Pyrenees to Paris

Pyrenees to Paris

10 Days through the Pyrenees, Loire Valley and onto Paris (inc. Final TT)

TRIP DETAILS:

Duration: 10 days (9 nights)
Dates: Saturday, 14 July to Monday, 23 July 2012
Start: Toulouse Finish: Paris
Accommodation: Selected quality 3 and 4 star hotels
Group Size: Maximum 35 people (5 Staff)
Cost: AUD$5490.00 – Single Supplement AUD$930.00
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 6 stages live including all the Pyrenees stages
  • Catch the action of the Final TT
  • Ride in Paris on the final morning and see the stage on the Champs Elysees
  • Great Riding including Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque and many more

Who is this trip for?

This trip will provide a great mix of race watching along with some memorable rides. There is the possibility for six stage viewings and multiple night stays in most locations. You will be able to see live all the stages of the Pyrenees and the Final TT before we witness the spectacular final stage on the Champs Elysees.

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.

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

Itinerary

Saturday, 14 July 2012: Bonjour

Our tour starts today with our staff meeting you as you arrive in Toulouse, with a transfer to our 4 star hotel just near the airport. Toulouse is easily reached by train from Paris, or by flights from many European airports. If you need any suggestions please feel free to email us.

As the old capital of Languedoc and France’s fourth-largest city, Toulouse (known as la ville en rose, or the city in pink) is the major city of the southwest, and the gateway to the Pyrenees mountain range. It is an ancient city with a stormy history. Complimenting this distinguished history, Toulouse is also a city of the future and the high-tech centre of the aerospace industry in France. It is home to Airbus and Aérospatiale — and the National Centre for Space Research has been headquartered here for more than 3 decades. The extraordinarily high population of students, some 110,000 out of a population of more than 800,000, also contributes to the pulse of the city.

Once we’ve got you settled into the hotel we will assemble bikes and take a short local ride to make sure you and your bike are all in good working order after your long journey.

Tonight we will have a welcome dinner where you will meet your fellow travellers and where our staff will answer all your questions on your upcoming adventure.

Overnight: Toulouse (Midi Pyrenees)
Meals: Dinner

Sunday, 15 July 2012: See the First Stage in the Pyrenees, Mur de Péguère

The Pyrenees will begin with a bang. The steep slopes of the Mur de Péguère boast sections of almost 14%. This is why we have chosen this climb as our preferred viewing point. It’s not often that the Tour de France chooses such steep climbs so it will be interesting to see how the riders fare today. No doubt they will be spread out by the time they crest the summit but with over 40 kilometres before they arrive at the finish it’s possible the front groups will come back together and contest a small bunch sprint to the line in Foix.

We will leave the hotel by bus and travel a short distance before dropping off our cyclists who would like a longer ride today. This ride will cross the lower slopes of the Pyrenees and pass through St Girons before heading up the gorge roads to the base of the climb to Col des Caougnous which joins onto the Mur de Péguère.

Our shorter ride will begin near the base of the climb and head up to see the race from the same location. Both rides will return to meet the bus. We will then head across a couple of valleys to the old spa town of Bagneres de Luchon where we will be based for the next three nights. The main street, allée d’Étigny is lined with cafés and snack bars and has a distinctly metropolitan elegance and bustle. Luchon is a comfortable base for exploring the surrounding mountains which we will certainly do over the next few days.

Overnight: Luchon (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Monday, 16 July 2012: Big Day in the Pyrenees, Part 1!

We will have two options today depending on whether you prefer to ride your bike or see the race start.

One option will be to ride a 110 kilometre loop including the final climb of the stage Bagnères-de-Luchon – Peyragudes which will include the Col de Peyresourde and the final few kilometres to Peyragudes. From there you will descend down to the next valley and then head up the valley, across and then back down the next valley to the hotel. We will be back in the hotel in time to freshen up and watch the race on TV.

If your preference is to see the race start, then you 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 back to Luchon.

Overnight: Luchon (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Tuesday, 17 July 2012: Big Day in the Pyrenees, Part 2, Tourmalet and Maybe More

It’s a rest day in the race today so this morning we will go to Bagneres de Bigorre by bus and ride from there to the biggest climb in the Pyrenees, the Col du Tourmalet via Ste Marie de Campan. The Col du Tourmalet has some pretty fearsome statistics with a height of 2115 m, Average: 7.4 %, Length: 17.2 km. Professional cyclists consider it to be one of the hardest climbs in Europe. Either on the way up or down don’t forget to 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.

