:06 pm »
I reckon the Tourmalet is going to be absolutely crazy this year.   Two stages!   That's at least 10,000 wildly enthusiastic Basques  ;D