Road Diversions in Place for Tour in Normandy

MontRoads along the Tour de France route in Normandy will be closed from 5am on Wednesday morning and detours will be in operation for most of the day.

The actual 33 kilometre route for the time trial from Avranches to Mont Saint Michel will be closed to traffic from 6am until 7pm and alternative routes will be signposted.

Those wanting to watch the start and finish are advised to get there early and the official promotional caravan will be leaving Avranches at 8.40am.

Spectators coming from the direction of Caen wanting to get to Mont Saint Michel are advised to use the RN175 to Précey then turn right and follow the route shown by arrows to Beavoir along the RD288, RD113, RD75 and RD80.

People coming from the direction of Rennes are advised to take the A84 and come off at junction 33 for Ducey, taking the RN175 and following the arrows as above.

The Manche prefecture also announced that vehicles will not be allowed to stop or park on the RD776 between Pontorson and Mont Saint Michel. Spectators will have to walk from the car park to the finishing line as there will be no tourist shuttle buses.

Spectators hoping to combine watching the Tour with a visit to the abbey on Mont Saint Michel are likely to be disappointed as it is currently shut due to strike action. Most of the 47 staff employed at the abbey are taking industrial action over the removal of special staff buses that used to take them to the bottom of the Mont from the new car park almost two kilometres away.

One guide who works at the abbey, Francois Saint James, said that it was unreasonable to expect staff to walk to the bottom of the Mont several times a day. ‘Tourists might want to walk but they come here maybe once, whereas we have to make the walk four times a day,’ he explained.

Initially when the strike began tourists were granted free access to the abbey as the strike operated on a rota allowing a limited number of staff to work. But it was closed for a couple of days last month as there was not enough staff and it closed again on Monday and is set to remain closed until Thursday at the earliest.

Staff are due to hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide on further strike action. It is a severe blow for the owners of the abbey, National Monuments of France, as July is one of the busiest times of the year. Officials confirmed that this has led to a €600,000 loss in entrance fees and revenue.

As Normandy prepares for the arrival of the Tour it has been revealed that a section of road has been built specially for the race at the foot of the famous tourist site at a cost of €150,000 and will be taken away afterwards.

The cost has angered the Friends of Mont Saint Michel association. ‘It is quite a considerable sum in these difficult economic times,’ said Henry Decaens, its president.

Christophe Maisonobe, acting director of the local authorities association in charge of the work confirmed the loop road cannot remain after the race as it would be an eyesore. ‘It will be destroyed because it has a significant visual and environmental impact,’ he said.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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