Have you ever travelled through France?
Your motorhome isn’t limited to the UK. There are thousands of miles of roads throughout Europe, waiting to be explored.
And if you’ve never holidayed in your motorhome outside the UK before, France offers the perfect opportunity to do so.
It’s an amazing place, filled with wonderful landscapes, quality food and a fascinating culture.
And there’s no better time to go than this summer, when it plays host to the most intense, physically-demanding sporting event in the world – the Tour de France.
Journeying around France, following the race is the holiday you never imagined, but will turn out to be one of the most memorable experiences in your lifetime.
Here’s how you can make the most of it…
When is the Tour de France?
The race begins on July 1st and ends on July 23rd, with a couple of rest days in the middle.
It actually kicks-off in Dusseldorf, Germany and goes through Belgium and Luxembourg before reaching France on July 5th.
What is the Route?
The Tour de France schedule is as follows:
|STAGE||DATE||START AND FINISH|
|1||Saturday, July 1st||Düsseldorf / Düsseldorf|
|2||Sunday, July 2nd||Düsseldorf / Liège|
|3||Monday, July 3rd||Verviers / Longwy|
|4||Tuesday, July 4th||Mondorf-les-Bains / Vittel|
|5||Wednesday, July 5th||Vittel / La planche des belles filles|
|6||Thursday, July 6th||Vesoul / Troyes|
|7||Friday, July 7th||Troyes / Nuits-Saint-Georges|
|8||Saturday, July 8th||Dole / Station des rousses|
|9||Sunday, July 9th||Nantua / Chambéry|
|–||Monday, July 10th||Rest Day in Dordogne|
|10||Tuesday, July 11th||Périgueux / Bergerac|
|11||Wednesday, July 12th||Eymet / Pau|
|12||Thursday, July 13th||Pau / Peyragudes|
|13||Friday, July 14th||Saint-Girons / Foix|
|14||Saturday, July 15th||Blagnac / Rodez|
|15||Sunday, July 16th||Laissac-Sévérac l’Église / Le Puy-en-Velay|
|–||Monday, July 17th||Rest Day in Le Puy-en-Velay|
|16||Tuesday, July 18th||Le Puy-en-Velay / Romans-sur-Isère|
|17||Wednesday, July 19th||La Mure / Serre-Chevalier|
|18||Thursday, July 20th||Briançon / Izoard|
|19||Friday, July 21st||Embrun / Salon-de-Provence|
|20||Saturday, July 22nd||Marseille / Marseille|
|21||Sunday, July 23rd||Montgeron / Paris Champs-Élysées|
And a map illustrating the route can be seen below:
Where can I watch the Tour de France?
If you’re heading to France, and want to follow the race, then there are certain places along the route we would recommend stopping at to enjoy the experience.
Below we’ve listed our top ten. Due to time constraints, you probably won’t get to all of them – but if you can visit six or seven then it will be an incredible trip.
Vittel is a beautiful town in north-eastern France, and represents the first stop in this incredible country.
The riders will arrive here at the end of the day on July 4th, and depart again the next morning.
It’s a wonderful little part of Lorraine, with lots of greenery and beautiful plant-life. You’ll have a very pleasant stay here.
Troyes offers a relatively flat surface to the riders, with very few hills or other challenging terrains.
As a visitor, you’ll find a lively town with some fantastic architecture, and very proud historical roots.
You can enjoy the race, but also some of the features this town has to offer – including museums and boutique shops.
The final day before the first rest begins in Nantua. A small, mountainous village of around 3,000 people.
It typically proves to be a difficult part of the race, with lots of steep hills, and many of the riders suffering from tired legs after over a week of riding.
But it is located in a beautiful part of the country and overlooks a large lake, providing some stunning landscapes.
The second leg of the tour begins in Perigueux, and ends in the market town of Bergera.
Located just by the Dordogne River, it is a place that prides itself on art and history.
You’ll find lots of boutique shops, and a surprisingly large tourism industry, give how small the town is.
You’ll find a massive change in terrain when you head up to Peyragudes.
This mountainous region has a thriving skiing resort through the winter months, but in summer becomes a green oasis.
It can get quite busy up here during the Tour de France – so try and get there early if you can, to ensure you get a good view of the athletes!
Not quite as up and down as Peyragudes, but Rodez is still quite hilly.
Which means there are plenty of good spots to see the action.
Rodez is an interesting place, with a growing number of tourists opting to visit. It has a range of excellent museums you won’t want to miss.
7. Le Puy-en-Velay
The second rest day takes place in Le Puy-en-Velay on July 17th, before the final leg begins the next morning.
Over 700,000 tourists visit the town every year – and you can see why, with beautiful architecture, and a unique, quite religious atmosphere.
It’s one of the spots we really do urge you to go to – and with the race schedule it’s a great place to stay for a couple of days.
The final stretch of mountainous terrain includes a stop in Briancon.
If you fancy driving your motorhome up to the highest city in Europe, at 1,350 metres above sea level, then be sure to include this on your trip.
And when you’re done enjoying the spectacular views, it’s all downhill from then on!
The penultimate day of racing takes place in Marseille, with an individual time trial measured at just 22.5 km.
Marseille is one of the most amazing cities in France – and should absolutely not be missed.
As well as hosting the race, this is a lively, energetic city with lots of magnificent attractions, restaurants and sights to see.
The Tour de France concludes in the nation’s capital.
And it’s something you’ll definitely want to experience.
Topping off your trip in one of the greatest cities in the world just adds the icing on the cake.
Now that the race is over, you can take the time to explore this incredible place, and all it has to offer.
Where Can You Stay in Each of These Places?
For motorhome owners, there is just one thing you need to find a place to stop for the night.
This stopover map, from France Passion, will connect you to over 10,000 free stopover sites throughout the country.
These sites are offered by landowners who are willing to let you use their space for an evening.
You will need to purchase a membership from France Passion to access all the information, but it is well worth the money.
With that, you’ll have everything you need for an amazing time at the Tour de France.
We wish you the best of luck on your travels!
If you’re driving in France you may need an Air Quality Sticker – Click here to find out more.