Advice sought - Visiting stages 19 & 20 of the Tour de France

I am very lucky to be heading off to Sarlat-la-Canéda on holiday in a weeks time. While we are there, we’re hoping to go to stages 19 and 20 of the Tour De France. We’ve been to the Tour of Britain a couple of times but this will be our first time of seeing any of the grand tours in person. The reason for this post is to hopefully pickup advice and suggestions from experienced Tour visitors and/or people who know the region.

For stage 19 (Castelnau-Magnoac ~ Cahors) we are planning on spending the day in Cahors to experience as much of the atmosphere as possible and obviously see the finish. Does anyone have experience of how busy a finish town gets? Will we need to get there first thing in the morning to have any chance of parking? We were planning on visiting Cahors anyway, so more than happy to spend the whole day there, but any local knowledge advice and tips would be very much appreciated.

Stage 20 (ITT Lacapelle-Marival ~ Rocamadour) We know Rocamadour and think it will be far too crowded for us to go to the finish. My thought was to try and find somewhere reasonably quiet that we could watch the time trial mid stage without being surrounded by thousands of people – either by going to Gramat or finding somewhere that a side road meets the route and hopefully being able to stop there. Do either of these sound like sensible ideas? Am I right in thinking the roads that make up the parcours will be entirely closed from around say 11:00am until after the last rider has gone through? Alternatively, would we be better off going to the start? Lacapelle-Marival looks like a pretty small place so I’m guessing it will be overwhelmed with people and we may not get to see much if anything.

Hearing others experience of seeing the Tour plus any advice and local knowledge will be VERY gratefully received.

Thank you!


I don’t know the area but can share with you that when I was in the Alps last year the days the Tour visited. I found out that the route through the mountains, the Col de la Columbiere and the Col de Romme were already closed for car traffic a full day in advance, which made it great to ride the cols (TSS 275) and there were lots of people doing this. The climbs were also already packed with campers and motorhomes a day in advance. Your might want to make sure about road closures before finalising your plans. It might be different on the plains. Also, I am not so sure the road opens after the last riders have gone through. There will be a caravan before and after the riders have gone through. Placing and picking up road signs, fences etc.
Have fun!


Thanks for the information, much appreciated. We’ll take extra care with road closures.

For stage 19 we’re now thinking we’ll take a train into Cahors rather than driving. Looking at the map the station is close to where all the action will be and that way we won’t have to worry about finding somewhere to park. I’m sure it will all work out and hopefully we’ll have a great time!

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1- allow plenty of time to get to the spot you want to get to.
2- download the Waze app. It will tell you about road closures and diversions.
3- don’t expect to see any sort of racing action. It all goes so fast, it’s over in a second.
4- for the TT, seek the steepest point on the route to position yourself and get as good a glimpse of the action as possible.

Oh and put the mobile phone away and just enjoy the moment.


I visited Sarlat in 2012 so a few things may have changed…

There’s no shortage of heat, and no shortage of hills.

There’s a beautiful ‘voie vert’ from Sarlat to Carsac, and then along the Dordogne to Rouffillac. Riding along that with a young family is still one of my favourite rides. The cafe on the river at Rouffillac did great croissants and coffee.

There’s no end of smooth back roads through the geese farms around Sainte-Nathalène

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@RichardK Thanks for the voie verte suggestion - we’re staying on the Carsac side of Sarlat. Hopefully we can hire some bikes and give your route a go.

Yes, we’re staying near Versailles for a couple of days before heading to Sarlat on Saturday. The forecast is 39 degrees for Sunday and 41 on Monday :hot_face: :hot_face:

We had similar temperatures on our last visit in 2018 so it won’t be a total shock!

@Francois-Wahoo Thank for the tips - I’ll download Waze as well as our usual Google Maps


In the highly unlikely event I get anywhere close enough to breath the same air as Bernard Hinault I’ll make sure to shout out that I’m a vague acquaintance of @Francois-Wahoo , I’m sure that will immediately get us a set of all-access passes :laughing: :joy: :laughing:

Just a quick post to say than you to everyone for your advice and suggestions - we just had two fantastic days with the Tour. At Cahors we got a place on the barriers around 120m from the finish, today we were at the second time check in Gramat. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Still in France for another 10 days but I’ll post more plus some pictures of the freebies we got once we get home!

@Francois-Wahoo , took your advice and enjoyed it as much as possible - didn’t film the finish in Cahors or my favourite riders today - just shouted and existed in the moment.


Home from France now.

@RichardK sorry to say that we didn’t have time to ride the Voie Vert but we did walk along part of it in Carsac (where we were staying) and saw a lot of it when driving between Sarlat and Souillac. It is definitely on our list of things to do on a future visit!

We stopped near Versailles for three nights on the way home so I hired an e-bike to ride round the park there for an hour or so which was a huge amount of fun. I need to add some pictures to it at some point but the ride is up on Strava here: Follow John on Strava to see this activity. Join for free.

Here is the free merch that we managed to collect at the Tour:

Not quite everything is in the picture but we got:
6 x Credit Lyonnais caps
3 x KRYS hats
5 x E.Leclerc caps
2 x Continental hi-viz tabbards
1 x Skoda T Shirt
4 x Skoda bags
5 x E.Leclerc T shirts
1 x Century 21 House Soft Toy
Numerous x packets of petit beurre biscuits
Numerous x cans of Tourtel drink
2 x Ecosystem wristbands
2 x Ecosystem keyring / screwdriver
3 x FDJ Keyrings
3 x FDJ scratchcards
A pretty good haul!

Here is the stuff we bought:

TDF/ASO: 4 x T shirts, 1 x Hoodie, 1 x Baseball Hat, 1 x Mitts, 1 x Neck gaitor, 2 x bottles, 3 x Keyrings, 1 x bag
Jumbo Visma: 1 x Neck gaitor, 1 x Mitts
Also 1 x retro Mapei cap
Probably bought more than we really should but it will all get used and it was our first time at the Tour so why not!

Both days were very good and very different - The time trial was a pretty relaxed atmosphere with plenty of room at Gramat and a chance to chat to other people between riders coming through. Cahors was great too with lots of entertainment while we waited. If you ever get a chance to visit the tour it’s a really good day and well worth going :slight_smile:


Great pic!

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Thanks! Where we were standing was slightly uphill which got steeper in the run up to the time check. The stronger riders were noticeably faster going past. It was also interesting to see the different techniques of staying on the aero bars or needing to get out of the saddle to power up the slope (not really a hill). Not surprisingly WVA was very fast, very controlled and looked super strong - he did look very cool in the green skin suit!

My only minor disappointment was not getting to see Robert Gesink (because he didn’t ride this year and I fear he may retire very soon). Would also have been great to see Roglic and Van Der Poel. Hopefully there will be another chance next year