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Follow The 2016 Tour De France Route

ON THESE PAGES WE HAVE SET DOWN DETAILS OF THE PLACES YOU WOULD SEE IF YOU TRAVELLED THE SAME ROUTE AS THE TOUR DE FRANCE did in 2016. The Race itself is still the world’s toughest and most gruelling Bike races in the world – but each year, the Route changes to create a new experience and in 2017 the Tour de France will start in Düsseldorf in Germany but also finish in Paris.

While there are many stages on flat terrain, it is the steep mountain stages that really are the most gruelling and there are lots of steep gradients to head up, with the downhill sections also highly dangerous too – with crashes, punctures, tight corners, spectators all adding to the hazards but also the excitement. The Sprints are also the most exciting part of each stage, as riders head to a finish line.

The Tour de France bike race happens in June each year (in 2017 -June 1st to June 23rdh) and the Race has been running for over 100 years with the first Tour de France staged on  June 1st, 1903.

In 2016 the Race was completed as 21 stages and covered a distance of 3519 Kilometres. In 2017 it will be slightly shorter, but the mountain climbs are even steeper – with the race (as it did in 2016) heading up, across and down the Alps, Central Masif, Pyrenees, Jura Mountains and Vosnes.

Over the years there have been changes to the distance and also the route taken, but it has always been a difficult race to win and it remains hugely popular and is now celebrated by cycling professionals and their followers from around the world.

If you have ever watched the Tour de France Race on TV or stood beside the roadway as the Cyclists race by, you have no doubt seen the great scenery that the race passes by. In 2016 there were 9 flat stages, 1 hilly stage and 9 mountain stages, with just 2 rest days and 2 individual time trials.

The most difficult stages are undoubtedly the Mountain stages – with all 9 of them in 2016 passing through amazing scenery – not that the riders spent much time looking at it.

On these pages – we have set down some information about the main towns that each stage of the race either started from or finished  in 2016– so that if you watched the race, you will know a little more about the locations, and ideally you might even do your own tour by bike or car, travelling the roads that the Tour de France followed in 2016.

Before reading these pages – download a Tour de 2016 France map to trace the route that the race follows – see www.letour.com   There is also the Route for the 2017 Race too on that website.

In broad terms – the Race started off in 2016 in the north west of France and then headed south to the Pyrenees Mountains then headed north east to Switzerland before the final race finish in Paris.

Stage One – was a short race from Mont Saint Michel in North West France to Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont a distance of 188 kilometres, overall Flat with no major hills or mountains to climb -

  • Mont-Saint-Michel – is the ‘picture perfect ’ famous  Benedictine Abbey built in the 11th Century that lies just off the Normandy/Brittany French coast with a long causeway (walkway) linking the Abbey to the mainland crossing over the tidal marshland, where you might even see the Tête Noir (Black Head) sheep grazing on the sea grass and mangroves. Their meat is quite a delicacy with a high salt content. There are tours of the Abbey, steep cobblestone streets and other historic buildings on the island and it is well worth coming here to see this famous landmark. There are also restaurants and accommodation on the island and at night the Abbey is lit up creating a great sight to see. There is also a horse and carriage ‘Passeurs’ that takes people across the Causeway or you can walk.
  • Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont -  It may seem strange to see the name ‘Utah Beach’ as the name of the beach that is here, given that Utah in the United States is a long way from the USA, but therein lies the story. Utah Beach is where the US and Allied Troops landed on the Normandy Coastline on D-Day – June 6th 1944 fighting the Germans here and liberating the small French village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. Today there are three museums here – the Utah Beach Landing Museum, the Museum of Occupation and the Liberation Museum – all worth seeing to gain an understanding of the importance of the D-Day landings in winning World War II. There is also a B26 Bomber here on display. The Village itself has a number of historic buildings including the Castle, most dating back to the 16th and 17th Century.

