Alps, Pyrenees and Paris

Alps, Pyrenees and Paris, the Final 14 Days

All the Action of the Final 14 Days inc. the Alps and Pyrenees and Final TT

TRIP DETAILS:

Duration: 15 days (14 nights)
Dates: Monday, 9 July to Monday, 23 July 2012
Start: Lyon Finish: Paris
Accommodation: Selected quality 3 and 4 star hotels
Group Size: Maximum 35 people (5 Staff)
Cost: AUD$6950.00 – Single Supplement AUD$990.00
Deposit: AUD $1000.00
Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room.

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Inclusions

Optional Extras:

Bike Rental $840.00 (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
Paris Triomphe Package (Final day)
Grand Palais Seating (Final day)
Pre or post tour accommodation to extend your stay
Travel Insurance and Car Rental.
Email us for details

Highlights:

  • See 8 stages live including all the Alps and Pyrenees stages
  • Catch the action of the Final TT
  • Great Riding including Alpe d’Huez, Mont Ventoux, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque and many more
  • Ride in Paris on the final morning and see the stage on the Champs Elysees
  • Multiple night stays including 4 nights one location in the Alps and also Pyrenees
  • Visits to Carcassonne and Versailles

Who is this trip for?

We have listened to feedback from our valued clients and created this trip with a more relaxed approach to viewing the Tour. There will be eight stage viewings and multiple night stays (4 nights Alps, 2 nights Provence, 4 nights Pyrenees, 2 nights Paris) and time to explore the different regions we visit. We will take a few days away from the race to climb the Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux followed by an afternoon and night in Carcassonne to see the famous medieval castle there.

The trip is geared to suit anyone with an interest in Cycling who wants to see the biggest of the Grand Tours, the Tour de France. This (and riding our bikes) is our main focus for the trip although this trip will incorporate some tourist days as well. We cater for cyclists of all abilities by providing riding options each day. To enjoy our trips you don’t need to be an athlete, but do need to be someone who cycles regularly and in good health. Each day we’ll have options for rides to suit people of who feel like a challenge, or an easy day enjoying the scenery. We ride on quiet scenic roads and where possible we ride on the race course ahead of the race. As with all of our tours you’ll be guided by our expert team of ride leaders, drivers and guides.

Itinerary

Monday, 9 July 2012: Bonjour

Welcome to the 2012 Tour de France.

We will collect you from Lyon Expury airport today and take you to our hotel situated in Aix-les-Bains, only 200 meters from the Lake du Bourget.
The hotel offers an indoor pool with Jacuzzi and Sauna, a Beauty salon and a fitness room, also a Lobby Bar and a Restaurant with a panoramic view on the lake and the mountains where we will dine each night. Aix les Bains is ideally located for us to see the race over the next few days as it travels down from the north and into the Alps.

Our transfers from Lyon Expury airport will be 12 midday and 4pm. If you need assistance with planning please contact us.

Once you are settled in to the hotel we’ll give you a hand to assemble your bike and store your bike bags safely away while you are on the tour. Later in the day our guides will escort you on an easy ride around the local area to help you loosen up and make sure everything is in working order. The time trial will be on TV later in the afternoon so don’t forget to see that!

Tonight we will have an early dinner in order to be ready for tomorrow’s big ride.

As it’s our first dinner together it’s a great chance to really get to know your fellow travellers, as well as have any questions about the next two weeks adventure answered by our staff.

Overnight: Aix les Bains (Alps)
Meals: Dinner

Tuesday, 10 July 2012: Rest Day (Alpe d’Huez)

Today is a rest day in the Tour de France and we will be taking the opportunity to ride one of, if not the most famous col of the Tour, Alpe d’Huez.

The route up to the 1850 meter Alpe d’Huez via the 21 switchbacks is only 13.5 km, with the first few kilometres being the toughest, but it’s an achievable ride for most people.

We will leave the hotel and travel down past Grenoble and up to Bourg d’Oisans at the base of Alpe d’Huez. You may want to start your ride in the valley to have a little warm up before hitting the climb. The ride is not easy but certainly memorable and will no doubt give you a few bragging rights back home when riding with your friends! Once at the top you can have your photo taken on the podium there and enjoy the accomplishment of reaching this famous village.

After we have returned to Bourg d’Oisans we will have some lunch, check out the local shop, maybe pick up a souvenir before we jump in the coach for our trip back to Aix les Bains and another dinner in the rooftop restaurant where we can watch the sun set with a nice meal and a glass of wine.

