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Tour de France catch-all thread

Tour de France catch-all thread

Old Jun 24, 10, 9:11 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
Check out this map of the route to help get some ideas for where to see it.
Thanks, Mike - this is very helpful. I know it's a long ride, but we have to get to LUX anyways, and it's not too far from there. Never been to Brussels, so looking forward to even a short stay.
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Old Jul 14, 10, 2:14 am
  #32  
 
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Howdy:

You all seem very knowledgeable about the Tour and France/Paris!!

I am currently over here and will be doing two VIP deals on two stages next weekend, then in Paris.

I am driving my own BMW that I picked up at the factory in Munich last month. I will be dropping it at CDG/Roissy where it will be shipped home to me in the US and then I fly out of CDG on the 27th.

Here's my question:

Several weeks ago I booked Sat the 24th at Le Meridien Etoile and Sun the 25th at the Westin, as I will be on the Champs Elysses on the 26th for the race. I read too many bad reviews and comments about PDG to want to stay there, even though the location is the best in this case.

I'm considering coming into Paris on Friday the 23rd and dropping my car on Friday rather than Monday so I don't have to deal with parking, switching hotels and driving into Paris.

Is getting to and from CDG into Paris on public transportation a real pain in the butt? I've read tons of stuff on what buses and trains here on the forums, but didn't really see anything specific as to time frames and hassle factors. I'll pay for taxis or car service if it's that much easier. I want the easy button rather than the cheap one!! But I've heard and read that Paris traffic is so insane, I wonder how taxis and car services and buses could be worth it or easy?

If I cancel my reservations at LM and Westin and just stay at the Sheraton at CDG for three nights then I won't have to deal with hauling luggage, driving my car into the city and back to the airport, parking etc.

But at the same time, I really just want a great Paris and Tour experience and I am not afraid to pay for it.

Are you with me?

What would be the best approach for me so that my weekend in Paris is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!!
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Old Jul 14, 10, 10:04 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by BulaRae View Post
Is getting to and from CDG into Paris on public transportation a real pain in the butt? I've read tons of stuff on what buses and trains here on the forums, but didn't really see anything specific as to time frames and hassle factors. I'll pay for taxis or car service if it's that much easier. I want the easy button rather than the cheap one!! But I've heard and read that Paris traffic is so insane, I wonder how taxis and car services and buses could be worth it or easy?

If I cancel my reservations at LM and Westin and just stay at the Sheraton at CDG for three nights then I won't have to deal with hauling luggage, driving my car into the city and back to the airport, parking etc.

But at the same time, I really just want a great Paris and Tour experience and I am not afraid to pay for it.

Are you with me?

What would be the best approach for me so that my weekend in Paris is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!!
If you don't mind being on your own for the day (no place to "crash" if you get tired), then it really doesn't matter much whether you have a hotel in town or at CDG (assuming your hotel has good access to CDG and the RER terminal). Taking the RER between Paris and CDG is simple and only to be avoided if you were lugging a bunch of stuff and concerned about pickpockets. I've done it many times and don't see what people get so concerned about; I think being on a train, even a train that's more like a blue-collar commute line than something really nice, is preferable to being stuck in a tax or even on a bus in Paris traffic. And there's really nothing worth seeing on the drive into town.

Besides, you've got nothing to lose. Take the train once, and if you don't like it, you can take the cab for the next trip. There are also the Air France busses, which drop you off at the Arc d Triomphe, Gare Montparnasse or Gare Lyon (maybe one other station or place too?), very comfortable, very reasonably priced, but they don't run as often as the RER.

So again, if getting from the hotel to the RER station is easy, then that's a great way to get into town (in my opinion, and assuming you're bringing not much more than a backpack).

Which stages will you be doing the VIP thing?
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Old Jul 24, 10, 9:37 am
  #34  
 
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Back from our trip and had a couple of interesting...and fun...experiences related to the Tour.

