TDF .... Spectators tips

odieboy Posts: 5
Hi, hoping you knowledgeable lot can help. Sorry for the long post but On behalf of my (non-cycling) sister in law:

I’m taking my husband to Paris to watch the final laps at the Champs Elysee this July. It’s a surprise so I’m trying to plan it all out with very limited knowledge of how the day works. We are going for 4 days with our two young children. As such I’ve not been able to afford seated tickets. I’m looking for some specific advice on the following but I would really appreciate any tips anyone has on viewing the race.

How do I find out what time the peloton comes in on the Sunday? How long before the peloton do you suggest being in viewing position? Does this tie in with the Metros closing at all?
It’s suggested that for a less crowded area we should spectate from Rue de Rivoli. As we have children we will need somewhere for them to pop off to every now and again, especially for toilets and boredom. So I have noted that perhaps it would be better to be up by the Jardin des Tuileries, especially as the metro is on that side of the road. Would this be wise?
Will we still see the cyclists 8 times from this spot?
How long between each lap might we have to wait?
Does anyone know when the metro stations close and then reopen on the Sunday? We are staying out in Belleville so need to plan our route home.
Where is the presentation stage, specifically? Might we be able to see a few laps from Tuileries and then walk up to the stage viewing area if there is one that’s free?


  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,671

    If you click around and click on the stopwatch logo you’ll get the timings. A lap is roughly 10 minutes per go.

    In Paris once you’re a block or two away from the course you won’t notice the Tour so that’ll help with the surprise.

    Can’t help re toilets but for atmosphere and fun follow the groups from different countries - fairly sure there’s a bunch of fun Norwegians on the corner before the champs.

    Main thing is if you want front row you might want to hang about for a couple of hours or so
  • thegreatdivide
    thegreatdivide Posts: 5,807
    I can give you advice from experience, as my wife and I went to watch it on the Champs Elysees in 2014.

    We have a friend who tries to go to Paris for the last stage every year. No idea how many times she's been now, but she was a wealth of info. So here are a few tips...

    If you want to watch the race from the barriers, or even a couple of rows behind, you need to be there really, really early. We were told to get a spot in the section just after the finish where the sprinters meet their soigneurs, while the rest of the teams basically collapse after 21 days. It's in front of the Marigny Theatre, opposite the Grand Palais. We arrived at about 8AM and managed to find a gap at the fence - just. Other spots on the Champs will fill up quickly too - so if you want a view you need to be an early bird. But if you're both 6 foot plus you'll be fine wherever!

    There are no portaloos etc. Public toilets are scarce and you might have to resort to McDonalds etc. However, another reason to go to the Marigny Theatre is it's in a wee park with public loos!

    Find a camping shop the day before and buy cheap fold out chairs. We gave ours to some homeless folk after he race. Good karma, and easier than taking them on a plane.

    WATERPROOFS! It can be a scorcher, then biblical rain - and on the Champs if it rains you'll end up standing in a river.

    Food and water - you can guess how big the queues get in the food shops.

    Although you'll be there for a while, the time goes by quickly. There are loads of big TVs so you can watch the last stage until they hit Paris. Once they're on the Champs you can watch them go up one side, then down the other until the finish.

    This year's Tour de France Femmes starts on the 24/7 on the Champs, so you'll get their race, then the men's last stage.

    It's worth a walk down the Avenue de Marigny, or as close to it as possible, then check out the back streets behind the Élysée Palace - that's where the team buses are usually parked. I can't guarantee they still do it, but the riders used head up the Avenue to get away from the finish and onto the buses - they were straight on the beers when we saw them, and the Sky bus was like an FA Cup scene with fans.

    That'll do for now. If I can think of any more tips I'll add them later.
  • thegreatdivide
    thegreatdivide Posts: 5,807
    Oh yeah - forgot that you'll probably not get so see the presentation as that's done on a temporary stage in front of the VIPs, media, teams etc . It's for 'the special people'. There's stadium style seating at the finish and then a section on the ground. Us plebs don't get near it.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,372
    When I went in 2018 I took advice to go to the Tuileries and got there a few hours before. Unfortunately, that was the first year (I believe) that they stopped viewing from that side. However, I was still able to get up close to the park fence and enjoy a decent view. There was also a raised area at the northern end of the park where can get a good view of the chicane into the finishing straight.

    It was pretty good in there as there was a bit of shade, places to eat and drink and think there were toilets but I think you may be trapped in there once the roads have been closed.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,372
    Oh, and afterwards we went to a McDonalds in the local shopping centre (below the Louvre from memory) and when we came out got to see a few of the teams on their buses. EF looked like they were partying hard and Sky had a big crowd of mainly Colombian supporters mobbing Bernal after his first Tour. Got to see Froome, Thomas and, slightly bizarrely, Chris Hoy.
  • davidof
    davidof Posts: 3,065
    I would watch it from the hotel TV
    BASI Nordic Ski Instructor
  • thegreatdivide
    thegreatdivide Posts: 5,807
    davidof said:

    I would watch it from the hotel TV

    Bore off.

  • odieboy
    odieboy Posts: 5
    Cheers all, this is mega useful
  • carbonclem
    carbonclem Posts: 1,724
    edited June 2022
    I took my family including my 11 yr old daughter in 2013.
    Got there about early afternoon and struggled to get on the barriers for the evening finish. We were close to MacDonalds for loo’s and cheap refreshments.
    As the caravan came around the crowds really closed in with some fairly aggressive locals. Got a bit heated at times.
    We got to see the podium albeit at a bit of a distance but enough.

    Hope it goes well for you. You have to do it for your own experience but it can be a tough day out.
    2020/2021/2022 Metric Century Challenge Winner
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    If you're not first row, your best bet to see them zoom past (they're feckin' fast) is a small step ladder, 'elf n' safety be darned.

    However! While having one wasn't a problem for the chap next to me when the Tour finished in London back in 2014 (I was in front of Buckingham palace), security might have changed now. Most clearly seen in the Eiffel tower being surrounded by a wall of some sort of acrylate polymer.
  • pottssteve
    pottssteve Posts: 4,069
    I was there back in 2012, watched from the Rue de Rivoli, just opposite where it joins the Rue de Lemmonier. It was possible to see them come out of the tunnel and then around the corner. One advantage is that the shops there have covered pavement outside, which can give a bit of shelter from the elements. I was there about 2 hours early and was about 5th or 6th back from the barriers. Some people had little stepladders, as drhaggis says, to see over the crowds. The atmosphere was good, but you do see a lot more on the telly....
    Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs
  • josame
    josame Posts: 1,162
    I went when Lemond went early (1991) - it has to be done but obvs gets about 10 people deep at the barrier unless you encamp early doors. Enjoy!
    'Do not compare your bike to others, for always there will be greater and lesser bikes'