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Hi Everybody,

I'm looking for some resources on where to stay for Le Tour. Before you say anything... I know it is SO late and mostly everything is booked up. We're looking be in the Alps for the last few stages. What about camping outside of "official" camp sites? Is that possible? We will bring a tent. Any personal experiences you can relate?

Thanks,
Murray
 

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Hey, I've done that

Murray said:
Hi Everybody,

I'm looking for some resources on where to stay for Le Tour. Before you say anything... I know it is SO late and mostly everything is booked up. We're looking be in the Alps for the last few stages. What about camping outside of "official" camp sites? Is that possible? We will bring a tent. Any personal experiences you can relate?

Thanks,
Murray
Hey, I've done that! Back in 91 for Indurain's first I went over to see the last 8 stages through the Alps to Paris. First: there will be lots of traffic, and roads will be closing ahead of the Tour Show every day. Camping is the easiest way to do it. You'll obviously need a car because some of the stages are pretty spread out. Also, there may have been many changes since I was there in 91, but here is my two cents:

You start out: arrive at one stage finish by noon. Hang out with the local party, enjoy the parade, then the race will typically rush in at about 5pm. It's always a good idea on flatter stages to stand near a big-screen display so ya know what's going on as well as those back home on OLN. Immediately after the race arrives, you bolt for your car and suffer through a massive traffic jam to get out of town towards the next stage end. You probably can't get a hotel at the next stage end, but you will be able to find camping spaces en route or off the beaten track a bit. I wound up sleeping in the car a couple times (eg after Alpe D'Huez, hadn't made very far by 3am). The next morning, you make a dash for the next stage end, or a lucrative spot on a crucial mountain pass. Some ppl even camp up in the alpine meadows - not sure how legal that is however. When I went in 91, the Government had reserved massive farm fields for free camping near Bourg D'Oisans at Alpe d'Huez - that's where I stayed and tried to sleep through the endless row of the Dutch chorus du Jour: 'Theu - Niss - e'. LOL. Met some neat ppl, and even one guy I knew from Ottawa. Another option is renting a Caravan - not my style, though.

This year I'm taking my Dad and my wife on an (expensive for me) organized tour that has us booked into nice hotels with van transfers and ride guides (company is http://www.great-explorations.com/Pages/tourde.html - never used them before, however). They claim that the itinerary may not be complete, suggesting that it may not be too late for you to book hotel rooms yourself near the Tour right now.

As you well know, the scenery is spectacular and the food ... and wine ... well you know. All the rumours about ppl in the French countryside being friendly, supportive and cheering of any cyclist they encounter are absolutely true.

Obviously there are millions of Europeans going, and have been more recently than me so they would have more up-to-date info and advice.

Finally, for all those contemplating a new bike instead of a Tour pilgrimmage: Can you really justify spending $5K+ on a bike when you could do a trip to the Tour? Which would you prefer recalling on your death bed: 'I had a sweet Ti Snobrandcycle that went obsolete when Jones down the street bough his 2007 Colnago with Campy GHX' or 'that trip to see Lance win his 6th and my climbing of the Galibier is still makes me smile' ? Not trying to be snotty, just planting a seed ... hehe
 

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Welcome Murray, 26 pages of "experiences"

Murray said:
Hi Everybody,

I'm looking for some resources on where to stay for Le Tour. Before you say anything... I know it is SO late and mostly everything is booked up. We're looking be in the Alps for the last few stages. What about camping outside of "official" camp sites? Is that possible? We will bring a tent. Any personal experiences you can relate?

Thanks,
Murray
Murray,

The link below is a labor of love and represents my best attempt to help fine folks like yourself get to the Tour. I call my self-guided TdF packet. It should answer your questions and them some. You're later than most, but not "too late". I hope it helps and you'll have a blast.

http://a104.g.akamai.net/7/104/1751/0001/www.lancearmstrong.com/LA_com_version.pdf
 
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