TRIP DETAILS :
Duration: 7 days (6 nights)
Dates: Tuesday, 24 July – Monday, 30 July, 2018
Start: Toulouse, Occitanie
Finish: Paris, Île-de-France
Accommodation: 3 and 4 Star hotels
Group Size: 14 Guests (2 Staff)
Suitable for: Non Cyclists Only
TRIP COST: AUD$4990.00 (US$3590.00)
OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD$550.00 (US$400.00)
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.
You’ve watched the Tour de France on TV, but nothing beats the experience of seeing it live! If you are a fan of “Le Tour” but don’t want a cycling tour, then this trip is tailored for you. You only know you’re on the tour when you hear the helicopters, signaling the approaching peloton. Then you realise these same helicopters not only broadcast the race, but also France’s most beautiful villages to the rest of the world. Following the Tour means we can experience not just the race, but also explore the beautiful villages. Our 2018 spectator trip will be a picturesque, memorable and exciting experience.
Our small group follows the Tour de France through its exciting final week in the Pyrenees and includes an afternoon as a VIP on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. As with all of our trips, we look after all the details, taking the hassle out of following the Tour de France. How to access the race route? Where are the best places to watch? What are the race tactics?
Over 7 days you’ll not only get to experience one of the world’s great sports events, the Tour de France, but you will get to visit beautiful villages, stay in a hotel on the race route for one of the most important stages and enjoy the beauty of South-Western France.
This trip is designed for those who do not wish to ride a bike but want to see the Tour de France.
Our staff will meet you at Toulouse-Blagnac airport at 10:00 am. Toulouse is easily accessible from many European destinations by train or plane. There are also some international flights that arrive into Toulouse. Arriving in Europe a day early is the best way to prepare for your trip.
We will leave from Toulouse and head directly to today’s stage finish. An exciting way to start our trip. Afterall, it was on a similar stage in 2016 that Chris Froome attacked his rivals on the descent to the finish. A decisive move that put him in yellow and propelled him to overall honours in Paris.
It will be a carnival atmosphere at the top with the tour coming through in a couple of days. If you feel good and are absorbed by the carnival atmosphere, you can descend down to La Mongie or as far as Campan, to climb the Eastern side as well.
Our main ride for today will return from the summit back to Luz-Saint-Sauveur where we’ll have lunch and settle in for the afternoon watching today’s very short stage on TV. This evening we will enjoy a delicious meal prepared by our hosts.
Breakfast, Welcome Dinner
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie
Col du Tourmalet was the first climb in the Tour de France to reach altitudes of over 2,000m. There are now many passes surmounting this elevation. However, race organisers have been searching for new ways to animate the race, in 2017 it was the inclusion of Peyragudes – a steep but not so high climb. Peyragudes will feature in today’s very short stage. And the final climb will be where the race is most interesting, close to our hotel. The 12km climb to the ski station of Saint-Lary finishes at an altitude of 2,215, surpassing the summit of Tourmalet. It is going to be an exciting stage to watch. Unlike many of the other spectators on the mountain today, we have just a short walk back to our hotel.
Some walking will be involved during the trip to be able to view some of the race stages, particularly in the Pyrenees. The amount of walking involved is suitable for any person of average fitness and health. Walking to get to the race route is necessary for you to get the most out of your trip and we do everything within our control to ensure a comfortable trip for you at all times. If you have any concerns about your suitability for this trip, or have any health issues, please contact our staff to discuss before you make your booking.
After today’s stage is decided and won, this evening we will have another lovely meal provided by our hosts.
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie
Today we will leave and head to the stage start in Trie-sur-Baïse. It is a small walled village dating back to the 14th century. The stage starts in small villages give spectators better access to riders than anywhere else. The race should start just after midday, giving you plenty of time to see the race close up, get some photos and perhaps an autograph from your favourite rider.
Today’s stage is for the sprinters, that’s if they’ve survived the challenging mountains and the time cut of a very short stage yesterday. A flatter stage means classification riders can recuperate and let their teams work for them. However, there is always a hungry rider vying for a stage victory. The Pyrenees will be in the view of the riders throughout today’s stage, threatening them for their long mountain stage.
After the race start, we will visit the plus beaux (most beautiful) village of Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges at the base of the Pyrenees. Saint-Bertrand was a stopover on a pilgrim way to St James of Compostela and today we will see a beautiful walled medieval village.
After our visit to Saint-Bertrand, we will head back to the village of Arreau for you to explore this pretty little riverside village. We’ll find a bar and watch the finish of today’s stage on TV before heading back to our hotel this evening for another delicious meal.
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie
Today is the biggest mountain stage in the Pyrenees, there are 4 categorised climbs on the schedule. We will head to one of the last climbs and watch the riders come through on a mountain stage. There will be a reasonable time gap between the first and last rider today. This gives you a great opportunity to see all the riders call on their last reserves to complete the tour. For it is one thing to start a Grand Tour, finishing a Grand Tour is made for the legends of the sport.
Before settling into our viewing position on the mountain, we will head to Lourdes 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.
Tonight, you are free to dine at one of the local restaurants. The candlelight parade is held each night at 9.00pm and is a must see.
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie
Today will be a special day for watching the tour, and it will hold in your memory for a long time to come. We will head to the start area to watch the first riders roll off the starting ramp. A time trial start is the best area to see each of the riders, as they set off at different time intervals. Before they race the clock, they will warm up for up to an hour on their ergo-trainers next to their bus. This ensures their bodies energy systems are all firing for a maximum effort.
There will be large screens around the starting village for us to stay up to date with riders on course. Those still in contention for winning the yellow jersey will set off later this afternoon. Hopefully, this will be the decisive stage of the 105th edition of Le Tour. There are significant mountain stages in the final week for riders to put pressure on the strong time trial abilities of Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome. It could well come down to this important final time trial.
Before we reach the time trial we will visit another plus-beaux village. La Bastide-Clairence, founded in the 14th century, and is a picturesque village in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques with a definite Basque flavour. The houses are painted white and all have shutters painted in the deep red colour, or occasionally in green, both colours typical of the shutters in the region. The village is charming and lovely to amble around. You might be able to find a more unusual gift or memento from the local artisans who produce good quality rather than tourist quality goods.
We will have our special farewell dinner tonight, leaving tomorrow night free for you to explore Paris. Our final night is celebrated with a lovely meal and accompanying wine. We’ll acknowledge our new friendships and reflect on our memorable week following the world’s biggest annual sporting event, the Tour de France.
Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
We’ll have an early start today and head off to the nearby train station to catch the TGV. 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 leave your bags and we will head down to the Champs-Élysées to enjoy the racing and festivities of this great occasion on what is probably the most famous avenue in the world. While the crowds start lining up along the course we’ll enjoy the afternoon from the comfort of the Triomphe VIP area, located along the finishing straight. Throughout the afternoon you’ll enjoy champagne, fine wines and beautifully prepared food.
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.
It is a farewell to your new friends as our Spectator Trip comes to an end this morning. Over the past week, you’ve experienced the excitement of the Tour de France up close, seen some unique parts of France and have been able to see the race on some of the Tour’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.
Tour cost is per person twin share and includes: