| Aquitaine |
| Corsica |
| Paris |
| Rhone-Alpes |
Line the route of the World’s best bike race
The Tour de France is one of the three Grand Tours, and certainly the most famous. The Tour, held every year since 1903, is steeped with history and legend, and from the side of the road, watching riders tackling almost impossibly steep mountain stages, the magic of ‘the tour’ is clear to see. Lasting three gruelling weeks in July, riders must cover some 3,600km, finishing, wearily, in the iconic climax up the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The Tour de France is such an extraordinary spectacle that anyone who loves sport, not just cycling, will get completely carried away with the sheer physical demands and breath-taking sportsmanship required to complete.
The 2014 Tour de France is to start on the 29th June in Porto Vecchio in the French island of Corsica, and will finish on Sunday 21st July as the exhausted riders sprint along the Champs-Elysees in Paris. These are two of the most well known dates of the Tour de France, and although the race takes different routes each year, the finish is always the same, as are some of the most legendary stages, most notably the energy sapping climb of Alpe d’Huez, the almost impossibly tough Mont Ventoux and the beautiful (for spectators anyway) Col du Tourmalet stage. In general, the start of the Tour de France will be in France two out of five years, and in a neighbouring country for the other three years.
Best France holiday accommodation
Tour de France Accommodation in Paris
The final sprint of the Tour de France is the most iconic stage of the Tour. It is also a magnificent stage to watch as the riders lap the centre of Paris, giving you many great opportunities to see each of the teams and your favourite riders in action. You also get to enjoy the presentation and celebrations!
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Tour de France Accommodation in Gap
The Gap region of the Hautes-Alpes department of France is home to the legendary Alpe d’Huez stage of the Tour de France, the most spectacular and gruelling stage of the 21 completed in the Tour.
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Tour de France Accommodation in Lorient
The stages in and around Lorient are towards the start of the Tour de France, and are vital for seeing the way the Tour de France is to pan out over the coming weeks, giving you a chance to see the important stages as individuals begin to stamp their mark on the tour.
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To watch the Tour, you will have to pick your spot early in the morning, especially if you want to watch the most exciting mountain stages, but this is mainly because the roads are shut about three hours ahead of the peloton coming through, so reaching these spots by foot could take some time! Standing on the road is a magnificent experience, and one which cannot be replicated, as the whole crowd go wild, urging the shattered peddlers on, and celebrating with every other spectator in a huge party atmosphere.
There are still plenty of houses and villas along the route available for rent for the 2014 Tour de France, and it really is worth heading down in person. Remember to take your radio though, so you can hear the drama unfolding over the whole day as you wait. You will probably be able to watch three stages over three consecutive days from any Tour de France accommodation, and being in your own house in the French countryside for the rest of the week is certainly not a chore!