Only ten days until the Tour de France blasts through Nouzerines in a blur of coloured lycra and reflective sunglasses. As you’ve seen in previous posts, signs and banners have been put up to advertise the event. However, the banners aren’t in very good nick at the moment. Strong winds last week tangled them both up. The Maire will have to get his ladder out.

The big day is 9th July. The eighth stage of the Tour goes from Aigurande to Super-Besse, via our village. The caravan is due in Nouzerines at 11.15 and the riders at 12.57. But celebrations will be underway from 9.30 with – you’ve guessed it, this being France – food and drink being on sale. Then at some point during the morning, Nouzerines will be declaring its independence. It will become a cité Royale. I’ll let you have more details when I found them out!

The Tour then hits Boussac, our local town. The caravan gets there at 11.35 and the riders at 13.14. In case you haven’t noticed, the riders are going faster than the caravan. It usually takes 15 minutes to drive to Boussac from here, Les Fragnes. The riders will only take 2 minutes longer. Awesome. Boussac is celebrating with a small market of local goods, an exhibition of old Tour jerseys and jazz music.

The villages of Lavaufranche (11.44 and 13.23) and Soumans (11.50 and 13.28) are the next on the Tour route, and will be doing a lot of eating. A giant barbecue is lined up for Lavaufranche, and Soumans is planning a pig roast. I wonder if the riders mind cycling past all this food?

To get you in a cycling mood, here are some photos from old magazines and papers of Tours gone by.

Octave Lapize in the 1910 Tour

Strasbourg 1926 - the 108 riders collect their food

The 1928 Tour

The itinerary of the 1913 Tour

The 1951 itinerary

A rider in 1961 cooling down