One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

– Henry Miller

We are finally up and running … or riding if you allow my pervasive metaphor. I am ecstatic to finally launch this cultural guide to the Tour de France route. Using the Tour’s annual meandering of 3,400 km. of Europe’s most picturesque and historic, not to mention challenging terrain, we will explore the culture that’s passed by the Tour, infused by residents, experienced by visitors, and witnessed by millions of viewers across the globe.

Explore Le Tour seeks to connect people through the Tour de France. Whether they are spectators, television viewers, or residents, the Tour inspires diversity and understanding through the lens of the bike. Just two wheels, a chain, a few rings, and a rider’s sheer determination and freedom to explore is what makes such an old and humble past time the best way to experience place. In 2015, this may seem like a romantic ideal, but the fact is that this isn’t just any past time. At 23 days, the Tour de France is longer than the summer Olympics. At an estimated 15 million spectators along the route, it is the most attended sporting event on earth. At 1 billion television viewers, the Tour is surpassed only by the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. The difference is that the Tour achieves this popularity year after year, making it the most prestigious, largest, and engaging annual sporting event in the world.

The purpose of Explore Le Tour is to bring these elements together for Tour fans planning to travel the route in July or watching at home. Explore Le Tour seeks out points of interest along the Tour route and features articles about their cultural contexts. For those of you following the Tour at home, the televised aerial views offer unequaled vistas of the European countryside and cities that capture your hearts and inspire your minds. As one friend affirmed, the Tour’s broadcast represents his own annual trip around France. For those of you who plan to see the Tour in person, perhaps Explore Le Tour will offer some suggestions to better appreciate the locations and culture around the Tour’s arena. To provide a context for this culture is my inspiration because French culture is integrally tied to the cultures of so many people, for better or worse. We will explore town or regional industries, environment, food, customs and traditions, architecture, arts and literature, and of course history. I appreciate your support and welcome any questions, comments, constructive criticism, bogging ideas or discussion points. This is my first attempt at this blogging thing, but I’m looking forward to growing as a blogger and I look forward to your feedback. Vive le Tour!

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