From Ste Marie de Campan we begin the final 17 kilometre ascent to the summit of the Tourmalet. This is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France and has been included more than any other pass, starting in 1910, when the Pyrenees were introduced. Since 1980 it has been ranked hors catégorie, or exceptional. At the col is a memorial to Jacques Goddet, director of the Tour de France from 1936 to 1987, and a large statue of Octave Lapize gasping for air as he struggles to make the climb.

The cafe at the top is a nice warm place to be and has a nice collection of cycling memorabilia. After photos and coffee we will return back to Bagneres de Bigorre via Ste Marie de Campan to meet the bus making a ride of just under 60 kilometres (30 up and 30 down!).

Now for the “Maybe More bit…” Should you be a strong cyclist there is the option to turn right at Ste Marie de Campan after descending the Tourmalet to do one of the most fearsome chain of three climbs in Tour history that includes the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde for a total of approximately 3000 metres of climbing and a ride distance of 105 kilometres. The stage tomorrow will do these three climbs in this direction but after the Col d’Aubisque!

Overnight: Luchon (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Wednesday, 18 July 2012: See the Race on the Tourmalet

Every year each Grand Tour has a Queen Stage. That is a stage which stands out above all others as the hardest of the race that year. Today is that day with no less than four major climbs beginning with the Col d’Aubisque and followed by the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde before they finish in Luchon.

Today we are moving location and will see the stage on the Tourmalet. If we were to stay in Luchon to see the finish it would be a very late arrival in Lourdes so instead we will make an early escape and travel to Lourdes in the morning to begin our ride from there.

From here by bike it’s a 35 kilometre ride up the valley along part of the course to Luz St Sauveur at the base of the Col du Tourmalet where you will be able to climb as far as you wish to see the race pass. The Basques will be out in force making it a classic Pyrenees day and one well worth seeing!

After seeing the race we head back to Lourdes by bus or bike for the evening. The ride along the bikepath is a converted rail line and a very pretty 15 kms ride.

In the heart of the Pyrenees, Lourdes is a religious centre and receives more than 5 million pilgrims from all over the world every year most of whom come to take the healing waters. Lourdes was just a small market town on the 11 February, 1858 when Bernadette Soubirous saw the Virgin mary along the Gave. Today Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels in France (outside Paris) with 230 establishments. For us though it is the geographical position, at the foot of the mountains making it an ideal starting-point for our cycling trips into the Pyrenees with all of the major climbs not far from us.

The candlelight parade is held each night at 9.00pm and is a must see.

Overnight: Lourdes (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Thursday, 19 July 2012: Big Day in the Pyrenees, Part 3, Port de Bales

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, Dinner

Friday, 20 July 2012: TGV to the Loire!

We will have an early start today and head off to the nearby train station and catch the TGV to Tours and then a short bus transfer along the Loire river to the famous town of Blois where we have organised a tour of Blois Chateau.

Dominating the Loire River, the royal castle of Blois is not only one of the most prestigious Renaissance monuments in France but also a brilliant illustration of the evolution of the French architecture from the Middle Ages to the 17th century.

Afterwards we will go to our riverside hotel, a short walk from the chateau, and check in. Once in the hotel we can see the final stages of the race on TV.

Blois is also quite famous in Tour de France history. Both Lance Armstrong and Miguel Indurain have won stages here and departed wearing the maillot jaune.

During this time your luggage and bikes have been transported separately to the hotel to save you lugging them about.

This evening we will have our final dinner together at a local 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: Blois (Loire Valley)
Meals: Breakfast,Dinner

Saturday, 21 July 2012: The Final Time Trial

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

We will leave Blois by bike this morning and ride to Bonneval where we will watch the start of the time trial. The roads of the Loire Valley are quite flat and very scenic with 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.

Time Trial starts are great to see. You get closer to the riders than you normally would and get to see them individually starting from the ramp. If you get around behind the start ramp you can see all the final preperation that goes on such as wheel changes, weighing bikes and last minute adjustments that nervous riders make. In the team enclosure you can see the riders warming up on the trainers for long periods of time and if you are lucky the team enclosure is sometimes open to the public.

After we have seen the riders warming up and the last rider has started we will transfer to Paris and our hotel where you have the evening free to explore the city of lights.

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 wine stores 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
-Services of our experienced tour guides, plus our coach driver
-9 night’s accommodation, in selected quality hotels (with private facilities)
-Buffet breakfast daily
-3 course evening meals on 5 nights
-TGV train transfer from Lourdes to Loire Valley on Friday, 20 July
-Transfers on Saturday, 14 July from Toulouse Airport to hotel
-Transfer on Monday, 23 July to Paris CDG airport
-Mechanical assistance with your bike
-Sightseeing as listed
-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

Pyrenees to Paris Deposit ($1000pp)

Pyrenees to Paris 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

_____________________________________

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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