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Visiting France during the Tour de France- Motor homing it?

We would like to visit during the Tour (next year 2015). The route hasn't yet been announced, but I know which section of France we'd like to see. The problem is figuring out the campsite maps. Has anyone else done this? What should I look for (or avoid)?
Any tips, recommendations or warnings would be appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
3392 posts

If you google "following the Tour de France by campervan" you'll get lots of hits on websites loaded with advice! We followed the Tour one summer for a while and there were SO many people following in campervans. Some people go every year! The key is to stake out your spot along the route early-on in the day so that you'll have enough room to park and have a good view. I'm sure you know that watching the Tour involves A LOT of waiting around...first comes the sponsor parade, throwing out samples at the crowds, making lots of noise...then comes the Tour commercial vans, selling stuff to everyone...finally the main pelton comes by and it lasts about 28 seconds, if that! It's lots of fun for a while but I can't imagine doing it more than just a few days.
That's all I can add...I'm sure someone on here can be a bit more helpful when it comes to the camping aspect.

Posted by
1157 posts

On the climbs, at least, parking seems to be open to all comers. The entire way up the hill there are campers and tents pitched in every available spot, or so it seemed on Alpe D'Huez. So you don't really need campsites for that, just get there ahead of the tour. People seem to get there a day or more ahead of the tour and turn it into a party. Although since I don't speak french I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be personally doing it since if someone tried to tell me about a problem (like this is the towaway zone on the mountain) I'd have little idea what they're saying. Others may enjoy the adventure though!

I'd suggest continue searching on the web. You might also look at some of the bike touring companies or even chat with the people at your local bike shops. That isn't what you're interested in, but they are more likely to know people that have followed the Tour.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you! Would it be easier to say rent a cottage in a town and just rent a car to drive from course to course? We've never rented a caravan before and I'm a little nervous about the whole procedure (although my husband isn't- he loves driving around in foreign countries).

Posted by
1157 posts

We saw a stage of the Tour a few years ago, staying in a nearby town. For the hill stages they know about what time the riders will be coming up the hill. The day of the race the hill is closed to vehicles but you can park at the base and walk or bicycle up the road until about an hour or two before the riders are expected. I don't know what they do on the flat sections out in the country or in the small towns they pass thru.

If you want to rent a cottage then you'd have to plan the location carefully. The Tour typically moves a hundred or more miles a day, so unless you pick a few stages where they are staying in roughly one area for a few days having a home base and driving out each day would be difficult. People watch for the Tour to be announced and then quickly jump onto their computer to book hotels along the way so if you want to be staying in the starting or ending villages and travel along with the tour you'd have to move quickly.