France Tours & Vacations

Senanque Abbey with blooming lavender field in Provence on a sunny day with blue skies

There’s a reason France is the most visited country in the world. Actually, there are several.

The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The Pyrenees and Chamonix. Escargot and ratatouille. Champagne and croissants and berets and baguettes. Napoleon and Simone de Beauvoir and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Jazz bars and vineyards and lavender fields as far as the eye can see. ‘Un petit peu’ of this, ‘un petit peu’ of that. A balmy evening on the French Riviera, a morning frost on the fields of the Somme. French flags flying after the FIFA World Cup. Guillotines falling after the French Revolution. Chanel and Chandon and Versailles and Vuitton. Forget the museums; this country is a work of art.

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France at a glance

Capital city.

Paris (population approximately 2.1 million)

Approximately 67 million

(GMT+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris



Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)

Learn more about France

Culture and customs.

What makes the French so, well, French? Is it the food? The wine? How about the art, the philosophy, the history, or the fierce passion often caricatured as arrogance? Whatever it is, it’s seduced Francophiles around the world for countless years and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

The French are lovers of life. They celebrate the ‘joie de vivre’, or joy of living, in every aspect of their day. Conversation should be meaningful; food should be rich and sumptuous; music should move you; art should change you.

Sure, there are the stereotypes of the French being rude, but you could be forgiven for your reluctance to speak English when you’re the most-visited country in the world. There are, after all, only so many times one can give directions to the Eiffel Tower. But sit down for dinner at a French person’s house and you’ll discover the opposite. France is a very liberal country and every topic is up for debate – dinner is just an entrée for the conversation.

Much of France’s reputation rests on romanticized images of Paris. Sitting at a cafe on the Ile-St-Louis with a piping-hot croissant and cafe au lait, for example, or watching sunset from the steps of Sacre Coeur. But travel through France and you’ll find an incredibly diverse and multicultural country that changes so much between regions, from Marseille’s cultural melting pot to Biarritz’s surfers to the hardy mountain folk of the Pyrenees and Alps. 

Every region and valley, every coastline and ridgeline and three-hour line for the Louvre, will offer up something different. But remember, there’s one thing that doesn’t change no matter where you go: the unwavering belief that there’s nothing better than being French.

History and government

After the conquest of the Gauls and the fall of Rome, the area we know as France was dominated by a tribe known as the Franks. They were headed up by a brutal man named Charlemagne, whose mission was to convert all of   Europe  to Christianity. After Charlemagne’s death his empire was split into three, with West Francia corresponding to the modern territory of France.

The Hundred Years’ War

West Francia, which was really a patchwork of territories run by the dukes, had institutional power more or less centralized in the 12th century. As time went on the tension between France and England grew until the outbreak of the Hundred Years’ War, which actually lasted 116 years. Though France’s population was decimated during this period, thanks to both war and plague, it was also a formative time for the country’s national identity.

One of the key figures to come out of this long period of fighting was Joan of Arc, who is still a national hero in France. She was born in 1412, just after the Battle of Agincourt, during which the French were dominated by the English. As a young girl she heard the voices and saw visions of multiple saints, all of whom told her to go fight for Charles, the rightful king of France. At the age of 16 she traveled to his court to convince him of her mission and somehow did exactly that. She turned the tide of the war and in doing so was captured by the English and sentenced to death as a witch. Her ashes were scattered in the River Seine, but her story was never forgotten.

The French Revolution

Bad harvests, taxation, abject poverty and an unrestrained aristocracy sowed the seeds of the French Revolution in the 18th century. The Renaissance began in   Italy   and spread across Europe, ushering in the Age of Enlightenment, which spread the ideas of individual liberty, tolerance and the separation of church and state. In France, King Louis XVI had inherited a country in dire trouble but was still living it up at the Palace of Versailles. The peasants revolted and stormed the Bastille Prison – hence the national celebration of Bastille Day – and King Louis, along with Marie Antoinette, his queen, were captured and executed by guillotine. A decade of chaos ensued.

It was Napoleon, a military general, that took control of France following the revolution and established the Napoleonic Code, which has become the foundation for the development of most modern democracies. He embarked on military campaigns throughout Europe and was eventually defeated and exiled by the combined forces of   Russia   and Prussia, a northern state that would rise to power as a united Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The World Wars

The 20th century was a horrific time for France with   Germany   invading the country twice. France suffered huge casualties during both WWI and WW2, and by 1945 it was on its knees. Further conflicts followed in colonial territories across Africa and Asia, which led to an influx of migration to France. In Europe, governments were dealing with the fallout from WWII and making agreements to avoid another conflict, from which the European Union was born.

France is now a leading power both in Europe and globally after a huge post-war effort to rebuild the country. It has the third-largest economy in the EU and is one of the most modern countries in the world, continuing to value liberty, fraternity and equality. Recent years have seen issues arise with the Islamic extremism and the European refugee crisis, but the country continues to grow and remains a thriving destination for tourism.

Eating and drinking

The gastronomic pleasures of France are world-renowned, so travellers won’t be worried about going hungry. There’s something to suit every budget here, from Michelin-star restaurants to market stalls and everything in between, and it’s not just frog legs and snails that are on the menu.

There’s simply no better buy than a fresh, crusty baguette. Buy one for less than a euro from the nearest bakery and take it down to the nearest park or river. Apply butter liberally, fill with whatever you like and bite into France – c’est magnifique!

Pastries, cakes and tarts

French chefs set the global quality benchmark for pastries so there’s no feeling guilty when you sample the croissants, eclairs, crepes, macaroons and whatever else you can get your hands on. Find them at your local patisserie and don’t forget to say merci (or mercy, depending on how many you eat).

If you’re going to indulge in a little wine, there’s no better place than France. It is, after all, home to some of the most famous wine regions in the world: Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire, Provence, Champagne. Whether you’re at the cellar door or on the restaurant floor (please, drink responsibly), there’s tasty tipple with your name on it.

When in France, right? From soft cheeses like brie and camembert to a hard, sharp Beaufort, it’s all on offer in France’s bountiful cheese shops and markets.

Beef Bourguignon

This beefy stew originates in Burgundy and is an example of a peasant dish now considered high-end cuisine. It’s prepared with beef braised in red wine and broth, flavoured with garlic, onions and mushrooms, and it’s absolutely perfect on a winter’s evening.

Geography and environment

Bordered by Spain,   Andorra , Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Belgium, France’s geography is as varied as its neighbors.  

In the south, the Pyrenees form a natural border with a   Spain . This mountain range rises over 11,100 feet (3400 meters) and stretches from the west coast to the east. It’s a hiker’s paradise in summer, with thousands of miles of hiking trails, and a haven for snow sports in the winter thanks to a huge number of ski resorts.

To the south-east, France borders the Mediterranean Sea all the way up to the Italian border. A large stretch of this area is what’s known as the French Riviera, which has long been a popular tourist destination thanks to its warm weather, calm water and golden beaches.

Continue north along the Italian border and you’ll reach the French Alps, France’s other predominant mountain range. The Alps are home to Mont Blanc – France’s highest point – and form another natural border, this time with both Italy and Switzerland.

France’s central region is mostly rolling hills and fields, perfect for farming and producing wine. There are two main rivers, the Loire and the Rhone, with the Rhone running south from   Switzerland   through to the Mediterranean and the Loire running north and west to the Atlantic.

The west coast is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and sees a cooler climate than the east. The large Atlantic swells have brought surfers to the area for years with several international surfing competitions being held throughout the year.

Northern France, which is bordered by   Belgium , Luxembourg and Germany, remains relatively flat with grasslands, fields, forests and, of course, the capital of Paris. These northern areas suffered most during the wars, both because of their proximity to Germany and the landscape itself. This is where trench warfare was first employed, only possible because of the huge swathes of flat land.

Chanel. Louis Vuitton. Dior. Lacroix. Hermes. You want luxury? You got it. Paris has long been considered the fashion capital of the world and if that’s your bag, well, you’ll need some room in your bag after a stroll down the famous Champs-Elysees. France isn’t all high fashion though. Yes, the French are notoriously fashionable, but there’s plenty of shopping to be done for those that aren’t quite ready to step out on the catwalk.

Remember, it's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. The United States and Canada generally have strict customs laws.

And you thought Paris was just about fashion? It also happens to be the fragrance capital of the world. There’s no better place to pick up a sensational scent than in one of the city’s many perfumeries, some of which have been trading for more than a century. It’s the perfect gift – or a subtle suggestion – for your friends and family back home.

Flea Markets

Parisian flea markets are a top spot to pick up a vintage bargain. From jewelry and purses to paintings and old-school electronics, you’re bound to find something unique or, at the very least, enjoy trying. Make Porte de Vanves and Porte de Saint-Ouen in Paris your first stops.

Village Markets

Regional French markets just ooze with charm and can be found all over the country. Peruse fresh produce, home-made jams, pickled vegetables, rich cheeses and summer flowers, or just soak up the provincial atmosphere and try your hand at having a chat with one of the locals.

France has been at the forefront of winemaking forever and there are plenty of high quality wines to be found at very decent prices. Just remember that French wines are named for their geographic origin rather than the grape. Take a Burgundy, for example: if it’s red it’s pinot noir, if it’s white it’s chardonnay. Do some research and reap the rewards.

Festivals and events

There are festivals happening all over France throughout the year. Whether you’re in the city or a small town, you can expect a lot of food, some phenomenal wine and plenty of music.

Bastille Day

The French National Day is celebrated on July 14 and commemorates the storming of the Bastille Prison during the French Revolution. It’s celebrated all over the country, but Paris is the place to be, with the city hosting parades, fireworks and the famous Firemen’s Balls, where the main station in each Parisian district throws open its doors for a huge ball lasting until 4 am. It’s a tradition that’s been happening for over 100 years.

Avignon Festival

Performers and art lovers from around the world descend on Avignon for this three-week celebration of performance art. Dance, theatre, comedy and musical performances feature on the bill, with everything from open-air classical concerts and sweeping operatic epics to spoken word poetry.

Tour de France

This is the world’s most iconic cycling competition. It lasts three weeks and was first held in 1903. Things are a little more high-tech now—back then, the cyclists didn’t have support vehicles, and they carried baguettes, wine and cheese for sustenance. They also had some phenomenal mustaches.

Nice Jazz Fest

The Nice Jazz Festival dates back to 1948 and is one of the oldest jazz festivals in   Europe . The first headliner was Louis Armstrong, and since then, a glut of phenomenal musicians have performed, including Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Erykah Badu.

Roland Garros

Also known as the French Open, Roland Garros is one of tennis’s grand slams and the premier clay-court competition in the world. The biggest tennis stars in the world converge on the courts to slug it out, but Rafael Nadal will forever be the king.

Public holidays that may impact travel include:

Victory Day 1945

Ascension Day

Whit Monday

Assumption Day

All Saint's Day

Armistice Day

Please note that the dates of  France's public holidays  may vary.

Similar destinations

Thinking about a trip to France but still browsing other destinations? Check out tours to neighboring locations:

  • Switzerland

Or maybe you need help comparing countries? Check out our blog:

  • France or Italy?

Further reading

For inspiring stories to prepare you for your France adventure, check out these books:

  • The Three Musketeers   – Alexandre Dumas
  • Chocolat   – Joanne Harris
  • The Hunchback of Notre-Dame   ­– Victor Hugo
  • Dangerous Liaisons   – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  • Suite Francaise   – Irene Nemirovsky
  • A Year in Provence   – Peter Mayle
  • How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habits   – Caroline de Maigret, Anne Berest, Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan
  • The House in France: A Memoir   – Gully Wells
  • Marie Antoinette: The Journey –   Antonia Fraser
  • Les Miserables   – Victor Hugo
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day   – David Sedaris

France travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

When is the best time to visit France?

The best time to visit France depends on where you are planning to travel to.

The best time to visit Paris, in terms of sunshine and weather, is early summer and early autumn as the late summer can get quite hot. That said, the winter months are a dark albeit beautiful time to visit, like many European cities. The same applies for most of inland France.

