There couldn’t possibly be anything more boring than watching a bicycle race on TV, except watching a golf tournament, or maybe fishing. Right?

But after hearing excited commentary every morning for two weeks on FranceInfo, a news station from Paris, I finally turned on the TV.

Duh. It was as close as I’ll get for a while to taking a tour of the French countryside. I still don’t care much about the race, but I would really like to visit the Dordogne region in real life. I’m going to miss spending 1/2 hour each morning watching lavender fields and alpine forests pass by as I vicariously descend hairpin turns and careen through medieval villages.

Here’s a map of this year’s route:


I really shouldn’t be amazed at the wonders of TV – it’s been around a while – but I do appreciate some good armchair travel, especially when I haven’t been planning for or expecting it. Push a button, and I’m in the south of France. Push another one, and I’m in a Congolese jungle (I watched this one, too). Etc.

There’s something to be said for starting each day by spending time someplace far away. The Tour de France has become my July morning ritual. I’ll miss it.