Tour de France
France with the Tour de France
A 2-week sojourn into what we consider to be the best of the Tour de France. This includes the mythical locations and rides within the Alps and Pyrenees, not to mention the sunny splendor of the south of France. Experience with us the best cycling locations in France and its great race.
With great excitement here is our 2017 Tour de France Trip itinerary. And no doubt sounding a little biased – what an itinerary it is!! The Dordogne; the Pyrenees; Provence; and the Alps. Without question – this trip captures the best, the very best of France and its great race.
Starting and finishing in the Alps our trip will move in a counter-clockwise direction, seeing the best and most atmospheric stages of the Tour, and staying in what we consider to be the best locations along the way. And this means places that offer great riding along with the outstanding cultural immersion.
– To see big stages;
– To experience the Tour de Frances most iconic climbs
– Rides that deliver the magnificent diversity of landscapes that so much defines the Tour
– Unique places of stay
– Huge fun
Solo Bike 2017 – here we come…
Start – Chambery (Gateway to Alps/ Lakes)
July 9th – Day 1 – Chambery
Our Tour commences in the city of Chambery – which is also hosting the finish of today’s Tour de France Stage. Here we stay exclusively in historic accommodation that sits in the beautiful countryside not far from the city. Arrival transfers will take place from Chambery Station.
In the afternoon we plan to ride from accommodation to a nearby vantage point to see Tour de France. The day’s stage includes a couple of tough climbs prior the fast and furious finish in Chambery. For us it promises to be quite an exciting introduction to the 2017 Tour de France – immediately capturing the best of the Tour and France itself. Meals: D
Day 2 to 4 – The Dordogne
July 10th – Day 2
Today is a scheduled rest day for the Tour de France. With that comes the first major transfer of the race – moving from the south-eastern side of France to the south-western. Staying in tune with the race we will follow its trail, now transferring to the truly captivating area of the Dordogne. Here we stay exclusively in another historic accommodation, perfectly positioned on the famous river that lends the area its name (Dordogne).
Following our arrival we will ride the local roads, quickly realising why this area is considered amongst the finest in France for cycling. If tranquillity is your thing, there can be few better places to discover on a bike. Meals: B, D
July 11th – Day 3
Following a well -deserved rest day the Tour de France returns, with a stage that showcases the gorgeous landscapes of the Dordogne. TV viewers back home will be watching with more than a tinge of envy!!
For us there will be no need for aero-dynamic skin suits as we ride from our accommodation to see this important stage. Our day of riding will offer much to be experienced, none more so than the timeless villages that connect our ride. Meals: B, D
Day 4 to 7 – The Pyrenees
July 12th – Day 4
The Tour de France now moves from the Dordogne towards the Pyrenees, the day’s stage finishing in the city of Pau. Our transfer to our next place of stay will take us a little further south and to considerably higher ground, the High Pyrenees, where we will be positioned perfectly between two of the great icons of the Tour de France: the Tourmalet and Col’d Aubisque.
In the afternoon we will experience the later of these climbs, a 33km rise to its summit from our accommodation. A climb of rare beauty, so typical to the Pyrenees, it is a definite ‘must ride’ in these mountains. Meals: B, D
July 13th – Day 5
Today the Tour de France arrives in the Pyrenees, a long 214km stage from Pau to Peyragudes. Awaiting them will be an extremely difficult sequence of climbs, sure to test the legs of the Tours best climbers.
And awaiting us will be a ride that takes us to stage, but firstly via a climb of arguably the Tour de France’s most famous climb: Col du Tourmalet. The highest road pass in the Hautes-Pyrenees (2115m), it has been the most frequently used ascent in the races history. Also on our route will the Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde, both Tour classics, the latter featuring on today’s grand stage.
July 14th Day 6
Today the race moves into the eastern Pyrenees, a 100km stage that promises plenty of fireworks. Our ‘stage’ will stay in the western Pyrenees with another classic col of the Pyrenees on the menu, this time the Hautacam. A hors classified climb (‘above’ classification), it climbs unevenly over 13km’s, providing sections of considerably steep gradients and consistently beautiful views.
