Taking on the legendary Mont Ventoux for the 10th time in its history, the Tour de France will reach the summit on France’s National Day – Bastille Day, the 14th of July, 2016.
The Mont Ventoux is known as the Beast of Provence, it is one of the most feared mountains in cycling – the climb to the 1,912m summit finish is a punishing 21 km (13 miles) with long stretches at almost 10° gradient. The real killer is that there is no respite, no flat bits, it’s just uphill all the time. But if they’re looking, the cyclists will have the most dramatic views across Provence!
How to watch the Tour
Real cycling fanatics will no doubt want to watch the tour on the Mont Ventoux itself, but that means getting there well in advance. If you just want to experience the tour, pick any spot along the 115-mile route for that day. Bring a picnic or have lunch before in a nearby village and then walk away from the crowds when the time comes.
When and where to see the Tour
Assuming an average speed, on July 14th the Tour will reach Tarascon at about 2.10pm, St Remy de Provence at 2.32, Cavaillon at 3.02, Gordes at 3.28, Bedoin at the foot of the Mont Ventoux at 4.17, and the top of the Ventoux at 5.10, meaning they do the climb in less than an hour.
You can see each day’s route along with expected arrival times at each point on the official Tour de France site, click on Route at the top.
The Tour de France caravan
A phenomenon of the Tour de France that you don’t see on TV is called the ‘caravan’. This is a stream of promotional vehicles, some just cars, others like carnival floats, basically throwing cheap branded bits of plastic at the crowds. You have not experienced the Tour until you have the satisfaction of catching a free key-ring branded with the name of a French bank, or, if you are very lucky, a baseball cap. The caravan passes through 2 hours before the cyclists, and yet people come in great numbers not to miss it.
Cycling the Ventoux
For information on how to cycle the Ventoux yourself when you are in Provence, see the Cycling in Provence page.
We have many rental properties well situated for a ride up the Ventoux, check out our hand-picked Provence vacation rentals!