Overnight: Aix les Bains (Alps)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Wednesday, 11 July 2012: See the Race, Grand Colombier

The stage will pass within 20 kilometres of us today and the race finish is only 50 kilometres away so our options are numerous!

One option will be to join the race route and follow it to the finish town of Bellegarde-sur-Valserine taking in the new and brutal climb of Grand Colombier along the way. Alternatively one group will ride directly to the finish with a ride along the shores of beautiful Lac du Bourget and then following the mighty Rhone river upstream to see the finish at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. On arrival we will meet our bus and have a refreshing shower and see what has happened with the race on television before heading down to see it live and soak up some of the atmosphere. The caravane will precede the race by about an hour ensuring that there is plenty to keep us occupied.

The race will be screening live on a big screen so make sure to get a spot with a view.
Finishes are great and it will be interesting to see if the climbers hold out of if someone like Thor who can climb a little comes back to the group on the flat run in.

After the race we will head back to the bus for the short trip home and dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Overnight: Aix les Bains (Alps)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Thursday, 12 July 2012: See the Race, Col de la Madeleine

Again today we are spoilt for choice as the race climbs a number of famous cols however one stands out amongst these as more famous, more beautiful and more challenging.
The hors-catégorie Col de la Madeleine at 1993 m. The road over Col de la Madeleine was completed in 1969 followed later that year by the the Tour de France. Since then it has been climbed 23 times by the race.

The climb is long at 28 kilometers with a difference in altitude of 1550 meters (average gradient of 5.4 %). The top is reached in three stages, a first stage of 13 kilometers with a slope of 7 % on average, a descent of 3 kilometers and a final climb of more than 12 kilometers at 7.4 % with passages up to 10 % with some opportunity to rest with 3 kilometers of slope at 4 %.

It’s 80 kilometres from the hotel to the base of the climb which makes a challenging ride and probably a little too much for most of us so a start from Albertville, 26 kilometres from the base is more achievable or possibly even a start from near the base. The focus today will be on getting up this climb and enjoying the atmosphere that comes with seeing this great race on a famous climb. The crowds will be huge, they will cheer you on and encourage you all the way. When you’ve had enough, find a spot under a tree and enjoy the afternoon and all that comes with it. The passing of the caravane, the crazy spectators and finally the race with its leaders, helpers and finally its grupetto with the sprinters and those who have worked hard earlier on in the day to get their leaders to this point in the front group.

After the race has passed you can descend back down to the bus to freshen up, see the race progress on TV before we head back to the hotel for the evening.
Dinner is again provided at the hotel.

Overnight: Aix les Bains (Alps)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Friday, 13 July 2012: See the Race, Col du Granier

This morning we will be packing up and leaving our beautiful location for Provence and our hotel for the next two nights in Nyons.
Firstly though we will be able to have one last ride in the Alps. We will squeeze in one last climb for you to remember the Alps by!

We will ride from the hotel this morning along the lake one last time and into Chambery before climbing up the Col du Granier where we will see the race pass 34 kilometres after the start. It’s stands at 1134 metres but it’s quite a hard climb from Chambery so it will provide one final sting in the legs for us.

The race will already be in bits when they pass as those trying for an early break will be testing the tired legs of the peloton whose weaker climbers will already be distanced.

After the race has passed we will drop straight back down to Chambery to meet the bus and get on the road to Provence.

For those who have had enough of the climbs and would like to save their legs for tomorrow we will have a shorter valley ride to a point on the course where we will meet the bus, have a shower and something to eat while we await the race. Once the last of the riders pass we will be on our way to Nyons.

Our hotel tonight is a traditional French hotel with a great restaurant in the lovely small town of Nyons which sits on the edge of Provence and the Drome.

Overnight: Nyons (Provence)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Saturday, 14 July 2012: Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux

We will take a day away from the Tour de France to seize the opportunity to ride one of the most famous cols of the Tour, Mont Ventoux. It’s a nice day to ride an icon of French cycling as it is the French National Day.

We’ll get away in the cool of the morning and travel to the village of Malaucene where we will begin our warm up ride over to the base of Mont Ventoux, Bedoin. This is the most famous and traditional route of the Tour de France that winds its way up through the forest to Chalet Reynard where the well known “moonscape” of Mont Ventoux comes into view. With the hardest section now behind us, the last 6 kilometres of bare landscape provides magnificent views over the plains of the Luberon as you pass by the monument to Tom Simpson, who died tragically on the slopes of the mountain in the 1967 Tour de France.

