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 roads; whether it's a mountain stage, a town centre stage or a rural road.

The following general information applies to both the Tour de France and the Tour de France Femmes.

I have listed stage-by-stage closures for the men's event (because I've done it every year for as long as I can remember). As it's the first year of the Tour de France Femmes, I cannot promise to do the same for that event – I am just unsure at the moment how clear the local guidance will be and if I will receive it in time. I will do it if I can, but my list below (as always) depends on the availability of information from local authorities.

Even so, the general info remains the same for both events in terms of planning ahead and general parking guidance, etc.  

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 motorcycles 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

Can I access the route via public transport?

I usually advise against relying on any form of public transport except trains to major towns/cities. I try and advise people to be as self-sufficient as possible with a car, bikes or electric bikes. Bus services are usually disrupted by road closures and taxis will often either be already full booked or be unable to guarantee how close they can get you due to the same traffic constraints regular motorists experience. In the high Alps and Pyrenees, winter ski lifts usually operate o ferry people up the mountain (check locally at the tourist office – in advance – in case you need to reserve tickets). Likewise, there are sometimes local buses (navettes), but they are often oversubscribed (again, check if reservations are needed).   

What time do the roads close to cars and camping cars?

Remember that when we say "roads close", we mean to cars, campervans and other motorised traffic. The roads don't close to pedestrians or cyclists, but you need to be wary of TDF cars and the caravan when they come through if you are arriving late by foot or bike – and get off the road as soon as you hear them coming. 

So for motorised traffic road closures, see below for each stage. Also 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 to cars and campervans?

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 search 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 2023 road closure information below as it comes to hand.

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

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

Tour de France 2023 road closures 

Stage 1: Saturday, July 1 – Bilbao to Bilbao, 185km 

For the Spanish stages, you may need to check local guidance – unfortunately confirming this information is difficult enough for France and I may not have time/resources to do it for the Basque stages as well. See here for route info.

Stage 2: Sunday, July 2 – Vitoria-Gasteiz to San Sebastian, 210km

For the Spanish stages, you may need to check local guidance – unfortunately confirming this information is difficult enough for France and I may not have time/resources to do it for the Basque stages as wellSee here for route info

Stage 3: Monday, July 4 – Amorebieta-Etxano to ? 

For the first half of this stage, you may need to check local guidance – unfortunately confirming this information is difficult enough for France and I may not have time/resources to do it for the Basque stages as well. When it comes to hand, I will post info on closures once the race comes back into France for the second half of this stage.

Stage 4: to be announced late October

Info to come when I get it.

Stage 5: to be announced late October

Info to come when I get it.

Stage 6: to be announced late October

Info to come when I get it.  

Stage 7: tbc 

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.  

Stage 8: tbc

Information will be added here once available.

Stage 9: tbc

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 10: tbc 

I'll post info here when it comes to hand

Stage 11: tbc

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 12: tbc 

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 13: tbc

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 14: tbc

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 15: tbc 

I'll post info here when it comes to hand. 

Rest day: tbc

I'll post info here when it comes to hand. 

Stage 16: tbc  

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 17: tbc 

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 18: tbc

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 19: tbc 

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 20: tbc 

I'll post info here when it comes to hand.

Stage 21: Ends on the Paris Champs-Elysées

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

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 is 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.

More information on watching the Tour de France in person

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