Grand Depart

Grand Depart Trip

All the Action of the First Week

A slow paced trip taking in the excitement of the first week of the Tour de France.  Starting and finishing in Paris, this superb trip offers great cycling and race viewing, a touch of the Spring Classics in Belgium and a delightful stay in Champagne.

TRIP DETAILS:

Duration: 10 days (9 nights)
Dates: Thursday, 28 June to Saturday, 7 July 2012
Start: Paris Finish: Paris
Accommodation: 7 nights in 4 star hotels, 2 nights in a 3 star chateau.
Group Size: Maximum 35 people (5 Staff)
Cost: AUD$5350.00 – Single Supplement AUD$750.00
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 $540.00 (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 the Grand Depart of the 2012 Tour de France
  • See the Tour de France on the cobbles made famous by Paris-Roubaix
  • Ride the roads and famous climbs of the Spring Classics
  • Visit historic WW1 sites of Northern France and Belgium
  • 2 night chateau stay in the Champagne region of France
  • Starts and ends in Paris

Who is this trip for?
This trip will cater for people who do not ride bikes with visits to the race and other attractions such as the cities of Paris and Liege, the champagne cellars of Epernay and the famous WW1 sites of northern France and Belgium. An interest in seeing the Tour de France is important however, as it is the main focus of the trip.

Our trips are 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 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.

See what our clients said about us after the 2011 Tour: Client Comments

Itinerary

Thursday, 28 June 2012: Bonjour

Our 2012 Grand Depart trip will follow the race from the opening prologue in Liege and follow the first week of the race over the famous roads of Belgium, Northern France and the Champagne region. The first week of the Tour de France is often the most entertaining with the yellow jersey being pursued and the race lead changing hands every few days. It’s also great for the spectator with smaller crowds and more opportunities to see the race up close.

We start today with our guests arriving in Paris and being met by our staff and transferred to our 4 star hotel, not far from Paris CDG airport. 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.

For those who may want to travel into central Paris to explore, it’s possible to travel by train to the centre in 30 minutes.

Tonight we will have an early dinner in order to be ready for tomorrow’s journey. 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 weeks adventure answered by our staff.

Overnight: Paris CDG
Meals: Dinner

Friday, 29 June 2012: Roads of La Fleche Wallone

This morning we leave our hotel for Stavelot in the hills of the Ardennes in the Walloon region of Belgium. This is an ideal location for us, being close to Leige and on the race route of the first stage. Stavelot itself is a small historic 18th century town with a majestic Grand Place, stone and half-timbered houses, ruins, small alleys and fountains.

We will drive through Northern France arriving in the town of Huy in time for lunch and our first ride in Belgium. Huy is known for being the finish town for the classic race, La Fleche Wallone. The race finishes with 3 circuits of the famous Mur de Huy (literally Wall of Huy). The climb is only 1.3kms in length but with an average gradient of 9.3% and some sections reaching 26% it’s tough! It is on the Mur de Huy that Cadel Evans won the 2010 Fleche Wallone.

Our ride will start with an optional climb up Mur de Huy before taking a scenic route through the green hills of the Ardennes to our hotel in Stavelot.  As usual we’ll have a couple of ride options today of around 45 to 75km, so something to suit everyone.

Our hotel for the next 3 nights is a 4 star boutique hotel with facilities that include a gourmet restaurant and spa centre for your tired muscles.

Overnight: Stavelot (Belgium)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Saturday, 30 June 2012: Prologue, Liège

This morning we will leave the hotel and go to see the official start of the 99th edition of the Tour de France in nearby Liège. The race kicks off with a prologue, which is basically a short individual time trial, around the streets of Liège. The 6.1 km long flat course through the city centre is identical to the one where the Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara was the winner in 2004. It’s a great chance to see the riders with plenty of vantage points throughout the city to choose from. Over such a short distance it’s flat out with no holding back and the speed of the riders will amaze you.