It is 1617 m over 21,8 km to the summit with an average gradient of 7.43%. The fastest time so far recorded has been that of Iban Mayo in the individual climbing time trial of the 2004 Dauphiné Libéré: 55′ 51″. The time was measured from Bédoin for the first time in the 1958 Tour de France, in which Charly Gaul was the fastest at 1h 2′ 9″.

After the compulsory photographs at the summit we’ll head back down via the thrilling descent to Malaucene. Afterwards we can ride back to the hotel or take the bus. It’s a little over 25 kilometres.

For those not wanting to tackle the difficult climb that is Mont Ventoux, we’ll offer an alternative easy ride returning from Bedoin where you will pass over the little Col de Madelaine and capture some wonderful views of the Mont Ventoux.

This afternoon we will be able to watch the race on television with a refreshing drink in hand.

Overnight: Nyons (Provence)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Sunday, 15 July 2012: Magnificent Carcassonne

This morning we will leave Nyons and begin our journey to the Pyrenees. We decided to break the journey into two days to allow some nice riding and a stop at the magnificent castle at Carcassonne. We will drive to near Narbonne where the riders will be offered two choices of a longer “lumpier” 70 plus kilometre ride or a gentler ride loosely following the Canal du Midi to Carcassonne.

Carcassonne is among the major attractions in France. It consists of two towns: the Bastide St-Louis (also known as the Ville Basse or Lower City) and the medieval Cité. It is one of if not the best example of a medieval fortress and paints a stunning picture as it stands proudly on the hill overlooking the plains of the Aude.

There are remarkable views over the surrounding countryside from the three kilometres of ramparts, with two fortified enclosures (4th and 13th century), four gateways, 52 towers, and barbicans. You are free to enter the fortress and inside you will find cobbled streets with shops and restaurants. It is a must see on your trip.

Our hotel is within a short walk of the Cité where you are free to dine in one of the many restaurants. You will see the speciality of the region here, a rich bean and meat stew called “Cassoulet” that you must try before you leave!

Overnight: Carcassonne (Midi Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Monday, 16 July 2012: See the Start in Samatan

This morning we will leave the hotel and drive to the start in Samatan. Stage starts are great and a must see. The caravane departing, the riders signing on and the festive atmosphere will carry you away! Don’t forget to get that autograph of that photo.

We expect a later start due to the short distance of the stage so this will allow plenty of time to see the riders and take a good look around the race start.

After the race we will have a short ride of around 50 kilometres to turn the legs over before another big day tomorrow. We will be riding in the Gers region (pronounced jess) of the Midi Pyrenees, which on a good day offers staggering views of the Pyrenees to the south as you ride along the quiet rural roads. It is a very lightly populated area, with some of the cleanest air in Europe!

We will meet the bus in Aurignac for our transfer to Lourdes. We’ll spend the next 4 nights in this famous pilgrimage city which is ideally located in a beautiful valley between some of the most famous climbs of the Tour de France. Our hotel is a recently built apartment style building in a quiet location above the lower town. Lourdes was once a quiet Pyrenees village until in 1858 Bernadette Subirous had her 18 apparitions of our Lady of Lourdes that brought the town its fame.

Overnight: Lourdes (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Tuesday, 17 July 2012: The Mighty Tourmalet

Drum roll please. This morning we tackle the highest road in the central Pyrenees, the 2115 meter Col du Tourmalet. You’ve all seen the TV images of this mighty mountain each year on the Tour de France, now is your chance to see what it’s all about. We will ride from the hotel on a hilly 35km to St Marie de Campan where we begin the final17 kilometre ascent to the summit of the Tourmalet. The cafe at the top is a nice warm place to be and has a nice collection of cycling memorabilia.

From the top of the Tourmalet it is 35km downhill back to the hotel making a ride of 100 kilometres. Of course there will be shorter options available today including riding with the group from Lourdes to St Marie de Campan, a pretty little town at the foot of Col du Tourmalet where you should stop at the Forge of Ste Marie de Campan. This is one of the famous places of the Tour de France. The cyclist, Eugène Christophe repaired the front fork there after being struck by a car during the descent of the Tourmalet in the 1913 race. The rules prevented him from obtaining assistance and he had to walk 15 km to do the repairs himself. A plaque recalls the event.

