As Tour de France cyclists battle through the ruthless peaks and valleys of western Europe, they will encounter some of the most inspiring views of the continent. Unfortunately for them, they don’t get much of a chance to stop and take in the scenery.
Luckily, we’ve compiled the below Tour(ism) de France so you can safely sidestep that inconvenience. Don’t miss out on any of the spectacular sights along the route of the 101st annual race’s course — we’ll cover all 3,664 kilometers without breaking a sweat!
(Note: The distances and geographical coverages mentioned below are all cited directly from the official Tour de France website.)
Stages 1-3: A Jaunt Through England
In stage one of the Tour, cyclists zoom 190.5 kilometers through the rolling English countryside from Leeds to Harrogate. Off the beaten path from a typical jet setter’s romp through London, the Tour swoops through the “real” England — charming villages, all nestled between the lush green hills of Yorkshire Dales National Park. In the second stage, cyclists continue to enjoy the English countryside, speeding 201 km out of the spa town of York and through Peak District National Park — which contains, according to Lonely Planet, “some of England’s wildest, most beautiful scenery.”
Of course, no trip to England — no matter how fast — would be complete without seeing the renowned sights of London. Stage three kicks off in Cambridge, home to the famous University of Cambridge — which, according to the University’s website, is celebrating its 805th birthday this year. The stage concludes with a quick tear past the 2012 Olympic stadium, a jaunt through the historic streets of London, and a ceremonious finish on the Mall by Buckingham Palace, flanked by the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.