Experience the thrill of the most popular cycling race in the world by camping near the Tour de France route.
The Tour de France is the greatest bicycle race in the world. Millions of spectators make the pilgrimage to watch the multi-stage race every year, gathering along the route and cheering on the riders of La Grande Boucle. If you’ve always wanted to see the riders up close and experience the electric atmosphere for yourself, book your Tour de France campsite through Campsited and start planning your trip. In 2021, the 3,383 km-long Tour de France took place from 26 June to 18 July. Riders were put to the test over 21 stages and 23 days, traversing hilly, flat and mountainous terrain, as well as two individual time trial stages.
Every year, you’ll find a host of campsites along the Tour de France route in the picturesque French countryside, set in the mountains and along the coast. The road is different each year, but stunning scenery all along the way is guaranteed. Many campsites have special deals for fans during the Tour de France, offering basic facilities as well as cycling events for all ages. Whether you need a camping pitch, are bringing your own camper or would prefer to stay in an on-site bungalow, you should book early to secure your spot. French villages near the start and finish of each stage are transformed during the Tour de France, with a lively festive atmosphere and plenty of entertainment. Many towns and campsites will also set up huge screens, so fans can watch the riveting race all day long.
Highlights of Camping during the Tour de France
Get up close to the riders and feel the excitement of the race when you’re camping during the Tour de France.
See the riders off at the Grand Départ
In 2021, the Grand Départ of the Tour de France was held on 26 June in the city of Brest in Brittany. Setting the stage for the start of the race, the festive opening weekend always has an electric atmosphere and attracts many fans as the teams are presented. Four stages of the Tour de France took place in Brittany in 2021, a region which boasts diverse landscapes and excellent campsites.
Toast the winners on the Champs-Élysées
The final stage of the Tour de France always takes place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in mid-July – 18 July in 2021. This stage starts outside the city before the riders race at full speed over the cobblestones. Although the crowds will be dense, try to find a place to watch the finish along the Champs-Élysées or near the Arc de Triomphe. Toast the winners with Champagne and enjoy the electric atmosphere.
The collective excitement of the friendly fans is what makes camping during Tour de France a memorable experience. Thousands of campervans, tents, and people line up along the narrow mountain roads, creating an intoxicating atmosphere that makes the Tour de France such a unique event. A ‘caravane’ of decorated floats passes through before the riders, rousing the fans into a frenzy and giving out promotional trinkets.
If you’ve ever watched the Tour de France on television, you will have seen the breath-taking landscapes that the riders pass through. From dramatic winding roads, the precipitous peaks of the Pyrenees and deep valleys, the race takes place in some of the most beautiful regional locations in France. Book a Tour de France campsite to enjoy spectacular views while you’re waiting for the peloton, or find time after the riders have passed to explore the natural attractions. You can easily find a stretch of country road to watch the race along remote sections of the route.
Spend a night in the mountains
A community of devoted cycling enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the mountains every year to celebrate the race. To get a prime position, many arrive early to wait for the cyclists to ride up the gruelling mountain passes. Authorities and locals are more relaxed about wild camping during the Tour de France, so you may be tempted to give it a try for a night: set up camp overnight and join other hardcore fans as they dress up and celebrate all day and night, before returning to the comfort of your campsite!
Celebrate the race in one of the stage towns
Villages close to the start and finish of each stage celebrate the Tour de France in great style, with drinking and dining, and festive fireworks displays in anticipation of the race. The towns have an energetic carnival atmosphere, with big screens set up so fans can watch the race. The days leading up to the Tour de France rolling thorough are the most exciting, with visitors from all over the world gathering together in anticipation of the riders coming past.
Discover regional France
Although seeing the Tour de France may be the intention of your trip, you should also make the time for some sightseeing. From local museums and galleries to pre-historic caves and charming villages, there are plenty of local attractions to discover. Visit the village markets and dine out at bistros to get a sense of local life. If you’re planning to see the stages along the coast, you can also spend some time at the beach.
Explore France by Bike
The 21 stages of the Tour de France in 2021 and each year weave through small villages and towns, beautiful French countryside and mountain passes. Although police will close the roads to bikes before the Tour de France comes through, cyclists can ride along the designated route up until that point. While some uphill sections are not for the faint of heart, many people bring their bikes and families and enjoy cycling along the route.
