Off To Le Tour! Any Tips?

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Last week I briefly mentioned that Mrs. CT and I are off to the Tour de France.  This all came up at the last minute and our planning has been, well….none.  We leave next week and don’t have as much as a car or hotel booked.   Under normal conditions my life is this disorganized and don’t have a problem with this type of uncertainty. Mrs CT usually plans all our trips and I just come along for the ride.  However, this one has been left all to me and it’s the 11’th hour. I’ve done nothing.   This is going to end in a divorce…I just know it.

This is the Tour de France and I don’t underestimate the size and scale.  Millions of drunk cycling fans are about to ambush small villages, mountain tops and roads.  I’m well aware that if I don’t get my act together we’ll be going all the way over to France and possibly sleeping in the back of an old rental car stuck in a traffic jam.

This is where you guys come in.  I know many of you have experienced the TdF first-hand and I need advice.  My basic itinerary can be deciphered from the map above.  I don’t want to follow the whole tour around and see every single stage.  I figure it’ll be too difficult and I want a vacation out of this as well.  I have a few modest goals:

1. To see two or three stages in the Alps.  We arrive in France through Switzerland on approximately July 5th (ish).  (I’ll surprise you with what’s happening in Switzerland)

2. To see two or three stages in the Pyrenees.  We depart France from Toulouse on July 21.

3. To ride L’Etape (I haven’t entered so I’ll just poach a ride if possible).

4. To get some amazing riding in for about 2-3hrs a day.

What I’d greatly appreciate your help with:

  • A good campervan hire company who might have something available to pick up in the Alps and drop off in Toulouse.  With the looking that I’ve done I haven’t found anything available.
  • A car hire company that we can pick up in Zurich and drop off in Toulouse (assuming the campervan option doesn’t go ahead)
  • Some ride recommendations in the Alps, Pyrenees and in-between would be fantastic.  If anyone is going to be in these areas during the times I’ve outlined it would be sensational to meet up for a ride.
  • Hotel or B&B recommendations in the areas we’ll be that might have half a chance at not being booked out.
  • Sights, towns, places etc. that we absolutely have to see in the areas we’ll be.
  • Anything we should bring outside of the ordinary that will make our experience more enjoyable?
  • Any general recommendations on the best way to see the Tour stages that we’re planning on seeing.

I’m going over to the TdF as a fan just like anyone else, so that’s the type of coverage you should expect.  I don’t have media accreditation and such and I just want to enjoy the whole experience.   It’s a dream come true.  I’m so excited I can hardly breath.

Thank you in advance for your help.   I’ll be in transit next week so expect a few days of downtime here on the blog.   Have a great weekend and ride hard!

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