If you are watching The Tour de France on TV, you will not be seeing what is a major part of every day's stage; the Caravane.
Before each days race goes by, there is a huge parade of publicity vehicles. These represent everything from Sweet manufacturers, to Olive oil makers, Insurance Co's, Car makers, and almost everything else you could think of. As their publicity vehicles go by, they throw out free samples of their wares to the roadside public. You come home with so many hats, key rings, and assorted sachets, that you have plenty for years to come. It is Huge Fun.
Then, of course, the real purpose of the day arrives and it's all over in a flash as they speed by, and you return home with all your goodies. This video is a bit long, but it'll give you an idea of what goes on. If you stand roadside, you see all the razzmatazz for anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, then just a couple seconds of racing. If you watch on TV you can see the whole day's stage, but no razzmatazz. The choice is yours!