Top tips for camping during the Tour de France
Chase the yellow jersey and find the perfect campsite for watching the Tour de France.
Book your accommodation early
Whether you’re planning to camp, drive a motorhome or prefer to rent a bungalow, booking your campsite in advance is essential during the Tour de France. Once the route has been announced, decide on which stages you would like to see and find accommodation that is located a short distance away, so you won’t have to bike or drive too far. Many campsites along the Tour de France route are booked out months in advance, so try to reserve your campsite as early as possible.
Plan the big day
When the riders are drawing close, space along mountain roads can get scarce, so plan ahead. Local authorities block access to the mountains before the race, so many people arrive earlier to set up camp. Take the time to drive, ride or walk the route beforehand, to find the best vantage point to see the race. Bring plenty of water, wine and a picnic lunch, although there are often local vendors and food stalls set up. Foldable chairs and picnic blankets will ensure you are comfortable while you wait.
Take your family to see the race
If your family loves watching the race every year on television, plan an unforgettable camping trip to see the Tour de France and experience the drama and excitement up close. Bring your bikes to the campsite and spend a few days riding around local trails through picturesque landscapes. Kids will love the anticipation of the riders getting closer, collecting tour souvenirs given out by the publicity caravans and cheering on their favourites.
A great base for Tour de France fans
If you are travelling with a bike, you can ride from many Tour de France campsites to experience the excitement of the race. After a long day, head back to your campsite for a swim in the pool and a glass of wine at the bar. Some campsites may organise live entertainment leading up the race, alongside guided cycle tours, activities for children and big screens so you won’t miss a moment of the big race.
Visit local attractions
When the chaos and excitement of the Tour de France has calmed down and the race has moved on to the next stage, there is still plenty to do when you’re camping in France. You may enjoy exploring nearby bike paths, as well as hiking, climbing and fishing in the area. Drive or ride through picturesque villages, taste local gastronomy and wine, and visit fascinating historical and cultural attractions.
FAQ: Camping and watching the Tour de France
Plan a camping trip to experience the most prestigious bike race in the world.
How do I find the best place to camp during the Tour de France?
Once the Tour de France route has been announced, check the route map and the location of the stages to decide on your preferred spot. The route changes every year, so make sure you have the route map for the correct year. If you want to see a number of stages, choose a campsite in a central location, so you will not have to travel too far to get close to the action, or book a different campsite for each week of your holiday. Campsites close to the start or finish tend to fill up quickly, so book as early as possible.
What kind of accommodation and facilities are available?
A wide range of campsites set in beautiful natural surroundings can be found near the Tour de France route. Visitors can find pitches for tents, caravans, and motorhomes, alongside rentals such as bungalows and cottages. Campsite facilities usually include onsite restaurants, bars and grocery shops where you can stock up your camp kitchen, as well as Wi-Fi access, swimming pools and playgrounds.
How do I find a good position to watch the Tour de France?
If you are travelling with a bicycle, cycle along the route before the riders come past to discover the best vantage points to watch the race. Some prime locations will get busy days in advance, so it is a good idea to arrive at your chosen spot early in the morning. Finding a place by the road on an uphill section is generally a good option, as the riders will weave up the mountains a little slower than if they were riding on flat terrain, giving you a better chance of identifying them.
What can I do during the rest days of the Tour de France?
Each year, there are a couple of rest days during the Tour. In 2021, the rest days of the Tour de France took place on 5 July in Tignes and 12 July in Andorra. Visitors can take advantage of the rest days to go sightseeing in the area around the Tour de France campsite, or travel to the next stage. Although they have been riding hard for many hours every day, many teams will still go out for a ride on rest days, so you may see them out and about, signing autographs and taking selfies with fans.
What do I need to bring with me?
While you’re watching the race, you will need a hat and sun protection as it can get quite hot. You may find yourself waiting for a few hours for the peloton to come past, so it is a good idea to bring a cooler with drinks, a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks, as well as foldable chairs. If you’re planning to leave your campsite and ‘wild camp’ for a night during the Tour, the essentials include a tent, sleeping bag, coffee pot and gas stove, as well as a warmer layer, as it can get cold at night.
Experience the exhilaration of the race at your campsite.