Stage Two – was also a relatively short distance – 183 kilometres from Saint Lô to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin over mostly flat land with no big hills or mountains -

  • Saint Lô – this city dates back to Roman days, but you won’t see much evidence of this from the days when it was a walled City. Only some of the Ramparts from the walls still exist. In World War II the City was occupied by the Germans in 1940 under Rommel and the Panzer Division and then later bombed by the Germans and then by the Americans when they liberated the city in 1944. So much of the city was destroyed, that the city became known as the “Capital of Ruins”. The city is located on the River Vire with nice walkways and park areas and you will find the Notre Dame de Saint Lô here – also showing the scars of war. Also look for the Musee du Bocage – a museum with exhibits from the 19th century to today. The city is now quite modern with a population of around 20,000 people including around 2000 students who attend the University here.
  • Cherbourg –en-Cotentin - is a Port City with around 38,000 people living here. The City has long been a port from the days of Napoleon and during the Second World War it was occupied by the Germans from 1940 until 1944 when it came under Allied attack and was liberated. All along the coastline of Normandy and Brittany you can see evidence of fortifications that were built during the War and at Fort Roule at the top of Fortress Hill that overlooks the City there is the Musée de Liberation. The city itself has a number of Park areas and you will also find the Ferry Terminals here – where Ferries dock after crossing the English Channel from Southampton and Poole in the UK and Rosslare in Ireland.

Stage Three – was a distance of 223 Kilometres and again is relatively flat leaving from Granville and heading south to Angers.

  • Granville - the pretty town is on the Bay of Saint Michel with a line of cliffs facing the sea and the islands of Chausey that lie just off the coast here. Ferries take passengers out to the islands and also to the Channel Islands – Jersey and Guernsey. There is a long walkway/bikeway that will take you along the top of the cliffs and here too is the childhood home of Christian Dior which is now a museum. There are two other museums – one being the Musée du Vieux Granville (museum of Old Granville) and the Musée Anacréon Art museum. Like most of the towns and villages along the Normandy coast, the City was occupied by the Germans during World War II, and then liberated by the Allied forces in 1944.
  • Angers – is a big city with around 147,000 people living here. The City is located on the Maine River that runs into the Loire River, with the City skyline dominated by the Château d’Angers and the Cathédrale St. Maurice. This city has lots of the grand buildings that line the streets in the old but vibrant centre of the City with its trams providing transport, lots of cafes and activities during the year.  Inside the Château, that was built for the Plantagenêt Dynasty there is a massive 104 metre long tapestry – called the Tenture de ‘Apolcalypse.  In the centre of the City you will also find a number of the old houses with their crisscross of timbers – the most interesting one being the Maison d’Adam built in the 1500’s.

Stage Four - of the Tour de France started in Saumur and was the longest distance of the Tour de France Stages, some 237 kilometres and traveling through overall flat countryside to the City of Limoges.

  • Saumur – is located on the Loire River with the Château de Saumur being the centre of attention. This is a really pretty Loire Valley town surrounded by grapevines and wineries. The Cadre National Cavalry Training school is located here too, and a second Château – the Château de Beaulieu is also located on the south side of the River. If you like Military history, look for the Muséedes Blindés – where you will find over 800 different military vehicles on display – an amazing collection, most vehicles being from World War II.  See Loire Valley on this website for more information.
  • Limoges – is best known for its Porcelain with Limoges Porcelain being one of the  World’s finest porcelain used by Royalty with some Collection pieces being valued in their 1000’s. The Factory producing the Porcelain dinner services, cups, plates and other porcelain dates back to 1797 and there is a factory shop at 54 Rue Victor Duruy. See www.royal-limoges.fr for more information. The City itself is very quaint with its squares, timber frame houses in the centre and stone bridge that crosses over the River Vienne next to the city. There are a number of Museums here, a Gothic cathedral dating back to 1273 when its construction began. There also a number of small villages just outside of Limoges, and no doubt you will see Limousin Cattle grazing in the farmlands. The Limousin breed came from this region of France and it is said that the breed dates back some 16,000 years.  If you want to see more Porcelain – look for the Porcelain Boulevard (Porcelain Louis Blanc).

Stage Five – was the first Mountainous stage of the Tour de France, with a distance of 216 kilometres and headed from Limoges to Le Loran.

  •  Limoges – as detailed above and worth staying overnight if you can. On the road between Limoges and Le Lioran you will pass through Aubusson, renowned for its rugs and tapestries.
  • Le Lioran  -  Le Lioran is a ski resort in the Masif Central, near Clemont Ferrand. The resort lies in the bottom of the valley with 22 ski lifts taking skiers up the slopes and 40 Pistes with some 140 kilometres of cross-country skiing area. The official season is from December to April with the highest vertical descent being 684 Metres (2244 feet). Clermont Ferrand is a city nearby (not on the Tour de France route), but worth visiting to see the amazing Cathedral that is built in black lava. The city has 2 universities and is best known for the Rugby Club – Clermont-Auverge and as the home of Volvic Water and the home city for Michelin Tyres. The Michelin brothers first made rubber brake pads in 1891, but it was the pneumatic bicycle tyres that they invented and first used in the Paris to Brest Cycle race in 1892 that brought them the first big success. Close by here too there are a number of National Parks and the 80 cinder cones of former Volcanos that stretch over a distance of 80 kilometres.