If you’re heading to the east coast and the Mediterranean Sea, the best months are July and August as the sea breeze tends to keep the coast a little cooler than inland. There will, however, be more tourists than in the early summer or spring and autumn.

The mountains are best for skiing in February and March as the days are longer than in December and January, while the late spring, summer and early autumn are perfect for hiking.

The Atlantic areas of Brittany and Normandy are best experienced from June through August as they can get quite wet and cold outside of summer.

Is it safe to visit France?

Yes, it is still safe to visit France, though parts of the country have been affected by various issues of late.

Over the past 5–10 years France has been targeted by extremist groups. These attacks have received widespread global coverage and while they are shocking and saddening, they are also very infrequent. France is at no more risk of extremist violence than any other Western country, but travelers should exercise caution nevertheless and keep up-to-date with local news sources.

Much has also been made of the Yellow Vests Movement, which has spread around the country. These protests began in 2018 after an increase in fuel taxes and have morphed into a movement demanding economic reform and the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron. Though the protests have turned violent on several occasions, particularly in Paris, they are also easily avoided. The protests occur on Saturdays and the streets are shut down by police – travelers should check local news sources and avoid any trouble areas on Saturdays.

Do I need a visa to travel to France?

France is a member of the Schengen Convention, which means that if you travel to an EU member country or countries, like France, for a total of less than 90 days, a visa is not required. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, the UK and other member countries of the EU and Schengen area are included under this arrangement.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your country of origin. Check the Essential Trip Information section of your tour itinerary for more information.

Is tipping customary in France?

Most restaurants in France will include a service fee within the bill; however, tipping extra (while not absolutely necessary) is customary and will be appreciated by wait staff. Usually rounding up the bill or leaving spare change is sufficient. Feel free to tip more if the service has been exemplary or if you’re feeling generous.

What is the internet access like in France?

The internet access is great in France. All cities and major towns should have internet cafes and wi-fi hotspots, while most of the country aside from very remote areas will have phone reception should you wish to use your mobile/cell phone.

Can I use my cell phone while in France?

Travelers can use their phones throughout France, though remote and isolated areas in the Pyrenees or Alps may have limited service.

You’re able to purchase a local SIM on arriving in France, which will generally be cheaper than using international roaming. If you do wish to use international roaming, ensure it’s activated before leaving your home country and ask your provider what charges apply. Data use can be particularly expensive while overseas.

What are the toilets like in France?

Flushable, Western-style toilets are the standard across France.

Can I drink the water in France?

Drinking water from taps is considered safe in France unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottle water and fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

Are credit cards widely accepted in France?

Major credit cards are widely accepted across France. Some smaller cafes and shops may not accept credit cards, especially in more rural areas, so be sure to carry enough cash to cover small purchases.

What is ATM access like in France?

ATMs are common across France in both cities and towns so there shouldn't be a problem finding one.

What is the weather like in France?

France’s weather varies depending where you are.

Paris tends to be quite cool with temperatures averaging 59–77°F (15–25°C) even in the height of summer. The winter average is 36–45°F (2–7°C), though it’s worth keeping in mind that the city can experience more extreme heat in the summer or snow in the winter.

The French Riviera, including Nice, has a sunnier climate and averages 68–81°F (20–27°C) in the summer and 41–55°F (5–13°C) in winter. This area is quite sheltered compared to the rest of the south-east coast, which will much hotter and dryer in the summer.

The mountainous regions, like Chamonix in the Alps, will vary depending on altitude. Chamonix experiences an average temperature of 48–75°F (9–24°C) in the summertime and 19–37°F (-7–3°C) in the winter. The summer also sees afternoon thunderstorms and more precipitation than other times of year.

The climate on the Atlantic coast tends to be quite cool and wet, with rain and wind all year round, particularly around the English Channel. Bordeaux, which is much further south, enjoys a warmer climate though it’s prone to both the cold Atlantic fronts as well as cold winds from the north-east. Its average temperature in summer is 61–81°F (16–27°C), while winter averages 37–50°F (3–10°C).

Is France safe for LGBTQIA+ travelers?

France is a safe destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers and has always been celebrated for its liberal attitudes towards sexuality. Paris was the first European capital to vote in an openly gay mayor in 2001 and France was the first country in the world, back in 1791, to decriminalize same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2013 and attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ identifying people are generally positive across the country.

Paris has had a thriving queer scene for years which revolves around Le Marais, a district just north of Notre-Dame, though the city is so open that it can be difficult to pin down its epicenter. Active queer scenes can be found in most major cities across the country including Bordeaux and Lyon.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting  Equaldex  or  ILGA  before you travel.

If you are traveling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travelers who do not wish to share a room.

Is France accessible for travelers with disabilities?

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travelers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

France is a relatively accessible destination for travelers with disabilities, particularly for those visiting Paris. All buses and trams in the Paris metro area are equipped for wheelchairs and most, though not all, metro stations have been equipped to make traveling with a disability as hassle-free as possible. The city’s official visitor website has a section dedicated to   visiting Paris with a disability   in both French and English.

Elsewhere, as in much of Europe, travelers may find that the older city buildings and infrastructure in smaller towns may present them with some difficulty, depending on their disability. If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made.

As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.

What to wear in France

France is a very liberal country and travelers should not feel compelled to dress particularly conservatively unless visiting a religious site. After all, Paris is the fashion capital of the world – go hard or go home. That being said, Intrepid encourages all travelers to respect the locals in the places we visit. If they wouldn’t wear something, we don’t suggest that you do. 

Remember that the weather in the mountains can change extremely quickly, even in summer, so your best bet is dress in layers. If you do plan on visiting the Alps or Pyrenees, be sure to take a raincoat, sturdy walking shoes and a wind breaker or warm jacket.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before traveling?

Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

How do I stay safe and healthy while traveling?

From Australia?

Go to: Smart Traveller

From Canada?

Go to:  Canada Travel Information

From the UK?

Go to:  UK Foreign Travel Advice

From New Zealand?

Go to:  Safe Travel

From the US?

Go to:  US Department of State

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.

Does my trip support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partners, Eden Reforestation Projects and World Bicycle Relief. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe. Find out more or make a donation World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief provides people in low-income communities with bicycles to mobilize school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas – giving them access to vital education, healthcare, and income. Donations help provide Buffalo Bicycles – specifically designed to withstand the rugged terrain and harsh environment of rural regions – to those who need them most. Find out more or make a donation

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What to Eat in France

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Things to Do in France

Arrive for an unforgettable visit to Paris, then let a diverse France itinerary show you an equally effervescent country from the beaches of Normandy and the French Riviera to the medieval streets of Avignon and Sarlat-la-Canéda.

Champagne Tasting

Drink in France’s Champagne region and sip on a glass of bubbly in Troyes.


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Cote d'Azur Perfumery Visit

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Currency: Euro (EUR, €)

Time Difference: London GMT + 1

Capital City: Paris

Language: French

Electricity: European 230V



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Our French River cruises and land-based France tours transport you to a European destination that lives life to the fullest with the cultural panache that defines all things Français... explore colorful Provence, the Loire Valley, ancient abbeys, cobblestoned villages, Bordeaux, Côte du Rhône wine regions, Paris and more.

France Escorted Tours


Welcome to France

Magnifique... a word that sums up the many cultural delights and panache of France... exploring Paris, the "City of Light" in the evening when it truly comes to life... the poignant memorials at Omaha Beach... a traditional picnic lunch in Gordes, dining as the locals do...and an infusion of ancient abbeys, Loire chateaux, and cobblestone villages that nourish your soul.

Land journeys, from parisian bistros and provençal farms to normandy beaches and loire valley châteaux, treasures await along the yellow roads in france..

Sip wines at private French vineyards with vintners who share secrets of the terroir... try locally produced cider and Calvados on Normandy farms... toast life in Paris, where brasseries, cathedrals and art-filled museums nourish your soul... and so much more. Join us in France on land journeys along the Yellow Roads to Paris, Provence, Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley.

  • River Cruises

The rivers of France evoke a sense of place around every bend... join us along the Rhône, the Saône and the Seine...

The River Seine bridges images of life past and present in the iconic Parisian sites that line its banks; as it meanders from city to coast, it impresses with scenery immortalized by Monet, van Gogh and their contemporaries. Inland from the Saône in the north all the way south to Provence, the Rhône drinks in timeless landscapes ripe with secrets of the terroir. This and more awaits aboard Tauck's river cruises along the Rhône, Saône and Seine rivers in France.

  • Small Ship Cruises

A quarter-century later, our first small ship cruise still sails the Mediterranean to or from the French Riviera...

Beginning or ending in Nice, our "Treasures of the Mediterranean" – Tauck's very first small ship cruise, still sailing a quarter-century later – takes you to explore Provence, Monte-Carlo, Elba, Corsica, Italy's Amalfi Coast, Sicily and Malta.

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Best Of France Guided Tour

13 Day France and Monaco Sightseeing Tour from Paris

13 days, 2 countries and 18 cities


12 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 6 Dinners

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Expect only the best on one of our favorite France trips, beginning and ending in Paris. Spend the night as a French lord or lady in an elegant Loire Valley château, be inspired like Cezanne was, by the beauty of Provence and visit the playground of Monaco.

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Deals, savings and exclusive private touring options available plus if you need a different date or itinerary change we can create a custom trip. Contact us for more details

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13 days itinerary trip from Paris to Paris visiting 2 countries and 18 cities

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About this trip

Sightseeing highlights.

Explore Carcassonne and Paris

Discover  Lyon, Avignon, Monaco, Arles, Lourdes, Bordeaux and Nice

Visit the Hospices de Beaune, Château de Villandry, the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach and Claude Monet's home at Giverny.

View the Papal Palace in Avignon, the Royal Palace and Cathedral in Monaco, Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena in Nice, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Esplanade des Quinconces in Bordeaux, the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, the D-Day Beach of Omaha in Normandy, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris

See the Roman Amphitheater and the Cathedral in Arles

Scenic Drive through the Dordogne and the Loire Valley

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Travel Home > France > Itineraries > 10 Day

10 Day France Itinerary

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Flexible rescheduling, ten days in france tour plan.

Welcome to your 10-day tour of France, a journey that will take you to explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes, world-famous wine regions, and iconic cities in the country with your private driver and guide.

You’ll have the flexibility to explore at your own pace, stopping for photos, shopping, or leisurely meals along the way. So whether you’re a wine lover, a history buff, a skier, or just in the mood for a relaxing vacation, this itinerary has something for everyone. From the elegant boulevards of Paris to the sunny beaches of the French Riviera, get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Trip Highlights

  • Exploring Paris
  • Champagne Tasting and Sightseeing
  • Wine Tasting in Burgundy
  • Lyon Guided Tour
  • Modern Lyon
  • French Alps Adventure

What's Included?

  • Luxury Transport
  • Private Drivers
  • 24 Hour Online Support
  • Fully Customizable Tour Itinerary
  • Free Cancellation & Rescheduling

Day 1: Arrival in Paris

Paris Skyline Airplane

Upon arrival in Paris, you’ll be greeted by your private driver, who will take you to your hotel. After checking in, take some time to freshen up and relax before setting out to explore the city.

In the evening, dine at a traditional French restaurant and sample some of the city’s renowned cuisine. Indulge in a multi-course meal with dishes like escargot, duck confit, or bouillabaisse, accompanied by a glass of local wine.

After dinner, enjoy a world-famous cabaret show at the legendary Moulin Rouge. With its dazzling costumes, mesmerizing performances, and lively atmosphere, the Moulin Rouge is a must-visit for anyone visiting Paris. Let the music, dance, and laughter transport you back in time to the Belle Epoque.

End the night with a stroll through the city’s illuminated streets, taking in the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Your first night in Paris will be a magical and unforgettable experience.

Stay overnight in your Paris accommodation.

