The start of the cycling season in France is marked by the somewhat mis-named Paris-Nice race which runs from 8 – 15 March 2020 . Mis-named because although it does indeed finish in Nice it does not always start in Paris. Each year it pushes off from the outskirts of the capital – in 2014 from Mantes-la-Jolie (78 Yvelines, Ile de France) and in 2018 from Chatou.(78 Yvelines, Ile de France). For 2020 the start is in Plaisir (78 Yvelines, Ile de France) in the western suburbs of Paris. This major race is early in the season and involves crossing the Alps. Although busy it is a rare treat to watch the race by the Mediterranean and in the milder climate in Nice after a British winter,
It is also known as the “Race to the Sun” and extends over 1200 km in the week.
The 2020 route includes
- Challet-sur-Loing (45 Loiret, Centre-Val-de-Loire)
- La Châtre (36 Indre, Centre-Val-de-Loire)
- Saint-Amand-Montrond (18, Cher Centre-Val-de-Loire)
- Gannat (03 Allier, ARA)
- Apt ( (84 Var, Provence PACA)
- Nice (06 Alpes-Maritimes, Provence PACA) where the race finishes on the Promenade des Anglais.
Even if you are not a cycling fan, the race and its paraphernalia is quite a spectacle and will pass through some glorious countryside. Sir Bradley Wiggins won this race in 2012.
For more info on the route see www.letour.fr