I wasn’t intending to go to the Tour this year. I did book a hotel at Lisieux when the route was first announced but cancelled it a couple of months ago when the reality of a 2 hour ferry crossing, a 3 hour drive and all the associated costs, petrol, tolls etc., not to mention the hotel booking itself, could not be justified just to see one stage finish and nothing more.
Now, as the teams are announced and Tour fever starts to take hold I am starting to look at alternative plans. I have a hunch that Team Sky could do rather well this year and if they do and I’m not there to witness and celebrate with like minded fans I am liable to a major sulk that will last until at least the Tour of Britain.
So, how do I get to Paris on the 24th of July, at minimal cost and inconvenience?
The obvious choice is the Eurostar – Too late! All early morning trains are fully booked and in any case it’s far too expensive. How can they justify over £200 return?
Flying? Possible – but then there’s the drive to whatever the departure airport is in the UK, then getting from Charles de Gaul into Paris and the same problems upon return.
Drive to Paris? – I’d rather not…
So… The probable plan at the moment is a very early morning ferry (03:20 @ £10), an hours drive to Arras (petrol + toll charges at €14), TGV to Paris (an hours journey at £31 return) and metro from the Gare du Nord to the Champs-Elysees. All-in-all the whole day should cost around £100 (plus food and souvenirs) which is not too bad if it allows me to stand at the ‘Sky Corner’ by the Arc de Triomphe and congratulate the boy’s in blue, sorry green, at the end of an arduous, and hopefully successful Tour.
If, and at the moment it remains a big ‘if’ that is getting more and more probable by the hour, I decide to do the above I will have three spare seats and I would be quite happy to accommodate any like minded individual that can get themselves to Dover and don’t mind sharing the journey to Paris with an overweight cycling fanatic – contact me if you are interested…
In the meantime, what are your plans for the Tour? It would be interesting to hear what other Sky fans are doing, compare itineraries and if you are going to Paris where do you intend to watch the race. Actually, thinking about it and picturing the final stage in my mind, that ‘if’’ is almost certainly becoming a plan…
Blog update - Well that didn’t take long! Five hours after posting this blog the temptation became too much and the proposed trip to the Champs-Elysees is no longer an ‘If’ but very much ‘on’… Train tickets purchased, ferry ticket reserved, Neil C’s off to the Tour – Bring it on!