How We Accidentally Saw the Tour de France Live on our Recent Trip to Europe

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My husband cycles on a road bike for exercise and fun. He rides with local cycling clubs and watches the Tour de France on TV every year. He would love to see the Tour de France live and in person someday, but we haven’t made that trip happen yet. Our time in Paris a few weeks ago was just before the start of the race.

So imagine my surprise when, during my last few days in Switzerland, I saw a sign at our hotel that said the street would be closed for the Tour de France. What?!?!

Tour de France in Switzerland

Apparently, sometimes the Tour de France actually veers into neighboring countries. And this year, for two days, the route brought the cyclists into Switzerland. Imagine our luck!

Unfortunately, my husband would have to miss this because he had to fly home a few days earlier for work. But, my daughter and I became spectators for him and took lots of videos and photos for him to see.

The event actually takes about two hours to roll by. During those hours leading up to the cyclists, a promotional caravan drives by. This caravan includes cars and trucks advertising sponsors and blaring loud music. Merchandise vans also roll into town and set up shop along the more populated spots. We actually watched part of the caravan from the windows of the nearby Chillon Castle, which was free with our Swiss Travel passes.

Chillon Castle near Montreux, Switzerland

Shortly before the cyclists were predicted to race by, we found a spot on the street to watch.

Before the cyclists, the team cars with replacement bikes came by:

And finally, the moment we’d all been anticipating: the cyclists.

They were so close, and so fast. I posted a video on our Facebook page if you’d like to see. And just like that, they were gone.

My daughter was stunned at how many cyclists there were and how fast they whizzed by. She kept saying, “I need to process what just happened.”

Overall Thoughts

Even though my daughter and I aren’t super-fans, we still enjoyed watching the Tour de France go by. I’m so bummed that my husband wasn’t there to see this. We did buy him an official hat and t-shirt, though. Hopefully, he will be able to watch the race in person himself in the next few years. I’m sure we can make that happen using miles and points!

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