23 days. 21 stages. 3,540km. And at every corner: a crystal clear mountain lake, tastings of the finest wines, or an open-air jazz concert... Will the Tour de France racers be able to resist the temptations that await?
1. In Vittel, the temptation to go for a soak
From the cool, mossy Vosges forest to bubbling thermal spas, in Vittel time stands still, and the racers will doubtless feel like doing the same.
2. In Nuits-St-Georges, the temptation to fill your glass
Will the peloton leave the famous Burgundy climats without sipping from a glass in a cool wine cellar or sampling the delights of the Côtes de Nuits?
3. In Nantua, the temptation to cook some crayfish
Much to the delight of crayfish, walkers, and Instagrammers, the waters of Nantua Lake are as clear as those of a tropical island. Not that keen on hiring a pedalo, our fatigued sportsmen will most likely just want to lie back and float.
4. In the Dordogne, the temptation to go mammoth-hunting
If not fatigue or hunger, will the racers stop racing to discover the amazing Lascaux cave paintings in their brand new museum?
5. In Pau, the temptation to make a wish
Halfway already. So why not take a cable car to spend a night at the Pic du Midi observatory, just you and the Milky Way.
6. In Romans, the temptation to tuck in to some ravioli
Tiny. Delicious. And melt-in-your-mouth. So mouth-wateringly good. Amongst the many excuses for greed, the fine Romans ravioli are worth a trip all by themselves.
7. In Briançon, the temptation to float away
The mountain stages aren't the easiest. And yet, it would be nice to hurtle down the slope that's such hard work on the way up, on the rushing waters of the Serre-Chevalier valley.
8. In Rodez, the temptation to turn to the dark side
At the Musée Soulages de Rodez, blacker than black, light and shadow. You might stop racing around to switch off for a few hours.
9. In Marseille, the temptation to move your body
As if to taunt the racers, the 5 Continents Jazz Festival lands in Marseille at the same time as the Tour. There, down by the Med, you can forget all your worries as you dance to rhythms from around the world.
10. In Paris, the temptation to stay on the terrace
From the quays of the Seine to the lawns of la Villette, and even on the rooftops, in summer Paris can feel like the seaside. As lunch extends into drinks, you might miss the finish line.