Advice on watching Tour de France

Jun 28th, 2003, 12:53 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Advice on watching Tour de France

I discovered by reading the "tour" website, that we will be travelling south in France when the racers are going north. Does anyone have any experience or advice on the viewing of the racers? All I know is, I hope Lance will be wearing yellow!
fla2exile is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 01:26 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,871
Do you mean you will be on the same route at the same time? If so, plan for major detours and loads of crowds and no hotel rooms in the towns in and near where the tour participants will be staying.
As for watching the race,you can pretty much do that wherever you want, as long as you stay out of the way. If you want to park yourself in a town they will be riding through, get there at least two hours early and expect a lot of pushing and jostling to the front as the riders come into town. Before the riders there are dozens of publicity trucks and vans that throw souvenirs out to the crowd: miniature sausages, cheese, t-shirts, caps, cheap backpacks, pens....all kinds of stuff, as well as vendors who will stop in town and sell souvenirs, plus the media trucks and a host of other people who ride along with the tour. So there is plenty to keep you busy for awhile before the racers arrive if you locate yourself in a town they are riding through.
You can also just watch from the side of the road, again, if you keep yourself and your vehicle out of the way. There will be plenty of policemen around to tell you what you can and can't do.
As for the riders themselves - it's all over in a very colorful whirring few seconds.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 28th, 2003, 02:48 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Thanks StCirq. We will just be in the general vicinity at the same time. I will check the site again. I know it is a personal preference but, is it worthwhile for just a blurr? Sounds like it might be crazed. Miniature sausage?
fla2exile is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 06:27 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,254
Tour de Lance (as we call it here in Austin) is an exciting event to watch. We had the pleasure last summer of seeing a downhill race - and they do whoosh by - fortunately Lance had on the yellow shirt, so he was easy to spot in the pictures afterwards. The pre-race "circus" is quite entertaining. Take a blanket and find a cozy place to park yourself before it all begins. Be prepared to walk as parking on the streets is forbidden anywhere near where the racers come. They do have busses, but not too frequently. Lots of police, and I would imagine this year will be no different. It was fun to mingle with all the Texans who were there, tailgate parties, sausage and beer! Ah, the pleasures in life!
kopp is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 08:08 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,871
fla2exile:

I can't answer if it's "worthwhile" or not. That's up to you.
I and my family had two experiences with the TdeF. The first was years ago when we wre meandering around France with no resersvations or a really concrete plan and totally unexpectedly found out our vacation route pretty much coincided with that of the TdeF, and that was a nightmare. No hotel rooms, no restaurants, detours everywhere. We totally changed our plans and got out of the way as fast as we could, but nearly spent a night in our car.
The other was three years ago, when the TdeF came through a town near St-Cirq. We planned ahead, went into town early, brought snacks and drinks, and parked ourselves for the event. It was a stunner! Yes, miniature sausages! Loved 'em!
StCirq is online now  
Jun 29th, 2003, 04:21 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 440
It certainly was worthwhile both times I saw it. Once, the riders were past in a 10-second blur - no kidding - but the festive atmosphere and the sponsors parade of cars, girls, free samples, etc. was great fun. The second time, we were on a slight incline out in the country and the riders were a bit more spread out. We had a picnic, got sunburned, retired to a local cafe for beer after it was all over. It was great. Do be prepared to walk a bit to find a good spot, and be patient. If you have a radio or can be near someone who does, it's helpful and builds the suspense.
We didn't get mini-sausages, but we did get mini-cheeses in a mini-fanny pack, bike caps, cloth bags, puzzles, discount coupons, mustard and coffee samples, and some kind of dice game.
jenviolin is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 05:26 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Sounds fun to me. How do you know where to go for the whole give-away hoopla? Main cities? I've got kids who would love the whole spectacle of the race.
fla2exile is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 06:57 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 440
We were just outside a small town (maybe pop. 2000? in the Dordogne when we got the whole sponsor parade. I don't know if your chances are better in a major town (definitely more crowds, pushing, fences, etc.) or out in the country. I like the small-town atmosphere, myself. But with kids, you'll probably get more freebies - ours were showered! Tell them to hold out their hands, smile, wave, yell "Bonjour! Merci! Je vous aime!Tour de France!" etc.
jenviolin is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 08:03 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,871
I think they go through the whole shebang every time they go through a town - at least in the Dordogne three years ago they did if the debris on the sidewalks for a few days afterwards was any indication. I don't know what your route is, but if you pick any reasonably large village, small town, or city, I think you'll enjoy the whole show.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 29th, 2003, 09:00 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,821
I think St.Cirq has it right, from what I have watched on OLN and heard from our son, the BIG fan--the big giveaway rolls through the town before the Tour arrives.
Gretchen is online now  
Jun 29th, 2003, 11:45 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Thanks to all for your experiences. It sounds like a lot of fun. I think we will definitely try to take this all in. We will have a car, which should make it a little easier, as far as staying further outside the route. Now, it is just a matter of checking the map and the route of the race. I couldn't get on the TdeF website this morning-too busy, I guess.
To jenviolin: I just read the dialog you suggested to my daughter. She thought it sounded cool. Thanks!
fla2exile is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 12:58 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,863
Check out Lancearmstrong.com for a guide to see the tour. ALso check the tour edition of Cycle Sport magazine (which gives best places to watch the action) and the VeloNews Tour supplement (www.velonews.com) which has the details on each stages route
bigtyke is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 02:03 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 30
My husband and I will conicidently be in Paris on July 27 and we're staying in the 8th just off the Champs. Our flight home is at 2pm. I suppose a lot of the roads around this area will be closed.

How horrible is it going to be trying to get out of the area? I know, dumb question. Do you think taxi drivers have it figured out by now? Any idea what time the cyclists get to the Champs? It would be great to see but now I'm a little more concerned about fleeing the area before the chaos!

Oh well, the worst that can happen is that we get stuck in Paris for an extra day.
FINZ is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 02:05 PM
  #14  
Skedaddle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
No matter your viewing spot, don't forget a large sun parasol or umbrella, sunscreen and jugs of water because it is blazing hot!
 
Jun 29th, 2003, 03:29 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22
I am going for the Tour but will actually be taking my bike and will be with a group. We will see 4-6 stages as well as ride some of the route before the tour comes through. Here is a link to times the race comes by. It also gives times the publicity caravan is due to pass. http://www.letour.fr/2003/presentati...rs_iti_00.html
Trav1 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 03:58 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 31
Trav1 - Many thanks for the reference to the website which gives the times the publicity caravan and riders are due to pass. We will be in Nantes for the 2nd last stage and Paris for the final stage and knowing those times will enable me to better plan our trip.
Kind regards.
Lonhro
lonhro is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 05:52 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22
lonhro: Thats great. You know the Nantes stage is a Time Trial. So each rider will come past by himself. I would try and get near the finish if possible.

Unfortunately, we wont see a TT on our trip. I would really like to see the Team Time Trial.
Trav1 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:37 PM.