Tour de France: on the Ile de Ré, the Grande Boucle is bourgeois

Before the Tour de France, the Île de Ré peloton circulates on one of the many cycle paths, Tuesday September 8, 2020. TSDSL / RFI

Text by: Thomas-Sean de Saint Leger Follow

4 min

The 10th stage of the Tour de France arrived on Tuesday at Ile de Ré, opposite La Rochelle, in the Charentes-Maritimes department.

A first for this little piece of land more famous for its cozy atmosphere and its white houses.

And, surprise, the wedding went pretty well.


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If the cachet of a city of arrival were measured by the menu offered in the press room, Saint-Martin-en-Ré would border on perfection.


Oysters, grilled prawns and grenaille potatoes

 ”, the tone is set: here, we know how to have fun.

We can, above all.

Wrongly (a little) and rightly (also), the Ile de Ré conveys an image of a privileged land.

Many wealthy Parisians and Bordelais have their second homes there.

Others are enjoying a peaceful retreat there.

In summer, the island goes from 18,000 to almost ten times as many inhabitants, without this damaging its image.

On paper, there was something funny about seeing the Tour, its barnum and its advertising caravan go by.

Finally, the complainers were few to cross our path, on the contrary: " 

It would be embarrassing if it was every day.

 », Says Jacqueline, Parisian living there half of the year.


But here, it's exceptional and it's good that the Ile de Ré is shaken, that it does not simply remain a haven of peace.

It has to open.


A paradise for cycle tourists

And it opens sacrament on this Indian summer Tuesday.

Close to the finish line, massed against the barriers, the numerous spectators would almost make you forget the sanitary context.

From the start, it is perhaps the most beautiful crowd on the last kilometers.

Surprising for a territory whose DNA is not compatible with that of the Tour.

Less surprising when you land there for more than 5 minutes: it is almost easier to cross a family peloton than a group of friends on foot.

With its 138 kilometers of tracks, Ré offers cycle tourists a real paradise.


Here, it's simple, whether for shopping at the market, for the children's school, or for family walks: we do everything by bike.

In summer, with more tourists, there are real traffic jams on the slopes,

 ”says Dorothée, saunière (salt marsh operator), who, with her friend Christine, estimates the number of bicycles per family at three.

Victor and his friends do even better, with six bikes in the house, for five people.

In case Sagan should blow a tire, for example.

Oysters & Jazz: the Tour de France is bourgeois on the Ile de Ré # TDF20 # TdF2020 #iledere

  Thomas de Saint Leger (@ThomasdeStLeger) September 8, 2020

Lots of spectators - masked - in the last meters of the two islands stage # TdF2020 #IledOleron #iledere

  Thomas de Saint Leger (@ThomasdeStLeger) September 8, 2020


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  • Tour de France 2020

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