Five ways to get the most out of the Tour de France

Date posted: June 19, 2014

We know many of our readers are heading to France to follow the famous Tour de France cycling race in July, and as we’re just as excited about it we’ve put together a few tips to make sure you get to see as much as possible – and that you can enjoy a nice French break at the same time!

Take the car

It might seem counter intuitive to take a car to a cycling event, but remember: these races generally fly past you in about a minute. If you want to get from place to place in time to see them come past again, and find out first-hand how the positions are changing, you’ll want your own car so you can get ahead of them. You’ll likely end up in some fairly out-of-the way spots, so make sure you arrange European breakdown cover before you go. Having a car is also very handy for this next tip…

Catch the caravan

The caravan is a procession of cars, vans and trucks that drive about 30-60 minutes ahead of the cyclists – mostly sponsor vehicles and security teams. These can be quite an event in themselves, and many will be throwing little gifts out to the crowd – anything from hats and key chains to sweets and even cheese. Well, it is France after all! By heading out to the quieter areas, you won’t have to compete with the crowd for your goodies, and you’ll be in a better place to see the dancers and performers that sometimes accompany the caravan trucks.

Take photos

You’ll probably have plenty of time to wait between cyclists passing, so use this opportunity to snap some pictures and practise getting the perfect shot. The caravan is quite handy for this! It’ll make it easier when your subject finally wheels past, and you’ll have some great memories to keep afterwards.

Know where you can watch

Be aware that certain areas, such as particularly narrow mountain passes, are pretty much impossible to watch the race from. In addition, where you can spectate there may not be any barriers, so take care not to get in the way – even if you do want to get that one good photo in. If all else fails, head to a nearby bar and watch with the locals – you won’t be the only one!

Find a party!

Tour de France is a nationwide event in France, and wherever you’re staying you’ll find plenty of people to celebrate with in the evenings while the athletes are resting up. Find a good bar and talk over the sights of the day to really immerse yourself in Tour de France spirit!

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