Stage Six - was a flat stage in the Race covering a distance of 190.5 kilometres from Arpajon-sur-Cère to Montauban.

  • Arpajon-sur-Cère - This small scenic town is located on the Cere River and has a population of around 5800 people. It has a history dating back to the 1st century and there is a 9th Century Abbey here as well as other historic buildings. Nearby is the town of Aurillac which in the 1800’s was the “Umbrella Capital”. They still make colourful umbrellas here. If you want to stay in a real castle – book a room in the Château de Salles in Aurillac. There are a number of small villages around this region of France and if you can, head to the village of Tournemire where there is the Anjony Château – with 4 towers next to each other. It is a spectacular sight to see.
  • Montauban – is a small city of around 57,000 people founded in 1144 and it is located on the River Tarn with old of the oldest bridges in France – called the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) that was built in 1335. The City was once the stronghold of the Protestant Huguenots who held out against the Catholics in the 1500’s and 1600’s, so the city has lots of history with a great square in the centre of the old city called the ‘Place Nationale’. There are a number of historic buildings including the Town Hall, Cathedral  and museums, the best known one being the Musée Ingres – with paintings, sculptures and ceramics. Montauban is just 50 kilometres north of the much bigger city of Toulouse on the Garonne River. They call is the ‘La Ville Rose’ (Pink Town) due to the number of rose brick coloured buildings that are here. Here in Toulouse the best place to come is to the central square ‘Place du Capitole’ which is a vast square surrounded on all sides by covered walkways with entranceways to the square on all four corners, with arcades running from them. There are all the facilities that you would expect in a big city, with the River and Canal du Midi passing through the city, and some excellent museums to see too – the most notable being the Musée Saint Raymond – with its garden of Antiquities and the Couvent des Jacobins (built 1260-1292) and the Basilique Saint Sermin with its high Clock Tower, built between the 11th and 13th Century.

Stage Seven – was a Mountain stage in the Race getting closer to Spain in the south of France. This stage of the Race headed from L’Isle- Jourain to Lac de Payolle a distance of 162.5 kilometres.

  • L’Isle- Jourdain – is a small village with just 1200 or so residents and it is located next to a big artificial lake – Lac de Chardes with the Vienne River running through the village, crossed over by a high viaduct bridge where they also do bungy jumping off the bridge. This area is very picturesque and people come in summer to enjoy fishing, water skiing, speedboat racing and hiking. There is also a car racing circuit here too.
  • Lac de Payolle – is surrounded by pine forests and mountains in the Pyrenées Mountains. People come here for cross country  skiing, snowboarding, ride a dog sled and enjoy the snow at the Payolle Ski Resort in the winter when the lake also freezes over, while in summer they come for hiking, fishing, swimming, kayaking and sailing on the Lake.

Stage Eight – was from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon, a mountainous stage in the Race and covering a distance of 184 kilometres.

  • Pau – is a pretty city located on the Gave de Pau River with the picturesque Pont du XIV Juillet Bridge crossing over it and the Château de Pau Castle, first built in the 11th Century overlooking the city. With a population of around 80,000 the city is at the foot of the Pyrénées with the Pic du Midi d’Ossau in view – this mountain peak being 2884 metres high. The grand 1.8 kilometre long Boulevard des Pyrénées runs from the Château to Beaumont Park in the centre of the city with cobblestone streets coming off it and small shops, bars, restaurants and cafés. Pau is just 85 kilometres from the Spanish border, and in the 19th century it was a popular destination for wealthy travellers, who built their mansions here, so Pau retains that mix of opulence and grandeur to this day. Lourdes is just 70 kilometres away from Pau.   
  • Bagnères-de-Luchon - or Luchon for short is in the Pyrènèes Mountains surrounded by 13 high mountain peaks, including Aneto, the highest mountain in the Pyrènèes at 3404 metres high. Luchon has been a Spa town since Roman days and today in the winter there is the gondola lift to take you up the mountains to Superbagnères Resort for skiing, while in the summer months there are all sorts of activities from biking to hiking, cycling, para gliding, to many white water activities. It is a beautiful place to visit at all times of the year, and with a number of museums and lots of activities you won’t be far away from a lot of fun times.

