Tour de France road closures

Some of the most common questions I get asked in the lead up to the Tour de France are about road closures. Here's what you need to know.

tour de france col d'aspin

Crowds on Col d'Apsin.

Road closure times during the Tour de France vary from region to region and even town to town. Closure times depend on many things: how popular that section of the route will be; how difficult access is; whether there are any access other roads; whether it's a mountain stage, a town centre stage or a rural road.

Who are the roads closed to?

When people talk about the 'road closing', they mean 'closed to motorised traffic': that's all cars, campervans and motor cycles with the exception of emergency vehicles, local organising staff, and Tour de France vehicles.

As always, the best way to get around is by bike. Even after the roads officially close, they are still 'open' to pedestrians and cyclists. Again, though, there is no rule of thumb here. In some areas you can ride the route anything up to an hour before the caravan comes through (sometimes even later), while on other sections the road will be barricaded off completely.  

tour de france caravan

What time do the roads close?

The best advice I can give anyone is this: check locally about road closure times. Ask B&Bs and hotels (see here for our TDF accommodation page), and ask tourist offices as they will have the best and latest information. On the more common Tour de France cols of the Pyrenees and Alps, they deal with road closures on an almost annual basis so they really are the experts at navigating closed roads and finding the best vantage points. Also check local government websites – search for 'Mairie' (town hall/mayor) – and tourist office sites as they often have dedicated Tour de France pages, which are all managed locally.

Note that specific information on road closures may be confirmed as late as the week before or even a day or two before the event.

See the official Tour de France race guide for a handy overview of what time the caravan will pass through. This can also help you plan your arrival times.

I am adding below specific links as they come to hand.

On busier sections of the routes, expect traffic jams in and out (and this also affects feeder roads used for parking and access). The later you arrive, the further you will have to walk/cycle to the route itself from local access roads.

Road closure times are subject to change - always err on the side of caution and arrive early if you are driving. Major cols and sections of the route where there is only one way in and one way out will be closed for longer (eg Ventoux, Tourmalet and most major Alpine cols will USUALLY close AT LEAST the afternoon before, sometimes up to a day or two earlier).

Try to avoid driving in host cities on the day of the Tour. City centre traffic is usually always affected – park outside and walk/cycle, or take public transport, into the city centre (or research public parking spaces and access in advance).

What time do the roads open again?

Again, this differs. The Tour de France is a massive event and all local authorities manage it differently. You can generally walk or cycle on the route again after the entire Tour entourage has been through. On less crowded sections, cars will also start using the route again fairly quickly afterwards. However it can take much longer before traffic flows freely on more crowded stages. As with the closures, things are geared to ensure spectator safety, and traffic movement largely depends on access roads and how big/popular that stage is.

If you need to get away quickly after the peloton goes through, DO NOT PARK ON THE ROUTE ITSELF! Find somewhere to watch that can be accessed from other local roads. Park up and walk/bike to the route.

What time do stages start/end?

These are all listed on the official Tour de France website, as well as in the official Race Guide. We find this invaluable and generally do not go to watch a stage without it.

Who do I ask on the day?

The route is policed by local police and volunteer marshals. Follow their instructions or ask if you're not sure.

Mountain routes are generally more problematic to get to than flat stages. For flat stages and town stages, it is usually much easier to find somewhere to watch that has a local access road feeding onto the route. If you use these, then you can avoid having to drive onto the route itself and the closures won't affect you. Some feeder roads WILL be affected by organisational traffic etc but local advice and signs informing you about the deviation are usually available.

As stated above, road closures are managed locally, which means it can be a nightmare to find out individual area details – it really does mean researching town-by-town. The info below is mostly in French but decipherable using an online translator. Unfortunately I just don't have the time or resources to translate everything or to search for info on every single town that the Tour de France goes through.

If the info you need is not below, it's either not yet published or I haven't had time to serach for it. You can do this yourself by Googling such terms as 'circulation' + 'Tour de France' + 'the town or stage you are interested in'. You can also try 'parking' + 'Tour de France' + 'the town or stage you are interested in' and 'stationnement' + 'Tour de France' + 'the town or stage you are interested in'.

