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Old 02-28-10, 04:41 PM   #1
andrew.waye
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I'm going to France during Le Tour!

So I am heading to France for a conference in early July and am taking 10 days or so to see the country. How easy is it to see the tour if you're in country? Tickets needed? Is camping an easy way to spend time in France or is everything going to be a zoo and overbooked?
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Old 02-28-10, 05:21 PM   #2
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Depends on the stages you plan on seeing. For a mountain finish, fans may camp out on the mountain for a couple or more days to save a spot.

Maybe pick a town that a stage ends in, has a rest day and then the following stage starts in. Gives you a chance to see a stage finish, see some teams doing an easy rest day ride and then some point of the following stage.
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Old 02-28-10, 07:28 PM   #3
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I don't know what the transition stages are like (kind of boring to watch live anyway). The mountain and time-trial stages will be crowded. It may be difficult to find accommodations nearby, whether camping or not. Also keep in mind the roads will get shut down hours in advance of the expected arrival of the leaders and will remain so until after the broom van passes by. Bicyclists and pedestrians usually get until about an hour beforehand.
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Old 02-28-10, 09:30 PM   #4
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Good advice, CB HI. I'll try to see the final TT and a hill stage as well before I leave. Unfortunately, my flight back to Ottawa is on the 25th from Paris (final stage ends there that day)... I'll have to find out the best way to get around rural France; are they friendly to hitchhikers with backpacks? I'm pretty excited!
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Old 03-01-10, 05:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew.waye View Post
Good advice, CB HI. I'll try to see the final TT and a hill stage as well before I leave. Unfortunately, my flight back to Ottawa is on the 25th from Paris (final stage ends there that day)... I'll have to find out the best way to get around rural France; are they friendly to hitchhikers with backpacks? I'm pretty excited!
In my limited experience, no. I expected to hitchhike in the alps back to the town where I could catch a bus. First off the traffic was so light that my chances were severely reduced, second everyone looked at me like I was crazy. It really depends, YMMV, and the situation could be completely different during the tour.

For transport you should look into the bus, although sometimes it is really hard to find the route information, as you must go to each region's website to find the timetable. The last rural bus I took I found online that it only ran twice a day, so my schedule was really restricted, however, once I got to the bus station I learned that there were multiple buses.

It's a little outdated, but you should check out this site for regional transport (in french, select region from pull down and click "on y va").
http://atlastransportpublic.fr/
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Old 03-08-10, 07:49 AM   #6
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thanks zoltani.

the more i think about it, the more i'm inclined to take my old touring bike along with me. in france i doubt i'd need to carry a heavy load (minimal tools, reduced food - i assume towns are all close to one another, basically just some clothes and a sleeping bag and tent). i guess it's not that much trouble to put a bike on a plane in a cardboard box and in a place as bike intensive as france, i expect any hostel will let me keep my bike somewhere secure.
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Old 03-08-10, 08:19 AM   #7
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Hi Andrew,

Did you have any particular region/town/stage in mind?

I live in Foix and there are two stages close by on consecutive days. Hitchhiking is quite common here as I pass hitchhikers most days (never travel far enough to offer a lift!), what the success rate is I'm unsure of though I've not seen the same hitchhiker the day after!

Have you heard of 'couchsurfing', www.couchsurfing.com? I've just become a member and it seems, in principle, a very good resource for those traveling abroad and needing accommodation or guidance. Costs nothing to have a look.

Anyhow, should you be in this area during the tour then drop me a line.

Best,

Daz.
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Old 03-08-10, 10:13 PM   #8
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hi finny,
i've decided to bring my bike with me! my conference is in rouen, so i'll probably stick to the north of the country. looks like there are some wonderful routes in the normandy/brittany region (my girlfriend bought me the lonely planet's "cycling france"). i'm only taking 10 days of vacation (beginning the 15th), so it doesn't look like i'll make it to a stage.

if you guys get a chance, i'd appreciate if you could weigh in here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...do-it-in-a-day
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