Corsica and Provence


Corsica and Provence Trip

All the Action of the First Week with some time out to explore Corsica

A unique trip taking in the first 5 stages of the 100th Tour de France on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Corsica and the Cote d’Azur. Great cycling on the sunny Med coast and a one off opportunity to experience Corsica and some of the finest cycling roads in Europe.

TRIP DETAILS:

Duration: 11 days (10 nights)
Dates: Monday, 24 June to Thursday, 4 July, 2013
Start: Nice Finish: Nice
Accommodation: 3 star hotels in 2 locations (Vence and Corsica)
Group Size: Maximum 35 people (5 Staff)
Cost: AUD$5650.00 – Single Supplement AUD$830.00
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 $600.00 (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
Travel Insurance and Car Rental.
Email us for details

Highlights:

  • Experience the historic 100th edition of the Tour de France
  • See 5 Stages of the Tour
  • The excitement of the team time trial in Nice
  • Explore the beautiful Mediterranean island of Corsica
  • Fabulous cycling in the most beautiful areas of the Cote d’Azur and Corsica
  • Relax and ride to some of the most beautiful villages of France

Who is this trip for?

A leisurely tour that takes in the spectacular coastal and mountain scenery of the Cote d’Azur and the Mediterranean island of Corsica.  Over 11 days this trip will experience the first 5 stages of the 100th edition of the Tour de France including the spectacle of the team time trial along the Promenade des Anglais.  A highlight of this trip will be 5 nights on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, known to the French as Ille de Beauté (Island of Beauty). Corsica is a true paradise for cyclists with winding mountain roads and spectacular coastal views.  On the Cote d’Azur we base ourselves in the small town of Vence, close to the glamorous resorts of the Cote d’Azur, but in an area with some superb rides through lush green gorges to pretty hilltop villages. This trip offers the best of both worlds – great race viewing and riding combined with time to explore and relax these two beautiful regions of France. Please note that on the island of Corsica the cycling is challenging, with climbing involved on most days, so it’s not a trip suited to novice riders who are not comfortable riding hills.

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 2012 Tour: Client Comments

Itinerary

Monday, 24 June 2013: Bienvenue

Our tour starts today with our staff meeting you as you arrive at Nice Cote d’Azur airport, with a transfer to our hotel in the lovely hilltop town of Vence just above the famous Cote d’Azur. Nice is easily reached by train from Paris, or by flights from many international and European airports.

This afternoon, 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. This will be a ride of about 35kms via the scenic Gorges de Loup and the picture postcard artists village of St Paul de Vence, where we can stop for a coffee and a wander through the ancient narrow streets. There is a bit of climbing in this route, but the reward is the amazing view all the way down to the Mediterranean sea.

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

Overnight: Vence
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Tuesday, 25 June 2013: Sea and Mountains

Our base in Vence is located in the area of Alpes-Maritimes,  where the mountains dip their toes into the sea. It offers an amazing variety of rides, everything from bustling seaside promenades to challenging climbs on small, car-free roads with beautiful mountain villages.

We’ve got a full day to explore today so we will offer a couple of ride options to the final destination of Antibes, a busy but attractive seaside resort close to Cannes. For those wanting a challenge our longer 75 km ride will start with a climb up Col de Vence, a 600 meter climb at an average of 7% from our hotel. From Col de Vence we pedal through the small villages up above the coast to the ancient hilltop village of Gourdon before slowly descending to the coast and the town of Antibes. In Antibes you can take a walk through the small streets, relax in a cafe or maybe visit the famous Pablo Picasso museum. Our easier 55km route will be more down than up, as it makes its way from Vence to Antibes, with a visit to the town of Grasse, well known as France’s major perfume centre due to its reliable sunshine and micro-climate that facilitated the growth of the most delicate flowers. In Grasse we can pay a visit to a perfume factory and sample some of the various perfumes with the chance to buy a souvenir to take home.

After our visit to Antibes we will return to Vence in the bus, with the option of riding back 25kms to our hotel (uphill) if you’ve got the energy. Tonight is free to dine in one of the outdoor cafes in the centre of Vence.

Overnight: Vence
Meals: Breakfast


Wednesday, 26 June 2013: Beautiful Cote d’Azur

We will explore the Cote d’Azur today and have a relaxing day on the coast with a ride that will take us to the border of Italy and the lovely coastal town of Menton.

Both of today’s rides will follow the same route from Vence, swooping down to the coast and riding along the Promenade Anglais, where the team time trial will be held this year, to the colourful old town centre of Nice where can take a coffee break in the morning sun. From Nice we’ll carry on along the coast before taking to the hills and follow the famous Moyenne Corniche to the pretty village of Eze, perched on the cliffs above the coast. Our shorter ride option of 45kms finishes here while the longer ride of 60kms will carry on to the Grande Corniche past Monaco and on to the delightful town of Menton. Menton is one of the most picturesque towns of the Cote d’Azur and the final town before you cross the border to Italy which you can do if you like just for the photo opportunity!

