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Tour de France Finish in Paris 2019

 

This year marks the 106th edition of the Tour de France, and since 1975, it has finished on the Champs-Elysées every year. This year will be no exception: on Sunday 28th July, the most famous avenue in the world will once again become the finish line that will be crossed by some of the best athletes in the world. If you find yourself in Paris on this particular weekend, this is definitely something you should witness with your own eyes! So if you want to find out more about the race as well as some useful information for the big day, have a look at our tips below!

This is the 21st and final stage of the tremendously long race. Starting off from Rambouillet, the final 128km-long stretch takes the competitors through places such as Le Perray-en-Yvelines, Chevreuse, Châteaufort, Jouy-en-Josas, Meudon, Issy-les-Moulineaux and Paris. Having finished the race there, the riders will have cycled a total distance of 3480km between 6th and 28th July. It truly is one of the most physically demanding events, which is why seeing the final sprint should not be missed!

@champselysees_paris (Instagram)

Some practical information:

  • Timings

The final stage is scheduled to start at 6:10pm in Rambouillet, and the expected finish is just after 9pm. This means that you should be able to make it to the finish even if you just decide on the day!

  • Traffic

As with any event of this magnitude, a tremendous amount of organisation is required, including amendments to travel and accessibility. The Champs-Elysées will therefore be closed on Sunday, 28th July between 9am and 11pm! If you can, avoid driving around Paris on the day, if possible.

  • Transport

As well as disruptions to road traffic, the métro stations closest to the event will usually be closed in order to prevent overcrowding. The easiest way to get around would be to get off the métro a few stops away and walk.

  • Weather

As with any outdoor event, the weather can play a key role in the success and enjoyment of the public on the day, which is why you should remember to check the weather! Luckily, the heatwave should be gone by this point, but there may be a slight chance of rain, so plan accordingly. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water with you and keep hydrated during the day!

 

Sprint down the Champs-Elysées. Photo: Travis Crawford

How can you watch?

The Tour de France is extremely popular, meaning it could be challenging to find a good viewing spot on the day. Many people camp out from the early hours of the morning to guarantee a good view. So, if you’re in Paris, how can you watch the spectacle with your own eyes?

The Champs-Elysées may be the hotspot of the event, but don’t forget that there are many other places around Paris from which you will be able to see the race, so it’s important to be aware of some of the other locations…

The route through the French capital will encompass other great places such as the Assemblée Nationale, the Eiffel Tower and the Palais de Justice on the Île de la Cité before returning to the traditional route to the Place de la Concorde and Place Charles de Gaulle.

It is also worth pointing out that there will be a total of eight laps before the final finish on the Champs-Elysées. This means that a spot with a good view around this lap at the Jardin de Tuileries or Place de la Concorde could be a good place to witness the riders passing by many times!

Who to look out for:

Finally, if you are a Tour de France beginner, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of contestants and teams, and not be aware of the big names to watch our for on the day, so here are just a few examples:

Previous winners are always looking to defend their titles, and that is exactly what last year’s winner of the final stage, Geraint Thomas from Great Britain, will be trying to do. The final étape is one for the sprinters, as was proved by last year’s winner of the final stage, Norway’s Alexander Kristoff, who outsprinted John Degenkolb. Previous winners of the final stage also include a hot favourite for this year, Dylan Groenewegen (NED), André Greipel and Marcel Kittel. Whatever the result, it will be a thrilling sight to witness with your own eyes!


Bastille Day in Paris 2019

Photo by Dorian Hurst

If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris on the 14th of July, you can experience one of the biggest national holidays in France! From parades to parties, fireworks to concerts, here’s your guide on how to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris this year.

What does Bastille Day commemorate?

Bastille day, known as Le Quatorze Juillet or La Fête Nationale in French, marks the anniversary of a major turning point in the French Revolution. On 14th July 1789, approximately one thousand revolutionaries attacked the Bastille, a medieval fortress located in the centre of Paris that held political prisoners, which had become a symbol of the oppression of the French people by royal authority. As the revolutionaries attacked, many of the soldiers in the Bastille changed sides and joined the people, and eventually the military leader of the Bastille, Governor de Launay, surrendered the fortress and the revolutionaries took control.

