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Tour de France

We booked a tour to experiece stages 17&18 of Tour de France starting on July 19, but will be in Carcassone on the 17 and 18 on our own. Would like to rent a car in or around Carcassone to get us from there to meet our tour. Picking up car late on the 18th to leave early on the 19th ahead of the start of that stage. Looking for advice on stopping along the way to see the peloton, perhaps in Massat, prior to the finish in Foix. Thank you!

Posted by
738 posts

Massat would be perfect if you were spending the night there before the stage, but since it’s located between the 2 climbs, it will be sealed off quite early on the day. I would probably try to get close to the start of the Port de Lers climb, find parking and walk up the road until you find a vantage point you like. After the peloton passes, go back down the hill and head to Foix to join your tour group.

Your post neglects to mention that you are staying in Carcassonne for the Tour rest day. What a treat! You will see so many of your favorites at their hotels in the area and taking rides in the countryside with team mates. Of course Covid may reduce the socializing, but still it’s fun. Also, it’s possible that history could be made with the arrival of the sprint stage on July 17…and you’ll be there! Be sure to secure accommodations and rental car ASAP, the area will be packed. Have a great trip.

Posted by
3 posts

This tweet has unofficial detailed route information for the entire route. It is not perfect but can help with early planning. The official roadbook with detailed maps usually becomes available about 7-10 days before the Grand Depart.

https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1448730318618431493

Do you have hotel reservations yet for Carcassonne? Many hotels in Carcassonne have been sold out for months.

I was at the race last year (my 18th) including the sprint finish in Carcassonne. The restrictions near the teams were very strict. Rest Day previously had been one of my favorites visiting team hotels and seeing the riders. Proximity to the race action makes cycling unique but the rules last year sucked the life out of it. No conversations, autographs, selfies, etc. It’s unclear what this summer might be like. Best to manage your expectations in these uncertain times.

Posted by
2432 posts

I got hooked on watching TdF a few years ago, for the scenery. I usually just turn the sound down. It was on the NBC Sports Network which just went away, so I suppose the TdF will pop up on a family member like USA or CNBC.

Posted by
3 posts

The scenery is stunning and France Television is very skilled at making the coverage look even more fabulous. I met one of the pilots in Brest last summer staying at my hotel. He loved what he did (20+ years).

The best US Coverage is on on NBC's streaming platform, Peacock.

The only other American I met during the race last year was NBC's Steve Porino. He commented that he saw just one small group Americans in 3 weeks.

I also was at the finish line in Andorra won by Durango CO's Sepp Kuss. The spectators near me were appeared to be locals and very surprised by my Englih cheering and American stick flag waving.

Posted by
186 posts

When the exact route of the stage will be published you will find it on the official Tour de France website.

https://www.letour.fr/en/overall-route

Leave very early because many roads will be completely closed to traffic a few hours before the passage of the race.
The climbs to the summits will be the places where there will be a lot of people

Posted by
19 posts

Does anyone have advice for viewing the last stage in Paris? We are considering going with one of the tour operators so we have access to the bathroom!
Thanks!

Posted by
744 posts

My advice would not be to see the Tour in Massat or anywhere on the flats. You will only see a huge coloured peleton speed by at 50 km/h and then be gone.

Based on the profile at that Twitter site mentioned above, I would want to be on the uphill slopes of the Port de Lers or Mur de Péguère, especially the steepest part of the latter climb, marked "Final Ramp" on the profile. Seeing the Tour on a climb means the riders go by much slower (so you can see them better), and spread out in different groups. Plus its where you see the fans go nuts (last year a fan caused a major crash by taking a selfie on the road).

Here is a Google Street view of one of the switchbacks on the way up from Massat to Mur de Péguère (https://www.google.ca/maps/@42.9185778,1.3836816,3a,90y,331.77h,78.94t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sDmUNIWSt6Zshy-4kqhTd5Q!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DDmUNIWSt6Zshy-4kqhTd5Q%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D341.75827%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en)

Here is a view of the Port de Lers. Perhaps a nice spot on the top right hill above the switchback (https://www.google.ca/maps/@42.8064521,1.4205469,3a,75y,214.37h,79.55t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sIQMD-jUW_AdDlizSsoH-Og!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DIQMD-jUW_AdDlizSsoH-Og%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D80.28894%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en)

Problem with the hills is there is often less room for fans, so you have to get there early. I was at the Tour 4 hours before the riders came and it was already quite busy. Go early and make a picnic of it. The caravan comes through about an hour before the riders so that spices things up a bit.

Enjoy your day at the Tour! No one should go to France and not see the Tour.