If, like us, you are gearing up for the 2015 Tour de France, you'll be looking forward to July, and possibly even planning a trip that takes you away from the TV commentary and up close and personal with this year’s riders. A Tour de France holiday is easier to plan than you might think, and with the route now finalised, you can plan with precision. Here are some tips from our travel team to help ensure you catch the stages you want to see and have a great time.
Catch the start and first stages in The Netherlands and Belgium
If you want to catch the very start of this year’s epic race, head on over to the Netherlands on Saturday 4th July. This will be the 21st time that the race has started in a city outside of France, and the 6th time that it has started in the Netherlands. If Belgium is more your thing, why not head for Seraing on 7th July where you can watch riders make their way over tricky cobble stones. Wet weather in 2014 made for some dramatic action in this vibrant and historic city, and we’ll be hoping for less dangerous conditions this year.
Experience the historic harbour of Vannes
Vannes is one of a few French towns in the region to have escaped damage during World War II. The Old Town is a pretty sight, especially around the harbour where crumbling ramparts are decorated with beautiful blankets of ivy and blossom. When you’re not catching the action of Stage 9, why not relax, unwind and people watch on the harbour with a glass or two of fine wine.
Enjoy the hills, thrills and spills of La Pierre Saint-Martin
Hills, hills and more hills are what await riders and visitors in La Pierre Saint-Martin, and it is here where things start to get very interesting in terms of scenery and action. Here riders will eventually reach an elevation of 1,610 metres as they race to finish Stage 10. There are great walking opportunities in the foothills of the Pyrenees and plenty of B&Bs and hotels to choose from.
Explore beautiful Lannemezan
Situated at the foot of the Pyrenees, Lannemezan is a fantastic place to catch the Tour de France riders as they race through the city streets. This small, but perfectly formed market town is host to some beautiful scenery and walking routes amidst lush woodland. Here you can choose to follow the action to the next stage, or spend some time relaxing - perhaps try boating on the river or a spot of fishing.
The flats of Valence
Stage 15 takes place on the area between Mende and Valence. The first stretch sees riders taking on rolling roads, whilst the last 50km are almost completely flat. There is a lot to do and see in Valence while you are waiting for the riders, or once they have raced by. A visit to the Cathedral of Saint-Apollinaire or the Temple St. Ruf, are just a couple of reasons why Valence is such a popular destination for tourists.
See the yellow jersey in Paris
The most exciting part of the Tour de France for many has to be seeing the winning rider complete eight blasting laps around the city, to cross the finish line and claim the coveted yellow jersey. Whether you choose to hop across by Eurostar from the UK, or chase the action from Stage 20 in L’Alpe d’Huez, this is a moment you will remember for a lifetime.
For full details of the route, including a list of all twenty one stages and dates visit Le Tour
Wherever along the route you choose to watch the action from, don’t forget your MORE TH>N Travel Insurance. You can get a quote by clicking here, or by calling us on 0800 294 8811.