Day 2: Exploring Paris with your private guide

Effiel Tower, Paris, France Tours

Today, you’ll have the opportunity to delve into the rich history, art, and culture of Paris. Start your day with a visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of the most famous landmarks in the city. Admire its intricate architecture and take in the breathtaking views of Paris from the top of the towers. Unfortunately, after the 2019 fire, the Cathedral isn’t set to open until 2024; currently, the cathedral’s parvis, archaeological crypt, and Pont au Double are accessible to the public.

Next, head to the Louvre Museum, home to one of the world’s largest art collections. Marvel at the masterpieces on display, including the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo. You can also explore the museum’s extensive collections of Egyptian antiquities, European paintings, and decorative arts.

In the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely lunch at a sidewalk café, savoring the flavors of French cuisine and people-watching. After lunch, visit the iconic Eiffel Tower, taking a ride to the top for breathtaking views of the city.

Later, stroll through the charming streets of the Marais neighborhood, admiring the beautiful architecture and historic buildings. Discover hidden gems such as the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, and the Picasso Museum, which houses an extensive collection of the artist’s works.

As the sun sets, make your way to the bustling Champs-Élysées, the main avenue in Paris and one of the most famous shopping districts in the world. Take a stroll down the avenue and take in the sights and sounds of the city.

Conclude your day with a visit to the famous Parisian cabarets, including the Lido or the Crazy Horse, for a night of glamour, dance, and music. These legendary shows offer a unique perspective on Parisian culture and are a must-see for anyone visiting the city.

Overnight in your Paris accommodation.

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Day 3: Paris to Champagne Region

Champagne Village, Tasting, Private Tours, France

Today, you’ll leave Paris behind and make your way to the heart of the Champagne region. Your private driver will take you on a scenic 1hr 45-minute route through this historic wine-growing region’s rolling hills and vineyards.

Upon arrival, check into your hotel and relax before setting out to explore. In the evening, enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant, savoring the flavors of the Champagne cuisine and pairing it with some of the world’s best sparkling wines.

Day 4: Champagne Tasting & Sightseeing

Avenue de Champagne

Today, you’ll have the opportunity to revel in the produce that the region gave its name to, the superlative sparkling Champagne from the bountiful vineyards found here.

Start your day with a visit to one of the many champagne houses, such as Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, or Pommery, for a tour and tasting of their finest wines. Discover the history and tradition of champagne-making, and learn about the process from grape to glass.

Next, visit the charming town of Reims, the historical capital of the Champagne region. Stroll through the city’s cobblestone streets, admiring the beautiful Gothic architecture and stopping at the famous Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral.

In the afternoon, take a leisurely lunch in a local restaurant, savoring the region’s flavors and its world-famous sparkling wines. After lunch, visit the nearby town of Epernay, known as the “Capital of Champagne.” Next, walk down the Avenue de Champagne, lined with some of the most famous champagne houses in the world, and visit one or two for a tour and tasting.

As the sun sets, return to your hotel and relax before dinner. End your day with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant, enjoying one last glass of champagne and toasting to your amazing experience in the Champagne region.

Overnight in Champagne.

Day 5: Champagne to Burgundy

Beaune Village France

Join your private driver in the morning to make your way toward Burgundy, one of the most renowned wine-growing regions in the world. Your private driver will take you on a scenic route through the rolling hills and vineyards of this historic region.

The journey takes just over 3 hours so we will arrange for a lunch break in a town en route.

Burgundy is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in wine, food, and history. With a rich heritage dating back to the Roman Empire, the city is known for its premium red and white wines, as well as its delicious cuisine and charming villages.

Upon arrival in Burgundy, check into your hotel and relax before setting out to explore the region. In the late afternoon, visit the historic town of Beaune, known for its stunning architecture and vibrant wine culture. Walk through the cobblestone streets, admire the colorful buildings, and enjoy the ambiance of this charming town.

End your day with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant, enjoying the flavors of the region’s cuisine and pairing it with some of the world’s best wines. Relax and soak in the ambiance of Burgundy, and prepare for another day of exploration in this beautiful region.

Day 6: Full-Day Wine Touring in Burgundy

Church of Saint-Claire de Préhy in the Chablis vineyard, Burgundy

We have designated day 6 of your itinerary to explore the best of Burgundy’s wine culture.

Start your day with a visit to the charming town of Chablis, known for its world-famous Chardonnay wines. Take a tour of one of the local wineries, learning about the wine-making process and the unique terroir that makes Chablis so special.

Next, head to the town of Meursault, located in the heart of the Côte de Beaune region. Take a tour of a local winery, learning about the history and tradition of Burgundy’s wine culture. Enjoy a tasting of some of the region’s finest wines, and learn about the different grape varieties, soils, and climates that make Burgundy’s wines so unique.

After your visit to Meursault, enjoy a leisurely lunch in a local restaurant, savoring the flavors of the region’s cuisine and pairing it with some of the world’s best wines.

In the afternoon, visit the town of Pommard, known for its premium red wines. Take a tour of a local winery, learning about the wine-making process and the unique terroir of the region. End your day with a visit to the town of Beaune, known for its stunning architecture and vibrant wine culture.

This full-day wine touring guided tour of Burgundy will provide you with a unique and unforgettable experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the rich history, culture, and flavors of this iconic wine-growing region. From the charming villages and historic wineries to the delicious cuisine and world-famous wines, this tour will give you a taste of the best that Burgundy has to offer.

Day 7: Discover Lyon

Saint-Jean district, Lyon,

On day 7, you will be driven from Burgundy to your accommodation in Lyon, the third largest city in the country. The journey will take approx 2 hours.

The first stop of the day is the Fourvière Basilica, one of Lyon’s most iconic landmarks. This magnificent cathedral, located on a hill overlooking the city, offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lyon and its surroundings. The basilica was built in the 19th century and is known for its elaborate frescoes, stained glass windows, and stunning architecture. The guided tour will take you inside the cathedral for a closer look at its beauty, and you will learn about the history and significance of this important religious site.

Next, you will take a stroll through the picturesque Old Town (Vieux-Lyon), one of the largest Renaissance neighborhoods in Europe. This charming neighborhood is lined with narrow, cobblestone streets and is dotted with quaint bouchons and traditional Lyonnaise restaurants serving delicious local cuisine. The guided tour will take you to one of these restaurants, where you will get a chance to taste some of Lyon’s famous dishes, including Quenelles, a fish dumpling dish, and the famous Lyonnaise salad.

The silk district (Soie) is one of the most famous neighborhoods in Lyon, known for its long history of silk production. During the guided tour, you will get to explore this fascinating neighborhood and learn about its history and significance. You will visit some of the local silk workshops, where you can see the traditional techniques used to produce high-quality silk, for which Lyon is famous.

Spend the evening in Lyon.

Day 8: Discovering Modern Lyon & its Attractions

Place Bellecour, Lyon, France

Day two of the guided tour of Lyon will take you on a journey to discover the modern side of the city. You will visit some of the city’s most innovative and contemporary attractions and learn about the unique character of Lyon.

The first stop of the day is the Confluence district, a modern neighborhood located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. This vibrant neighborhood is known for its innovative architecture, including the striking Cité Internationale and the Lyon Opera House. During the guided tour, you will have the opportunity to explore this cutting-edge neighborhood and learn about its history and significance.

Next, you will visit the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest and most important art museums in France. This museum is home to a vast collection of artworks, including masterpieces from some of the world’s most famous artists. The guided tour will take you on a journey through the museum’s many exhibitions, where you will learn about the history of art and the significance of each piece on display.

After visiting the Museum of Fine Arts, you will take a walk along the banks of the Rhône and Saône rivers. These two rivers have played a significant role in the history of Lyon and continue to shape the city’s character today. During the walk, you will learn about the city’s river trade and its impact on the development of Lyon. You will also have the opportunity to take in stunning views of the rivers and the cityscape.

The final stop of the day is the famous Place Bellecour, one of the largest public squares in Europe. This square is located in the heart of Lyon and is home to a bronze statue of King Louis XIV, one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. During the guided tour, you will have the opportunity to admire the beauty of the square and learn about its history and significance.

Before departing from Lyon, you will have a final tasting of Lyonnaise specialties. This final taste of the city’s delicious cuisine will provide a fitting conclusion to an unforgettable two-day tour of this beautiful city.

Day 9: Lyon to the French Alps

Le Puy-en-Velay, French Alps, France

The French Alps are a must-visit destination due to their stunning natural beauty and year-round outdoor activities. The Alps offer a unique blend of alpine scenery, mountain sports, and charming villages, making it a popular tourist destination for those seeking adventure and scenic views.

On the way to the French Alps, consider stopping in the picturesque town of Le Puy-en-Velay for lunch. Here, you can enjoy traditional French cuisine and visit historic landmarks like the Le Puy Cathedral.

Once you arrive in the French Alps, there are many activities to enjoy in the late afternoon. You can go for a scenic hike, visit local markets and shops, or take a dip in one of the many natural hot springs.

Day 10: Skiing or Sightseeing in the French Alps

Val d'Isère French Alps Skiing

The French Alps offer an array of activities for visitors, including skiing and sightseeing. If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, there are numerous ski resorts to choose from, each offering a unique experience. From the beginner slopes to the challenging black runs, the French Alps are a ski paradise.

For those who prefer to stay off the slopes, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. You can go on a scenic hike and admire the breathtaking alpine scenery, visit quaint mountain villages, or simply relax in a local spa.

One of the most popular sights to see in the French Alps is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe. Visitors can take a scenic cable car ride to the top of the mountain and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding alpine scenery.

Another must-see destination is the iconic town of Chamonix, known for its stunning mountain scenery and vibrant après-ski scene. In Chamonix, you can explore historical landmarks, visit local markets, and enjoy the famous cuisine of the region.

The French Alps are also home to several natural hot springs, providing a unique way to unwind after a day of skiing or sightseeing. One of the most famous hot springs is Les Bains du Montana, located near the resort town of Les Gets. Here, you can soak in the warm thermal waters and admire the stunning mountain views.

Whether you prefer to hit the slopes or take a more leisurely approach, the French Alps have something to offer everyone.

With its breathtaking scenery and diverse range of activities, it’s easy to see why this region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France and the perfect destination to end our 10-day tour itinerary.

After spending the day in the Alps, your driver will either deliver you to the airport, or you can choose to remain in the Alps.

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Your private guide and/or driver will meet you at the pre-arranged starting point of your tour and everything necessary for a seamless tour experience.

Contact Us About Our 10 Days In France Itinerary

From the iconic landmarks of Paris to the exquisite wine regions, French countryside, and incredible mountain ranges of the Alps, there is something for everyone in our ten-day tour itinerary.

From booking your hotels and transportation to planning your daily activities, France by Luxe will take care of all the details so you can relax and enjoy your trip. So why wait? Start planning your dream trip to France today, and contact France by Luxe for a complimentary tailored version of this itinerary.

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Tour Scoop

7 Best France Tours to Take in 2024

From paris to provence, these tours get you behind the scenes in france..

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There’s no bad time to visit France, one of the most visited countries in Europe. And while you could plan out a France vacation on your own, small group tours are a hassle-free way to travel to France without all the tedious pre-trip work. Many of the best France tours focus on one region or topic so you can truly see the various cultures and lifestyles of the different parts of the country.

2024’s Best Small Group Guided Tours in France

If you’re looking for small group tours of France, consider one of these immersive France tours on which you can do everything from taking in the highlight of Paris (including the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe) to paying your respects at Normandy Beach. And since transportation, hotels, local guides, activities, and in many cases food and wine are taken care of by your tour guides, you can truly focus on soaking up the French experience. Here are the France guided tours I most highly recommend for 2024.

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1. Wonderful France Tour

view of lavender and sunflower fields near Valensole, France as seen on a Trafalgar tour of France

This nine-day small group guided tour of France is called Wonderful France , and that’s a perfect way to describe a France tour that travels to eight cities across the country, including Paris, St. Tropez, and Monaco. The tour from Trafalgar has a good mix of culinary delights like wine tastings and dining on regional cuisine while also allowing you to spend time exploring on your own. History buffs will particularly enjoy the activities on day seven, a trip to the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge that’s been standing since the 1st century.