Stage Nine – was also a mountain ride from Vielha Val d’Aran to Andorre Arcalis, a distance of 184.5 kilometres.

  • Vielha -Val d’Aran – Vielha in the Val d’Aran has a population of around 4000 people and it is located on the Garona River some 974 metres above sea level. It is a picturesque small town with the Sant Miquel Church with its distinctive octagonal Bell Tower in the centre of the old town with its narrow cobble stone streets. Here in the Valley you are surrounded by snow cap mountains, so Vielha is a  great place to ski in the winter and to hike, bike and take in the beauty of the Valley in the Spring and summer months. Val d’Aran is also renowned for its food and cuisine. There is also a great lookout with a giant pinnacle shaped rock with a rock carving of a Tour de France cyclist on top of it, and a carving in the rock itself highlighting the tortuous pathway of the road that twists and turns up the mountain. In Vielha there are also museums and some classic homes to see too.
  • Andorre Arcalis – is 1940 metres above sea level so even higher than Vielha and this valley is in the Principality of Andorra, the small 468 square kilometre country that is located in the Pyrenees Mountains that straddle the borders between Spain and France. Here in Andorra, the official language is Catalan – but most of the population will speak either French or Spanish. The country attracts large numbers of tourists here to ski and there are said to be over 210 kilometres (130 miles) of ski runs, with a number of resorts set up here for skiers. In the summer months there are all the hiking, biking and mountain climbing to enjoy, and also shopping, restaurants and other activities. The Tour de France riders also get a rest day here too, to take a short break before heading stage of the race. The official capital of Andorra is Andorra La Vella – 1053 metres above sea level.

Stage Ten - was 197 kilometres long and started from Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra and headed to Revel also in Andorra in what is classed as a “hilly” section of the Tour de France.  Both of these places are in Andorra, so again you have the mix of Mountains and snow in the winter months and the fresh mountain air for hiking, cycling and climbing in the summer months. There are also the shopping, museums – even a Perfume Museum, old churches some dating back to the 12th century and Thermal Spas at Caldea to relax in.

Stage Eleven - was back to flat territory and was a 162.5 kilometre ride from Carcassonne to Montpelier.

  • Carcassonne – back in France  is an incredible sight to see, a medieval walled city and Chateau overlooking the Aude River with its old bridge crossing over it. The Canal du Midi is also here too. The city has trace its origins back to 3500BC, with the Romans around 300 BC fortifying the city and successive forces adding to it over the hundreds of years, with a massive restoration taking place in 1853. There are 53 towers set along the walls of the city and inside you will find the Chateau and Cathedral along with all the rest of the old city. It really is a walk back in history.
  • Montpelier – is a beautiful, vibrant city with lots of history and character, just 10 kilometres off the Coast, the city dating back to 985AD. Right in the centre of the City is the Place de la Comédie with the Three Graces Statue in its centre and a tramline running down one side. It is truly beautiful square and the heart of the city, with small historic laneways with shops, cafes and restaurants running off to its sides. Here in Montpelier, you will find museums including the famous Musée Fabre and Musée de Vieux Montpelier, the Opera House, Sant Roch church and the Saint Pierre Cathedral along with lots of markets, nightlife and other activities.  This is a city that is well worth spending more time getting to know.

Stage Twelve – was once more a Mountainous stage in the Tour de France and it started in Montpelier and headed to Mont Ventoux.

  • Mont Ventoux – (The Windy Mountain) in Provence is some 1912 metres high and stands out above the small village of Bedoin (Population 3000). The climb to the top is 21.8 kilometres with 16 kilometres of this being at a gradient of 8.9% making this stage of the Race one of if not the hardest climb in the whole Tour de France. Not only is it a steep climb, but as you near the top, you also face the prospect of strong winds, with the top of the mountain being almost free of vegetation, with bare white limestone creating almost the feeling of a desert environment. Here at the top of Mont Ventoux there is a monument made up on a high pile of stones with the silhouette of a cyclist on top, while halfway up there is another monument and plaque in honour of the British Tour de France cyclist, Tom Simpson who died here in the 1967 race.

Stage thirteen – was a time trial covering a distance of just 37.5 kilometres from Bourg-Saint-Andéol  to La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc.

