An incredible attacking finale, with the yellow and green jerseys off the front, was followed by an unpredictable sprint in Carmaux.
The final stage before the rest day saw crashes, fallen favourites and a terrible incident with a car, but also a popular new yellow jersey, Thomas Voeckler.
The Tour came alive as it traversed Brittany to the northern coast of France, with an exciting finale and exceptional sprint win for Mark Cavendish.
France has been enjoying one of its best seasons for years. Will 2011 be seen as the start of a renaissance?