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Get set for the Grand Depart

As the Tour de France gets under way, we take to the road to find some winning pads

The world’s most famous cycle race dates back to 1903, when a reporter suggested a long-distance competition as a way to boost his paper’s circulation. While the route changes each year, there are always Alpine sections and the finish is in Paris. Here we freewheel through France and its neighbours (Britain and Switzerland) to discover the best homes for sale from which to enjoy the Tour (July 2 – July 24).

Nr Avignon, Gard, France £2.5m

Stage 11 heads out from Carcassonne towards Montpellier, one of the capitals of sprint. But the sprint comes at the end of a taxing, hilly section. This beautiful watermill has its own swimming pool to ease aching muscles. There’s also a lovely terrace overlooking the river.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

Pont du Gard, France £650,000

The Stage 13 individual time trials take place between Bourg St Andeol and La Caverne du Pont D’Arc, up and down the gorge of the Ardèche. This single-storey family villa near the Roman aqueduct has three double bedrooms and a separate two-bedroom annexe. It has a manicured garden with far-reaching views and a large swimming pool.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

St Gervais Les Bains, Haute Savoie, France £1.32m

Mountainous Stage 19 will surely test the competitors. With Mont Blanc towering above for most of the route, this section finishes in St Gervais, a ski resort famous for its thermal springs. This fabulous eight-bedroom chalet has been operating as a self-catering holiday home and a catered chalet. There is a demand for such properties in this area – or you could keep it all to yourself.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

Samoens, Haute Savoie, France £2.2m

Stage 20 is the Grand Final for the climbers. This short but intense section could decide the race. Right on the route is the village of Morillon, a popular ski area with a cable car link to the slopes of the Grand Massif. This former farmhouse in the centre of the village has very generous rooms and a huge barn outside. Perfect for storing your bike.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

Genolier, Vaud, Switzerland £2.9m

Stage 16 straddles the border between France and Switzerland, but it largely follows the valleys, saving a hard climb to the very end, at Bern. Just across the Haut Jura national park from the start at Moirans en Montagne - and the border - this mid-terrace modern Swiss property has three bedrooms and a balcony with views to Lake Geneva.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

Rue Surcouf, Paris, France £818,000

The Tour always culminates in Paris with a sprint along the Champs Élysées. This year, it approaches along the Right Bank of the Seine, crossing at the Pont Alexandre III. The riders speed along the Rive Gauche to the Pont due Carousel before the triumphant sprint to the finish. This trendy loft apartment on the Left Bank is bright and airy with one bedroom and a private terrace.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-intertnational.com

Avenue Montaigne, Paris, France €3,150,000

The final stage of the Tour hasn’t approached Paris from the north since 1984. The Right Bank was always considered the more affluent part of the city, while the Left Bank appealed to artists and writers. On an upper floor, this large and light apartment in smart Avenue Montaigne on the Rive Droit has two bedrooms and needs some TLC. There is a lift, too.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

St. Rémy – Les Alpilles, Maussane-les-Alpilles, France POA

Stage 6 in 2013 took place between Aix-en-Provence and Montpellier. Daryl Impey took the yellow jersey from his team-mate Simon Gerrans. Most of the hills were early on in this section and this grand olive mill is about halfway along the route, in the flatlands of Maussane at the foot of the Alpilles. This classically styled property sits in a formal park with avenues of trees, an orchard, flower beds and fountains.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

Cevennes, Gard, France £563,000

Nimes witnessed the thrilling finale to Stage 15 in 2014. Two brave breakaway riders were caught by Norwegian Alexander Kristoff in the last 50 metres. Just half an hour away from this ancient city, this grand hilltop chateau has plenty of room and could easily take paying guests. It has 10 bedrooms and scope for more.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

Tunbridge Wells, Kent £895,000

The 2007 Tour departed London and wound its way through Kent via Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. Later it took in Belgium and Spain before its usual finish in Paris. This four-bedroom detached house near High Brooms mainline station has been modernised and extended to provide everything a family could wish for.

Call Winkworth’s Tunbridge Wells office on 01892 519600 www.winkworth.co.uk/tunbridge-wells

Lymbridge Green, near Canterbury £1.05m

The 2007 UK section ended in Canterbury, approaching via Stone Street. This is a straight-as-a-die Roman road that linked the city to the port of Lympne, where a Gaulish regiment was garrisoned. In the second millennium, Australian Robbie McEwen staged a dramatic finish despite crashing 20km from the end. This eco-friendly country house is a perfect blend of modern and traditional. It has a huge, open-plan living space, four bedrooms and sits in five acres.

Call Winkworth’s Canterbury office on 01227 456645 www.winkworth.co.uk/canterbury

St John’s Wood, London £6.995m

Cycle star Bradley Wiggins has an Australian father and British mother, but he was born in Belgium. When he was two, Bradley and his mother moved in with her parents in Kilburn. This elegant Grade II listed house is in nearby St John’s Wood. It has six bedrooms, plus another two, which are in a separate guest annexe.

Call Winkworth’s St John’s Wood office on 020 7586 7001 www.winkworth.co.uk/st-johns-wood

Aislaby, near Whitby, North Yorkshire £1.45m

In 2014, the Tour took a big departure and held its Grand Depart in Leeds. The first two stages took in large swathes of Yorkshire and thrilled the locals who came out to cheer in their thousands. Even further north than York, this sporting estate comes with 53 acres, a five-bedroom Georgian farmhouse and two other cottages.

Call Winkworth’s Cobham office on 01932 500200 www.winkworth.co.uk/cobham

Blackfriars Road, Southwark, London £1,150,000

In 2007, the Tour started in London, with a prologue that criss-crossed the Thames and passed St Paul’s before starting at Tower Bridge. If this apartment block had been built then, you would have had a superb view, but the development is due for completion in 2017. You can buy this one-bedroom property off-plan and choose your finish.

Call Winkworth’s Kennington office on 020 7587 0600 www.winkworth.co.uk/kennington

Rue des Tournelles, Paris France £820,000

Just like the Tour de France, we have to finish in Paris. This central two-bedroom apartment is just one block away from the Place des Vosges. And if you want to take to two wheels, you have several choices of bike tours that explore different aspects of the city. In this way, you can take your very own Tour de France.

Call Winkworth’s international sales 020 7870 7181 www.winkworth-international.com

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