If you find anything out that's not on the list, I'd be grateful if you emailed me at lyn@freewheelingfrance.com with the details or posted them in the comments below. 

Donation button

We will post 2020 road closure information below as it comes to hand.

Note this is chaning EVERY DAY with the COVID situation. I cannot guarantee this list will be as accurate as in previous years.  

* If you live locally and hear about road closures, please email details to lyn@freewheelingfrance.com *

All info is given in good faith. Most of the links are in French (sorry, but I won't have time to translate everything - Google will be your friend!)

Stage 1: Saturday, August 29, Nice Moyen Pays to Nice, 156km

For Nice, there was no info as of July 19 in terms of how COVID may affect the Grand Depart. Watch this page.

Stage 2: Sunday, August 30, Nice Haut Pays to Nice, 187km

For Nice, there was no info as of July 19 in terms of how COVID may affect the Grand Depart. Watch this page..

Stage 3: Monday, August 31, Nice to Sisteron, 198km

For Nice, there was no info as of July 19 in terms of how COVID may affect the Grand Depart. Watch this page.

For Sisteron, watch this page.

Stage 4: Tuesday, September 1, Sisteron to Orcières-Merlette, 157km

For Sisteron, watch this pageFor Orcières, I'm told info will be posted here.

For stage timings, see here. Watch also this page.

Stage 5: Wednesday, September 2, Gap to Privas, 183km

See this regional page. For stage timings, see hereWatch also this page.

Stage 6: Thursday, September 3, Le Teil to Mont Aigoual, 191km

See this regional page.  

Stage 7: Friday, September 4, Millau to Lavaur, 168km

For Lavaur, this map has local access info. See here for other guidance and local contacts.

I'll post Millau info when I get it.

Stage 8: Saturday, September 5, Cazères-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle, 140km

Information will be added here once available.

Stage 9: Sunday, September 6, Pau to Laruns, 154km

Information will be added here once available.

Rest day: Monday, September 7, La Charente-Maritime

Lots of useful road closure and COVID information here.

The local TDF website is here

Stage 10: Tuesday, September 8, Île-de-Oléron to Île-de-Ré, 170km

Lots of useful road and bridge closure information, including maps, here. NOTE: On the 8th September, Ile d’Oléron won’t be accessible between 9h and 16h10 and Ile de Ré between 12h and 19h30.

The local TDF website is here. See over here for stage timings.
For the passage through Rochefort, see this page for a map.

Stage 11: Wednesday, September 9, Châtelaillon-Plage to Poitiers, 167km

The local TDF website is here. See over here for stage timings.

Stage 12: Thursday, September 10, Chauvigny to Sarran Correze, 218km

For Chauvigny, I am told details will be posted here. Watch also this page.

For Sarran Correze, road closure info is here.

Stage 13: Friday, September 11, Châtel-Guyon to Puy Mary Cantal, 191km

For Chatel-Guyon, it's possible information will be posted here. See also here (though it was empty as of July 19).

For Puy Mary Cantal, see this page. All access roads to the Pas de Peyrol pass will close to cars/campervans on September 10, though I assume it will still be OK to cycle up main road routes (assuming there are no restrictions on numbers as a result of COVID). Parking on main access roads to the Pas de Peyrol pass will also be banned. It will only be possible to walk/cycle up. See this page for maps and GPX files for the walking routes. That page also has other road closure details and parking information. 

Stage 14: Saturday, September 12, Clermont Ferrand to Lyon, 197km

For Lyon, watch this page. Clermont Ferrand links still to come.

Stage 15: Sunday, September 13, Lyon to Grand Colombier, 175km

For Lyon, watch this page.

** Due to COVID local authorities have announced Colombier will closed to closed to spectators. I do not have any more information. The local tourist board has an information page here in English that may or may not be updated closer to the time. I'd advise you to contact the tourist office directly via that page for further clarifications. Watch also this regional page. Stage timings are here.

