The ultimate road trip in Europe: following the Tour of France race route

If you have ever watched a stage of the Tour of France road cycling race on television or online, you may have liked the sceneries, the castles and the mountains along the route. They are not accidental sights, but practically everywhere in France it is possible to find exciting places to visit. Thousands of people across Europe drive every July to France to see the sights and to follow the bicycle race.
Pyrenees, Mauleon-Barousse, Tour de France car park The Tour of France road cycling race is regarded the biggest sports event in the world. The World Cup football/soccer tournament may get more television viewers, but it is estimated that the number of spectators following the Tour of France live where it happens on the road is the largest audience for a sports event in the world.

In 2018, the Tour of France will start on July 7th and end on 29th. The route of the 2018 edition of the race is available below. The map is by the Tour of France official site where you can find all the details of stages, teams, and riders.
Le Tour de France 2018 map by ASO
First, the race will follow the roads of Bretagne along and near the Atlantic coast. Next, cyclists will head to North France all the way to Roubaix (with a few feared cobblestone sections along the way). From there, the cyclists will fly to the Alps to tackle the mountains. It doesn’t get any easier after the Alps, because the Pyrenees Mountains must be conquered before the last stage in Paris.
Le Tour de France in St Girons, start town for a stage on Pyrenees
It is practically impossible to see every stage of the race live on the road side, even if you try it for a week or so. Roads are closed before the race, traffic diverted, and on some mountains, there are simply so many vehicles that roads must be closed a day or two ahead of the race. With a little planning, skipping some stages leaves time for seeing the nearby sights and towns.

Here are a few fun moments from the 2017 Tour of France.

Tour de France 2017 sponsor caravan arrives in Mauleon-Barousse, a village in France, on the Pyrenees mountains

The Tour of France publicity caravan in St Girons from Travel User Guide on Vimeo.

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