Having launched in time for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, the newest book from Rapha Editions is Cartes du Tour, a comprehensive collection of every map from the entire history of the Tour de France, along with the history and culture around each route.
Painstakingly collected by editor Guy Andrews and cycling historian Paul Fournel, the maps offer up a look at graphic design, cartography and cycling history. Printed with both English and French on each page, the book chronicles the evolution of the Tour route from its beginnings as a literal circuit around France, to the modern day approach of stages scattered throughout the country and beyond.
Cartes du Tour is positioned as a must-read for any cycling history buff, as it follows the growing pre-eminence of the race in global sporting culture, from a domestic challenge sponsored by L’Auto to what is now referred to as ‘the greatest show on earth’.
The book shows how the Tour became a phenomenon not just of high sporting drama, but with the advent of TV cameras and helicopters, a way of chronicling the French countryside, viewed by millions of people throughout the world as well as the French public.
Cycling historian Paul Fournel said “By reading the route maps, you follow not only the history of the race but also that of the country, the opening of new mountain roads, the advent of plane travel and the proliferation of the TGV rail network. They have fundamentally changed French people’s conception of their own country, its landscapes and its cultural variety.”
Cartes du Tour pricing (RRP):