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Over the last few nights we have been watching the Tour De France on ITV4. In years past when we have been in France during the Tour we have been delayed and diverted because of the Tour so I suppose we have avoided the Tour for that reason.


However we are quite envious of the number of motor vans you see parked at the side of the road and we are now planning to schedule one of out trips over the water next year to coincide with the 2012 Tour.

So here are the questions.

Has anyone any experience of parking up as the Tour passes you by?

Do you have to be there at a particular time before the Tour passes by?

What are the best ways to go about seeing the Tour up close?


All your advice would be much appreciated.


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Will tell you in a couple of weeks :-D


Been over for Tour before but not in a motorhome.


Must remember that the whole publicity caravan does the route prior to the cyclists so you need to have vehicle there or there abouts in advance of that. If you head for key points such finish line, sprint hot spots or mountain summits the you have to be there hours in advance.


To get some idea have look at



The caravane is expected to finish approx 90mins prior to the race.

Been on the Champs Elysee at 9 when race not been due until 2pm and still been 3 deep at the sprint point,


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Hi Wilf,


We went on the route of the tour a couple of years ago when a stage finished at Issoudun and I think it well worth seeing. As was said, the publicity "caravan" goes through about two hours before the riders are expected through. This cavalcade consists of various vehicles from which items are thrown by the occupants of those vehicles. These items may be packets of sweets, tee shirts, caps, key rings and so on. They are always aimed towards the roadway so as to minimize risk of injury, BUT you are more likely to get injured by the (mainly) French mothers and grandmothers trying to grab items for their loved ones. Some of them leave the location with plastic shopping bags full before the riders come through. Where we were, the road was closed about midday and the riders came through about 4:00pm. It was way after 5:00pm before the road was re-opened. We had "set up camp" the night before in company with another camping-cariste and we watched the racing on the television until the caravan came through and then again whilst we were waiting for the riders to come past.


I had intended to see the stage en route to Chateauroux today, but we have only arrived back from the UK yesterday and we were still unpacking the camping car. I would say - make an effort just the once and you will probably want to do so again.





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About a month before it starts the official programe(make sure it,s the official one) comes out this you can get from main news agents (£10) this will give detailed information on the race such as teams riders etc it allso gives you details of each stage which includes a map showing every town and village and what time the caravan passes through which as mentioned is a hour long carnaval for the sponsors followed by the race this is indispensable if following the tour , this years is still available in the shops, on a basic stage to get a good spot such as on a hill you will nead to get there the day before, if you can get into a town or village these usualy have entertanement on for the visitors out in the country you would probably find a spot on the day, on any of the main mountains such as the Col du Galibier or theCol du Tourmalet to find a spot for a camping car you would have to be there four, five days or even a week before the race comes through, it sounds crazy but we have got to Alp Du Huez a week before a time trial and the only spot we could find was 10km away, it is a fantastic experience it,s not just the race but everything that goes with it, whole families will be there kids mom,s and dad,s and grandparents and all the years we have watched the tour we have never seen one bit of trouble
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Liz got her early retirement at Easter, but until then we were tied to school hols so only managed to see the Tour live twice: once in Canterbury, the year it started in London, and once we made it over in time to see them heading towards Paris on the last day.

On that occasion, we stayed overnight at a nearby site, but drove out to the roadside at the crack of dawn (having shower and breakfast once we were there!). We found a spot on a T junction, where the route was to come up the "leg" and turned right. Then we noticed a French family setting up a double gazebo on the LEFT arm of the junction. I wandered over and said hello, and casually asked why they'd chosen that spot. "To see the Tour of course," was the reply, accompanied by gestures which showed they expected the tour to approach from "their" road! I got the map out, and showed them they'd got the route wrong. They took some convincing, but finally agreed - and taking hold of the six legs of the gazebo, proceeded to march it over to the opposite arm of the junction!


Upshot was, they were grateful enough to invite us for lunch after the Tour passed - which of course lasted the rest of the afternoon!


I'll see if I can make some pictures stick ...





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  • 4 weeks later...

Had a great time following Le Tour.

Points to note if following in a motorhome are:


Don't try to do too much as it can be blooming hard work - hardly any down time as my mate said "I had planned to get drunk some time!"

We did do the last 5 stages and it was all go!

Planning is everything!

If you want to do a classic mountain stage then get there at least 3 days in advance

4 days more like for Alpe D'heuz

2 days would have been ok for Galibier - we were there 3 days before and was busy but come day before it was solid wall to wall motorhome!


Leaving Galibier we joined a 5 mile queue of traffic all heading the same direction but we didn't actually stop!


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