One day, while driving from Annecy to Chamonix via La Clusaz...one of the mountain stages...we ran across a number of Tour signs, hanging tour jerseys and the like, along with a number of riders...individuals and small groups...doing the climb to Col des Aravis.

Tournus was quite lively in preparation for the Tour start. Even the post man was wearing the polkadot Mountain stage jersey while making his rounds. But the most fun of all was that we were staying just outside Tournus and where the AP photo crew also happened to stay Friday night. We had some wine with them that night and breakfast on Saturday...they showed us their shots from the Friday stage and told a number of Tour stories. Apparently they have worked together on the Tour for nearly 20 years. There were even group photos Saturday morning before they took off in their caravan...van and motorcycles. They were a great group...lots of fun...a real highlight.

We were also up in Samoens, not far from Morzine, the week before that Stage, but there was nothing much around. Probably more closer to Morzine.

All in all lots of fun, especially the AP crew. Hope everyone else is having fun as well...
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Old Jul 25, 10, 2:28 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by BulaRae View Post
... Is getting to and from CDG into Paris on public transportation a real pain in the butt? I've read tons of stuff on what buses and trains here on the forums, but didn't really see anything specific as to time frames and hassle factors. I'll pay for taxis or car service if it's that much easier. I want the easy button rather than the cheap one!! But I've heard and read that Paris traffic is so insane, I wonder how taxis and car services and buses could be worth it or easy? ...
If you want to follow this up, it should probably be in a new thread on getting to/from CDG or in one of the several existing ones on that topic rather than in this one on the Tour.

Still, just wanted to add that, if you have a hotel room in Paris, another option is an airport shuttle van. Your hotel desk can book this for you. Only downside compared to a taxi is perhaps another couple of stops to pick up passengers, and it's much less expensive. If you're not at a hotel you can also book one on your own if you know where you'll be and when. (There are several companies, all about the same.)
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Old Feb 14, 11, 11:13 pm
  #36  
 
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Mike, found this thread while looking around in the 'France' section. Would like your thoughts on the following:

I'll be doing Ironman Austria on July 3. A friend and I thought it would be fun to go watch the Tour for a couple of days in the week following. I am going through a travel company for my race. The options for a post-Ironman outing look like it would include: travel over to the west side of France for stages 4-7ish, but the flights involved require a transfer from CDG to Orly. Then there is the issue of shipping my bike home for about $600 or hauling it around (Trico case). And the dates we have to watch the Tour are just flat stages anyway.

I'm thinking it might be too much hassle to combine the trips and maybe just come back another year dedicated to watching the Tour. It might have been easier if the early stages were on the side of France closer to Klagenfurt, but now I feel almost as if I were a foreign visitor to the US who might have supposed that visiting the Grand Canyon whilst on a trip to NYC "because we're on the right continent" was a good idea, if you know what I mean? I think I didn't realize just how far we were from the action.

Thoughts?

Might be easier to go see Tour of California and then focus on Ironman only for when I'm in Europe.

thanks
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Old Jun 29, 18, 11:15 pm
  #37  
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So who's heading to the Tour de France this year? Haven't updated this thread in some time. My son and I, assuming things work out at the shop, will be heading to Lourdes for 9 days, then on to Paris for the finale.
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Old Jul 5, 18, 1:57 am
  #38  
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Unfortunately, my France travel schedule this year isn't working out as well as last year, when I got to watch the Tour from la Place de la Concorde. We're departing Provence for Paris this coming Saturday and heading back to the US 8 days later. Still, I will be looking to catch snippets of the race on random televisions!!!

It has been really fun looking for signs of tours past on the roads around here!
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Old Jul 9, 18, 10:49 pm
  #39  
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
Unfortunately, my France travel schedule this year isn't working out as well as last year, when I got to watch the Tour from la Place de la Concorde. We're departing Provence for Paris this coming Saturday and heading back to the US 8 days later. Still, I will be looking to catch snippets of the race on random televisions!!!