Overnight: Lourdes (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Wednesday, 18 July 2012: See the Race on the Famous Col d’Aubisque

Today we are in an excellent location again to see the race and take the opportunity to tackle another of the epic climbs in Tour history, Col d’Aubisque. The Col d’Aubisque is both beautiful and difficult and will give you a memorable day.

We have two options for riding today. The more difficult of the two will be to travel towards Pau and then take the climb up the middle where we will intersect the road at the Col du Soulor. From here you can choose to stay to see the race pass here or turn right and head across to the Col d’Aubisque along the ridge that joins these two cols (Cirque du Litor). It is one of the most beautiful roads in France.

The second option will be a ride from Lourdes along the scenic bike path to Argeles Gazost and then onto the course following the Gorge du Luz to Luz St Saveur at the base of the Tourmalet and see the race there.

After the race has passed and we have cheered on the grupetto who will need all our encouragement to get to the finish, each group will return to Argeles and then up the path to our hotel for a well earned beer and to see the last hour of the race on TV.

Of course the other option is to do one of these rides and return to the hotel for a shower and a look around Lourdes.

Overnight: Lourdes (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Thursday, 19 July 2012: See the Race in the Beautiful Pyrenees

Today we will head across a few valleys to see the race on one of the newcomers to Tour de France history. Today the Port de Bales will be climbed for only the third time in the Tour. This once little known climb remained virtually impassable until resurfaced during the summer of 2006. This was partly done at the instigation of the Tour de France who were looking for new challenges with which to confront the riders. The 2007 Tour de France crossed the col for the first time on stage 15 and in the 2010 Tour de France the col was crossed during stage 15 which began in Pamiers and ended in Bagnères-de-Luchon. Starting from Mauléon Barousse, the Port de Bales stands at 1755 m with an ascent of 18.9 kilometres and an average percentage of 6.3 %.

Our ride options today will be to ride 70 kilometres from the hotel to the base of the climb and then up the climb to see the race pass and then return to catch the bus home afterwards. Should you make it to the top your ride distance will be approximately 115 kilometres.

Or your second option will be to take the bus out to a point near the base of the climb. From here it seems quite possible to see the race twice by riding up the valley to the Col de Mente and onto the lower slopes, see the riders pass here and then return down the valley and across to Mauleon Barousse at the base of the Port de Bales to see them again there. Then after seeing the race pass, returning to meet the bus.

Overnight: Lourdes (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Friday, 20 July 2012: TGV to Paris and then Versailles

We will have an early start today and head off to the nearby train station and catch the TGV directly to Paris followed by a short bus transfer to Versailles where we will provide you with an entry to the Chateau of Versailles (included in trip price). Your admission will include the Palace’s most famous places: the Hall of Mirrors, Grand Apartments of the King and of the Queen, King’s Bedchamber and the exhibitions.

When the château was built, Versailles was a country village. Today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.

Your luggage and bikes will be transported separately to save you lugging them about and will be available at the hotel later in the afternoon. Our 4 star hotel in Versailles is located in a prime location only a few minutes walk from the chateau entrance.

This evening we will have a special final dinner together at a local Versailles restaurant. We have decided to bring it forward as the next few days will be pretty busy and we know you will want to spend some free time in Paris.

Overnight: Versailles
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Saturday, 21 July 2012: The Final Time Trial

Maybe it will all come down to today, the final Time Trial as it did it 2010 when Cadel overtook Andy Schleck in the time trial around Grenoble and rode into Paris as the winner. We will be in Chartres at the finish to see all the action today.

We will leave Versailles where we will begin our ride to Chartres. The roads and countryside to the west of Paris are quite scenic with lots of greenery and more than the odd Chateau to distract you. We will offer a couple of rides as usual, one of around 75 kilometres and another of around 40 kilometres. Our longer ride will take us through the hills of the beautiful Chevreuse Valley before the final flat run in to the historic city of Chartres.

Once we arrive in Chartres we will freshen up at the bus with a shower if you wish and head off to watch the final chapter of the 2012 Tour de France unfold.

After we have seen the race decided for 2012 we will then go to Paris and our hotel for a free evening.

A short walk from the hotel is the lively night spot of Bercy Village with its original cobbled streets where you will find many restaurants and shops that now occupy restored sandstone winestores that in a past life stored the wine before it was shipped overseas.

