It’s July 4th, and while most Americans are setting off fireworks,drinking beer and gorging themselves on hamburgers, hot dogs and potato chips, in France a very different scene is unfolding.  The Tour de France began today in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This grueling race will not end until July 23rd  in Bordeaux, France. During this time, according to Wikipedia, the riders will climb “the equivalent of three Everests.”  Yikes!

Is it worth it to travel to France to watch the Tour De France in person? That depends-some people feel that they can get a better view of the entire race by watching it on TV. While that may be true, according to former Tour de France spectator Mike from, “there’s very little that compares to the thrill of being on a steep mountain climb and watching the shattered peloton come through.  You are so close to the action that you become almost a part of it (especially if you’re flinging a handbag around), and the drama unfolds in front of you over a significant period of time, not fleeting seconds.”

One interesting highlight of the Tour de France for spectators is the sponsor caravan, which stays a little bit ahead of the riders.  The caravan throws bunches of goodies and small souvenirs to the waiting crowds-kind of like Mardi Gras, except there are no beads and everyone keeps their shirts on.

According to, the best place to see the Tour de France is in the mountains, so renting a car is recommended. Another important tip to remember is to stay out of the way of the bikes-there are no fences or barriers, and you don’t want to get run over!

Since the race doesn’t end until July 23rd, there’s still time for last-minute trip.  The official Tour de France website has more information about the route as well as additional suggestions for other area tourist attractions to visit while you’re there.

However, if you don’t have a passport yet, you’ll need to get one before you leave. If you apply for an expedited passport directly from the Department of State, you probably won’t get it in time: expedited service costs an additional $60 plus overnight delivery costs and it takes 2 to 3 weeks door-to-door.

However, there are other ways to get expedited passport services that will get your passport in time. Using a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport is the easiest and most convenient method. Instead of having to make an appointment at a passport agency office, taking time off work and traveling to the office, you simply send your expedited passport application to the expediting company and let them do the dirty work for you. RushMyPassport offers processing times as low as 24 hours, depending on which option you choose.

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