It has been really fun looking for signs of tours past on the roads around here!
You have GOT to find a way to see the "real" Tour de France, either via the small-town atmosphere where it's a gigantic party, or on a mountain climb. At the very least experience the insanity of the caravan, where grown men & women compete with kids for worthless trinkets being tossed from speeding cars with screwy facades.

OK, if in Paris that Sunday, that's the infamous cobblestone stage. You can take the TGV from Paris to the start town (Arras), or a town further long the course (like Montigny-en-Ostrev, Orchies, Baisieux... I checked Roubaix but the train station isn't within walking distance of the course, while all the others I mentioned are).

Or you could see the stage start in Annecy on Wednesday the 18th. Annecy is a wonderful town; my guess is you've already been, but if not, it shouldn't be too hard to talk someone into making the trip. Would be an early train out of Paris though; 5:50am to get there in time to see the caravan leave.
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Old Jul 11, 18, 11:27 am
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
So who's heading to the Tour de France this year?
Hi Mike,

I'll be there again this year. I am lucky enough to have business in the EU that makes the yearly pilgrimage possible. This year we will stop in the Alps for the three days of mountain stages ending with L'Alpe d'Huez. We may also watch in Roubaix if our flight lands on time and we feel like making the drive directly to the course.

In the past, I have both rented a motorhome with friends or my family, or gone quick and light- only using a station wagon for sleeping in the mountains and hotels in the cities. This year will be quick and light. Most motorhomes are only available for 2+ weeks and I hate paying double for the one week we will be there. We also have a lot of ground to cover and a car makes much better time in Germany.

Last year I was in Paris for the finish. Although I have been to Paris on business many times, it was the first time for the Tour finish. It was good to experience this for once, but I feel the small towns and mountains are more my style. You mentioned Annecy. It is a fun town. I have seen the tour time trial there in 2009 where it went around the lake.

For me it is the experience of the people and the land as much as the race. Everyone forgets the world and their problems for a moment and it is like one big family. I have met great people from all over the world. Each day we are next to a new group and get to know them before moving on to a new group the next day.

Zeug
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Old Jul 11, 18, 11:46 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Zeug View Post
Hi Mike,

I'll be there again this year. I am lucky enough to have business in the EU that makes the yearly pilgrimage possible. This year we will stop in the Alps for the three days of mountain stages ending with L'Alpe d'Huez. We may also watch in Roubaix if our flight lands on time and we feel like making the drive directly to the course.

In the past, I have both rented a motorhome with friends or my family, or gone quick and light- only using a station wagon for sleeping in the mountains and hotels in the cities. This year will be quick and light. Most motorhomes are only available for 2+ weeks and I hate paying double for the one week we will be there. We also have a lot of ground to cover and a car makes much better time in Germany.

Last year I was in Paris for the finish. Although I have been to Paris on business many times, it was the first time for the Tour finish. It was good to experience this for once, but I feel the small towns and mountains are more my style. You mentioned Annecy. It is a fun town. I have seen the tour time trial there in 2009 where it went around the lake.

For me it is the experience of the people and the land as much as the race. Everyone forgets the world and their problems for a moment and it is like one big family. I have met great people from all over the world. Each day we are next to a new group and get to know them before moving on to a new group the next day.

Zeug
You nailed it. It's a different world, an amazing mix of people, places & things. The small towns throwing a TdF festival when it comes through... not to be missed. And seeing it on a high mountain, hearing the helicopters miles away, telling you it's drawing near, the lead motorcycles, it's just the most amazing experience. Not to mention the long bike rides getting there! My son and I were at Annecy that year as well. In fact, that's where my profile pic here comes from. Riding back from Annecy to Albertville after the race, parked on the bike path was a small circus-in-transit. Unattended truck carrying lions! Out in the middle of nowhere. And the food from the roadside vendors... such awesome sausages. And bagettes, so simple, so good.

I do miss the removal of the language barrier though. It was a lot more fun when you couldn't get by with English and had to struggle a bit to communicate. Two years ago that seemed to change. Je parle francaise comme un vache espagnol! My son, on the other hand, can start up a conversation in French with just about anybody.
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