If you have read my previous posts on the Tour de France, you will know I am a huge fan of the race. I am planning to follow as much of the route as possible this summer, and have covered a few of the stages that I find the most interesting, the last of which was
, from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d'Adet. In this blog, I'll be taking a look at some of the highlights along the final stage of the race, which is always exciting to see, and will run 137.5km from Évry to Paris Champs-Élysées, and takes place this Sunday on the 27th July 2014.
Évry is the capital of the Essonne department of France, and this will be the second time that the town has played host to one of the stages of Le Tour de France. Originally established as a city in Roman times, Évry is now home to some wonderful modern architecture, including the only cathedral in France to be built in the 20th century.
St. Corbinian Cathedral of the Resurrection is well worth a visit if you're in town, where you can marvel at the unique design and the 24 beautiful silver lime trees that adorn the cathedral roof, as well as the stunning stained glass window inside. A must-see for fans of contemporary architecture.
The countryside of the Essonne department in France provides endless opportunities for scenic bike rides through fields of green, lush woodland, and rolling valleys with sparkling rivers. There are also a number of beautiful of châteaux that you can visit, one of the grandest of which is the Château de Courances.
Château de Courances
Built in the mid-17th century, the imposing Château de Courances boasts 75 hectares of gardens, including one of the finest examples of Renaissance water gardens in the whole of France, and will make for a fun day out for the whole family. The château is only open on weekends throughout the summer months, so planning ahead is definitely recommended. There are also four guided tours throughout the day that will take you around the house itself, which you can also book in advance, and provide a fascinating insight into the colourful history of Château de Courances.
Finish: Paris Champs-Élysées
Paris has been the setting for the Tour de France finale since 1975, and this year's no different, with the last part of the race seeing the competitors battling it out down the Champs-Élysées. If you happen to be in Paris this coming weekend, you're in for quite a treat, with celebrations taking place all over the city, but no matter when you visit, the 'City of Light' is sure to delight.
Spend a day strolling along the Seine, crossing the numerous bridges to explore the different banks of the river. On the right bank, you will find the world-class Louvre Museum, which houses the Mona Lisa, as well as the quirky district of Le Marais, abundant with cafés and boutique shops. The left bank, or the 'Rive Gauche', is traditionally home to Paris' philosophers in the Saint-Germain district, which leads into the bustling Latin Quarter, home to the best cheap bars and eateries in town. And whilst you're crossing from bank to bank, don't forget to pay a visit to the magnificent Notre-Dame on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine!
Following Le Tour de France
The fastest way to cross the Channel is with
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
; it takes just 35 minutes, and with services running up to four times an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you will have no trouble finding a time to travel that suits you. Our Calais terminal is ideally situated for exploring the whole of France, so all you need to do is pick which cycling route you want to tackle first, load up the bike rack and be on your way!