22 July 2020 by Jessica Boston
Tour de France 2020 – a race worth waiting for!
For the first time ever there are plans for the iconic Tour de France to kick off at the end of August and stretch into September in this year’s delayed edition of the world’s best loved cycling challenge.
The route for 2020 starts in the south with a Grand Départ from the glamorous resort of Nice on 29th August. The riders head straight for The Alps with day two hosting the first mountain stage of the competition before the course snakes across Southern France through Provence Cote d’Azur and Languedoc Roussillon and then up into the Pyrenees in the South West. After a rest day the Tour resumes with an exciting flat stage on the beautiful islands off the coast of La Rochelle with Stage 10 between Ile d’Oléron and Ile de Ré, it’s the first time a tour stage has finished on this island!
The riders then travel east crossing back through central France taking in Chatelaillon Plage, Poitiers, Chatel Guyon, Clermont Ferrand and Lyon before hitting The Alps again for the final mountain stages before the traditional finale in Paris on 20th September.
The route this year has been designed within French borders and includes 12 new towns or cities as key stage sites, four new mountain climbs and just one nail biting time trial as the penultimate stage of the race. These measures will make sure that the race has all the traditional excitement even if spectating this year is not as we have known it. The teams will be facing gruelling new challenges where determination, strategy and strength will see the best riders come out on top, all against the backdrop of the beautiful scenery of France.
It’s not yet clear exactly what spectating will look like this year, keep up with the latest advice on the official Tour de France website if you are hoping to see the race in person. Otherwise look out for TV coverage and online exclusives to get the inside story as the race unfolds and keep an eye out for glorious places to visit, and cycle, on your French adventures to come!
Five places on the 2020 Tour you’ll want to visit:
1. Ile de Ré
Long a favourite tourist destination for French and Brits alike, this idyllic island has an old fashioned charm, gorgeous sandy beaches and a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for a sophisticated family break. If you can’t stay on the island and are in the area it’s well worth a day trip across the toll bridge to explore the picturesque port of St Martin de Ré, the lovely coastline and salt marshes.
Set in Basque country in the Pyrenees, Pau is a wonderful city enjoying stunning views over the surrounding mountains. Close to the Spanish border the Spanish influence is everywhere in the culture, food and architecture making it a fascinating place to visit. Perfect for lovers of nature and the great outdoors, there are miles of mountain trails including a huge National Park to explore hiking, climbing, mountain biking or even skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.
This well known resort on the French Riviera certainly lives up to its name! The long beach promenade, azure sea, harbourside restaurants and boutiques and shady tree lined squares are the perfect setting for a stylish holiday. There is a wealth of culture to discover including a museum of the art of former resident Henri Matisse, and a stunning Russian Orthodox cathedral dating back to 1912.
The vibrant city of Poitiers has something for all the family to enjoy! The rich history of the city stretches back to Roman times and you can admire architecture from through the ages as you stroll the pretty city streets. One of France’s best loved theme parks is also here, Futuroscope offers a whole range of breathtaking experiences from an Aerobar where you can enjoy drinks 115m up in the air, to immersive rides and amazing interactive shows.
Sitting in the heart of Cathar country between Toulouse, Carcassonne and Albi, the pretty red brick town of Lavaur is an interesting place to explore the region’s history. With an imposing cathedral featuring lavishly painted interiors, charming gardens to stroll through, ruined 16th century ramparts to explore and a relaxed and friendly town centre filled with markets, cafés and restaurants it is a lovely destination for those looking for a slice of real France on holiday.