08 July 2011

Today's Tour de France route

The place where we will set up to watch the Tour de France ride by today is about 10 miles south of Saint-Aignan, between the villages called Orbigny and Nouans-les-Fontaines. The caravane of support and publicity vehicles is supposed to drive past our vantage point between 14:00 and 14:30 French time (minus six hours gives you EDT, minus seven for CDT, etc., in the U.S.).

This field is near the place where we'll set up our chairs
this afternoon to watch the Tour fly by.

The peloton, or pack of cyclists, should come through between 15:30 and 16:00, again, Paris time. All the activity for us, then, will be between 7:00 and 11:00 a.m. if you live on the U.S. East Coast or in the Midwest. Or earlier in California. Is the Tour broadcast daily on some TV channel you get back there? If so, the aerial views will be spectacular.

The Tour doesn't go through Chenonceaux, so I thought
I'd give you a picture or two of that famous château here.

There's an old, privately owned château near where we will be sitting this afternoon. It's the Château de l'Estang, and I assume the helicopters will fly over it and images will be shown on TV. Our friends' house might even get into the coverage. Unless it rains, of course. The forecast is for widely scattered showers. Other places you'll see from above are Amboise and Montrichard, for example, in the hour or two before the Tour gets to us.

People in a rowboat at Chenonceau castle

We'll be recording the French TV coverage on our Tivo-type recorder all afternoon. I'll be able to capture some images from that coverage and I'll post them over the next few days if it all comes off according to plan — and it doesn't rain. Editing and cutting the video should keep me busy over weekend, and that's good because we are expecting — hold your breath — rain!

Greek-style chicken wings, ready for the oven

Meanwhile, I'm getting ready to put the Greek-style chicken wings in the oven. They've been marinating overnight in lemon juice and olive oil, with fresh thyme, rosemary, and oregano from the garden, along with some garlic and shallots. They'll cook on a baking sheet in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes this morning, before we pack up the car and head out. Callie's going with us.


  1. You're going to have a wonderful time - especially with that picnic - and it's great that Callie is going with you.
    I wonder if she'll bark at the cyclists.

  2. Ken,
    Sue and I will be on the couch having a snuggle in the middle of the night and watching out for you guys. If tradition has anything to do with this, I shall have fallen asleep. missed you and the finish to awaken to see the results before toddling off to bed. Have a great time.

  3. Enjoy, we have watched twice now. Once was a time trial which was better as it lasted for a long time. The caravan is great though before the cyclists, lots of fun. Diane

  4. Hopefully the rain will keep off for you.

    The last time the Tour passed this close to the Cher Valley was in 1992 when French sprinter Thierry Marie won the stage from Montluçon to Tours. The race came through Genillé, le Liège and Luzillé and onto Tours. Overall winner that year was Big Mig, who won the time trial the next day from Tours to Blois.

  5. Take lots of photos for us- we are with you in spirit!
    I LOVE that field of hay and sunflowers! I'm going to search my tv for some wee bit of coverage in hopes that I'll see you guys and maybe Callie;)

  6. I've got to try that marinade for chicken!
    I'll watch for you on TV.

  7. Enjoy your picnic and the Tour. Callie will be a happy dog during all that excitement , especially the caravan .
    have a wonderful day :-)

  8. Fun! My daughter and her husband took a bike holiday on their honeymoon in '99. They biked from Passau to Vienna and took the hydrofoil to Budapest. Then they went back and followed the Tour de France for a while. They have wonderful memories and photos. You'll have fun.

  9. Oh, have a splendid time! And I hope the rain comes in buckets (but after you're done watching the Tour, of course)!

  10. that chiken sounds simple and delicious!

  11. I saw the huge field of sun flowers, and though I looked as carefully as the TV cameras would let me, I didn't see you guys.

  12. Starman and all, we just saw ourselves on the coverage, which we recorded. The Tour passed our vantage point nearly an hour later than predicted — there was a strong headwind today. When the first riders went by, I could clearly see myself standing in a ditch on the side of the road taking pictures, and then our friend H. and Walt also taking pictures. It's pretty cool.

  13. I walked out of my front door about 3 minutes before the Tour was due to arrive, stood right at the edge of the route, no-one in front of me, and had a great view. The dog thought it was boring. Then back to the house, and watched the delayed transmission on ITV - so I saw it twice. And the stage was won by a Brit, Mark Cavendish, though he does ride for a U.S. team

  14. I thought about you and Walt, and figured you might be somewhere along the route, as I watched today's stage. I'm a great fan of le Tour, and have been streaming it on line every day (delayed, natch, being in California). Terrific shots of all the châteaux today! Can't wait to see your photos!

    P.S. I planted collards this year for the first time--all because of you!

  15. dani and i stayed in st. aignan last year and we follow your blogs and love the memories you bring back for us. we are both emergency nurses and last night we watched the Tour knowing that you would be sitting somewhere on the side of the road watching the cyclists ride by. we stayed in the gite right on the square and the market was outside our front door. i had a lot of fun with the butcher as i sat on the doorstep eating my breakfast....waving sausages at me and obviously making ribald comments in French that I coulnd't understand. But it was all in good fun. Dani will often come up to me at work and say "Have you seen what Ken is up to in the kitchen?". so from a long way away in Geelong, Australia we say hello and keep it up. we love it!! Pam Morrison

  16. dani and i are emergency nurses in Geelong, Australia. We stayed in St. Aignan, right on the town square and watched with delight as the market took form outside our front door. I had a lot of fun with the butcher who's van was outside our gite, as i sat on the doorstep drinking a coffee. We watched the Tour last night, knowing that your were sitting alongside the road somewhere as the colourful cyclists whizzed by. dani often comes up to me at work and asks "have you seen what Ken is up to today? what he's cooking?" We love it, evokes great memories of our time in the Loire valley. keep it up. pam


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