Expected route for stage 15:

Rest day: Monday, September 14, Isère

Stage 16: Tuesday, September 15, La Tour de Pin to Villard de Lans, 164km

La Tour de Pin have a page here – it includes an email address for information. Villard de Lans have a page here I am hoping will be updated close to te day.

Stage 17: Wednesday, September 16, Grenoble to Méribel Col de la Loze, 168km

Note the information for this stage predates the recent increase in COVID cases in France. This stage may see further efforts to reduce spectator numbers.  

For Grenoble, watch this page.

For Meribel, the local tourist board has sent the following information to a reader (thank you to Stijn for passing it on). Based on this information – which references bikes – we also assume the route will be closed to cars on the following dates:
It will not be 
possible to access the top of the Col de la Loze (we assume they mean by the actual road used by the Tour) to see the finish. A municipal decree was taken to prohibit access to bikes from September 15 to 18 to allow for the arrival to be planned (setting up podium, etc). However you can reach the top of the Col de la Loze by taking one of the pedestrian paths or by bike as long as you use the cycle path on the Courchevel side. On the Méribel side, the Saulire Express gondola will also be open and free to the intermediate station, where a fan zone will be installed.

Also we have the following information from a reader via the Tourist Office.

"According to the time schedule, the arrival in Brides Les Bains will be from approx 15:00, so the roads up to Meribel will likely be closed for the whole afternoon, although the official road closures have not been announced yet. You would likely be able to drive up to Meribel in the morning but note that to be able to drive back down you'd need to wait for the roads to re-open once the race has passed.

The lifts will be open for the Tour de France weekend, although it has not yet been announced which lifts or the timetables. Look on the Meribel Tourist Office website for more information on lift openings.
 
Alternatively, from Brides Les Bains you could drive up to La Tania (there will be no road closures on this side of the valley) and take the lifts from there. IMPORTANT: it has not been confirmed if the lifts will open for the Tour de France, but you can keep an eye on LaTania.co.uk for updates on this."
 

Stage 18: Thursday, September 17, Méribel to La Roche-sur-Foron, 168km

See above for Meribel contacts. For te area around Fillière, see here. For La Roche-sur-Foron see here.

Stage 19: Friday, September 18, Bourg en Bresse to Champagnole, 160km

Watch this regional page for more info. Stage timings are here.

Stage 20: Saturday, September 19, Lure to Les Planches des Belles Filles, 36km (time trial)

Note the information for this stage predates the recent increase in COVID cases in France. This stage may see further efforts to reduce spectator numbers.  

There were free buses (navettes) to the top of La Planche des Belles Filles in 2019, but it is unclear whether this will happen in 2020 owing to COVID and crowd control measures. The Ronchamp tourist office has this page, which you should watch for further information. There is the suggestion that the road may close some days in advance of the stage and that it may be impossible to park at the summit (even if you arrive before the road closure). You should watch the Ronchamp page or contact the tourist office closer to the time for any clarifcation. Watch also this regional page.

Stage 21: Sunday, September 20, Mantes Les Jolie to Paris Champs Élysées, 122km

See this page for more tips on watching in Paris and an idea about what to expect.

Note the information for this stage predates the recent increase in COVID cases in France. This stage may see further efforts to reduce spectator numbers.  

Avoid driving in Paris – there is no need to. Use public transport or one of the public bike share bikes to get around. Note Metro stops and underpasses near the route are sometimes closed to avoid overcrowding or for security reasons. It's usually best to plan to arrive a few stops away from the route and to walk.

Paris is big and the circuit spread out. There are often casual observers who are tourists in the city on the day and not there specifically for the Tour – this means more crowd movement and fewer people sitting in the same spot all day. That means that with a little patience it can be possible to wiggle your way close to the front with relative ease. Take water and other supplies with you and pinpoint cafes or other toilet spots nearby. It's good to watch in pairs or groups so someone can guard your spot while you duck off to the toilet, etc. Portable step ladders or chairs are also handy, but be considerate with neighbours and don't block their view.

I'll keep adding to this list as info comes to hand.

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