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.
Stage 1: June 29, Porto-Vecchio – Bastia (in the Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse departments, aka Corsica), 213 km (132 mi), Flat stage
Stage 2: June 30, Bastia – Ajaccio (in the Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse departments, aka Corsica), 156 km (97 mi), Medium-mountain stage
Stage 3: July 1, Ajaccio – Calvi (in the Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse departments, aka Corsica), 145.5 km (90 mi), Medium-mountain stage
Stage 4: July 2, Nice – Nice (Alpes-Maritimes part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur department), 25 km (16 mi), Team time trial
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.
Stage 5: July 3, Cagnes-sur-Mer – Marseille (Alpes-Maritimes and Bouches-du-Rhône parts of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur department), 228.5 km (142 mi), Flat stage
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.
Stage 6: July 4, Aix-en-Provence – Montpellier (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon departments), 176.5 km (110 mi), Flat stage
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.
Stage 7: July 5, Montpellier – Albi (Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées departments), 205.5 km (128 mi), Medium-mountain stage
Stage 8: July 6, Castres – Ax 3 Domaines (Midi-Pyrénées department), 195 km (121 mi), Mountain stage
Stage 9: July 7, Saint-Girons – Bagnères-de-Bigorre (Hautes-Pyrénées department), 168.5 km (105 mi), Mountain stage
Stage 10: July 9, Saint-Gildas-des-Bois – Saint-Malo (Brittany region, Ille-et-Vilaine department), 197 km (122 mi), Flat stage
Stage 11: July 10, Avranches – Mont Saint-Michel (Lower Normandy in the Manche department), 33 km (21 mi), Flat stage, Individual time trial
Stage 12: July 11, Fougères – Tours (Centre in the Indre-et-Loire department), 218 km (135 mi), Flat stage
Stage 13: July 12, Tours – Saint-Amand-Montrond (Centre in the Indre-et-Loire and Cher departments), 173 km (107 mi), Flat stage
Stage 14: July 13, Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule – Lyon (Auvergne region in the Allier department and the Rhône-Alpes region and the Rhône department), 191 km (119 mi), Medium-mountain stage
Stage 15: July 14, Givors – Mont Ventoux (Rhône-Alpes region and the Rhône department), 242.5 km (151 mi), Mountain stage
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).
Stage 16: July 16, Vaison-la-Romaine – Gap, (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the Vaucluse department), 168 km (104 mi), Medium-mountain stage
I haven’t posted about this area, but will soon. I promise.
Stage 17: July 17, Embrun – Chorges (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the Hautes-Alpes department), 32 km (20 mi), Individual time trial
Stage 18: July 18, Gap – Alpe d’Huez (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the Hautes-Alpes department), 172.5 km (107 mi), Mountain stage
Stage 19: July 19, Le Bourg-d’Oisans – Le Grand-Bornand (Rhône-Alpes region and the Haute-Savoie department), 204.5 km (127 mi), Mountain stage
The roads in this area are narrow and windy. The area is steep. It could be an interesting stage.
Stage 20: July 20, Annecy – Mont Semnoz Annecy – Mont Semnoz (Rhône-Alpes region and the Haute-Savoie department), 125 km (78 mi), Mountain 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.
Stage 20: July 21, Versailles – Paris (Île-de-France region) 133.5 km (83 mi), Flat stage
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.