2018 Provence Pyrenees and Paris 12 Days

Bikestyle - Mountain TT-51

TRIP DETAILS : 
Duration: 12 days (11 nights)
Dates: Thursday, 19 July – Monday, 30 July, 2018
Start: Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Finish: Paris, Îles-de-France
Accommodation: 3 and 4 Star hotels
Group Size: 30 Guests (5 Staff)
Suitable for: Cyclists and Non Cyclists
TRIP COST: AUD$6400.00 (US$4930.00)
OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD$1050.00 (US$810.00)

Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room. If traveling alone we will match you with a person to share. Alternatively, you may choose to have a room of your own by paying the single supplement.

Optional Extras:

Highlights:

  • Ride the famous Geant of Provence, Mont Ventoux
  • Explore the quietest roads in France and the stunning landscapes through the Cevennes mountain range, Gorges du Tarn and beneath the Engineering masterpiece of the Viaduct du Millau
  • Watch the decisive stages for General Classification in the Pyrenees
  • Catch the TGV to Paris and watch the final stage on the Champs-Elysees
  • Morning ride around the Paris Sights before the vibrant city awakes

Escorted by Former Pro-Cyclist, Lorian Graham

Lorian is a survivor and a caring Bikestyle Tours guide. Her insights into women’s racing, highs and lows of the sport are just some of the stories she is able to share. Guests love having Lorian as their guide because her care and encouragement toward them creates something very special about being on the bike. The Adelaide Hills are a special place for Lorian as it was here that she was crowned National Road Cycling Champion.

Since retiring from the sport, Lorian believes riding is a great source of leisure and a necessary escape from the day-to-day chores.

Who is this trip for?

Our Provence, Pyrenees and Paris trip is our most social trip to the Tour de France, for cyclists and their non-riding partners. This trip is popular because we ride some famous climbs, see the famous race and visit some of the most beautiful places in France. Our carefully planned itinerary minimises our transfers with focus on where we ride, seeing great moments of the race and socialising off the bike. A great way to escape by bike.

In 2018, this trip differs from our other trips in that it will follow the Tour through the Central Massif. The Tour has visited the Central Massif consecutively for the last 3 years. That may well be because of its unrivaled beauty and great riding potential. When it comes to riding, it is the forgotten cousin of the Alps and Pyrenees. Behind them, it is the third highest mountain range in France. It differs in that the land does not have the valleys and peaks we associate with mountain ranges. Instead, there are extinct volcanoes, rivers etching out incredible gorges and the lowest density of population in France. You must visit this area of France, and you’ll experience much more by riding your bike.

France is a big country, and traveling across it takes time. We will travel in a luxury coach – it was a brand new coach in 2017. Your bike travels safely in a custom built trailer and after your daily ride, where we meet up with our coach, you will have the use of our hot shower facility. If we have a transfer, we have cold drinks on board the coach and you can recline back in your seat until we arrive back at our destination for the evening.  It takes all the hassle out at the end of the day after riding your bike on your cycling holiday. For our longer transfers, you’ll take the TGV and we’ll look after your heavy luggage.

As the title suggests, we start in the lavender fields of Provence, where we’ll climb the lunar landscape of Mont Ventoux before catching the tour in the Central Massif. We’ll visit the great engineering achievement of le Viaduct de Millau and ride along Gorges du Tarn. We stop off and visit France’s best preserved medieval city of Carcassonne. Our second last stop is in the Pyrenees, where a plethora of famous climbs are at our doorstep and then finally our TGV transfer to Paris for the finish on Champs-Elysees. This trip combines the beautiful sights of France with great rides and watching le Tour de France live.

Itinerary

Thursday 19 July: Bienvenue (Welcome) to France

Our staff will meet you at Lyon Saint-Exupery airport at 10:00 am. Saint-Exupery is easily accessible from many European destinations by train or plane. There are also some international flights that arrive into Lyon. Arriving in Europe a day early is the best way to prepare for your trip.

After collecting you from Lyon, we’ll transfer you to our 3-star hotel in the heart of Provence. Our hotel has a pool and is conveniently located near the centre ville, giving you the opportunity to explore this thermal spa town. Staff will help you ready your bike, or fit your pedals to your hire bike before heading out for our warm-up ride. Our special warm-up ride will take in the sights of one of France’s most beautiful (plus-beaux) villages – Venasque. Our purpose of today’s ride is to get your bearings, meet the rest of the group and check over your bike. Today’s stage finishes on Alpe d’Huez, and we’ll return from our warm-up ride in time to see the race unfold. For our non-riders, you can stroll along the riverside admiring the waterwheels and stop off at one of the pretty little cafes on the river’s edge.