  • Length: 9 days
  • Starting price: $3,350
  • Average group size: 40 to 45 people
  • More tours: 10 Best Trafalgar Tours to Take in 2024

2. The Best of Northern France: Paris and Normandy Tour

Road scholar.

view of Mont Saint-Michel on a sunny day as seen on Road Scholar's Best of Northern France Tour

With a focus on education, the Best of Northern France: Paris and Normandy tour from Road Scholar take you from the City of Light to charming small towns in the Normandy region of France. For many, the highlight of the trip is the day spent at the D-Day Landing Beaches and the Normandy American Cemetery.

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Other highlights include mornings spent at Versailles and Montmartre and a visit to Monet’s Garden in Giverny. The final day will be spent in the cute village of Honfleur, which is known for its all-wooden church and signature dish of moules-frites , or mussels with fries.

  • Starting price: $2,649
  • Average group size: 13 to 24 people

3. Human History: Northern Spain and Southwest France Tour

National geographic expeditions.

Illuminated cave paintings at Lascaux IV on National Geographic Adventures' Human History: Northern Spain and Southwest France tour

The Northern Spain and Southwest France tour from National Geographic goes to Spain and France, but a solid half of the trip is spent in France, so it’s worth looking into if you’re in the market for tours of France. This tour is dedicated to telling the stories of human history through archeological sites and caves, some of which date back 40,000 years.

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During the Spain and France tour, you’ll explore catacombs in Saint-Émilion, see the Rouffignac Cave, or “cave of a hundred mammoths” in Vezere Valley, and see children’s footprints in clay from over 12,000 years ago in Pech Merle. National Geographic experts accompany the group to each site and offer expert insights into each destination.

  • Length: 10 days
  • Starting price: $8,795
  • Average group size: 25 people

4. Cycle the Loire Valley Tour

Intrepid travel.

Three cyclists riding down a country lane in the Loire Valley on Intrepid's Cycle the Loire Valley tour

If you’re looking for an active trip through some of the most picturesque countryside of France, you’ll probably enjoy Intrepid’s Cycle the Loire Valley cycling tour of the French countryside. During the weeklong trip, you’ll bike along the Loire River and stop along the way at some of the stunning chateaus, including one that’s now a museum showcasing Leonardo da Vinci’s life and designs.

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Wine lovers will especially love the stops at vineyards along the way on this France tour of the Loire, where the specialty is aged Chenin blanc wines. Note that you should be in relatively good health to participate, since you will be biking upwards of 37 miles a day.

  • Length: 7 days
  • Starting price: $2,250
  • Average group size: 1 to 15 people

5. Provence Self-Guided Walking Tour

Butterfield & robinson.

Popular tour company Butterfield & Robinson is known for its walking and biking trips, including this self-guided walking tour of the Provence region of France. During the almost-weeklong trip, you’ll be able to tour medieval villages, stroll past lavender fields, and of course, try some impeccable wine along the way, all at your own pace and unencumbered by a group.

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Each day, you’ll walk anywhere from four to ten miles. While traveling through the region, you’ll stay at local hotels and be provided with baggage transportation, detailed maps and route suggestions, transportation as needed along the route, and a private walking tour in St. Remy.

  • Length: 6 days
  • Starting price: $5,195
  • Average group size: 2 people (price is based on double occupancy)

6. A Week In the French Riviera, Provence, and Paris Tour

Avignon Bridge with Popes Palace and Rhone river at sunrise, Pont Saint-Benezet, Provence, France

Start your journey on the French Riviera on the A Week In… French tour from Tauck before moving north to Provence and then on to Paris. The eight-day trip will have you exploring the ritzy town of Monte Carlo and strolling through the village of St-Rémy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh painted iconic pieces like Starry Night.

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When you reach Paris, you’ll enjoy a meal at the floating Ducasse Sur Seine restaurant, made famous by chef Alain Ducasse. Of course, no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre, which with Tauck includes a guided early morning visit (which means fewer crowds and better views of the masterpieces).

  • Length: 8 days
  • Starting price: $5,990
  • Average group size: 33 to 44 people

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Explore the South of France on Collette’s Spotlight on the French Riviera tour, where you’ll be able to see everything from the principality of Monaco to the lavish lifestyle of Cannes. Each night of the tour you’ll return to Nice, which will act as your home base for the trip, allowing you to completely unpack and get comfortable at one hotel. Along the way, you’ll take a train ride into Monte Carlo, explore the Nice flower market, and tour the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

  • Starting price: $1,699
  • Average group size: 14 to 24 people

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Home » Travel Guides » France » 15 Best Things to Do in Tours (France)

15 Best Things to Do in Tours (France)

It’s no mystery that Tours is a favourite base for people discovering the Loire Valley’s exalted châteaux.

Villandry, Chenonceau and Amboise are moments by car, and with the help of the Loire à Vélo network you can visit them on two wheels with ease.

But you may find that if you delve a little more into Tours’ history and attractions, it could be difficult to leave the city at all.

In the centre are timber houses and renaissance mansions on car-free streets, and museums that draw you into the city’s medieval past.

There are vineyards welcoming inquisitive oenophiles in the countryside and both the waters and banks of the Loire invite you to go wherever your sense of curiosity leads.

Lets explore the best things to do in Tours :

1. Tours Cathedral

Tours Cathedral

Even by the glacial speed of construction in the middle ages, Tours Cathedral took a long time to be completed.

Building began in 1170 and wouldn’t be finished until 1547, but this means we’re met with a perfect summary of the evolution of gothic art.

The ensemble of original 13th-century stained glass windows in the ambulatory chapels and above the choir is one of the finest in France, and seems to generate its own light.

The cathedral has information panels giving you the meaning behind each image.

The marble renaissance tombs of King Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany’s children are also moving, as both died in infancy.

2. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours

The riches from Cardinal Richelieu’s 17th-century campaign against the Huguenots and the art seized from abbeys during the Revolution all ended up at Tours’ stellar museum of fine art.

Because of their religious source there’s a good body of Italian gothic primitives from the 14th and 15th centuries, while the two renaissance paintings by Andrea Mentegna are regarded as masterpieces.

You’ve got over a thousand artworks to get through, with sculpture by Rodin, Flemish and Dutch painting by Rembrandt and Rubens, and Impressionism by Monet and Degas.

3. Tours Botanical Garden

Tours Botanical Garden

The city’s municipal garden has a bit of a troublesome setting, between the Loire and Cher, which made it susceptible to flooding in the past, with two devastating inundations in the mid-19th century that filled the greenhouses with two metres of water.

Even after being hit by bombs in the Second World War there isn’t the slightest hint of a troubled past at these serene gardens.

On your walk you may notice some trees you haven’t seen before, like the Chinese empress tree, ginkgo biloba and the endangered dawn redwood.

The animal park is from 1863 and has farm animals for kids to bond with, as well as more exotic species like wallabies.

4. Le Vieux Tours

Place de Plumereau

Like all the best historic city centres the historic buildings on the pedestrian streets around Place Plumereau aren’t sterile museum pieces but vibrant cornerstones of local life, used as shops, restaurants and bars.

Place de Plumereau is at the nerve centre of one of the largest conservation areas in Europe, with renaissance mansions boasting sculpted reliefs or cantilevered timber houses, going strong for hundreds of years.

If you’re OK with everybody knowing you’re a tourist, jump aboard the little train that departs every hour from Place Plumereau in summer.

5. Musée du Compagnonnage

Abbey of Saint-Julien

In the 16th-century Dormitory at the former Abbey of Saint-Julien is a museum devoted to a French workers’ movement that dates back to medieval times.

Roughly, the Compagnons du Tour de France is like a guild of journeymen that preserves historic trades and educates young people about them as part of an apprenticeship.

To complete the apprenticeship and become a “companion” a craftsman had to create a masterpiece for whatever discipline he worked in.

And these dumbfounding creations are presented at the museum, in all kinds of different disciplines, like metalwork, tailoring, shoemaking and woodcarving.

6. Hôtel Goüin

Hôtel Goüin

What may be the most beautiful of Tours’ many old building has just come through a long restoration and is open to the public once more.

Hôtel Goüin is an early-renaissance palace on Rue du Commerce, with a balustraded porch and the sort of loggia in which you might expect to see Juliet calling for Romeo.

During the restoration they unearthed fragments of an older building from the 1100s, with four arches and a well, which are on show.

You might just want to stop for a photo of that magnificent facade, but there’s an archaeological museum inside with artefacts from Roman times up to the 1800s.

7. Halles de Tours

Halles de Tours

Billed as the “Belly of Tours” (ventre de Tours), the city’s indoor market may not be France’s largest, but it’s a gastronome’s idea of heaven.

You may even want to bring your camera or have your phone at the ready, because the cheese, charcuterie, seafood and in-season fruit and vegetable counters are presented with real flair.

If you’re stuck for gift ideas then markets like this tick the box as they’re stocked with all the best from the region.

At Tours that entails wine from the Loire Valley and luxury chocolate.

The city is one of France’s chocolate capitals, and every years holds the Salon du Chocolat de Tours at the Centre de Congrès Vinci.

Come for lunch too: The oyster bar shucks your oyster as you go.

8. Jardin des Prébendes d’Oé

Jardin des Prébendes d'Oé

During the French Second Empire from the mid-1800s English-style parks like this one popped up in provincial cities across France.

This was a spot for urban families to take promenades, kids to play and for the city to put on outdoor concerts at the park’s gazebo.

There’s less of the formality of French parterres, as paths weave through tulip flowerbeds and  copses of lime, plane, cedar, chestnut and lofty redwood trees.

So if you could do with a moment of repose take a wander by the pond and pause for a tea or coffee at the kiosk.

On warmer days you could load up on cheese and charcuterie at the market and have the perfect French picnic.

9. Église Saint-Julien de Tours

Église Saint-Julien de Tours

The predecessors of this  12th-century abbey were wrecked by the Normans in the 9th century and then in a war between the feudal houses of Blois and Anjou in the 10th century.

But miraculously the building that followed has survived everything from the French Revolution to the Second World War.

It was part of a long-gone abbey, and the garden next to the church is where the cloister used to be, while the Musée de Compagnonnage occupies the old dormitory.

10. “Toue” River Cruises

Toue River cruises

Commercial craft floated along the Loire and Cher since antiquity, hauling people, wine, silk, lumber, salt and all sorts of other cargo up and down these rivers.

Because the waterways can get very shallow they used flat-bottomed sailboats called “toues”, and you can too! Toues can carry between 12 and 30 passengers for hour-long trips, or even romantic dinner cruises in the evening.

Their skippers know these waters and banks like the backs of their hands: And with the deck as your balcony, they’ll shed light on the Tours’ river trade, its many colourful characters and perils.

11. Loire à Vélo

Loire à Vélo

If you had to picture some quintessentially French holiday activities, a bike ride next to the Loire with a backdrop of gentle vine-striped hills and châteaux must be one of the first that comes to mind.

About 150km of the of the Loire à Vélo cycle trail’s totalling 800km are in the Touraine region.

The route is clearly-marked, easy -going because it never leaves the riverside and convenient as there are dozens of hire stations along the way.

You could give yourself set destinations like Amboise or Villandry, which are both reachable in about an hour.

Or make more of an adventure of it by going further afield and spending the night at the inns on the route that are happy to accommodate cyclists.

12. Guinguette sur Loire

Guinguette sur Loire

On the left bank of the Loire, just by Pont Wilson, is where Tours’ “Guinguette” takes place from May to September.

It isn’t officially summer in Tours until this outdoor café by the river is bustling every evening with locals and tourists at the bar terrace, taking part in dance lessons, enjoying concerts or watching movies at the outdoor cinema.

Tours is a student city so the atmosphere is always warm and energetic.