For those desiring more riding, is the possibility of riding to pretty spa town and ski resort of Cauterets. Less demanding than Hautacam, it is yet another beautiful climb on our doorstep begging to be experienced. Meals: B, D
Days 7 to 10 – Provence
July 15th – Day 7
Following breakfast we will transfer from Pyrenees to our next place of stay – beautiful sunny Provence. Here we will stay in a place of typical Provencal charm just outside from the village of Gordes. The village itself has the distinction as being officially recognised as one of the most beautiful in France (Plus Beaux Village).
However it is the surrounding countryside that makes it a favourite cycling location for Solo Bike – tranquil back-roads; beautiful villages; glorious lavender fields; magnificent gorges; and the Giant of Provence (Mont Ventoux). Meals: B, D
July 16th – Day 8
Our ride today takes us onto the slopes of one of the Tour de France’s most mythical mountains – Mont Ventoux. Referred to as the Giant of Provence, it is arguably the toughest of all of the Tours climbs. It is also one of most striking, its upper slopes giving it a unique ‘moonscape’ appearance that makes it so recognisable.
We will ride this climb from the classic side most often used for the Tour de France – the south side from Bedoin. The climb is 21.5km at 7.22%. Meals: B, D
July 17th – Day 9
More glorious South of France riding on the menu today – main course is the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque. An absolute favourite of Solo Bike, it is a 23km stretch through a wild canyon, deservedly regarded as one of Frances best ‘balcony roads’ (roads that sit like a balcony providing inspiring views).
Also on route will be a number of outstanding Provencal villages, providing great opportunity for further immersion into ‘life in the South of France’ – a pretty enviable one particularly if your recreation/ sport of choice is riding a bike!! Meals: B, D
Day 10 to 14 – The Alps
July 18th – Day 10
Today we make the final major transfer of our tour – fittingly for a Tour France Trip, it’s the Alps!! Before we depart there will be a ‘short’ ride. An opportunity to say ‘farewell’ to the tranquil back-roads of Provence, before our final days of riding on some of the highest paved passes in Europe.
And speaking of high-passes, our final place of stay is in Valloire, an authentic traditional village that sits under the Col du Galibier – the ‘Grand-Daddy’ of the Tours infamous high-passes!! Here we stay in a traditional mountain style hotel of charm – one of which is particularly well resourced for cyclists with an excellent restaurant, outdoor heated pool, recovery sauna, and bike storage facilities. Meals: B, D
July 19th – Day 11
The race comes past our doorstep today – literally!! Stage 17 Le Mure to Serre-Chevalier (183km) promises to be a most spectacular day of racing – certainly a day for the purists with the return of the Galibier following a 6 year absence from the Tour.
For Solo Bike we have the option of riding the Galibier (17kms from hotel) and staying to view the race from its summit, or returning to hotel bar in Valloire of which the race will be passing. What an awful dilemma!! Meals: B, D
July 20th Day 12
The previous day’s grand stage saw the race re-connect with its glorious past. Today sees a repeat – a 178km Alpine thriller that finishes at summit of Col d’Izoard. One of the Tours highest climb’s, it is certainly one of the most spectacular. The scenery is truly ‘other-worldly’.
Our ride will take us on its magnificent slopes from its southern side – the classic side, and side used for this years race. Expect plenty of spectator support on the way to its top, with tens of thousands of passionate fans in celebratory mode as they wait for the arrival of the Tour. Meals: B, D
July 21st Day 13
Our ride route toady takes us over 2 of the Tours most iconic climbs: Croix de Fer and Alpe d’Huez. Both climbs are well and truly enshrined into Tour de France folk-lore – the former pass one of the most beautiful of the Alps; the latter with its 21 infamous switch-backs providing the closest thing to a spectator Colosseum on a mountain!!
It will be a big day of climbing – but please feel reassured that ‘slowly slowly’ will be our motto of the day, and support vans will be strategically staying close to riders. Meals: B, D
July 22nd Day 14 – Tour Finish
Today sees the end of our trip. Following breakfast we will provide a transfer to Gare de Saint Michel Valloire – train station that is 17km from hotel. Meals: D