A Love Affair With the Tour de France

Originally posted on & updated on 10th February, 2024

Every year sports fans and Francophiles the world over are gripped by the Tour de France, one of Europe’s most exciting and challenging endurance events.

Covering 3,497 kilometres and passing through spectacular scenery, this feat of professional sportsmanship is always full of drama and tension as top flight cyclists from across the globe compete through each of the gruelling stages.

The 2012 Tour de France, the 99th event, features nine new stage towns, Abbeville, Annonay Davézieux, Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, La Planche des Belles Filles, Peyragudes, Porrentruy, Samatan, Tomblaine and Visé.

The race itself is exhilarating to watch if you’re a sports fan but for anyone who loves France the Tour de France provides the perfect opportunity to be transported with the athletes across the country’s diverse and beautiful countryside as they pursue their ambitious journey.

The route takes cyclists and observers through gentle rural landscapes and dramatic mountain scenery. It passes through historic villages, bustling modern cities and peaceful farmland. The bikes speed through the picturesque countryside whizzing past cottages and chateaux.

Like the scenery it passes through, the Tour de France has a rich history. The race was the brainchild of Géo Lefèvre, who wrote for L’Auto magazine more than 100 years ago. The first Tour in 1903 featured 60 riders who travelled from Montgeron to Paris.

The mammoth race has grown in every way since those early days but although the route has become longer and more challenging it still reaches its dramatic climax in Paris, where the competitors battle it out to reach the Champs Elysées and scoop the prestigious winner’s jersey.

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