France Places to go

Chasing the Tour de France

paris campsitesShauna Reid and her husband Gareth are avid fans of the Tour de France. Last summer, they travelled to Paris to catch the end of the race – a thrilling sprint around the Champs-Élysées.

Here, Shauna tells us about the experience.

I became a Tour de France addict by accident. Eight years ago I was flicking through channels and stumbled across the Tour highlights show. It was a strange new world full of jargon: pelotons, yellow jerseys, sprints, breakaways… what was going on?

But after much Googling and a copy of ‘Tour de France for Dummies’ I was obsessed. The Tour is a compelling event – three exciting weeks of speed, suffering, crashes, gigantic mountains, Lycra-clad blokes with skinny arms and of course, stunning French countryside.

tour de franceEvery year my husband and I would watch the final stage on the Champs-Élysées from the couch and vow to go watch in person next time. After all, it is only an hour on the plane from Edinburgh, and there are two Canvas campsites close to Paris.

We’d be crazy not to!” I’d say.

Then we’d promptly forget all about it, until we had the very same conversation the following year.

I finally took action after the 2011 tour, when my fellow Australian Cadel Evans took overall victory and Mark Cavendish won the green sprinter’s jersey. I wanted to be in that cheering crowd! I booked flights as soon as they came on sale.

As luck would have it, 2012 turned out to be an incredible year for Britain. Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey on Day 7 and held it all the way to Paris. Fellow Brits Chris Froome, David Millar and Mark Cavendish won stages too. By time we boarded our flight, Britain was in the throes of Wiggomania. I couldn’t believe we’d get to witness a historic first British victory!

But first there was a bonus day of action. On Saturday we took a train to Chartres, an hour from Paris. As well as being home to the famous Gothic cathedral it was host to the time trial, the penultimate Tour stage. A time trial is a great value day for a cycling nerds – you get to see every single rider individually over the course of a couple of hours, for free!

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But once there isnt any other place to go..

by pbr_guy

Seriously, I see your argument, but as far as the bay area goes, there's Richmond, Hunter's point, and parts of Oakland. That's it. After that, there are no more places for lower income families to go. For many, moving is simply too expensive. France had the exact same thing happen.. An almost 100% gentrification of most of their metropolitan areas and very few lower income areas. As a result.. well we all saw what happened there. Maybe they'll move like you say, but to me, I still cant help but feel that it's sort of wrong to continually take advantage of people with low incomes.

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FAQ

yupgigirl
Best Travel Guide to Paris? (or even France, in general)?

I went to Paris last year and used the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide but was wondering if there's a more detailed one available, it's great for a short trip but I'm looking for one where I could plan a couple months for. Any good suggestions for travel guides??

The Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guides have always been best for me for detail and practical information- I would recommend the DK France guide and the Frommer's France guide and Best Loved Driving Tours of France. I have found Frommer's in general has the best restaurant information, but I have been often been confused/lost by their street maps- DK's are easier for me to follow. Frommer's does have interesting historical information that I haven't found in other guides. The only advantage of the other guides I've read are that they contain actual admission prices (at the time of…

saintee
Travel to WW1/WW2 Battlefield sites....?

Has anyone travelled privately and used local guides to visit these sites? Planning to travel in small family group, 3 males, and wonder if anyone can give advice, contacts etc.

Get a car, a cross channel ticket, a map and a good guide book..thats what ive done in the past..Ive done the beaches of Normandy, The Dams of dambusting fame, Auschwitz , the channel islands , Colditz , the Ardene and whats left of the Somme...The best bit of advice i can give you, especially in France, is to talk to the locals..Most are only to happy to point you in the right direction and you will uncover things and stories(sometimes eyewitness accounts) that the books dont cover..Its amazing what you can discover just by accessing local knowledge

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