Tonight we’ll enjoy a special welcome dinner at our hotel, a perfect opportunity to meet fellow guests and staff who will be on hand to answer any questions about your cycling holiday with Bikestyle Tours.

Bikestyle 2017-07-05-19

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Welcome Dinner

Overnight
Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Harder Ride Option

Friday 20 July: Mont Ventoux, Géant de Provence

Today we’ll take our turn at riding Mont Ventoux and see how our efforts compare with the riders of the peloton. We may take a bit longer but we will enjoy it a bit more perhaps!

We’ll get away in the cool of the morning and travel to the village of Bedoin where we will begin our of Mont Ventoux. 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. For those who want an easier ride today, we can propose something a little easier than the entire Ventoux loop.

Bikestyle GC 2016 - Day 5 - ventoux-1

After the compulsory photographs at the summit, we’ll head back down via the thrilling descent to Malaucene for lunch and a cool drink in the shade. After regrouping, we’ll ride back to Bedoin along an easier route where we’ll meet the bus, or if you still have the energy a 25km ride back to our hotel. We’ll be back to our hotel in time to watch the finish to today’s stage for the sprinters.

Tonight you are free to stroll into the village and have dinner in one of the many pretty restaurants on the river’s edge.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Harder Ride Option

Saturday 21 July:  Cevennes National Park and Mende stage finish

After breakfast, we will transfer to the Cevennes National Park which unspoiled rural France at its best. The Cevennes includes areas of great natural beauty, from the exposed plateau to steep-sided river gorges, and several unspoiled traditional villages. Today’s stage will be traversing nearby, so we will intersect with the race toward near its conclusion in Mende. We’ll also ride along the race route for some of our journey.

Our ride starts in Florac, a pretty small village at the junction of the Tarn and Tarnon river valleys. There are two large open squares to explore before we set off on our bikes. Our ride will take us through spectacular countryside, diverse landscapes, and very quiet roads. It’s a great place to ride. We are in a mountain range, so there will be some climbing, but we’ll keep the distance short after yesterday’s climb on Ventoux.

At the end of our ride, we will catch up with today’s race in a great location before our final short transfer to our hotel in the heart of Central Massif. Our 3-star hotel is situated in a quiet village, has been newly refurbished and backs onto a cooling river for you to dip your legs in after a bike ride. Tonight we will enjoy dinner together and celebrate our first day seeing the Tour live.

Bikestyle 2017-07-02-91

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Lozère, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Sunday 22 July: Gorges du Tarn and Stage start in Millau

We will set off this morning on the bus for the short drive to Millau, situated in the Tarn Valley, at the opposite end to Florac. Since 2009, Millau is probably best known for its Viaduct crossing the Tarn Valley. At the time of construction, it smashed many construction records, for the longest span and the height of its pylons and bridge. It still is a marvel to see. The viaduct has reduced the transit time across the valley from 2 hours to less than 10 minutes and in particular, during the summer migration of Parisiens to their Beach holidays, it has reduced the congestion in Millau.

We will travel to Millau and watch today’s stage. The stage starts in remote locations such as today, are wonderful to experience, as you will avoid the usual big crowds and you’ll have better access to riders. Today is the last stage before the final rest day, and this challenging stage will offer opportunities for a strong breakaway.

After we see the riders roll out from Millau, and getting our selfie posted on Instagram and Facebook, we’ll jump on the bikes ourselves. Our beautiful ride today will follow the stunning Gorges du Tarn. We’ll arrive back at our hotel to relax for the afternoon, sit in the flowing stream behind our hotel and catch the Tour on TV. We’ll enjoy another dinner together this evening in a beautiful setting.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Lozère, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Monday 23 July: Midi Pyrenees, Pic de Nore and Carcassonne

Today is our biggest transfer in the bus. However, we’ll break up the transfer with a beautiful ride. In fact, it is our staff’s favourite local ride. The Tour de France peloton went over this climb yesterday as their last climb before the fun descent into Carcassonne. We will follow their path today and start our ride from Mazamet, at its base.

Pic de Nore is the highest peak of the Montagne Noire ranges. At 1,200m it is a reasonable climb, and on a clear day, you will be rewarded with views of the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean in the one vista. This area has strong ties to Australia with a strong history of the wool trade. For an easier option, we have a more direct route along a quiet road following the river.

Once we cross-department boarders, into the Aude region we descend into its capital Carcassonne that is host to the biggest medieval castle in Europe. The first stones of this fortress were posed in the 10th century. 

Bikestyle GC 2016 - Day 3-44

Political and religious changes left the castle in ruins until the end of the 19th century when it was classified as a historical monument. In the 20th century, a big restoration started and in 1996 the fortress became a UNESCO world heritage site.

