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Tour de France in Brussels: Some tips on getting around the city
Leave your car at home from 4-7 July and take a free metro. This is some of the advice handed out by Brussels Mobility as the city gets ready to stage the Grand Départ of the Tour de France.
Road closures will begin on the Thursday preceding the race launch, as the course has to be prepared. "Avoid using your car unless you absolutely have to," said a Brussels Mobility spokeswoman. "There will be roadblocks along the length of the route. Parking along the route will also be prohibited."
The Brussels-Capital Ixelles police zone has put a map online showing the roads where parked cars will be towed. "People are already going on holiday this week, so we want them to avoid a bad surprise on their return," said a police spokeswoman.
If you must drive into the capital, the Ceria and Kraainem park-and-ride facilities are free to use all weekend long. If are you planning a car journey across Brussels, it many cases it will be easier to exit the city, take the Brussels ring and re-enter.
Brussels Mobility recommends walking, cycling or taking the scooter for short distances. Pedestrians will only be able to cross the route at designated crossing points, and could have to wait for the all-clear from a marshal. De Brouckere and Bourse metro stations will have 1,000 bicycle spaces available for cyclists attending the Fan Park on the pedestrian zone.
For longer distances, metro is the best form of public transport and the entire Stib network will be free on Saturday and Sunday. About half of the Stib's bus routes and a third of tram lines will be disrupted in some way, while the metro will run a reinforced service all weekend.
The SNCB will put on 40 extra trains to ferry spectators into Brussels - and train travel is half-price from Friday evening to Sunday evening, with a Weekend ticket. You can also travel free of charge all weekend long between any of the 34 railway stations that are closest to the Tour de France route.
The 2019 Tour will begin on 6 July with a 192km opening stage from Brussels to Charleroi and back. Riders will leave the capital via Molenbeek and Anderlecht before tackling the 9.2% ascent of the Muur van Geraardsbergen.
Spectators can then cheer the cyclists through Enghien, Braine-le-Comte, Seneffe, Courcelles, Gosselies, Genappe, Waterloo and Overijse as they head back to the city centre via Laeken.
The following day, 7 July, sees a time trial starting outside the Royal Palace, passing the Cinquantenaire park, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Auderghem, Watermael-Boitsfort, the Bois de la Cambre, ULB, Etterbeek, Montgomery and up to Van Praet, Laeken and an Atomium finish.