It’s that time again! Regular readers of this blog know that I love cycling and I’ve posted about it:
- Tour De France 101,
- Fabulous Fabian Cancellara,
- Checking One Off The Bucket List – On A Mountain At The Tour De France,
- Put On Your Thong And Cheer On Your Countrymen,
- I Love My Husband, But Jens Voigt May Be The Coolest Man Alive,
- How To Get On A Mountain For The Tour De France,
- So You’re On A Mountain For The Tour, Then What?,
- Cyclists In The Flesh From The Tour De France, and
- The Spectacle Of The Tour Caravan.
The 2013 Tour de France starts today!!!! The route and schedule is different each year. Lately, the tour has ventured into neighboring countries including: Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxenbourg, the United Kingdom and Spain. This year, it’s all in France. It is the 100th anniversary of the tour and the route is epic!
For those of you Tour enthusiasts out there who want to see some posts about places along the route, I thought I’d post the route links to posts about places on it. Stages 1-3 are in Corsica, the only departments (kind of like states the tour hasn’t yet visited. We haven’t been, but hear its beautiful. Napoleon, Leticia Casta and Garance Dore all hail from this Mediterranean island.
We visited Nice and wrote a couple of posts on it (Nice, Breakdancers in Nice). It’s in the Cote d’Azur, also known as the French Rivera. It’s sunny and has beautiful water. Villefranche, the town next door to Nice, is adorable, hilly and calmer.
Our favorite part of the south of France was the hill towns just inland from the sea Eze (via the infamous Grande Corniche road that is popular with cyclists), Vence, St. Paul-de-Vence). The tour goes right by Vence as it cuts through the hills behind the coast on the way to Marseille. On the way, it passes through Brignoles. Although I haven’t posted about it, we’ve been. Here are some pics of the town and the route (the church is Abbaye de La Celle, a 12th-century Benedictine abbey that served as a convent until the 17th century).
We visited Aix (Our Aixperience, Knife Fight in Aix) Provence’s Ironwork Bell Towers,. Not that the riders will have time to enjoy it, but it is a lovely and tres French old town that dates back to Roman times.
The tour will pass by the delightfully scruffy town of Arles (Arles Better Than New, What’s Latin For Roman? Finding Out All About Ancient Rome In Arles). It’s known for its amazing Roman ruins, for Van Gogh and Gauguin. They were roomies there. In fact, it was in Arles that old Vinnie sliced off his ear. The famous aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, is also nearby. It’s impressive.
They will also go by one of the most beautiful towns in the south of France, Les Baux de Provence (We Didn’t Know The Valley Of Hell Was So Beautiful, Les Baux). The helicopters will be out in force there.
Although I don’t have any great shots of the infamous Mont Ventoux, the stage will be epic. Undoubtedly, they will have at least passing coverage of the nearby town of Orange (Visiting Ancient Rome in Orange, France). Chateau Neuf-du-Pape is nearby as are the Cotes du Rhone (Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rocked Us…Literally, Wine Museum In Châteauneuf-du-Pape).
The roads in this area are narrow and windy. The area is steep. It could be an interesting stage.
As is close to Geneva, visits are a favorite of visitors. It is a beautiful town in a stunning setting ( Annecy, Venetian Carnival, Murder Mystery In Idyllic Annecy). It was in the news last year for a brutal quadruple murder in the mountains just outside the town. Just days ago, an arrest was made.
The last stage is usually ceremonial for everyone but the sprinters, so it leaves plenty of time for coverage of Paris’ many sights (Break Dancers In Paris Have Mad Skills, Navigating Paris Museums in a Wheelchair, The Paris Subway Iconic Signs, Tourists Mob Paris, Here’s How To Manage, Notre Dame, Street Performers in Paris, I.M. Pei’s Glass Pyramid, Oh La La, La Tour Eiffel!, Flying Buttresses).
If you’re actually enough of a Tour geek to read down this far, you might know Bob Roll. Tell Bobbke that I’m a huge fan. I’m a pretty good time, but only wish I could be as fun as he is.