The location is wonderful, under willow trees and string lights, with the river rolling past.

And every year there Guinguette has something new on the schedule.

13. Wine and Gastronmic Visits

Touraine Sauvignon

If you’re a wine-lover you’ve come to the right place.

There’s an absurd amount of AOCs nearby: A dozen within an hour, and five bordering the city.

The diversity will make your head spin more than the wine itself, with the reds of Touraine-Chenonceau, the whites of Touraine Sauvignon and rosés made in Touraine noble joué.

When it comes to precious foodstuffs there’s a saffron market in Preuilly-sur-Claise and a seasonal truffle market at Marigny-Marmande.

The local cheese, Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine is known to all for its cylindrical shape and the straw that pierces it through the centre.

To know more, pay a visit to the dairy at Les Passerelles or the child-friendly goat farm, Cabri au Lait, which makes Sainte-Maure but also has a petting zoo for the little guys and girls.

14. Château de Villandry

Château de Villandry

It would be criminal to visit Tours and not call in at one of the abundant château in the region.

Tours is touted as a gateway for these sensational pieces of French royal or noble heritage.

You can reach Villandry in 20 minutes, and it’s one of the finest.

The gardens are the showstopper at this château.

They were restored at the turn of the century by the Spanish doctor Joachim Carvallo.

He conceived several terraces of renaissance gardens, all with precisely trimmed boxwood hedges in joyous geometric configurations.

There’s a water garden, labyrinth, sun garden, ornamental garden with high hedges, but the most astounding is the formal medieval kitchen garden, all in neat plots.

15. Château d’Amboise

Château d'Amboise

The home of Francis I and most of the French royalty in the 16th century is a 20-minute car or train ride to the east.

The château had its heyday in the renaissance period after Charles VIII turned it from a fortress into the Loire valley’s first Italian-style palace in the late-1400s.

In 1516 Francis I invited Leonardo da Vinci to live and work in Amboise, and the polymath’s home at Clos Lucé was actually connected to the Château d’Amboise by underground passageways that you can discover today by prior arrangement.

Da Vinci died here in 1519 and is buried at the Chapel of Saint-Hubert at the Château.

The gardens are embellished with spherical topiaries and the views from this spur above the Loire are divine.

15 Best Things to Do in Tours (France):

  • Tours Cathedral
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours
  • Tours Botanical Garden
  • Le Vieux Tours
  • Musée du Compagnonnage
  • Hôtel Goüin
  • Halles de Tours
  • Jardin des Prébendes d'Oé
  • Église Saint-Julien de Tours
  • "Toue" River Cruises
  • Loire à Vélo
  • Guinguette sur Loire
  • Wine and Gastronmic Visits
  • Château de Villandry
  • Château d'Amboise

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what to do in Tours, France

What To Do in Tours, France (Guide + Map)

  • December 26, 2023

Located just an hour away by train from Paris, Tours is often used as a base for visiting the chateaux of Loire Valley. It is one of the largest cities in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France, well connected by public transport to the most famous castles in the area. Indeed, from here, you can easily reach the historic palaces of Chenonceau, Chambord, Blois and Amboise.

Once the capital of France, today Tours is a lively city boasting a beautiful historic centre with half-timbered houses and gourmet bistros. A perfect stop on your way through the Loire Valley!

What to do in Tours, France in one day

Thanks to its central location and excellent public transport connections to the nearby towns, Tours is a great base to discover the chateaux of Loire. This is one of the main cities I’d recommend you to base yourself in, especially if you’re travelling by train.

Besides being an excellent base for touring the historic chateaux, Tours itself is worth at least half a day of exploring. Take a walk along the narrow cobbled streets while admiring the half-timbered houses, the impressive Saint-Gatien Cathedral and the Renaissance Hotel Gouïn.

Follow my itinerary to discover the best things to do in Tours, France for one day. You’ll also find what are the most famous chateaux to visit near the city and some restaurant recommendations.

At the end of the blog post, you can find a map of this itinerary (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites).

What to do in Tours in one day

Breakfast at l’atelier du talemelier.

  • Visit Basilique Saint-Martin de Tours

Tour de l’Horloge and Tour de Charlemagne

  • Have a cup of coffee at Place Plumereau
  • Admire Hôtel Goüin

Lunch at Les Gens Heureux

  • Visit Saint-Gatien Cathedral

Hôtel de Ville de Tours

  • Admire the art at Musée des Beaux-Arts
  • Take a walk in the Botanical Garden
  • Visit the quirky Musée de Compagnonnage

09:00 AM – 10:00 AM Start your one day in Tours with breakfast at L’Atelier du Talemelier or Kat’s Coffee . L’Atelier du Talemelier is a great bakery which offers quality pastries and sandwiches. However, if you prefer to enjoy some delicious cakes with your coffee, head to Kat’s Coffee.

L'Atelier du Talemelier

Basilique Saint-Martin de Tours

10:00 AM – 10:25 AM Basilique Saint-Martin de Tours (Basilica of St. Martin) is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, the third bishop of Tours. It was built over the traditional burial site of the saint in the 5th century AD. During the centuries, the small basilica was replaced several times with larger structures.

The basilica in a Neo-byzantine style that you see today dates from the 19th century. However, you can still see some of the remains of the older Romanesque edifice – the western clock tower and Tour de Charlemagne (Charlemagne Tower). They are located just a few steps away from the current church.

Inside the crypt, you’ll find the tomb of Saint Martin.

Basilica of St. Martin

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM Tour de l’Horloge (Clock Tower) and Tour de Charlemagne are the only remnants of the impressive structure of the 11th-century Romanesque Basilica of Saint Martin.

Tour de Charlemagne was built on the site of the tomb of Luitgard, the last wife of Charlemagne. The king was so greatly affected by her death in 800, that he decided that Luitgard would be buried in the Basilica of Saint Martin. In the 19th century, the Charlemagne Tower was converted into a water tower.

Although, it’s not possible to visit the towers, take a few moments and admire their structure. Just imagine the grandeur of the 11th-century Romanesque basilica, of which these towers were part!

Tour de l'Horloge

Place Plumereau

10:50 AM – 11:05 AM Place Plumereau is the heart of the historic centre of Tours. It is a lively square with bars and restaurants, framed by charming 15th-century half-timbered houses. A popular place to sit and watch the world go by!

The square is named in honour of Charles Plumereau, a municipal councillor of Tours, who bequeathed 3000 francs to the city.

Place Plumereau

Hôtel Goüin

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM This Renaissance palace served as a private mansion of a family of silk merchants in the 15th century. The façade with its beautiful arches is a real masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance. So don’t miss to take a quick look and admire the exterior!

Hôtel Goüin is named after a family of Breton bankers who purchased the building in 1738. And don’t be fooled by the word hotel, this is not an actual hotel, but a museum for temporary art exhibitions.

Hôtel Goüin

12:00 PM – 02:00 PM For lunch head to Les Gens Heureux . This typical French restaurant offers a small selection of interesting dishes with a unique combination of flavours.

Les Gens Heureux

Saint-Gatien Cathedral

02:00 PM – 02:30 PM Tours Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Gatien) is dedicated to the first bishop of Tours – Saint Gatianus. Built between 1170 and 1547, it reflects the development of the Gothic style of architecture. Some of the cathedral’s highlights include the spectacular 13th-14th century stained glass windows and an Italian-style organ.

The cathedral houses the tombs of the children of Anne de Bretagne and Charles VII. Also, you’ll find a chapel dedicated to Joan of Arc. She had met with Charles VII here in Tours, an important meeting which became a turning point in the Hundred Years’ War.

Saint-Gatien Cathedral

02:45 PM – 03:00 PM The last stop of this Tours itinerary is the town hall, Hôtel de Ville de Tours. Take your time and enjoy its magnificent Renaissance Revival façade.

The town hall was built between 1896 and 1904 by the famous architect Victor Laloux. It is the same architect who designed the Orsay museum in Paris!

Hôtel de Ville de Tours

Dinner at La Maison des Halles

Finish your one day in Tours with dinner at La Maison des Halles . The wine list here is great and the menu is excellent (don’t miss the desserts – the best I’ve had during a week in France).

La Maison des Halles

More ideas for your one day in Tours, France

Museum of fine arts.

The Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) is housed in the former bishop’s palace. The museum owns a remarkable collection of Italian Primitives from the 14th-15th centuries. Among them are two renaissance paintings by Andrea Mantegna, considered masterpieces. You’ll also find many artworks by Delacroix, Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, Rubens and Rodin.

Don’t miss the staggering cedar tree at the museum entrance, which is over 200 years old!

Castle of Tours

Close to the cathedral, you’ll find the Castle of Tours (Château de Tours). Built in the 11th century, this small chateau served as a residence of the Carolingian dynasty. Today, it houses contemporary exhibitions of paintings and photographs .

Castle of Tours

Church of Saint Julien

The Church of Saint Julien (Église Saint-Julien de Tours) is a part of a former Benedictine abbey founded in the 6th century. Most of the church is in Romanesque style and dates back to the 13th century.

Church of Saint Julien

Tours Botanical Garden

Founded in 1843, the Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanique de Tours) is the oldest city park. It’s a lovely area with lots of wildlife and thematic gardens – greenhouses, orchards, medical gardens, arboretums and many others. There is also a petting zoo with farm animals like donkeys, sheep, rabbits and poultry!

Musée de Compagnonnage

Musée de Compagnonnage occupies the dormitory at the former Abbey of Saint-Julien. This quirky museum is dedicated to the city’s trade guilds. The exhibition represents various objects related to metalwork, tailoring, culinary, shoemaking and woodcarving.

Where to stay in Tours, France

If you intend to use Tours as a base to explore the Loire castles, take a look at my recommendations below on where to stay. You’ll find most of the historic attractions and restaurants in the area between the Loire River and the Central Railway station. So, I’d advise you to look for accommodations in this area, because you’ll be within walking distance of everything.

Perfectly located in the heart of Tours, just a short walk from everything. Also, the hotel features a good bistro-style restaurant and a wellness centre with Spa, hammam and heated indoor pool. Why book – a short walk from the Old Town and Tours train station, heated indoor pool, private parking

Les Trésorières is an excellent choice for an upscale stay in Tours. Central quiet location and bright spacious room. A great wellness area, featuring a hammam, sauna and an indoor pool. Why book – at walking distance to the Old Town and Tours train station, indoor pool, parking nearby

Tours Old Town

Getting around in Tours, France

Find here a detailed map of this Tours walking itinerary.

The Old Town of Tours is very compact and you can easily explore it by walking in less than an hour.

How to get to Tours, France

Tours is well connected to other major cities in France by train. For example, it’s less than a 2 hours journey from Paris Gare Montparnasse. Tours station (Gare de Tours) is the city’s main railway station. It’s located just a short walk from the Old Town.

Check timetables and book train tickets online at SNCF official website .

Tours is divided into three different types of zones – red, orange and blue. The first two are limited to 3 hours of parking, while the blue one – to 5 hours. However, parking in the Old Town is free on Sundays and Monday – Saturday (between 12 PM – 2 PM and 6:30 PM – 9 AM).

If you’re arriving by car I’d recommend booking a hotel with parking or using any of the paid car parks in the city centre (see a list of all car parks here ).

Day trips from Tours, France

Loire valley chateaux.

Château de Chambord

The central location of Tours makes it a great base to explore the chateaux of Loire Valley. You’ll find a few of the most popular castles just a short train ride away. For more information, take a look at my guide on how to visit the Loire Valley .

Here are the most famous chateaux you can visit near Tours:

  • Château de Chenonceau – known as Château des Dames, it’s the most beautiful Renaissance castle of Loire Valley
  • Château de Chambord – this royal residence is one of the largest chateaux in France
  • Château de Blois – home to 7 kings and 10 queens of France between the 13th and 17th centuries
  • Château d’Amboise – the place where Leonardo Da Vinci spent his last years and where he is buried
  • Château de Chaumont – a fairytale 10th-century castle, once home to Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers
  • Château de Villandry – is known for its beautiful French Gardens, which consist of several terraces of renaissance gardens


Blois is one of the most charming towns in the Loire Valley. The city is known for its royal chateau and the Cathedral of Saint-Louis, a Gothic masterpiece. For more information, take a look at my travel guide on how to spend one day in Blois .

