The 2013 Tour de France will glimpse all 10 of the most visited tourist sites in France, a sure way to highlight and promote tourism in the country. France is after all the #1 tourist destination in the world! Tourism accounts for 6.5 % of France's GDP, with 80 million foreign tourists a year. Plus we all know the entire country goes on vacation themselves in July or August, helping French nationals to contribute more to tourism income than foreign visitors. Wow, they like their own country so much - they stick around on vacation!
The route of the 2013 Tour de France will not only keep Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett busy with their tourist and geography lessons during race coverage, it will offer a great distraction to fans to get out and see some of the nearby marvels. One could actually see all ten top tourist sites, if they moved really fast.
|Musée du Louvre in Paris. ©Photo by Karen Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®|
|Tour Eiffel in Paris. ©Photo by Karen Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®|
|Musée d'Orsay in Paris. ©Photo by Ken Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®|
|Arc de Triomphe in Paris. ©Photo by Karen Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®|
Top-10 tourist attractions in France with most tourist visits last year:
- Louvre Museum (8.5 million), Museum in Paris; Stage 21 finishes nearby on Champs-Élysées.
- Eiffel Tower (6.2 million), Structure in Paris; Stage 21 finishes nearby on Champs-Élysées.
- Palace of Versailles (6 million), Museum in Paris; Stage 21 begins in the gardens (the park is closed for cars on July 21st!)
- Centre Pompidou (3.6 million), Museum in Paris; Stage 21 finishes nearby on Champs-Élysées.
- Musée d'Orsay (2.9 million), Museum in Paris; Stage 21 finishes nearby on Champs-Élysées.
- Musée du quai Branly (1.3 million), Museum in Paris; Stage 21 finishes nearby on Champs-Élysées.
- Arc de Triomphe (1.2 million), Structure in Paris; Stage 21 will race AROUND the arch on the Champs-Élysées this year instead of in front of it as usual.
- Mont Saint-Michel (1 million), a Tidal Island off the northwestern coast; Stage 11 Inidividual Time Trial will finish at Mont Saint-Michel.
- Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille (800,000), Church in Marseille; Stage 5 will finish in the city of Marseille.
- Château de Chambord (711,000), largest Château in the Loire Valley; Stage 12 and 13 will finish and start in Tours, a one-hour drive from Chambord.
Corisca with it's Calanques de Piana cliffs near Ajacio. Nice and it's Castle Hill and Musee National Marc Chagall. Or the city of Albi with it's landmark Cathedral Ste-Cecile and Toulouse Lautrec Museum. Oft visited Aix-en-Provence or Annecy, and the very cool cities of Vaison-la-Romaine, Montpellier and Lyon.
Trip Advisor ranks the Top-10 regions of France. This year the Tour de France will travel through 8 of the 10 regions missing Limousin and Lorraine:
- Dordogne Valley (Limousin)
- French Riviera - Cot d'Azur
- Vosges (Lorraine)
|Regions of France|
Tour de France Stages and TourismThere are certain stages that are must see in regards to race outcome, but other stages that are worth tuning into if you are a traveler interested in scenery or tourist sites or simply trying to decide where you want to next visit in France.
Below, the "Tourist Stages" are in bold black, with the best "Bike Racing" stages described in red.
|STAGE||DATE||START AND FINISH|
|1||Saturday, June 29th||Porto-Vecchio > Bastia|
|2||Sunday, June 30th||Bastia > Ajaccio|
|3||Monday, July 1st||Ajaccio > Calvi - a must see stage!|
|4||Tuesday, July 2nd||Nice > Nice - Team Time Trial!|
|5||Wednesday, July 3rd||Cagnes-sur-Mer > Marseille|
|6||Thursday, July 4th||Aix-en-Provence > Montpellier|
|7||Friday, July 5th||Montpellier > Albi|
|8||Saturday, July 6th||Castres > Ax 3 Domaines - a must see stage!|
|9||Sunday, July 7th||Saint-Girons > Bagnères-de-Bigorre - Pyrenees!|
|-||Monday, July 8th||Saint-Nazaire - Loire-Atlantique|
|10||Tuesday, July 9th||Saint-Gildas-des-Bois > Saint-Malo|
|11||Wednesday, July 10th||Avranches > Mont-Saint-Michel - ITT & classic TDF!|
|12||Thursday, July 11th||Fougères > Tours|
|13||Friday, July 12th||Tours > Saint-Amand-Montrond|
|14||Saturday, July 13th||Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Lyon|
|15||Sunday, July 14th||Givors > Mont Ventoux - a must see stage!|
|-||Monday, July 15th||Vaucluse - (I love this area!)|
|16||Tuesday, July 16th||Vaison-la-Romaine > Gap|
|17||Wednesday, July 17th||Embrun > Chorges - second and last ITT|
|18||Thursday, July 18th||Gap > Alpe-d’Huez - a must see stage!|
|19||Friday, July 19th||Bourg-d’Oisans > Le Grand-Bornand - (beautiful!)|
|20||Saturday, July 20th||Annecy > Annecy - Semnoz|
|21||Sunday, July 21st||Versailles > Paris Champs-Élysées - a must see stage!|
There will be four mountain top finishes this year, and if you are a cycling tourist & big fan - these count as top tourist sites as well:
|Stage 8||Saturday, July 6th||up Ax 3 Domaines|
|Stage 15||Sunday, July 14th||up Mont Ventoux|
|Stage 18||Thursday, July 18th||up Alpe-d’Huez|
|Stage 20||Saturday, July 20th||up Annecy - Semnoz|
|Not a bad place to hang out as a tourist - the summit of Mont Ventoux. ©Photo by Mike Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®|