Just in case you have ever wondered what it would be like to stand in the crowds you see on TV at the Tour de France, I've got you covered. Lisa and I went to Rouen to see the cathedral and look around but we also went to check out the tour. We got there a couple of hours beforehand, and there were a lot of people. If you are going anywhere near the finish line you probably won't see much of the racers but you can go for the party beforehand.
This is a picture of the finish line two hours before the finish. You can see tons of trucks on the other side and plenty of people.
With all these people, you would expect to find concession stands and seating, but no such luck. There are however people who come by throwing stuff to the crowd, t-shirts, hats, pens, and candy to keep everyone pumped up.
I saw a lot of people with a baby carriage like the guy in the photo above, I wondered who would bring a baby into this crowd. That is, until I saw him pull a couple of beers from the carriage.
It's sort of like a country fair and parade that goes on for several hours, all rolled up into one.
These little floats run up and down the route, drumming up the crowd and throwing out treats.
Since it was a hot day, this was one of the crowd favorites, a girl on the Vittel water float spraying the crowd.
They throw out lots of flags and banners which the kids love.
The guys in the fancy booths on the other side of the track ignore all of this and lounge around having drinks and watching the tour on TV.
Finally, after over two hours of waiting, the big moment comes and the racers streak by. In less than a couple of minutes it is all over. Everybody packs up and goes home.
Trust me, buy the t-shirt and hat on Amazon and watch it on TV, sitting on a nice comfy couch with a cold beer, you'll thank me for the advice.