I’ve been visiting the Tour de France for a good few years now (long before it ever became popular in the UK!) and this is a quick list of the stages I’ve been to. I try to update it each year.
An interesting point is how accessible the Tour is now. In the early days of visiting, I remember poring over cycling magazines trying to work out if the stage finish was going to be in the centre of town or some disused airstrip 3km from the nearest bus stop. Sometimes, a call to the tourist information office might produce the goods as would visiting there on the day of arrival. Now, a few clicks on the Tour website or the town’s dedicated webpage and all the information’s there.
First visit: 1996
Actual number of years visited: 20
Number of countries visited 5: (Belgium, England, France, Monaco, Netherlands)
Number of stages visited: 48
Most number of stages visited in one year: 6 (2014)
Stage 1 – Bruxelles to Brussel
Stage 2 – Bruxelles to Brussel (Team Time Trial)
Stage 8 – Dreux to Amiens. In Amiens
Stage 9 – Arras to Roubaux. In Roubaix
Stage 20 – Marseille Time Trial. Near to the Vieux-Port around half way round the course.
The finish line was inside the Velodrome, meaning you can’t get up and close to the action. I’d also been down to the area leading up to the finish line earlier that morning on a 5k run [which was rather interesting / hot in itself] and it was already getting busy so I decided to stop in the port area, get a good spot and stay there.
This must be the longest I’ve travelled per stage – Doncaster to Marseille on the Friday, watched the race on the Saturday and back home on Sunday.
Just started a new job and couldn’t take leave so no trip this year 🙁
Stage 1 – Utrecht
Stage 2 – Start in Utrecht
Stage 3 – Mur de Huy
Stage 4 – Namur
Stage 15 – Valence
Stage 1 – Leeds
Stage 2 – York then Sheffield
Stage 3 – London
Stage 4 – Lille
Stage 5 – Ieper but abandonded due to rain
Stage 21 – Paris
Stage 4 – Nice Team TTT
Hotel West End
Stage 6 – Finish in Montpellier
Stage 7 – Start in Montpellier
Prologue – Liege
Stage 1 – Seraing
Stage 2 – Namur
Not a very rail accessible tour so didn’t visit
A foray to a Grand Depart in another country!
Prologue – Rotterdam. Wet, miserable, rubbish photos.
Stage 1 – Rotterdam – Bruxelles. Near the finish in Bruxelles
Stage 2 – Bruxelles – Spa. By the start in Bruxelles
Another good vintage
Prologue – Monaco. Fairly near to the finish and managed to get some decent photos, including a certain Manx Missile!
Stage 1 – Monaco to Brignoles. Watched the race pass on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
Stage 2 – Marseille to La Grande Motte. Saw the Depart by the port in Marseille
Stage 3 – Montpellier – Montpellier time trail. Just up from the start point
Unable to go. 🙁
Possibly one of the best years… 3 countries, 4 stages in different 5 towns
Prologue – London. 200 m from finish on the Mall. What a location!
Stage 1 – London to Canterbury. Marshalled on the stage and then chased the race to watch the events unfold at Stone Street (poor Cav!). Joined the Caravane on the boat across to France…
Stage 2 – Dunkerque – Gent. Stood on the finish line in the rain but missed the end of race crashes.
Stage 3 – Waregem – Compiegne. Saw the Depart from Waregem
Prologue – Strasbourg. Near to finish line
Stage 1 – Strasbourg to Strasbourg. Watched the ‘pre race’ – the riders just trundle by through the town until they are in the open road then the race starts properly. Then moved to the finish line to wait for the race.
Stage 3 – La Châtaigneraie to Tours. Near the finish line
Stage 4 – Tours – Blois. Team Time Trial. About 1km from the start so wasn’t too busy. Conveniently found a bar where I was able to sit and wait for the teams to finish – along with quite a few other folk!
Stage 3 – Waterloo to Wasquehal. Near to the finish line
Stage 4 – Cambrai to Arras. Team Time Trial. About 1km from the start on a good bend. Remember this stage as it chucked it down all day!
Stage 11 – Narbonne to Toulouse. Near to the finish line, but nearly wasn’t. After standing for a couple of hours, the police decided to move a group of us as we were “in the wrong place”. After a great deal of persistence, we were able to stop.
Stage 12 – Gaillac to Cap’ Découverte. Individual time trial. Just by the starting ramp.
Stage 13 – Toulouse to Plateau de Bonascre. Watched the race start at the Cité de l’Espace
Stage 5 – Soissons to Rouen. Near to the finish line
Did not attend.
Stage 13 – Avignon to Draguignan. Near to the finish line
Stage 14 – Castres to Saint-Gaudens. Near to the finish line. Remember being not too well this year – had been away in Poland the week prior and picked up a bug leaving me with severe trots! The day previous I was pretty bad but managed to hold out when it was time to watch the race.
Stage 14 – Valreas to Grenoble. Near to the finish line
Stage 19 – Montbeliard to Dijon. Near to the finish line
Stage 19 – Hendaye to Bordeaux. Near to the finish line