How to get to Blois Take a train from Gare de Tours to Gare de Blois – Chambord (40min journey). From there, it’s a 10min walk to the Old Town and the chateau.


Located just a short train ride away, Angers is a great option for a day trip from Tours. The city is famous for its castle, the ancient seat of the Plantagenet dynasty and the Apocalypse tapestry, the largest medieval tapestry in the world. Find out more in my travel guide to the best things to do in Angers .

How to get to Angers Take a train from Gare de Tours to Gare d’Angers Saint-Laud (50min journey). From the central train station, it’s about a 10min walk to the city centre.

How many days in Tours, France

Is one day in tours enough.

The city of Tours can be easily visited in less than a day. In fact, most of the people come not for sightseeing but to use the city as a base to explore the nearby castles. Still, there is plenty to see, so dedicate at least half a day to this charming town.

Best time to visit Tours, France

If you intend to visit Tours as a part of your Loire Valley trip, do it in the months of May, June or September. Crowds are fewer and the weather is not hot, but nice and warm.

Faqs about visiting Tours, France

Tours is one of the largest cities in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. It is worth visiting not only for the impressive Saint-Gatien Cathedral and the Renaissance Hotel Gouïn, but also for the picturesque half-timbered houses. Thanks to its central location, the city is an excellent base to explore the castles of the Loire Valley.

what to do in tours france

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About the author

Thank you for the blog which covers Tours in depth. We are travelling On Nov 07th to Blois to see three castles and unfortunately all public transport stops on Nov 05th. We don’t have car. Apart from Taxi any other alternate solution ?

Many Thanks -Yoga

Unfortunately, there is no other option, but a taxi. However, there are still a lot of castles, which are are reachable by train – Château de Chenonceau, Château de Blois, Château de Chaumont, Château d’Amboise, Château d’Angers, Château de Langeais, Château de Saumur, Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Château de Loches, Château de Chinon and Château de Meung-sur-Loire.

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The tour is generally good. I wish though that more time are given to explore major places. Some places can be skipped already since there was nothing much to see.
All hotels were very good. The sights we saw were good. The bus had no bathroom. The guides were average. They were often unclear with their instructions, for example they say meet in the lobby at 8am, but no one is there and people are outside getting on the bus. I did like the interesting history one guide gave.
It was a really good experience. This is my second trip with Eskapas. The first one was a small group tour fully escorted in Italy and it was wonderful. This trip is independent and you are joining at the meeting point to daily group ours. If you have send of orientation, it may be difficult so I recommend yo to take a taxi to reach out to the meeting points. Usually it costs 15-20Euro. The company upgraded our hotel to New Hotel Le Voltaire 4* ,, located in 11th Arrondissement, close to Bastille. It is a correct one, decent breakfast. Don't miss Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise which is close proximity.

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The Biggest Champions in Tour de France History

While we anticipate who will rise to glory this year, let’s look at the legends who have already cemented their place in Tour history.

cycling tdf france merckx yellow jersey

Can Tadej go for back-to-back Grand Tours? Will Jonas be able to defend his double titles? Is 2024 finally the year that Primož Roglič—at the front of a new team—can exorcize the demons of the Super Planche des Belles Filles? Will Remco finally deliver on all of the promise and raw talent he’s long exhibited? Or will some sleeper pounce on a golden opportunity and surprise us all the way Sepp Kuss did in last year’s Vuelta?

All of these questions will be answered in just a few days. But for now, instead of looking forward, let’s look back. Rather than speculate on the unknown, let’s remember the known. Let’s talk about some of the most famous (and at least one infamous) winners in the history of the Tour de France, men whose names and exploits have become synonymous with Le Tour.

The Classic Era

Maurice garin – 1903.

cycling garin

Any list of Tour de France winners has to include Garin for no other reason than the Frenchman won the first-ever. In 1903, Garin won the six-stage Tour, covering its 1,509 miles in under ninety-five hours. But don’t let those six stages fool you, as the race averaged over 250 miles each day. Garin defended his title the following year, only to be stripped of the win following allegations that he was transported by a car or a horse at some point during the race.

Phillipe Thys – 1913, 1914, 1920

tdf 100ans retro thys

Thys’s first Tour victory wasn’t without issue, as the Belgian won the 1913 race despite suffering a broken fork. He was penalized ten minutes after it was discovered he repaired the fork at a bicycle shop, yet still won the race by nine minutes. He repeated this in 1914, again overcoming a major penalty. This time, he was hit with a thirty-minute deduction for an unauthorized wheel change. As the race was not run between 1915 and 1918 due to the First World War, Thys had to wait until 1920 for his third and final Tour victory. Following that win, Tour de France founder Henri Desgrange wrote of Thys, “France is not unaware that, without the war, the crack rider from Anderlecht would be celebrating not his third Tour, but his fifth or sixth.”

Gino Bartali – 1938, 1948

tour de france 1948

Though Coppi was perhaps better known for his trio of wins at his native Giro d’Italia (which included seven King of the Mountains wins), he was twice the winner of the Tour de France. After withdrawing from his first Tour in 1937, where he wore the leader’s jersey for a time, Bartali returned the following year and won, immediately becoming an icon in Italy. A decade later, Bartali returned to the Tour, leaving a nation of people to choose between him and his countryman Fausto Coppi. Bartali won seven stages en route to both the yellow jersey and the KOM classification. Years later, it was discovered that Bartali secretly used his training rides to shuttle documents back and forth between Florence and Assisi in order to aid Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis.

The Golden Era

Fausto coppi – 1949, 1952.

coppi in the alps

Fausto Coppi kicked off what many call cycling’s Golden Age and is perhaps most well-known for the fact that he won the Giro/Tour double twice. Coppi was the first to achieve the double. Only eight other riders have achieved the result. Coppi’s early career was interrupted due to the Second World War, leaving generations of pundits to wonder what he might have done in the early 1940s. However, he did win five Giris d’Italia and scores of classics in addition to his pair of Tours. He frequently clashed with his biggest rival, Gino Bartali, dividing a nation of fans down into “Coppiani” and “Bartaliani.”

Jacques Anquetil – 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964

anquetil and poulidor

Over the course of eight years, Jacques Anquetil won the race five times. His first victory came on debut, just months after he was discharged from military service. Following a rocky few years spent chasing an elusive Giro/Tour double, Anquetil returned to the top of the podium in 1961. He repeated as Tour champion the following year doubled up the next two years, with the Tour and the Vuelta a España in 1963 and the Tour and the Giro in 1964.

Eddy Merckx – 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974

belgian champion eddy merckx answers journalists u

There might be no more famous bicycle racer than Eddy Merckx. The Belgian legend remains forty-five years after his retirement, as the name to which everyone else is compared. “Is he the next Mercxk?” is asked every few years. And to this point, everyone has fallen short of the mark. And though he’s tied with three other riders on this list with five Tours de France on his resume, his name rises above all due in large part to the rest of his palmarés, which includes victories at virtually every other race of import. And for all of his yellow jerseys, he’s equally known for his thirty-four stage wins at the Tour, matched only by Mark Cavendish, and six stage wins clear of the next closest racers (Bernard Hinault with twenty-eight).

Bernard Hinault – 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985

cycling bernard hinault

In Mercxk’s final year, his heir apparent was coronated when Frenchman Bernard Hinault won his first Tour de France. He won again the following year and was leading the race in 1980, expected by many to three-peat. However, “The Badger” was forced to abandon due to a knee injury. He came back the following year and the year after that, again going back-to-back. His final Tour victory came in 1985 thanks in large part to the work of his teammate, a young Greg LeMond.

The New Era

Greg lemond – 1986, 1989, 1990.

1989 tour de france greg lemond

Greg LeMond finished his first-ever Tour de France in third place. The following year, he took one step further on the podium, finishing second after he spent the race working in service of his La Vie Claire team leader Hinault. The year after that, in 1986, the reins came off, and LeMond entered Le Tour as La Vie Claire’s co-leader. He won that race, besting Hinault by just over three minutes. After being shot in a hunting accident, LeMond missed the next two Tours de France, only to return in 1989, winning what many call the greatest Tour of all time. LeMond entered the race with little hype or expectation. He hoped for a top-twenty finish. However, over the course of the Tour, LeMond’s strength and position grew as he battled back and forth with his French rival, Laurent Fignon. LeMond headed into the race’s final stage, a time trial fifty seconds short of Fignon. He finished it eight seconds clear of the Frenchman, winning the race in what remains the smallest margin of victory ever. Later that year, he won his second World Championship (his first came in 1983) and followed up his performance with a repeat Tour de France victory the next summer.

Miguel Indurain – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

tour de franceindur

There was a time when it was presumed that no one would top Eddy Mercxk’s record of four consecutive Tour de France wins (1969-1972). But then came Miguel Indurain, who unseated LeMond in 1991 (LeMond finished second), snatching his first of a then-record five straight Tour de France victories. In addition to his stretch of Tour wins, Indurain twice doubled up, winning the Tour and the Giro in 1992 and 1993.

Marco Pantani – 1998

marco pantani of italy and the mercatone team

Unlike most of the others on this list, Marco Pantani’s renown doesn’t come from repeated success at the Tour de France. In fact, Il Pirata only won the yellow jersey once, in 1998 (after a pair of third-place finishes in 1994 and 1997). However, that year, he doubled up, winning his home race, the Giro d’Italia. Much of Marco Pantani’s legacy is couched in legend and lore, owing in large part to his elusiveness while racing and untimely death at just thirty-four years old.

The Modern Era

Lance armstrong – 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 (all vacated).

files picture taken 24 july 2004 of us

Lance Armstrong had all seven of his Tour de France titles stripped and received a lifetime ban from all sports that follow the World Anti-Doping Code.

Alberto Contador – 2007, 2009

le tour 2010 stage seventeen

Alberto Contador is one of just seven riders to have won all three Grand Tours more than once. He’s also a four-time winner of the Vélo d’Or, the only person to win the award for the year’s best rider four times. He was the first man in the twenty-first century not named Lance Armstrong to win the Tour de France. However, after being implicated in a doping scandal (he was later cleared), Contador didn’t even have a pro contract going into the 2007 season. He went on to win that race by just twenty-three seconds over Cadel Evans (who would go on to win the Tour in 2011). Two years later, he notched his second Tour victory, beating Andy Schleck by just over four minutes.

Bradley Wiggins – 2012

le tour de france 2012 stage twenty

Like Marco Pantani, Bradley Wiggins has just one Tour de France victory. That win came in 2012 after the British track champion fully committed to road racing. Wiggo won over many European fans after a fan threw carpet tacks onto the course during stage 14. Unaffected, Wiggins commanded the peloton to slow down and wait for his competitors—namely Cadel Evans, who suffered a puncture—to catch up. Since his 2012 victory, Wiggins has remained in the spotlight as a pundit, a rower, a published author, and lately, an advocate for mental health awareness.

The Contemporary Era

Chris froome – 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017.

le tour de france 2016 stage fifteen

After displaying strong form as a super domestique during the 2012 season, riding in support of Bradley Wiggins, Froome entered 2013 with massive expectations. He took on the leader’s role in some early-season races and headed into the Tour de France as the heavy favorite, fulfilling bets with a four-plus-minute win over Nairo Quintana. The following year, he crashed out of the race on stage 5. However, Froome returned with a 2015 victory, the first in three consecutive Tour de France wins.