After some time to explore Menton we’ll return to Vence for our final night before our trip across to Corsica.

Overnight: Vence
Meals: Breakfast

Thursday, 27 June 2013: Off to Corsica

Today we travel by ferry from Nice across the Mediterranean to the beautiful island of Corsica. Before we head off we’ll have time for an early morning ride before we return to the hotel to pack for our sea voyage.

This is the first time the Tour de France has visited Corsica, which has some of the most breathtaking scenery in Europe, making it the perfect backdrop for the drama of the Tour de France. The French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio. His ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, is today used as a museum. The northern town of Calvi claims to be the birthplace of the explorer Christopher Columbus.

We will depart Nice after lunch and journey across the Mediterranean to the port of Calvi on Corsica. The ferries are modern and comfortable with bars, restaurants and comfortable seating to relax in while you enjoy the view. We have arranged for private cabins if you would like a rest or just a little privacy (on twin share basis).

On arrival we’ll travel a short distance from Calvi to our hotel for the night in the coastal town of L’Ille Rousse, on the beautiful north west coast of Corsica. Our very comfortable hotel is located close to the seafront and an easy walk to the old town of L’Ille Rousse. We will have dinner on the ferry prior to arrival.

Overnight: L’Ille Rousse, Corsica
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Friday, 28 June 2013: A Visit to the Mountain Villages

A full day to enjoy the delights of Corsica ahead of tomorrow’s start of the 2013 Tour de France. This morning we will head off in to the hills high above the sparkling waters of the Balagne coast and pass through quiet villages over quiet minor roads.

The roads leading from the coast all go up, so we’ll do a bit of climbing today, with a choice of  scenic 45km and 60km rides.  A small winding road from L’Ille Rousse will lead us to Santa Reparata di Balagna, a terraced village of crumbling ancient buildings and arcaded streets which yield spectacular glimpses of the sea.  From here we’ll pass through a series of ancient hill villages before you make your choice – return to the coast of challenge yourself with a climb up to the 1100 meter Col de Battaglia? Both rides will return via Monticello, an elegant village surrounded by a belt of olive trees and one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Corsica. On return to L’Ille Rousse we’ll have free time in the afternoon to explore the old town or relax by the pool.

Tonight is free to explore L’Ille Rousse and enjoy dinner in the narrow streets of the old town. Corsican food is like the island itself, a blend of Italian and French cultures.

Overnight: L’Ille Rousse, Corsica
Meals: Breakfast


Saturday, 29 June 2013: First Look at Le Tour

This is the day we’ve been waiting for, the first stage of the 100th edition of the Tour de France. Unlike many years there is no short prologue to start the race but a long 200 km stage that covers the island from north to south with a start in Porto-Vecchio and finish in the historic port of Bastia. Travelling up the island’s east coast it’s the flattest of the 3 stages on Corsica, but no doubt will be hotly contested with a probably sprint finish to see who is the first wearer of the yellow jersey for 2013.

We will travel inland this morning to the centre of the island, where we will start our ride down to the coast to see the race come by this afternoon.  Our ride will take us through the Castagniccia region, an area of Corsica rich in tradition, history and culture. The name derives from the Corsican ‘Castagna’ meaning after the many chestnut groves that dot the landscape. Here you will find a relaxed, peaceful lifestyle complemented by forest hamlets and picturesque villages and ancient stone houses chiselled into the mountainside.

We’ll have rides of roughly 60 and 40 kms, plenty in this mountainous landscape in the heat of a Corsican summer. Eventually we’ll descend to the east coast where we’ll catch the race as it makes its way to the finish in Bastia. We’ll arrive down on the coast in time to experience the fun of the race caravane, then eventually the peloton as it speeds by towards the finish.

Overnight: L’Ille Rousse, Corsica
Meals: Breakfast


Sunday, 30 June 2013: Stage Start in Bastia

Up early this morning to head across the island to the Port of Bastia where the second stage of the Tour de France departs on a hilly 155km route through the centre of the island to Ajaccio, birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte.

We will drive a short distance from our hotel in L’Ille Rousse to bypass the busy main coast road and then head across country to the pretty coastal resort of Saint-Florent. We’ll pause here for a coffee in one of the waterside cafes before continuing on along the coast before climbing up across the peninsula and down to the magnificent Place Saint Nicholas in Bastia for the stage start. This should be a special day in such a beautiful setting for a stage “depart” and hopefully the riders will be relaxed and looking forward to the day’s racing as we try to grab their attention for a quick photo or autograph as they make their way to the sign in.

After we’ve seen the riders sign on and the race is underway we’ll have some lunch in Bastia then make our way back to the hotel where we can relax, take a swim in the pool and catch the race finish on TV.

