Best way to watch the Tour (in France)?

Has anyone watched the tour in France? I am going to watch a few mountain stages and planning to ride up before the riders come through. Is there good information somewhere about when roads are open/closed to do this?


I did this last July for a week, threw my bike and a tent in the car. Literally just found a spot on the roadside and set up camp in a field each evening. I am pretty sure I got all info on le tour website about closures, that said people were riding their biked on the road 15 mins before the peloton came through. By my fourth stage I had perfected my tactics:
1- It is rolling road closures so no roads are closed all day, mountain passes will be closed from earlier in the morning but you can drive on a lot of the course a few hours before the riders come through.
2- Park as close to your spectating position as you can then be prepared to walk or ride
3 - The caravan comes through about 40-60 mins before the riders throwing freebies to the crowd, get your polka dot and green free t-shirt from these
4 - Pack lawn chair, sunscreen, snacks and water. You will be thirsty, burnt and tired waiting a few hours in the sun for the peleton to come through
5 - As soon as the roads reopen from previous stage jump in your car and head to find a good spot for the next stage prime parking positions go quickly
6 - Be prepared it is a lot of driving
Pics below of my ‘camp’ on Col de croix de Fer. The stage where Pidcock showed off his descending master class.


Yes ! @s_weldon watching the Tour! I hope you’re bringing the family and pulling them up in that chariot of yours. Then again, I guess they’ve grown…maybe they’ll be pulling you up?

Maybe tell us which stages and climbs or major routes you’re targeting to watch? I find the Pyrenees very different than the Alps to set yourself up to watch. One is like you’re in a national park like Algonquin, the other is like you are at a Ski Resort like Tremblant.

And @josephbmonks . Now I know why we get along so well. At first I thought it was the shared Triathlon background. Now I know it’s the climbing of the Col de Croix de Fer to watch the Tour that’s brought us together.

Me & Giles in 2015. It ain’t called Col de Croix de Fer (Mountain of the Iron Cross) for nothing.

Not even sure what I am posting since @josephbmonks nailed everything. Probably so that I can post old vanity pics and tell my “stories”. But also maybe a few pics to underscore Joe’s points and provide a little inspiration to take some risk while you are there.

You only live once.

Giles and I stayed in the village at the base of Alp’s d’huez for a week. Parked the car at the base. And climbed it every morning before checking out other major climbs while we followed the Tour around the Alp’s.

For Col de Glandon and Croix de Fer…it was a long 23 km climb that took us hours to ride up in the morning…but there were ALOT of people who parked on the lower slopes and walked up.

That particular climb was very long and we were never hampered or stopped by road closures. But we were riding hours before the peloton was expected to arrive.

It’s VERY wide open up there. Van’s parked along the side have been there since the day before. People stewn about everywhere.

You could see all the way down the switchbacks. And like Joe said…the Caravan comes through 30-40 minute before and then then you can hear the helicopters coming.

Then everyone heads down to the narrow road and we all act like excited screaming children.

Alp’s d’Huez was completely different. Then again, it was Stage 20 and the race for all the marbles. It was a lot more controlled. Barriers were up for miles before the top. We started to head up 2-3 hours before the Peloton was expected to arrive and the barriers were already up and the gendarmes were telling riders to get off the road and walk. We kept hoping over the fence and then back on, trying to avoid the Gendarmes. This is us stopped after Corner 3…looking up to Corner 2. You can see the Gendarmes up ahead. We just put our head down and pedalled straight past them.

Which was worth it, because if you could ride Corner 1 with people watching you like you were an old PRO…it was amazing. Giles coming around Corner 1.

Message = Don’t be afraid to be a little bold. You only have one chance to experience it.

We ended up stopping and sitting down on the side of the hill overlooking Corner 1. There were all sorts of stores and restaurants up in the village in the background.

So we walked to the pastry shop and back.

Then the beer shop and back.

Then I ran out of beer and noticed a bunch of students from Norfolk University in the U.K. who were partying, so I walked over and said…I’m from CANADA, eh !!! Can you spare a beer !!! I don’t remember a lot after that…but I’m pretty sure I am life time sorority member at Norfolk U.

What is this thread about ? Right…the "best way to watch the Tour (in France).

Caravan comes by throwing hats and candies and spraying everyone with a water cannons.

Then the helicopters in the distance. Then the hush. Then you can see them. Coming around corner 3…2…1. And the ROAR !!!

If you ever have ZWIFTED. This is Turn 1…the last turn before you hit the top of Alp d’Zwift. And just up the road is where it gets really narrow and all the people are crushing the riders with orange smoke.

It’s all amazing @s_weldon You lucky dog.

The only advice I’d offer…is do something memorable…maybe even a little crazy.

The next day there was the Alps D’Huez Duathlon. I hadn’t planned on racing it. Someone dared me to do it. They said I would regret it if I didn’t. So, I entered the next day.

7km run at the base…strap your shoes to your back…race up the 21 switchbacks of Alps d’huez in the rain…7km run at the top.

No regrets. :fr:


Terrific little write up @Francqlife . I would usually try and get in position the late afternoon/evening before and set up camp for viewing the next day. A little burner, saucepan, porridge oats and coffee plunger served me well. Also as @Francqlife said do something a little crazy…it may be the only time you are there … this was mine …


Great tips Joe and Alain!

There’s always time for vanity pics!
No kids on this trip. But you know I would try and haul one up in a cargo bike so they could drag me down!

This is actually a cross-France expedition type of ride ( 9 days), with two days watching the Tour in the Alps at the start. We’re staying with friends in Morzine, which happens to be the finish of stage 14 and basically the start of stage 15.

Plan is to ride up the Col de Joux Plane (Stage 14), stop near the top, watch riders on the steep section near summit, then ride down into Morzine after. Just need to plan exact ride time, watch time. But I see the schedule now on Le Tour website. I guess I will haul a picnic up!

Stage 15 starts in Les Gets. All very close to our place in Morzine. We may have a rental car at this point, so could catch one of the climbs this day (there are only FIVE categorized climbs on this stage!). So planning where to catch the riders on Stage 15. Luckily this stage loops back towards the start point, so not a long distance to travel. I do hear that you need to choose one spot to stop and watch though. Getting around during a stage sounds slow.

Next day we head Northwest for 9 days (8 days of riding). If all goes well we end up at Mont St. Michel!