Lance Armstrong claimed his fifth consecutive Tour de France title as expected on Sunday.
The 31-year-old American becomes only the second rider to win five Tours in a row and one of five men to have won five Tours in total.
The final stage was won by French sprinter Jean-Patrick Nazon, with Armstrong keeping well out of trouble at the back of the peloton.
Armstrong joins Tour legends Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil as a five-time winner of cycling's biggest race.
"It's a great feeling when someone like Hinault comes to you on the podium to say 'welcome to the club'," said Armstrong, who beat German Jan Ullrich by 61 seconds overall, his narrowest Tour win by far.
Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov was third, four minutes 14 seconds behind the US Postal team leader.
Britain's David Millar, win of the penultimate stage, finshed 55th overall.
Tour organisers could not have dreamt of a more fitting winner for the centenary of their race.
"It was superb, the best race in 20 years or at least since 1989 when I took over as the Tour director," said Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc.
"The champions were at their best every day, they were tested and challenged daily, both physically and mentally."
Armstrong added: "It's definitely the most stressful Tour, considering my physical and mental fatigue, by a factor of 10.
"In the other years I had five, or six, seven minutes. I think it perfectly sets up an attempt for number six."
Nazon held off the Australian duo of Baden Cooke and Robbie McEwen after a mass sprint in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.
Cooke and McEwen, who were chasing the green jersey awarded to the winner of the points competition, were touching shoulders as they crossed the line.
And it was Cooke who was awarded second place by little more than an inch, giving him the green jersey by just two points from McEwen.
Richard Virenque won the polka dot jersey awarded to the King of the Mountains while
Denis Menchov claimed the white jersey as best young rider.