We will explore the medieval city before our short transfer to our hotel. Our 3 star hotel is located in the Aude department, at the foothills of the Pyrenees. Our hotel will give us access to tomorrow’s stage and allow us to visit one of the attractions in the area. Tonight we will enjoy another dinner together at the hotel’s restaurant.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Ariège, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Tuesday 24 July: Cathars and Le Tour enters the Pyrenees

Our destination is Mirepoix today, a lovely village to explore. You will have the option to first visit a famous Cathar castle which takes in our long ride option. Both of our ride options will catch up with the race as it passes close to Mirepoix early in the afternoon. Our easier ride option is a local village ride along some quiet country roads. This area is a lovely area for riding, as there are beautiful flat options and some great hills in the Pyrenees at our doorstep, we are spoilt for choice.

TDF by Gruber 3036

Towering above Montsegur at 1,207m, is one of the most famous Cathar castles. This is the destination for our challenging ride option. Catharism is an old religion violently repressed by the Catholic Church of Rome between the 10th and the 12th century. At Montsegur, a tragic episode took place when the crusaders of the French Church burnt the 200 occupants of the castle which was besieged during a 10 month period.

After a short visit to the castle, we will descend down to intersect with today’s stage to watch the riders come through. This afternoon, you’ll have time to relax, possibly have an afternoon nap and if your dirty clothes are outnumbering your clean ones, drop some clothes in a washer. The final climbs in today’s stage will be something to watch, and in 2015 it was a similar stage where Chris Froome took important time from his competitors on the final descent. Television will be the best spot today to see the finish.

Tonight you are free to dine at one of the many terraces in the main square of the village.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Ariège, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Wednesday 25 July: Col du Tourmalet

Today is the shortest stage in Tour de France history. Dubbed more of a mountain sprint than a mountain stage, it will be exciting to watch from beginning to end. With riders not heading off until mid-afternoon, it gives us plenty of time for our ride this morning. We will conquer the other giant today, Col du Tourmalet which has featured more than any other mountain in the Tour de France, it is a great climb.

The summit of the hors categorie climb up to Col du Tourmalet has been crossed 75 times during the history of the Tour. It will be more special today, as fans will already be camped out on the mountain for Friday’s stage. Remember, a screaming fan makes climbing seem easier!

We’ll travel to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, which will give you a warm-up before the 23 km climb up the eastern side of Col du Tourmalet which begins at Campan. It’s a gradual climb, with an average of 6.4%. But more of the ascending is done closer to the summit than at the bottom, so choose a low gear and enjoy the view. When we reach the top, it will all seem worth it and the cafe at the top is a nice warm place to meet up and regroup, with an interesting collection of cycling memorabilia.

Once we reach the summit of this mighty mountain, we will descend down the western side to Luz-Saint-Sauveur where we can have some lunch. After lunch, it is a downhill run to our hotel, where we will spend the next 3 nights. Our base for the next 3 nights is Lourdes in a newly refurbished bike friendly hotel. 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. For us, though it is the geographical position, at the foot of the mountains. Each night in Lourdes you can dine in one of the many restaurants. On any of the nights, you might consider seeing the Candlelight Parade later on this evening.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Thursday 26 July: Col du Soulour, Col d’Aubisque and stage finish in Pau

Today we will tackle another famous climb of the Pyrenees and it is always a highlight ride for our guests. We’ll give you chance to ride this before race day, so that you can experience the joy of riding along la Corniche du Cirque de Litor. Views reward those on the spectacular balcony road between Col de Soulor and Col d’Aubisque. Our rides will guide us to the finish of today’s stage in Pau, via the village of tomorrow’s stage finish, Laruns.

After fueling up at breakfast, we’ll head off into the village of Argeles-Gazost. The initial climb starts from Argeles-Gazost but it’s not too long before the road flattens taking us to the village of Arrens-Marsous.

From here the real climbing begins, a manageable 7.5km averaging close to 8% takes us to the first col, Col du Soulor. For the faster riders, there is also an option to follow the final climbs of tomorrow’s stage and include le col des Bordères.

Our welcoming party of local cattle and horses grazing upon these high pastures will greet us before we carry on. With the most difficult climbing behind us now, we have a short descent before the final 7km to the summit of Col d’Aubisque, where we can reward ourselves with lunch. We will descend to Pau to see the finish and meet the bus before our transfer back to our hotel.

Our welcoming party of local cattle and horses grazing upon these high pastures will greet us before we carry on. With the most difficult climbing behind us now, we have a short descent before the final 7km to the summit of Col d’Aubisque, where we can reward ourselves with lunch.