Overnight: Paris
Meals: Breakfast

Sunday, 22 July 2012:  Ride and see the Race on the Champs-Elysees

This morning we have a special treat in store. We are going to take a ride through the streets of Paris taking in some of the famous sights such as the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde to mention a few.

We will leave our hotel nice and early to give ourselves the best possible chance of completing a lap of the famous Champs Elysees before they close the road. On our ride we will pass many famous icons of this romantic city. You will be surprised by the difficulty of the cobbles on the Champs Elysees and the steepness of the climb up to the Arc de Triomphe. It will give you an even greater respect for the riders when you see them almost gliding over the cobbles later this afternoon. You will be able to see the preparations for the finale this afternoon, take photos and soak up this great city in a way not many people get the opportunity to do. Eventually we will return to the hotel for breakfast and to pack our bikes (if necessary) before heading back to see the race this afternoon.

The last stage is traditionally a procession until the entrance onto the Champs-Elysees where the racing really starts. Riders traditionally chat, celebrate the final stage, pose for photographs, drink Champagne… sometimes they even dress-up, swap bikes and generally horse around. Traditionally, once the race gets into Paris, the Yellow jersey and his team lead the peloton onto the Champs-Elysees for what is a basically a big criterium in the centre of the French Capital. The riders will arrive at the Champs Elysees just after 3.30pm but the caravan will be there to entertain you from around 2.00pm.

If you wanted to make the most of today you could choose one of the Hospitality Packages available: Paris Triomphe Package or Grand Palais Seating.

Overnight: Paris
Meals: Breakfast

Monday, 23 July 2012: Au Revoir

Its farewell to your new friends as our tour comes to an end this morning. For those flying out today from Paris CDG airport our staff and coaches will be available to help you on your way.
It is the final day of our tour. Over the past weeks you’ve experienced the excitement of the Tour de France up close, challenged yourself over some famous climbs and hopefully had an unforgettable holiday with Bikestyle Tours. We hope we see you again one day.

Overnight: Paris
Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:
-Transport throughout by private luxury coach with custom bike trailer and shower
-Services of our experienced tour guides, plus our coach driver
-14 night’s accommodation, in selected hotels (with private facilities)
-Buffet breakfast daily
-3 course evening meals on 8 nights
-Transfers on Monday, 9 July from Lyon Expury Airport to hotel
-Transfer on Monday, 23 July to Paris CDG airport
-TGV train transfer from Lourdes to Paris on Friday, 20 July
-Mechanical assistance with your bike
-Sightseeing as listed (including admission to Versailles)
-Maps and Bikestyle guide to the Tour de France
-Bikestyle Tours cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

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Reserve your Place Now

Payment by Credit Card

If paying by bank deposit or cheque see below

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below

Alps, Pyrenees and Paris ($1000pp) 

Alps, Pyrenees and Paris Bicycle Hire $840.00 

Grand Palais Champs Elysees Seating $390.00 

Triomphe Champs Elysees Hospitality $730.00 

Tick the box to accept the Bikestyle Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If renting a bicycle you also agree to our Bicycle rental Conditions


  • By paying a deposit you are deemed to have accepted our Waiver and Reservation Conditions.
  • We charge for our trips in Australian Dollars (AUD). We recommend that you check the exchange rate before booking.
  • A surcharge of 1.5% is applicable for payments made with visa or mastercard and 3% for payments made with American Express credit cards.
  • Deposits can also be paid by direct deposit or cheque. Please see below.
  • It is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.
  • * We charge for our trips in Australian Dollars (AUD) and prices shown in other currencies are only approximate. We advise that you check the exchange rate before booking.

If you have any further enquiries please email us at tours@bikestyletours.com

_____________________________________

Payment by Bank Deposit and Cheque

If you wish to pay by Bank Deposit or Cheque please tick the box below to go to our Bank Details

Prior to paying a deposit it is advisable to confirm a place is available by sending an email to our Office Manager Michelle Knibbs, michelle@bikestyletours.com or telephone our office 07 38465999.

Tick the box to accept the Bikestyle Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If renting a bicycle you also agree to our Bicycle rental Conditions

  • By paying a deposit you are deemed to have accepted our Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If you have any further enquiries please email us at tours@bikestyletours.com.
  • Don’t forget it is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.
    Purchase your International Travel Insurance here.
  • * We charge for our trips in Australian Dollars (AUD) and prices shown in other currencies are only approximate. We advise that you check the exchange rate before booking.

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