  • Bourg-Saint-Andéol – has a population of around 7000 people and it is an historic small city located on the right bank of the Rhône River, surrounded by Vineyards and not far from the Bois de Laoul Forest, where there are 6 ‘Dolmen’ – the ancient stone structures thought to be burial places dating back to the Neolithic Age, 2000 to 3000 years ago. There are a number of small villages in this region too and all are very picturesque – some of them being Aigueze, Saint Montan, Viviers and La Roche-sur-Ceze with its 12th century Castle and arched bridge crossing over the Ceze River – with its spectacular Sautadet waterfall.  For Roman antiquities, look for the town of Orange – where there is an ancient Roman Theatre and Triumphal Archway.
  • La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc – this is a recreation of a 3600 year old cave that was discovered here with masses of cave drawings of animals and other aspects of life. It is complete with Stalagmites and Stalactites and quite an amazing sight to see.

Stage Fourteen – was a long ride of 208.5 kilometres but was largely flat, running from Montélimar to Villars-les-Dombes.

  • Montélimar in Provence  is around 80 kilometres north of Avignon and its greatest claim to fame is that this is where the famous Nougat de Montélimar is made. There is even a Museum of Nougat here too as well as an Aviation Museum and a Museum of Miniatures. The town is located on the Drôme River and the Ardèche Gorge is near here too with river sports popular in the summer months. Also look for the Adhémar Chateau, built between the 11th and 16th Century. Inside you will also find a Cotemporary Art Centre.
  • Villars-les-Dombes - is a small town, about 33 kilometres north east of the Lyons with a population of around 4000 people. The town is located on the Dombes Plateau that covers an area of around 500 square kilometres – a very flat area that is also dotted with étangs (man-made lakes) that are renowned for its migratory birds, making this area a popular destination for bird watchers. The Parc de Dombes has pathways and viewing platforms to see the birds that come to the Park, and the Park is open during the summer months and closed between late November and March. 

Stage Fifteen – once more headed to the Mountains, a 160 kilometre ride from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz. The two towns are just 85 kilometres from each other, but the Tour de France riders take a more tortuous route via 6 climbs up and down the mountains – so a distance of 160 kilometres.

  • Bourg-en-Bresse – Bourg is located 70 kilometres north of Lyon at the base of the Jura Mountains. It is best known as the place where the Royal Monastery of Brou is located, a remarkable Church that was consecrated in 1532. It is a historic market town, surrounded by farmland.
  • Culoz – is a small town of just 3000 people located on the right bank of the Rhône River, just below the beautiful Lac de Bourget. It is just 238 metres above sea level, but it is right at the start of the Alps  with the Grand Colombier of the Jura Mountains in view.

Stage Sixteen – was a flat 209 kilometre ride from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne in Switzerland.

  • Moirans-en-Montagne – Moirans is in the mountains near Lake Vouglans and it is famous as the French Toy Capital and for its wood turners making wooden toys. There is even a Musée de la Jouet (Toy Museum) and each year in July the village of just 2300 people stages the Idéklic Toy Festival. Not far from Moirans you will also find the wooden Church of Lavancia.
  • Berne (Bern) – is the Capital City of Switzerland with the old central part of the City located inside a large horseshoe shaped bend in the River Aare. The City is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with many buildings, arcades, columns with statues on-top  and laneways many dating back to the 12th century. It is also called the “City of Fountains” – with over 100 of them, most dating back to 1550. It is an easy city to walk around and just take in the atmosphere. Places to look for include the grand Federal Palace building with its dome tower; the Bern Münster Cathedral dating back to 1421; the Bern Historical Museum with over 500,000 objects some dating back to the Stone Age, and the Einstein Museum and the place where Albert Einstein (1879-1955) lived in 1905. He lived in Bern between 1903 and 1909. There are a number of other museums in Bern too and also a zoo, a popular rose garden and the Bärengraben beside the River Aabe, home to brown bears, bears being the symbol of the City as reflected in its coat of arms. The city is ringed by mountains, so is very picturesque, and if you want to get a bird’s view of the city and surrounds, head to the Bern Münster and climb the 276 steps to the top of the Bell Tower, built in 1893. Great views.

Stage Seventeen – headed from Berne to Finhaut-Emossan, a distance of 184.6 kilometres.

