Every year in July, the Champs-Elysées (the most beautiful avenue in the world, according to some Parisians) becomes crowded for the arrival of the Tour de France, the famous cyclist race.
This year, it will take place on Sunday 23th, and the runners might be in Paris between 17:30 and 20:00.
Even though I’m not a big fan of the Tour, I like wandering around the final loop (Champs-Elysées up and down, Concorde, Quai des Tuileries, Rue de Rivoli, 8 times), like many tourists attracted more by curiosity than by the race itself.
But if you’re like me and just want to appreciate a relaxed international atmosphere, don’t go to the Champs-Elysées. You won’t see anything unless you sleep there the night before.
The place I recommend is the exit of the tunnel, at Rue de Rivoli 194, near Joan of Arc statue, opposite where Norwegian fans usually gather (see picture). This place has several advantages:
– not too crowded: you don’t need to arrive early to enjoy a decent view
– it’s in a curve, and after a climb, so runners don’t go too fast
– there’s a bar there, which generally sells not too expensive beers on the street
– the same bar (Café du Carrousel) has a TV with live broadcast, so you can check the progress of the race between two passages and watch the final sprint way better than those agglutinated on the Champs-Elysées!