Tadej Pogačar – 2020, 2021

110th tour de france 2023 stage 20

In his short career, Tadej Pogačar has won just about everything there is to win. And he’s often done as much with aplomb and style, with many experts saying his versatility, pure strength, and insatiable will win make Pogačar the closest thing we’ve seen to Eddy Merckx since the real thing. His first Tour de France victory came in 2020 after he snatched the win from fellow Slovenian Primož Roglič. It was there that he won on the race’s penultimate stage, going from fifty seconds down on Roglič to one minute up in the span of one final climb. The following year, he defended with relative ease, beating then-newcomer Jonas Vingegaard by more than five minutes.

Jonas Vingegaard – 2022, 2023

109th tour de france 2022 stage 11

Jonas Vingegaard’s backstory is already the stuff of legend. While working in a Danish fish factory, he was discovered after posting a ride to Strava. Within a few years, he won his first Tour de France, beating the seemingly invincible Tadej Pogačar. The following year, he went head-to-head with Tadej, winning his second-straight Tour on the back of one of the greatest time trials in the history of the Tour (and arguably ever). He then put the final nail into the coffin by doing what was then unthinkable: cracking Tadej Pogačar up a brutal climb.

Headshot of Michael Venutolo-Mantovani

Michael Venutolo-Mantovani is a writer and musician based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He loves road and track cycling, likes gravel riding, and can often be found trying to avoid crashing his mountain bike. 

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Tour de France 2024 stage-by-stage guide: Route maps and profiles for all 21 days

T he 2024 Tour de France will be a truly unique race when it begins in Florence on Saturday and ends – for the first time in its 121-year history – outside Paris .

This year’s Tour will wrap up without the usual procession to the Champs-Elysees, where security resources will be focused on the Paris Olympics starting five days later. Instead, organisers have opted to end the race with an individual time-trial in Nice, adding the possibility of the yellow jersey changing hands on a dramatic final day.

Before that, riders face a typically gruelling challenge, with a hilly start in Italy before crossing to France where a perilous gravel stage awaits in Troyes. Week two leads the peloton south to the Pryenees and the monstrous Col du Tourmalet, before a series of days in the Alps including a particularly brutal stage 19 with a summit finish in Isola.

It all concludes in Nice on Sunday 21 July, where the race winner will be crowned.

Stage 1: Florence to Rimini (hilly, 206km) | Saturday 29 June

The opening stage of the 2024 Tour de France will be a beautiful ride, with the Grand Depart on the banks of the Arno river in the centre of Florence before heading through Tuscany to the finish line on Italy’s east coast, on the beachfront of Rimini. The route also takes in San Marino, the Tour’s 13th country. But it will be tough on what is the most hilly first stage in the race’s history with 3,600m of climbing to conquer. It looks like a day for outstanding classics riders like Mathieu van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe to target, while young puncheurs like Ireland’s Ben Healy and Belgium’s Maxim Van Gils could be outside bets.

Stage 2: Cesenatico to Bologna, (hilly, 199km) | Sunday 30 June

The second day throws up a more gentle ride, though it still contains six categorised climbs to test the legs. The purest sprinters will get left behind but the small ascents are unlikely to put off the more hardy fast men, like Wout van Aert , who will like the look of the fast finish in Bologna.

Stage 3: Plaisance to Turin (flat, 231km) | Monday 1 July

The long third stage will be the first opportunity for a bunch sprint to the finish line. Expect Alpecin-Deceuninck to try and control the final kilometres in an effort to position Jasper Philipsen for the win, but there is a stacked list of sprinters ready to challenge him including Arnaud de Lie, Dylan Groenewegen, Sam Bennett, Wout van Aert and Mark Cavendish, chasing a record 35 stage win to finally eclipse the great Eddy Merckx.

Stage 4: Pinerolo to Valloire (mountainous, 140km) | Tuesday 2 July

A tough fourth stage takes the riders into France via a couple of testing category-two climbs and to the foot of the Col du Galibier – the first hors categorie ascent of the race. The gradient averages only 5.3% but at 23km long, it is a draining slog of a climb to the top and the strongest climbers will come to the fore. Expect some attacks among the big hitters like Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard as we get our first real sense of the battle for overall victory.

Stage 5: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Saint-Vulbas (flat, 177km) | Wednesday 3 July

The second sprint finish of this year’s Tour contains some small hills but nothing that should disrupt the power riders from reaching the finish near the front, where they will expect to battle for victory.

Stage 6: Macon to Dijon (flat, 163km) | Thursday 4 July

An even flatter day looks ripe for a bunch sprint on the streets of Dijon. One small categorised climb early in the stage precedes an intermediate sprint which might be targeted by those hunting the green jersey, and a breakaway will almost certainly then take to the front of the race. But it is likely to be caught by the sprinters’ teams before the finish as the peloton’s power riders fight for the stage win.

Stage 7: Nuits-Saint-Georges to Gevrey-Chambertin, (ITT, 25km) | Friday 5 July

The first individual time-trial of this year’s Tour de France sweeps through thick forest before opening out into the picturesque vineyards of Burgundy. The only climb is the short Cote de Curtil-Vergy (1.6km at 6.1%), followed by a descent into Gevrey-Chambertin, and here Remco Evenepoel – the reigning time-trial world champion – will plan to take some time from his general classification rivals who are less adept against the clock.

Stage 8: Semur-en-Auxois to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises (flat, 176km) | Saturday 6 July

It may be officially listed as a flat day, but stage eight contains five categorised climbs and plenty more undulation, along with an uphill drag to the finish which should be enough to shake out some of the pure sprinters from contention. This could be a bunch sprint, a day for the breakaway or even a bold solo attack if the situation presents itself for an opportunist near the front of the race.

Stage 9: Troyes to Troyes (hilly, 199km) | Sunday 7 July

The Tour de France takes on the gravel roads of the Champagne region to see out the first week, and the white dusty terrain could take down a few unfortunate victims. The 14 sections of gravel span 32km in all, and they are similar to the roads of the iconic Italian race, Strade-Bianche. The past winners of Strade-Bianche – Tom Pidcock, Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Julian Alaphilippe and Tadej Pogacar – will fancy their chances here.

Rest day: Orleans | Monday 8 July

Stage 10: Orleans to Saint-Amand-Montrond (flat, 187km) | Tuesday 9 July

The Tour heads down to the centre of France, where on paper it is a nice-looking day for the sprinters, but they will need to stay alert to winds which could split the pack along this twisting route south to Saint-Amand-Montrond in the Loire Valley. A short, sharp climb 8km from the finish could be the launchpad for a brave attack, though the muscle men of the peloton will hope to fight it out against each other at the finish in Saint-Amand-Montrond.

Stage 11: Evaux-les-Bains to Le Lioran, (mountainous, 211km) | Wednesday 10 July

Six categorised climbs pepper a hard up-and-down day through the Massif Central. The third-from-last ascent is the toughest, the Puy Mary Pas de Peyro (5.4km at 8.1%), with a painfully steep final 2km to conquer, and strong climbing legs will be needed to win the stage. A good day for a breakaway to get away and potentially stay away to the end.

Stage 12: Aurillac to Villeneuve-sur-Lot, (flat, 204km) | Thursday 11 July

The ‘flat’ categorisation disguises the numerous small hills dotted through this picturesque route to Villeneuve which will drain legs if the pace is high. Expect a determined breakaway to make it difficult for those teams hoping to set up a bunch sprint at the finish – twice before, the day has been won by a rider in the breakaway here.

Stage 13: Agen to Pau, (flat, 165km) | Friday 12 July

Pau is a staple of the Tour de France over the years, acting as the gateway to the Pyrenees mountains. The hilly finish to the stage might slow down some of the pure sprinters but they will be determined to reel in a breakaway – especially if they failed to do so a day earlier, and with so much hard climbing to come.

Stage 14: Pau to Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d’Adet, (mountainous, 152km) | Saturday 13 July

The iconic Col du Tourmalet stands in the middle of this mountain stage, with the road peaking at 2,115m above sea level. The 19km climb averages 7.4% gradient and once it’s conquered, two more big climbs await including a summit finish at Pla d’Adet. The GC contenders will surely trade blows on this brutal day.

Stage 15: Loudenvielle to Plateau de Beille (mountainous, 198km) | Sunday 14 July

A nice relaxing weekend in the Pyrenees is rounded off with five climbs over a 200km route, all rated category one or harder. Expect fireworks among the yellow jersey contenders as they race to the finish atop Plateau de Beille.

Rest day: Gruissan | Monday 15 July

Stage 16: Gruissan to Nimes (flat, 189km) | Tuesday 16 July

This is the final chance for the sprinters to bag a stage before the road kicks up into the mountains once more. Those in contention for the win will need to keep their composure as roundabouts punctuate the long final strip into the line in Nimes.

Stage 17: Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Superdevoluy (mountainous, 178km) | Wednesday 17 July

The peloton reaches the Alps for a day that will be draining as the road tilts from the start. There are bonus seconds to be collected at the top of the category-one Col du Noyer, before a fast descent to a small summit finish which caps a tough second half to this stage.

Stage 18: Gap to Barcelonnette (hilly, 180km) | Thursday 18 July

A breakaway will certainly have a go at escaping up the road to clinch this stage, and they should be able to make it stick. The five official climbs are all category-three ascents which might mean some of the well-rounded sprinters, like Wout van Aert, can clamber over them and be a threat at the finish.

Stage 19: Embrun to Isola 2000 (mountainous, 145km) | Friday 19 July

Perhaps the most eye-catching stage when the 2014 route was unveiled was this one: three monstrous Alpine climbs, back to back, with a summit finish at Isola. The middle climb of the trio is the giant Cime de la Bonette (22.9km at 6.9%), the highest road in France at 2,802m. If the fight for the yellow jersey is still alive at this point in the race, this will be a thrilling stage for the story to unfold.

Stage 20: Nice to Col de la Couillole (mountainous, 133km) | Saturday 20 July

It may be a little shorter at only 133km, but this is another brutally tough mountain stage featuring four climbs and another summit finish, atop the Col de la Couillole, and it is another day when the yellow jersey could be won or lost.

Stage 21: Monaco to Nice (ITT, 34km) | Sunday 21 July

The race will finish without the usual procession through Paris and instead see the riders contest an individual time-trial from Monaco to Nice that could decide the outcome of the Tour. The last time-trial finale saw Greg Lemond pinch the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees, beating Laurent Fignon by eight seconds. This route is longer than the stage-seven time-trial, and a little more hilly too, so there is potential for some significant time gaps.

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A map of the 2024 Tour de France route from Florence to Nice


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Notebook: 5 narratives that will light up this year’s tour de france, tour de hoody: a unique course, four favorites on uncertain form, and a peloton chasing history will make this tour de france one for the ages..

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FLORENCE, Italy (Velo) — Tadej Pogačar and the Giro-Tour double. Mark Cavendish chasing the Eddy Merckx record. And Jonas Vingegaard , Remco Evenepoel, and Primož Roglič all on a desperate race against time to hit Tour de France peak form.

What’s not to love in the 2024 Tour de France?

Anchored around an atypical course, one that finishes beyond the realm of greater Paris for the first time in race history, coupled with the prestigious allure of the Olympic Games on the back of every racer’s mind, the 2024 Tour will be one for the ages.

And that is still the case despite a rash of pre-Tour crashes, illnesses, and drama that’s part and parcel of any elite men’s racing season.

If anyone is thinking that this year’s Tour might somehow be a lesser race due to three of the “Big 4” crashing hard at Itzulia Basque Country, don’t be fooled.

In fact, this Tour could be even better because of it.

And every Tour packs enough plot lines, treachery, and intrigue to fill a John le Carré spy novel — just cue the latest edition of the Netflix docuseries “Unchained” for a preview of what’s to come.

There is more than just the “Big 4” and Cavendish, and each and every rider and team are under intense pressure and expectations to deliver something, be it helping out their captain, reeling in breakaways, or chasing personal glory for themselves.

Here are the five storylines that will drive the narrative of this Tour:

1. Pogačar and ‘The Double’


“The Double” is one of cycling’s most elusive milestones, and Pogačar is looking prescient in his decision to race the Giro d’Italia this spring.

