The route has been revealed, and it’s a good one. The Tour de France 2016 will be a varied and exciting race, 160 kilometres longer than 2015’s event. Last year’s champion Chris Froome will defend his title, there are plenty of contenders vying for the win, and it’s a fantastic time for sports fans to plan a trip to the Gallic nation.
This 103rd edition of one of the world’s most famous sporting events begins on the 2nd of July and finishes on the 24th of July.
The “Grand Départ” this year will take place at Mont-Saint-Michel, a picturesque commune in Normandy with an iconic island castle. The Manche department is eagerly looking forward to hosting the first two stages of the race, before it heads southeast through Angers and Limoges to complete a few stages in the south - crossing into Spain and Andorra before hitting Carcassonne and Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast.
The race then heads northeast into the hills, mountains and valleys of southeast France, crossing into Switzerland to visit Bern. After a decent sojourn in this picturesque part of Europe, riders fly to Chantilly to complete the final stage, arriving at the traditional finish line on the Champs-Élysées.
Touring with the Tour
If you’re planning to follow along for some or all of the Tour de France 2016, there will be much more than cycling to keep you occupied. we have put together a list of some of the highlights on or near the route, so you can mix spectating and sightseeing.
Mont-Saint-Michel, the starting point for the Tour, is a gorgeous sight - the slender spires of the castle rise above a tidal island. If you’re in the area, you must see it. Time it to coincide with the start of the race, but be prepared for crowds!
Bordeaux and its surrounding surrounding wine country require a small detour but it’s worth it for those who love the good life! In the area surrounding this graceful city you can drive the Route de Médoc to visit all kinds of wineries, stop into the famous Bergerac and maybe even catch a wine-themed festival.
Carcassonne is the start point for one of the stages, and an excellent destination for sightseeing. The fortified town is a flashback into the middle ages, and looks like something out of a fairytale.
Catch up with the tour in Montpellier and then explore the wonderful French Riviera region, also known as the Mediterranean coast. Marseille, Saint-Tropez, Nice, Monaco.. the glitz, glamour, sun and sand are waiting!
The race spends quite a bit of time in Switzerland and in and around the Haute-Savoie region, so you can see plenty of what this mountainous region has to offer. It is filled with charming alpine towns, the gastronomic delights of Lyon, as well as the orderly urban areas and stunning lake-snowy peak visual combos that characterise Switzerland.
With the grand final finish taking place in Paris, you’ll have an excuse to visit the City of Lights - as if you needed one. Take in the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, shop the boutiques, dine in the restaurants and enjoy that “je ne sais quoi” which makes Paris, Paris.
A Tour de France road trip is an unforgettable experience, combining spectating, scenery and sightseeing in whichever way you wish. Find a France motorhome rental and you could be racing to the finish with the best of them!