Due to a sudden burst of generosity by the frequent flyer gods, we're going to be in France in July. Wonder if there is anything gong on we might want to see . . .
Of course, other people make plans to see the tour starting the day the route is announced, but we just got tickets a few days ago, so some advice from PdC folks might help us plan an itinerary and decide how much we'll try and do.
We have no aspiration of catching a mountain top finish, but we would love to catch a couple of stages in the middle, find a small village en fete and hang out for the day to watch the race blow by at top speed. And we really want to see the publicity caravan.
I'm sure we'll also want to try a start or finish town, which I'm guessing is a little trickier than at the Tour of California (although that has become the world's premiere stage race). Leaving aside the issue of hotel availability, how accessible or restricted are the starts and finishes? Can you get to see enough for it to be worth the investment in time (crowds I expect, but the VIP and media circus are not something we've experienced). Are there festivals in the start and finish towns that are fun regardless of whether you see much of the riders?
If anyone has advice on being in Paris for the finish, that would be appreciated too.
Lastly, if any fellow Americans have experience using an IPad in Europe, it would be great to know if you had success.
We get into Paris on the 7th. May head south right to friends in Limoges but were thinking of aiming for Stage 10 & 11 (Aurillac and Lavaur). After that we may hang around in the southwest before heading back to Paris for the finish, a few days before our return flight. But we may be tempted to head east to Pinerolo for a finish and start, or Briancon which they pass through twice on consecutive days. Or we might do something completely different we haven't thought of yet.
We'll have a car, but not bikes, although we're hoping to rent and ride in a couple of places between stages. There are flat parts of France, right?
And by all means, use this thread to share travel plans, advice, and plan any meet-ups. Now I will go sit quietly in a corner of the cafe and let you have at it.