Tour de France
Tour de France © Paris Tourist Office - Stefan Kraus
What started off as a far-fetched, unimaginable idea dreamed up by two gentlemen in a Parisian brasserie in 1902, has a century later grown into the world's greatest bicycle race, indeed considered by many to be the greatest annual sporting event on earth. The unique spectacle is ingrained in France's heritage, traditionally ending in Paris, and draws hundreds of local and international cyclists in a battle for dominance over 2,175 gruelling miles (3,500km) every year. The race is split into 21 daily stages and completes a clockwise loop around the country, including treacherous mountain roads in the Pyrenees and the Alps. The famous yellow jersey is worn by the overall General Classification leader who maintains the lowest overall time. Every year the first stage of the race starts somewhere different, either in France or in another country. The race is a joy for spectators and there are many popular parts of the race to watch; spectators gather in numerous villages and cities to cheer on the cyclists and the race is enthusiastically supported.
Venue: Start changes every year; finish is always in Paris on the Champs-Élysées.
Date: 4 - 26 July 2015