We will descend to Pau to see the finish and meet the vans before our transfer back to our hotel.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Friday 27 July: Luz Ardiden, Hautacam and a mountain stage live

Today is our last riding day in the mountains and we intend to make it a memorable one for you. From our hotel, we will leave for the relatively short ride to the base of Luz Ardiden where we will climb to the top of this famous climb – think Lance Armstrong and plastic bags. We will ride to the base via the Gorges de Luz to Luz St-Sauveur. There we turn right for the ski station Luz Ardiden. The first 7 km of the 15 km is pretty steep. About halfway up the climb, it gets a bit more modest with a kilometre of about 5%. But the lasts kms ramp up and are again quite hard.

Bikestyle 2017-07-20-101

Part two of our day (or part one if you choose to skip Luz Ardiden) will see us heading back towards the hotel and up to another of the Tours famous climbs, the ski station of Hautacam. The top of the Hautacam is where the Tour has finished before, however the road continues to the Col de Tramassel.

Shortly after starting the climb, you get a hard section of 10%+ before a small descent. Now, you’re close to the hardest part of the climb, near Saint-Andre there are 3 kilometers of 9-10% on average. After this, the gradients are ever changing, but never really going below 8% until the top. A rewarding climb with a sting.

After photos at the summit, we will return to the valley in time to watch the race come through on the slopes of their final 2 climbs.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Saturday 28 July: From Sud-Ouest to Paris at 320km/h

We will have an early start today and head off to the nearby train station and catch the TGV directly to Paris. You haven’t travelled if you have not experienced this amazing high-speed train which will transport you to Paris in comfort, travelling at speeds of up to 320km/h! To make life easy for you, we will transport your luggage and bikes separately to save you lugging them about.

On arrival in Paris, we will transfer to our hotel, where you can relax and watch the final time trial on television before heading out to dinner this evening. Tonight we will have our farewell dinner which leaves tomorrow night free for you to enjoy Paris.

Our farewell dinner this evening is at an iconic Paris restaurant, Le Train Bleu, which is a Paris institution. The restaurant has served drinks and meals to travellers and other guests since 1901 in an ornate and beautifully decorated setting inside the vast halls of the Gare de Lyon rail station. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and one of the highlights of their time in France for many of our guests.

TGV

Easier Ride Option

N/A

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Paris, Île-de-France

Harder Ride Option

N/A

Sunday 29 July: Paris Sights and Champs-Élysées

This morning we have a special treat in store as we take a ride through Paris, past all of the famous monuments and along the Champs-Élysées. The last chance for a group photo underneath the symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, our last stop before we head back to the hotel.

We’ll be up early to avoid the road closures and return to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast before we head down to the Champs-Élysées later in the day to enjoy the racing and festivities of the final day of the 2018 Tour de France.

The last stage of the Tour de France is traditionally a procession until the entrance onto the Champs-Élysées 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-Élysées for what is basically a big criterium in the centre of the French Capital. Again, the Tour will have the spectacle of an evening finish on the Champs-Élysées, with the riders expected to cross the finish line for the last time at about 7.00 pm.

Tonight, after the finish you are free to explore the city of Paris, taking in a show or dining in one of the many famous restaurants.

Cols for today: No Cols… but lots of monuments

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Paris, Île-de-France

Harder Ride Option

Monday 30 July: Au Revoir (Farewell)

It is a farewell to your new friends as our Provence, Pyrenees and Paris trip comes to an end this morning. Over the past two weeks, you’ve experienced the excitement of the Tour de France up close, seen some unique parts of France and challenged yourself on the world’s most famous climbs. Most of all, you can take with you new friendships and great memories. Hopefully, you’ve had an unforgettable holiday with Bikestyle Tours. We hope we see you again one day.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions

Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:

  • Transport throughout by custom mini vans or luxury coach
  • Services of our experienced tour guides, mechanics and drivers
  • 11 nights accommodation in quality 3 & 4 star hotels
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • 3 course evening meals on 6 nights
  • Wine at welcome and farewell dinners
  • Mechanical assistance with your bike
  • Scheduled arrival transfer on day one from Lyon Saint-Exupery airport
  • TGV tickets from the Pyrenees to Paris
  • Ride files and Bikestyle guide to the 2018 Tour de France
  • Full Bikestyle Tours kit including knicks, cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

Reserve your Place Now

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below
Deposit 2018 Provence Pyrenees and Paris 12 Days ($1000pp)
2018 Provence Pyrenees and Paris Bicycle Hire ($770.00)
2018 Provence Pyrenees and Paris Single Supplement ($1050.00)
Tick the box to accept the Bikestyle Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If renting a bicycle you also agree to our Bicycle rental Conditions
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.
If you have any further enquiries please email us at tours@bikestyletours.com

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