This event, now known as the Storming of the Bastille, gave hope to the French people and inspired them to rise up against the nobles who had ruled France for so long. It engendered a series of events that eventually led to the demise of the French monarchy, the culmination of which was the beheading of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in September 1779.

The Storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789 – Jean-Pierre Houël The National Gallery, The Bridgeman Art Library

The Bastille was torn down by the revolutionaries following their victory. Today, a square called Place de la Bastille covers the area where the fortress used to stand, with the Colonne de Juillet (the July Column) standing at the centre of the square, which commemorates the Second Revolution in France.

Photo by Arnaud Chicurel

Traditional celebrations

Over 200 years later, the 14th of July is celebrated all around France every year. However, there’s no better place to be than in the city of its origins – Paris! Here’s a guide on all the traditional celebrations you can join in on in Paris.

Military parade on the Champs-Élysées

The national holiday opens with the arrival of the French President at the top of France’s most renowned avenue, the Champs-Élysées, where the military parade commences from the Arc de Triomphe down the avenue towards Place de la Concorde, heralded by trumpets and drums. 

Timings:
10.10am: Arrival of French President
10.30am: Start of parade
11.45am: End of parade
12pm: Departure of French President


Grand concert of operatic works at the Eiffel Tower

At the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the Orchestre National de France and the Chœur et la Maîtrise de Radio France will be performing a number of classical pieces around this year’s Bastille Day theme, ‘The Federations’. The programme includes pieces from Vivaldi, Tchaikovski, Beethoven and Berliox among many others, and is completely free to enjoy.

The concert will start at the Eiffel Tower at 9:30pm.

Photo by Aida Garifullina

Fireworks display on the Champs de Mars

Gather at the Champs de Mars for a spectacular fireworks display in front of the Eiffel Tower. Expect to see a dazzling display of choreographed multi-coloured fireworks sparkling before a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower in the Parisian night sky.

The spectacle commences at 11pm for a duration of 30 minutes.

Photo by Lorraine at Discover Walks Blog

Firemen’s Ball

On both the 13th and 14th of July, fire stations in every district of Paris open up to the public to host traditional balls, known as Bals des Pompiers in France. The Paris Fire Brigade dates back to 1793, just four short years after the Storming of the Bastille. Following a devastating fire that burned for 23 hour in the city, Napoleon decreed the Paris Fire Brigade to be a military unit of the French Army devoted to the safety of Paris in 1810. To honour their service, you can enjoy a night of dancing and drinking with Parisians all over the city, where many of the dances go on until 4am!

This year, the Bals des Pompiers will take place on Saturday 13th July and most of them will begin at 9pm. Many of them are free, but some may ask for a small contribution.

Click here to find your nearest Bal des Pompiers – look under the subheading Paris 75 for the addresses for every ball happening in the centre of Paris.

Photo from Paris Tourist Office


Festival des Lumières au Jardin des Plantes

This fall, marvel at the animals in the Jardin des Plantes during the first “Festival des Lumières”! Enjoy a crisp evening stroll among the gigantic and luminous animal “structures.”

From November 16 until January 15, the Jardin des Plantes presents an evening exhibition that will enlighten the conscience of young and old.

Start the course at Valhubert Square with spectacular lanterns depicting creatures that disappeared 65 million years ago: immense light structures of several meters made in China by China Light Festival, specialist in Chinese lanterns.

Discover extinct or endangered species under the pressure of human civilizations; animals who have disappeared because of humans and those currently threatened with extinction such as the mammoth, polar bear, American bison, white shark, etc.

This festival of unusual light is also dotted with live shows on the theme of nature and workshops for children who can even build and decorate their own lantern.

Festival des Lumières au Jardin des Plantes

Espèces en voie d’illumination © China Light Festival B.V

Espèces en voie d’illumination © China Light Festival B.V

Buy your tickets in advance to pay less.

What? Festival des Lumières
Where? Jardin des Plantes, Place Valhubert, 75005
When? November 16, 2018 to January 15, 2019 (from 18h00 to 22h45)
How much? 15€ (12€ discounted)