While we aren’t sure of the exact start time for today’s prologue, we’ll most likely offer the option of riding from the hotel in to Liège today. We’ll continue our exploration of the roads of the Spring Classics, this time with a ride over  Côte de La Redoute as we follow the Liège-Bastogne-Liège route all the way in to the centre of Liège from our hotel. For those wanting an easier option we can followthe pretty canal path along the river Ourthe for the last part of the journey in to Liege. We will arrive in time to see the first riders take to the prologue start ramp and race against the clock for the honour of being the first wearer of the yellow jersey.

Overnight: Stavelot (Belgium)
Meals: Breakfast

Sunday, 1 July 2012: In the Ardennes

The second day of the Tour de France sees the race on a hilly route that travels close to our hotel before making a detour in to Luxembourg, then returning in to Belgium. The Luxembourg fans will be out today cheering on the Schleck brothers and the Walloons out to encourage a big favourite for the stage, Phillipe Gilbert, a native of the Liège region.

We will offer a ride out on the race route this morning before returning to Stavelot for lunch and the passage of the race this afternoon.  To view the race we’ll pick a vantage point on one of the climbs, perhaps on the long Côte du Rosier, which will almost certainly be included in the race route. The race also travels via the 652m Baraque de Fraiture, which despite its modest altitude is actually a winter ski-resort. So the options for rides today are plenty and we’ll decide our options once we know the final route. After we’ve seen the race pass by it will be a short ride back to the hotel to relax and catch the stage finish live on TV.

Overnight: Stavelot (Belgium)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Monday, 2 July 2012: See the Finish in Tournai

We will leave Stavelot this morning and drive to Tournai, where we will view the finish of today’s long stage from Vise.  Tournai is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns in Belgium with over 2000 years of history, so an interesting place to explore while we wait for the arrival of the race.

On arrival in Tournai late in the morning we will head off on the bikes to expore the countryside north of Tournai and experience some of the famous roads of another Spring Classic, The Tour of Flanders.

We take the chance to follow a scenic canal paths from Tournai to the village of Kluisbergen where we have the option for an easy ride on quiet roads back to Tournai, or a longer route that will take us over the 3 most famous climbs of the Tour of Flanders, the Oude Kwaremont, Patersberg and Koppenberg. These are particularly tough climbs and are often decisive in the race. Apart from their steepness they are cobbled, so if the gradient doesnt get you the surface will certainly slow you down.

Whatever option you choose today will finish back in Tournai in time to experience today’s stage finish. The Belgians are enthusiastic cycling fans to say the least, so the atmosphere at today’s finish is bound to be great. After 207kms today the stage will almost certainly end in a sprint with the local riders keen to take the line honours.

After the stage finish we will have about a one hour drive to our hotel in Ypres in Flanders where we spend the next 2 nights in a boutique hotel in the historic city centre a short walk from the famous Menin Gate.

Overnight: Ypres (Belgium)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Tuesday, 3 July 2012: The Feed Zone

Today’s stage to the seaside resort of Boulogne-sur-Mer will pay homage to the Spring Classic, Paris-Roubaix, with a couple of short sections close to the start in Orchies, then some testing hills as the peleton approach the French coast.

We will have a leisurely start today before we ride from Ypres to experience another aspect of the Tour de France, the frenzy of the feed station. We’ll ride south across the French border to the pleasant countryside of Nord Pas du Calais, with shorter and longer rides possible. It is here we will catch the race as the riders slow down to grab their musettes stuffed with energy food and drink from the soigneurs.  This is a great chance to see the race up close and if you are quick grab a discarded musette or water bottle as a race souvenir.

After we’ve seen the race mid afternoon we will return to Ypres by bus with some free time to explore this beautiful city.  Ypres was at the centre of a major battle in WW1 and today the Menin Gate memorial stands on the site of the old Antwerp Gate, through which tens of thousands of soldiers passed on the way to the front, many of them never to return. At 8 pm each night the last post is sounded in tribute to the fallen soldiers. There is of course much more to do and see in Ypres including visiting the beautiful market square, walking through the medieval quarter or sampling some local beer in a brasserie.

Overnight: Ypres (Belgium)
Meals: Breakfast

Wednesday, 4 July 2012: Battlefields and Champagne

As the race heads south to Rouen today we won’t be following it, but instead take in some of the famous WW1 sites of the Somme and travel to the Champagne region of France, where we spend the next two nights.

