Illustrated guidebook to the Tour’s routes, climbs and towns
Every July, my husband and I are gripped by the human drama, athletic competition and sheer scenic splendor of the Tour de France, now cheerintelecast daily in the US by Versus. Especially that it’s now in high definition, we watch the crowds in achingly charming cities and towns, the scenic rural roads past farms and vineyards, the cheering fans that choke down the mountain climbs and the fast descents from the alpine zones into the greenery. Every year, we talk about how fine it would be to follow the Tour in person, and every year I enter the online contest on the longest of shots that we’ll win a trip for the following year.
We probably will never get there, but now there’s a vicarious way to get the inside info. Graham Watson’s recently published Tour de France Travel Guide provides insider’s access based on 31 years of following and photographing the race. According to the publisher, VeloPress, “Watson has mastered the Tour’s daily challenges—where to eat, where to sleep, how to get around, how to see and photograph the race, and most of all, how to enjoy the greatest show on two wheels.”
This beautifully illustrated guidebook features hundreds of Graham’s stunning photographs, full-color maps, travel tips, checklists and travel resources, plus such special features as clever menu decoder, tips on how to meet the riders, a glossary of French cycling terms, some history historical on each region of France visited by the Tour and even a chapter on how to photograph the Tour like a pro. I guess my trusty little digital camera won’t cut it. Again according to the publisher, “this book presents a fresh and unique strategy for getting around the Tour’s many daily obstacles to find a front-row seat for all the action.”
The price is $24.95, which is a lot less than actually being there.