I'm planning a trip to the TdF this year and hoping to be camping overnight on the Galibier.
Does anyone have any experience of doing this? Where are the best places to stop? We'll be going up late afternoon/early evening of the day before the race. How high up the mountain is it realistic to go - from archive TV footage, there doesn't look much space for camper vans on the higher slopes. Will all the space be taken by this point?
After the race, we're hoping to head down into Briancon for the next stage. Will we be able to follow the race route through the tunnel or over the top of Galibier and down the D1091 afterwards or is it likely to be closed?
I think it's 50/50 whether you would be allowed up the Galibier the evening before. Higher slopes almost no chance the day before. There is quite a lot of space for campers there on the lower part - especially if you are happy to do a bit of off-road - but it will also be very popular, and the good spots will have been taken up to a week in advance. Sometimes the gendarmes will just stop all traffic if they think it's anywhere near full or some race support needs access to the road. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's closed most of the day before.
After the race the roads open up almost immediately. But it will be full of cyclists, walkers and other cars and it will take an age to get down to the Lautaret. Once there, it'll be pretty quick into Briancon, but Briancon will probably be really busy as well and most camp sites will say you must stay for minimum of 7 nights or something, so could be difficult to find somewhere.
I don't want to put you off though, even if you don't get on the Galibier the day before, you'll almost certainly find someone on the Telegraphe or Croix de Fer and get all the atmosphere of the race.