This morning we will leave the hotel and ride through the now quiet countryside that in July 1916 witnessed the fierce Battle of the Somme during WW1. During the four months of this famous battle 623,000 Allied soldiers lost their life, plus some 240,000 German soldiers. During our ride we will pass many of the Commonwealth memorials that serve as a poignant and moving reminder of this tragic period of history.

Our ride will finish in Villers-Bretonneux, where in 1918 the Australian Infantry Forces saved the town from the advancing German army, at a loss of 1200 Australian lives.  The long connection with Australia continues to this day and we can make a visit to the imposing Australian National Memorial and the Adelaide Cemetery, where Australia’s Unknown Soldier lay for 75 years before being returned to Australia in 1993.

This afternoon we’ll leave the Somme and drive to the vine covered hills of Champagne.  Our home in Champagne is a 17th century chateau set in a large park in the village of Igny-Comblizy. Tonight we’ll dine in the chateau restaurant and drink a toast with champagne to another great day.

Overnight: Champagne Region
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Thursday, 5 July 2012: Visit to Mercier Champagne House

We have a full day to experience the Champagne region today with plenty to see, with plenty of options on and off the bike. This morning we’ll take a ride out from the hotel through the famous vineyard covered hills to the elegant city of Reims, a distance of about 40 kms.

Reims is famous for its magnificent 12th century cathedral, where no less than 32 French kings were crowned, as well as the headquarters of many of the famous Champagne houses such as Veuve-Clicquot and Taittinger.  We’ll spend some time in Reims before travelling 40kms south, by bus or bike,  to Epernay.

Our destination is the Avenue de Champagne where we will take a tour through the Mercier house of Champagne, an amazing complex of ancient tunnels and cellars where the prestigious sparkling wine is produced. At the end of the tour there will be sampling and chance to purchase of course.

If the bubbles have gone to your head there is the comfort of the bus back to our hotel, or you can ride back which will give you a total of around 110kms for the day. Tonight it’s another dinner at our chateau, with a champagne aperitif of course.

 

Overnight: Champagne Region
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner


Friday, 6 July 2012: Épernay and the Start

Our final day on the road will take us to see the stage start in nearby Epernay, a town that last saw the Tour de France with a stage start in 2010. Stage starts are great to see and it will be a nice way to finish the trip. The caravane departing, the riders signing on and the festive atmosphere will carry you away! Don’t forget to get that autograph or that photo as this will be your last chance. We’ll have plenty of time to get to Epernay as it is close to our hotel, with short and long ride options that follow the curves of the river Marne to Epernay. The riding in this very rural part of France is great with small roads that pass through the vineyard covered hills and quiet villages.

After the riders depart Epernay we will stay in town to enjoy lunch before getting on the bus one last time for our final journey, arriving at our Paris hotel mid to late afternoon. On arrival you’ll have time to explore the local area before we head out for our farewell dinner.

Tonight we will enjoy a very special celebratory dinner at a famous Parisian restaurant, Le Train Bleu, close to our hotel in the halls of the Gare de Lyon rail station.  Dining in this beautiful Belle Epoque restaurant will be an unforgettable way to finish our tour in style.

Overnight: Paris
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Saturday, 7 July 2012: A Bientot!

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 on the routes of the Spring Classics and hopefully had an unforgettable holiday with Bikestyle Tours.

For those flying out today from Paris CDG airport we will provide a transfer to the airport, with our staff available during the day to provide any assistance you may need.

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Inclusions

Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:
-Transport throughout by private luxury coach with custom bike trailer.
-Services of our experienced tour guides, plus our coach driver.
-Transfers on Thursday, 28 June from Paris CDG Airport to hotel
-Transfer on Saturday, 7 July to Paris CDG airport
-9 night’s accommodation, in selected hotels (with private facilities).
-Buffet breakfast daily
-3 course evening meals on 7 nights
-Mechanical assistance with your bike
-Sightseeing as listed including entrance fees
-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

The Grand Depart ($1000pp)

The Grand Depart Bicycle Hire $540.00

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

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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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