Watching the Tour de France in Paris
Well if you don’t happen to be Sheryl Crow or John Kerry, where do you watch the Tour de France finish, not lots of advice on the web, but basically, they cruise in via the Rue di Rivoli past the Jardin de Tuileries and then hit the Place de la Concorde then up and down the to the Arc de Triomphe 8 times. “Fodor’s Forum”:http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=34632876 has the best advice and of course there is a dedicated website “tdfamericans.us”:http://tdfamericans.us that is all about seeing the TDF and the “TDFBlog”:http://www.tdfblog.com/ is always good.
Here is some advice:
* I’ve watched the Tour de France beside The Place de la Concorde and for the 2 hours I waited and the 5 seconds of seeing the cyclists, I wouldn’t bother doing it again. _Hey I would!_
* I’ve seen it a couple times, including last year on the Champs-Elysees. Five [people] deep is good, it’s usually more. I couldn’t see much of anything, although you could see the final announcements and prize awarding because they do that on a stage, so it is higher up. That was basically on the grassy park just to the west of the actual place de la Concorde. Well, I can tell you a great place, I was jealous, but it is limited — the McDonalds on the Champs-Elysees has several tables/seats on the second floor right in front of the window overlooking the street
* I was in Paris for the last day of the tour 2 years ago. We were along the rue de Rivoli almost across from the the carrousel du Louvre. We could see plenty. My then 12 year old daughter was with us and she also could see. It was so exciting to watch the cyclist zoom by. When we thought the race was almost over we made our way to the finish. I can’t remember our route but it wasn’t easy to get there, but well worth it. We only saw Lance from the waist up but that was ok.
* We did however get to see the Peleton arrive up at the Place de Bastille where they only do 2 circuits but is less busy (even go to see the yellow jersey M. Armstrong).
* It starts getting really crowded in about the last hour before they are due to do the finishing laps up and down near the Arc. I think you could see pretty well if you were willing to wait 2-3 hours for it.
“About”:http://studenttravel.about.com/od/tourdefrance2005/f/tourwatching.htm also mentions that they have a big screen TV at the Hotel de Paris (City Hall), so you can watch it there and turn around and see the folks at the rue de Rivoli if you like.
“TDF Americans”:http://tdfamericans.us/tips_viewing.htm has some great tips on the final day of viewing:
* Starting at about 10:30 the crowds will start to thicken and by early afternoon there is no possible way to leave your spot on the barricades without it being quickly filled. Get started early as the barricades will fill up. It will be a long day, so plan accordingly. If you can get your hands on items like small folding chairs or seats your feet will love you. The barricades will start to fill by 10-10:30 and if you want to inhabit a large amount of space for a group I suggest getting there earlier. (Like 7 A.M.)
* A grand parade follows the end of the race and the riders? victory lap. It starts about 7 pm and includes balloons holding up acrobats, explosions of yellow confetti, dancers, drummers, people rolling along inside big wheels, gaggles of young kids in yellow outfits on yellow bikes, celebrities and just plain folks having a good time.