With a Giro course that was relatively “light,” and racing against a relatively “thin” GC field, Pogačar made relatively “easy” work of the Giro. No rival directly took it to him, and the one that tried to follow his wheel — Ben O’Connor in the first week — paid a heavy price across the rest of the race.

The Giro was about as easy for Pogačar as a three-week grand tour could be. He didn’t suffer any serious crashes or illnesses, never went into a base-burning red zone, and he danced his way to pink as if he were on a three-week training camp.

Now we will see if Tour will extract its price.

And the Tour always does. No race demands as high a toll as the grand boucle , and it’s no wonder that no one since Marco Pantani in 1998 has won both in the same season.

For a long time, no serious Tour de France contender even tried. Lance Armstrong — though his results are now officially scratched from the record book — never once started the Giro until his doomed comeback.

There were a few Giro winners along the way who won pink and pedaled into the Tour almost as a “why-not” jolly, like Ivan Basso or Vincenzo Nibali, only to run out of gas long before Paris.

The most serious Giro-Tour attempt came with Chris Froome in 2018. He recently told me at the Critérium du Dauphiné before finding out he would not be racing this year’s Tour that the huge dig required to win the 2018 Giro cost him what might have been a record-tying fifth yellow jersey.

Froome, of course, crashed in 2019, and that 2018 Giro marks his last professional victory, and he missed out on selection for the second year in a row. Froome’s Tour story looks finished.

No more white jersey for Tadej at Le Tour After winning the youth classification four times in a row at the Tour de France, Tadej Pogačar is now too old to compete for the white jersey at this year’s race Getty Images ______________ #TDF2024 — Road Code (@RoadCode) June 22, 2024

The list is long why not to race the Giro first — the demands of the race, the short window of recovery before the Tour, and financial and sponsor importance placed on the Tour — and there is the risk not hitting the Tour with the best possible options of victory.

Pogačar is snubbing his nose at those nay-sayers, and proving that in modern racing that old-school records can still fall. Or at least he’s putting a very solid foot forward.

The crashes of his rivals coupled with the relatively low cost of the Giro places Pogačar in pole position to win back the yellow jersey.

Get out the popcorn. Even when Pogačar is on cruise control he is capable of making things interesting.

2. Cavendish chasing Merckx


Mark Cavendish and quest to break the “Merckx mark” will carry the suspense into the other half of this Giro. Normally, the sprinters and the hunt for the green jersey is a secondary story line that only occasionally hits headline status.

That will change this year as Mercurial Mark and his Cavendish Express hunt for one — just one — victory to surpass Eddy Merckx on the all-time victory list.

Of course, some detractors will argue that Cavendish’s wins have only come in the bunch sprints, and point out that Merckx won in all disciplines, from sprints and time trials to mountaintop finales and breakaways.

And that’s true. But to win 34 of anything in the hyper-competitive, worldwide peloton of modern cycling is also arguably harder than when Merckx was racing against a handful of Belgians, French, Italian, and Dutch riders, some of whom were not even on full-time salaries.

Today’s peloton represents that the absolute best of the 1 percent of the 1 percent across the globe, with riders from the Americas, Australia, the former Eastern Bloc, and, as Cavendish represents, the UK.

It’s impossible to compare eras, and there’s no arguing that Merckx isn’t the GOAT, but no one should take anything away from Cavendish’s accomplishments.

Will he win one more? It won’t be easy.

Though on paper he has the best leadout train in the Tour, this year’s Tour isn’t ideal for Cavendish.

A brutal opening weekend could even see some riders getting time cut. Cavendish and Co. should see four chances in the first half — stage 3, 5, 6, and 10 — and the common consensus is that if he’s going to do it, he needs to do it before the race dips into the Pyrénées and Alps in the back-half of the race.

Of course, everyone says they’d be happy to see popular Cavendish get the record, but none of his direct rivals will be squeezing the brakes to let him win.

Jasper Philipsen and Mathieu van der Poel represent the most mortal danger to the Cavendish quest, with Fabio Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen, Michael Matthews, Sam Bennett, Mads Pedersen, Arnaud De Lie, and a host of others are just as desperate for the win.

I am a huge fan of the bunch sprint, and if Mercurial Mark can get that one W, more power to him.

Part of me would like to see him stay tied with Merckx, and force him to race one more season. Let the circus roll on!

3. Remco and Roglič drama

Roglič Evenepoel

Perhaps no two riders deliver more drama-per-kilogram than Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič.

These two are natural-born showmen, and bring a bit of football-style bravado from the pitch to the bitumen.

Both are desperate for Tour de France success, with Evenepoel under huge pressure in his Tour debut. At the other end of the spectrum is Roglič, out to prove he can win on a new team at Bora-Hansgrohe and take on not only his former bosses at Visma-Lease a Bike but also beat his bête noire in the form of Pogačar, who stole his Tour crown in 2020.

The fact that both are also coming off injuries, more so for Evenepoel than Roglič, will only make them more unpredictable and dangerous.

The opening weekend across the Apennines should set things up for a firecracker-laden opening salvo that will quickly illuminate the field about where everyone stands. Both will be swinging for the fences.

Staying power will be the biggest question mark for these two.

Evenepoel always seems to find trouble, be it his own doing or others, and Roglič showed woeful hints of a late-race collapse at the Critérium du Dauphiné that nearly saw Matteo Jorgenson ride away with the win.

Roglič will be a fan favorite, especially with time running out for the former ski jumper who’s had an extraordinary career despite coming very late to the sport. Supported by a very strong “Band of Brothers” at the newly backed Red Bull team, Roglič will be racing with nothing to lose.

Evenepoel has time on his side, and if he’s unable to follow the Pogačar flares in the high mountains, he could quickly transition into stage-hunter mode similar to what happened in last year’s Vuelta a España.

No one knows what will happen with these two, and that’s what will make this Tour even greater.

4. How far can Vingegaard go? Enter GC Kuss and Jorgo


Evenepoel and Roglič all enter this Tour a touch off their ideal best, but at least they raced at the Dauphiné showing signs of their glittering potential.

Vingegaard will race into the great unknown.

The two-time Tour-winning Dane is a late addition to the “Killer Bees” lineup that’s lost a bit of its sting due to a seemingly endless string of crashes and bad luck. Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte are also coming off the injury ward for late-hour bids to chase elusive Tour magic.

Sometimes that uncertainty can be liberating.

Since there’s no pressure or expectations, the two-time defending champion will be free to race on instinct and feeling. Mystery can also mess with a rider’s head.

Vingegaard is logical to his core, and if he knows he doesn’t have the numbers to win, he will accept it without drama, and either will methodically race for the podium, or even tune down the ambitions even more.

After missing so much training and racing ahead of this Tour, it’s hard to imagine him having the legs to hold out across three weeks against a finely tuned Pogačar.

Last year, the tables were turned, and a recently injured Pogačar accepted his fate in the Alps. The same thing could happen to Vingegaard.

Will ‘GC Kuss’ take off this week at the Dauphiné? Or at the Tour de France next month? Velo sits down with the Vuelta a España winner to find out —> — Velo (@velovelovelo__) June 2, 2024

And if he does fade, what about Sepp Kuss or Matteo Jorgenson stepping into the void?

On paper, Vuelta a España winner Kuss has the GC credentials to stand and deliver, but looking at performances so far this season, it’s Jorgenson who could emerge as the team’s best GC alternative.

Visma-Lease a Bike will be on eggshells trying to nudge all of its leaders out of Italy and back into France with GC options fully intact.

Pogačar, Roglič, and Evenepoel will surely attack not just to win but to try to eliminate Vingegaard in the opening two stages if they can.

5. Non-traditional Tour route to spice things up

Tour de France

The Olympics in Paris put a spanner in the works for Tour de France organizers ASO.

French officials were too worried about security risks and logistical problems associated with the looming Olympic Games that the Tour de France was forced to end the race beyond the realm of greater Paris for the first time in race history.

ASO turned that Olympic hurdle into a blessing thanks to some maneuvering that sees the Tour bringing its grand départ road show to Italy for the first time as well as reviving the closing-day time trial.

Since the Tour ended on the Champs-Éysées in 1975, the race ended every year with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding, capped by a tidy bunch sprint, except one.

In perhaps the Tour’s most famous finale, Greg LeMond nipped the pony-tailed Laurent Fignon in a brutal and historic reversal of fortunes in 1989, the last year the Tour concluded with a time trial.

Could this year see a repeat on the Promenade des Anglais? Very much so.

While it’s likely that Pogačar could very well have a commanding grip on yellow, the closing podium spots — and perhaps even the maillot jaune — could be up for grabs.

The 34km course tackles La Turbie and Col d’Eze in a technical, challenging route that could crush the dreams of anyone riding on fumes and deliver nirvana to a rider on a rocketship.

Between Florence and Nice, this year’s Tour also delivers some unique wrinkles that will make the race deliver plenty of surprises.

Let the hype begin!

Elite men’s road racing’s most important month is about to begin. Follow Velo’s coverage from start to finish, with Andrew Hood and Andy McGrath reporting from the ground beginning this weekend.

It’s Tour de France week! Le #TDF2024 commence cette semaine ! — Tour de France™ (@LeTour) June 24, 2024

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What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.

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Vuelta champ Sepp Kuss ruled out of Tour de France because of COVID-19

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Spanish Vuelta champion Sepp Kuss has not sufficiently recovered from a COVID-19 infection and won’t take part in the Tour de France, his team said on Tuesday.

The American was set to compete in a support role for Team Visma-Lease a Bike leader Jonas Vingegaard but fell ill during the Criterium Du Dauphine warmup race and is not fit enough.

He has been replaced in the eight-man squad by Bart Lemmen.

The absence of Kuss is a big setback for Vingegaard. The American, who won a Tour stage in 2021, is excellent in the mountains and would have been a key helper for the two-time reigning champion.

“This is, of course, very hard for Sepp in the first place. His contribution is always very important in the team, but then of course he has to be completely fit,” sporting director Merijn Zeeman said. “Unfortunately, we had to conclude together that this is insufficient.”

Lemmen joined Team Visma-Lease a Bike in January, one year into his pro career.

The Tour de France starts on Saturday from the Italian city of Florence.

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Take a musical tour of France with Tapestry Ensemble at the Opera House

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Crisscrossing France from Auvergne to Provence, Brittany to Paris and beyond, Tapestry Ensemble and friends will bring together a rich blend of impressionism, folk roots and a touch of jazz when they arrive in Maine to perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, at the historic Boothbay Harbor Opera House. The performance will be primarily in French.

Tapestry has toured extensively in Europe and the U.S. and also appeared in Colombia and Moscow. The group has released six albums internationally.

This Opera House program, titled “Postcards from France,” is the result of years of musical friendships and travels. The concert will open in a 16th century Burgundian court with a lively dance, “Tourdion,” inviting all to a feast of delicious food and fine wine. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many French composers held a fascination with traditional and early modal music. This is true of Gabriel Fauré and César Franck. Joseph Canteloube devoted much of his career to preserving the ancient song tradition of his birthplace, Auvergne. Tapestry will share new arrangements of his most famous work, “Chants d’auvergne,” a suite of songs for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. The language of the songs is Occitan, a language that dates back to the troubadours of southern France.

The group will perform its own arrangement of Franck’s vocal duet “Les Danses de Lormont” mixed with Max Ahram’s “Chanson de Grand-Père” with lyrics by Victor Hugo. Following the death of his son, Victor Hugo took charge of his grandchildren Georges and Jeanne Hugo. His collection of poetry “The Art of Being a Grandfather” (1877) is mainly devoted to the two of them but more generally treats with great tenderness the charm and spontaneity of childhood. The lyrics to “Les Danses de Lormont” are by French novelist and poet Marceline Desbordes-Valmore who describes festive dances and stunning sunsets in the resort town of Lormont.

Advance discounted tickets are $30 at the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Ave. or by calling (207) 633-5159. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Tickets are also available at via, the only online authorized seller of Opera House tickets.

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