In 2021 Le Tour de France and all its craziness doesn't go through the Vendée, but people who enjoy a little drive and travelling to this amazing event can definitely do so. Here is the short list and info about where you can witness Le Tour LIVE and up close, with our suggestions (i.e. the general areas we would choose personally), which does not mean you have to follow them! Do your thing, enjoy yourselves observing and making new memories with the family. And, making new friends too!
Detailed schedule and map
NOTE: The time schedule is rather meticulously kept.
What would be our choice for a spot?
Stage 4 REDON TO FOUGERES (Bretagne)
The Finish line today is in Fougères - it a gorgeous walled city that certainly merits a daytrip from the Vendée. But to see the Tour de France it will be closer to go to the (official) departure outside of Redon along the Rue de la Barre to Rue de Saint-Barthelemy. Another option might be to drive to Nantes and take the E3/ N137 toward Bain-de-Bretagne where you can exit and circle back to the race route. Of course if you wish to be closer to the finish line and loop in a visit to the village of Fougères, who are we to stop you?! We wouldn't dare!
Stage 6 TOURS TO CHATEAUROUX
Having travelled around the area on many occasions, the route between Tours and Amboise will be more densely populated and traffic may be more cumbersome (time!) It's best that you stay south of the Loire river. Take A85 or A10 and A85 toward Amboise and/ or Chenonceau. Once the tour turns away from Amboise to Chenonceau (insert heart emojis) through the Amboise forest along Boulevard Saint-Denis Hors, Rue d'Amboise and Rue de Chenonceau, these roads will offer great opportunity. Please note that Chateau Chenonceau will not be open from June 28th through July 1st, they reopen on July 2nd. Should you like to spend the night in the area to visit one of the most beautiful Loire Valley chateaux, do book your visit online and make reservations.
- Two days before:
- load icepacks in the freezer
- research local road closing and driving schedules. Driving up to the route is very easy as Le Tour is well-organized and there are plenty of signs along the roads and auto-strades leading up to the route. These signs are usually in place weeks beforehand. Road closures are announced on village websites - it just takes some research.
- So, pick a road, look at the tour schedule (caravan time) and figure out driving time.
- Another option is to drive towards the route in a general direction and then follow the signs as you approach.
- Day before:
- freeze some bottles of water and refrigerate more
- food shopping and picnic prep
- pack a bag: sunscreen, sunglasses, medication, emergency protein bars (for when hunger strikes and the food is gone - especially important for diabetics), disinfectant, bug spray, bee sting cream, your camera + full battery, a towel...
- pack emergency clothing: (check weather reports)
- pack the car:
- hats for everybody in the family, folding chairs, (s)umbrella(s) -> make sure you can anchor in case of wind gusts, flags etc.
- clothing bag
- are you taking a dog?? We don't recommend it, but if you do, make sure you have a bowl for water PLUS an extra lead (leash) in the car, and poop bags
- program GPS
- set your alarm clock + extra time: following the Tour Time schedule deduct driving time and arrive 1 hour before caravan (or more in case of heavy traffic)
- charge GSM and take a charging cable for the car
- Morning of:
- cooler with cold water (plenty of it, you will be in the sun for a long time) and drinks
- cooler with picnic
- wear comfortable shoes and light clothing (heat)
- Program the GPS.
- You can typically park right by the route. Should you choose to park ON the route, note that the roads do not immediately open to traffic. We recommend parking away from the route (though you may need to walk to it).
- Please note if you drop people off near the route it may be difficult to make a U turn.
- To see the Tour Caravan, follow the Caravan schedule and arrive early
- the caravan includes vehicles that drive by misting water which is wonderful in hot weather but do remember to protect your camera
- should you choose to make it an overnight, make your reservations sooner rather than later
Dear readers, cyclists, caravan... the whole circus... See you somewhere along the route?
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