  • Finhaut  Emossan – Finhaut is one of three small Swiss mountain villages with their populations only a few hundred people. The other two villages are Giétroz and Le Châteland while Emossan is the large lake with a Dam wall over which the 2016 Tour de France riders crossed over.

Stage Eighteen – was an individual time trial, a short distance of just 17 kilometres from Sallanches to Megève.

  • Sallanches – is back in France and it is city of around 16,000 people. The city is located in a valley next to the Sallanches River near Mont Blanc. A bridge, the Saint Martin’s Bridge crosses over the river here and although it is now just a pedestrian bridge it dates back to around 1300AD. People come here in the winter to ski and in the summer for the alpine experience, with a cablecar to Aiguille de Midi taking you up to  height of some 3842 metres above sea level, for great views. When you are here, take a look at some of the small villages that are near Sallanches and look for the Arpenaz Waterfall too. It drops some 270 metres in a spectacular cascade of water from the melting snows above.
  • Megève – is a ski resort town, one of the oldest in France, with a number of ski runs and ski lifts to take you up the mountains within view of Mont Blanc. The city centre is car-free making it better for pedestrians to just wander along the cobbled streets, maybe catch a horse drawn sleigh ride, or go ice skating on the rink in the centre of town.

Stage Nineteen – was also a Mountain ride, this time from Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, a distance of 146 kilometres.

  • Albertville -  is a small town surrounded by mountains, and in 1992 it played host to the Winter Olympics, which is still today its main claim to fame. In the centre is the Place de l’Europe square which is where most of the activity happens. The square has long lines of columns facing the square as part of the buildings that are there, creating a sophisticated ambience to the square itself. Close by head to the small medieval village of Conflans to enjoy the village the Château Rouge and many other 17th and 18th century houses.
  • Saint Gervais – Mont Blanc – St Gervais has a population of around 5200 people and it is a big ski resort with some 445 kilometres of tree lined slopes. There are 219 slopes, 107 ski lifts and 650 artificial snow makers, with Mont Blanc, the 4808 metre high mountain located here too. At Le Fayet there is a Casino and also a tramway (Rack Railway) that makes the 1 hour journey to Bellevue. The Mont Blanc road tunnel leads from Chamonix in France under Mont Blanc to Courmayeur in Italy, a distance of 11611 metres. If you love seeing mountains to ski or to hike and enjoy alpine scenery, this is one of the best places to come to.

Stage Twenty – was a 146.5 kilometre ride from Megève (Listed above) to Morzine-Avoriaz, the final stage of the race, before the final stage from Chantilly and heading into Paris. As the race nears the final stages, the excitement builds.

  • Morzine- Avoriaz – Morzine and Avoriaz are both ski resorts in the French Alps. In Morzine there are 46 ski lifts and 66 slopes, while in Avoriaz there are 36 ski lifts and 51 slopes. Portes du Soleil is even bigger, with 196 ski lifts and 280 slopes. As you would expect this whole area is a mass of mountains, valleys and alpine scenery, a winter wonderland, but for the riders in the Tour de France this is the last stage of mountains to conquer. Just one more stage to go.

Stage 21 – the Final stage in this great race, and it started in Chantilly and headed the 113 kilometres to the final stretch down the Champs Élysées in Paris. The end of the race is in sight.

  • Chantilly - is located to the north of Paris and the city has a population of around 11,000 people. The city is famous as being the origin of ‘Chantilly Cream’ and also the home of the Château de Chantilly – a massive castle surrounded by lakes on both sides, with formal gardens, ponds and a Grand Stables building and museum dedicated to horses, carriages and related items. The city itself has many 16th and 17th century buildings and great gardens such as the Potager des Princes garden on the River Nonette. There is the large Chantilly forest areas nearby too and here you will find another Château, the Château de la Reine-Blanche (Castle of the white queen). 
  • Paris – there is perhaps no greater spectacle than seeing the last stage of the Tour de France race in Paris as riders do their final race down the Champs Élysées, one of if not the most significant grand boulevards in the world.  

In 2016 the winner of the yellow jersey was Chris Froome from Britain and the CI Proteam, Team Sky. Chris Froome stood on the podium in 2013 and 2015 winning in both those years – a remarkable achievement.

In 2017 the Race will be on again, and while it takes a different route, it will be no less arduous.

I hope you will follow the race on TV or from a vantage point along the route and maybe some of the information above will help you enjoy your travels in France, be that you travel by car or by cycling.

Happy cycling!

Geoff Stuart

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