Route Blog Stage 21. St Quentin en Yvelines - Paris. 100km
Between December and June, we’re going to blog, one stage at a time, about the 2023 Tour de France route. You’ll find stage descriptions for every stage on our Route page.
The final stage into Paris is such an iconic stage and the only one which gets regular repetition (although not next year as the 2024 Olympics have moved the final stage in 2024 to Nice).
This start location is the Tour’s way to pass the baton to the Olympics… we’ll sleep in the hotel that belongs to the national velodrome and start the stage from the same carpark. This is a Tour moment and also an Olympic moment because next summer, this is the place which will light up our screens with cheering fans and international cycling enthusiasts.
Take a moment to savour the location before we head off into the surprisingly green (and relatively flat) countryside to the west of Paris.
We’ll be close to Versailles (built by Louis 14th and key location in France’s revolution under the reign of Louis 16th – let’s just say that a 10 second glance at the opulence gives you a pretty good idea of why the French people might have thought it was time for regime change) and continue on towards Paris itself…
Our first stop in town is next to the Ecole Militaire (built by Louis 15th in 1750 to make sure France wasn’t falling short on the international power front) with a prime view of the Eiffel Tower (built in 1889 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the French revolution) which was designed to last only 50 years and for the first few years was a hated landmark in the capital.
We’ll take the most scenic route from here to the Champs Elysees; past the Invalides (originally a military hospital, now home to the war museum and Napoleon’s coffin), over the Pont Alexandre III (arguably the most beautiful and definitely the most ornate of Paris’ bridges) and on to the Place de la Concorde which is the large square that sits between the Champs Elysees and the Louvre (known to us as a museum but originally the Kings Palace before that was relocated to Versailles in the late 1600s). You won’t have a clue which lane to cycle in (there are no markings on the road) but by now, you’ll be soaking up the Paris atmosphere and enjoying the fact that traffic in Paris on a Sunday afternoon is surprisingly quiet.
And then, bringing many historical threads together, we go round the Arc de Triomphe (built by Napoleon), with a view of the Louvre in one direction and La Defense (modern business district) in the other and our final celebrations take place with one lap of the Tour Paris loop.
Tonight, dressed in fresh clean clothes and with a glass of champagne in your hand, you’ll have another opportunity to watch Paris go by from the luxury of a river cruise. Let the celebrations begin!
This stage is part of the following Loops: Second half & Grand Loop.
Don’t just watch it; Ride it!