Overnight: L’Ille Rousse, Corsica
Meals: Breakfast


Monday, 1 July 2013: Wine Tasting and Stage Finish

Today’s stage of the Tour takes the peloton on a relatively short 145 km stage along the west coast of the island from Ajaccio to the town of Calvi on the north west tip of Corsica. It’s the final stage on Corsica and it’s likely that today’s short stage will finish earlier than usual to allow plenty of time to transport what is one of the world’s largest sporting events back to the mainland in time for tomorrow’s team time trial in Nice. The stage finish in Calvi is not far from our base in L’Ille Rousse, so we’ll take a ride in the cool of the morning and head to Calvi this afternoon to await the arrival of the race.

Our rides will take us up in to the hills above the north coast of Corsica, on quiet roads with charming small towns and fabulous views down to the coast. We’ll offer a pleasant 35 km route, with a 30km detour out on to the race route to small 443 meter Col de la Marsolinu, which is the final climb on today’s stage before they descend to the finish in Calvi. Both rides will finish at a boutique winery, Domaine Orsini, in the hills above Calvi. We can enjoy some local snacks at Domaine Orsini while tasting the local wines and liqueurs before heading off in the bus to the stage finish in Calvi. We’ll try to arrive nice and early in Calvi so you’ve got time to take a walk around town, enjoy a drink in one of the waterside cafes and line up to see the race arrive in town. It’s bound to be a fast stage today as the race drops down to the coast and although the stage is classified as “hilly” we can expect an exciting spring finish.

After the race finish we’ll head back the short distance to our hotel and enjoy a final Corsican dinner together at a local restaurant.

Overnight: L’Ille Rousse, Corsica
Meals: Breakfast,
Dinner


Tuesday, 2 July 2013: back to the TTT in Nice

We say farewell to Corsica this morning and travel to Bastia for our ferry across the Med back to Nice. It will be a very early start this morning so we can drive across to Bastia in time for our 8 am ferry, arriving in Nice early in the afternoon. On the ferry you can relax, have some breakfast and enjoy the view.

On arrival in Nice we’ll make a stop to take in a unique stage of the 2013 Tour de France, the team time trial. It’s an amazing sight and with a finish today along the flat seafront of Nice’s Promenade des Anglais the riders will be hitting speeds in excess of 60 kmh crossing the finish. The fastest team time trial in the Tour de France was by Discovery Channel in 2005 who rode the 67.5 km stage Tours-Blois with an 57.324 km/h average.

We will arrive in plenty of time to see the action unfold on the Promenade des Anglais and return by bus or bike to our hotel in Vence.

Overnight: Vence
Meals: Breakfast


Wednesday, 3 July 2013: A Feed Zone

The Tour de France leaves the Cote d’Azur today with a stage start to the west of Nice in the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer.  The destination for the stage is the coastal city of Marseilles, one of the host cities in the first Tour de France in 1903.

We’ll skip the stage start this morning so we can take a final ride in the delightful hill country above the Cote d’Azur. Our exact route will be decided later once we know the final stage details but as always we’ll offer different ride options. If possible we’ll try to have our rides catch up with the race at the “feed station”, where the riders slow down (slightly!) to collect their musettes from the team soigneurs on the side of the road. It’s a great chance to spot your favourite riders, have a chat to the team soigneurs and maybe collect a discarded souvenir as the riders discard their old bidons and musettes further down the road! Where ever we end today it will be a great final day on the road in what is one of the best areas of France to throw your leg over a bike.

Tonight is our final night together so we’ll celebrate with a farewell dinner in a local restaurant in the heart of the old town of Vence.

Overnight: Vence
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Thursday, 4 July 2013: Au Revoir

Its farewell to your new friends as our tour comes to an end this morning. It is the final day of our tour. Over the past ten days you’ve experienced the excitement of the Tour de France up close and had an unforgettable holiday with Bikestyle Tours. We hope we see you again one day.

For those flying out this morning from Nice Cote d’Azur airport we will provide a transfer to the airport from the hotel at 8.30 am, arriving at the airport at approximately 9.00 am. For those departing later in the day shuttles and taxis are available locally.

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 (with shower)
– Services of our experienced tour guides, plus our coach driver
– 10 night’s accommodation in quality 3 star hotels
– Buffet breakfast daily
– 3 course evening meals on 4 nights
– Ferry from Nice to Corsica including a private cabin and dinner with wine
– Ferry from Corsica to Nice including a private cabin and breakfast
– Transfer on Monday, 24 June from Nice Cote d’Azur airport to hotel
–  Scheduled transfer on Thursday, 4 July from hotel to Nice Cote d’Azur 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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Payment by Credit Card

If paying by bank deposit or cheque see below

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below

Corsica and Provence ($1000pp)
Corsica and Provence Bicycle Hire $600.00
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 on 1300 882494.

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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