Tour de France
Carcassonne to Paris

Carcassonne, Lourdes, Col de Portet Saint Lary, Col du Tourmalet, Col des Borderes, Col du Soulor, Col d’Aubisque, Toulouse, Pau, Paris

Description

This tour strikes the perfect balance between enjoying the race and experiencing the best that the region has to offer. Separate sightseeing and ride itineraries, four star hotels with only two moves in seven nights. Our cycling guests will experience a race start, race finish and all the excitement of the important mountain stage battles PLUS specific non-race cycling routes that have been designed to test and inspire you. Our sightseeing guests will enjoy the food, wine and culture that this region of France is famous for and of course, with plenty of time for romance for our guest couples. We are excited about our amazing viewing experience for the final stage in Paris. Our suite in the Westin provides our guests with a private viewing but right in the heart of the action and is perfect for all of our guests.

July 23 – July 30, 2018
7 nights | 8 days

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More Information

Rider type* Enthusiast

Average daily distance 75 km

Average daily climbing   1,100 metres

Average daily time on the saddle 3.5 hours

Hotel Style* 4+ Star (except Carcassonne)

Maximum guests – 14

Price €4,900 p.p. twin share

Start | Finish

Barcelona, Spain | Paris, France

  Maximum tour capacity is 14 guests

  6 staff for 14 guests including professional ride guides, massage therapists and mechanics

  Tackle the iconic climbs of Pic du Nore, Col de Portet Saint Lary, Col du Tourmalet, Col des Borderes, Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque

  Luxury 4 star hotels | Nimes, Novotel Atria Nimes Centre | Lourdes, Hotel Belfry, Paris, Hotel des Champs-Elysees.

  Quality 3 star hotel | Carcassone, Campanile Carcassonne Est – La Cité

  Expert sightseeing and ride route design

  Get up close with the pro riders and the fans at Carcassone, Lourdes, on Col de Portet Saint Lary and Lauruns

 Explore the medieval cities, palaces, castles and ancient roman ruins in Carcassone, Lourdes, Toulouse and Pau all the while immersed in the French cuisine and culture.

  Enjoy the best guided walking, sightseeing and winery tours that the region has to offer.

  All Sports nutrition provided (bars, gels and electrolytes)

  All Breakfasts, Most Lunches and Most Dinners included

  Supported training plan included to prepare you for your Alps adventure

Day 1 - Carcassonne

Today’s Ride
Carcassone to Carcassone
Hotel
Campanile Carcassonne Est – La Cité
Included Meals
Dinner
Outline Ride Guests

After collecting you from Barcelona we head off to Carcassonne in the South of France. The drive to our destination in Carcassonne is through one of the most picturesque parts of Spain and France so sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.

As we approach Carcassonne, you will undoubtedly be enthralled by the sight as it is a magnificent fortified hilltop town, akin to something you would see in a Harry Potter movie. With its 12th century castle, surrounding mote, drawbridges, arched gateways, circular watch towers and pointy-topped turrets, you will feel like you have travelled back in time!

Your tour hosts (Peter and Valerie) will give you a run down on the itinerary for the day and support crew will unpack and build your bike to your specifications ready for a post travel spin to get the legs moving again. We have a nice out and back route planned which will also wet your appetitie to see more of this amazing region of France.

Once we return to our hotel it will be time for an Aperitif where we will update you on tomorrow’s schedule. Aperitif is an important part of our daily ritual on tour as it is a great way to share the highlights of the day and plan for the next day.

All Guests

For tonight’s dinner we have selected one of Carcassonne’s renown restaurants where you can take in the views, taste some of the region’s best wines and enjoy a selection of French and Spanish inspired dishes.

Sightseeing Outline

After collecting you from Barcelona we head off to Carcassonne in the South of France. The drive to our destination in Carcassonne is through one of the most picturesque parts of Spain and France so sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.

As we approach Carcassonne, you will undoubtedly be enthralled by the sight as it is a magnificent fortified hilltop town, akin to something you would see in a Harry Potter movie. With its 12th century castle, surrounding mote, drawbridges, arched gateways, circular watch towers and pointy-topped turrets, you will feel like you have travelled back in time!

Your tour hosts (Peter and Valerie) will give you a run down on the itinerary for the day and support crew will assist you to settle in to the hotel because it will soon be time for Aperitif. Aperitif is an important part of our daily ritual on tour as it is a great way to share the highlights of the day and plan for the next day.

All Guests

For tonight’s dinner we have selected one of Carcassonne’s renown restaurants where you can take in the views, taste some of the region’s best wines and enjoy a selection of French and Spanish inspired dishes.

Day 2 - Carcasonne - Lourdes

Today’s Ride
Carcassonne to Carcassonne
Total route 56 km, 1,100 metres elevation (2:20)
Hotel
Hotel Belfry
Included meals
Breakfast | Dinner
Ride Outline

The plan today is to ride before we watch the start of stage 16 in Carcassone. We will have a quick breakfast on the go today because we leave very early to take a short trip in the support Van to commence our ride in Mazamet. We have recreated the more challenging section of stage 15 from Mazamet into Carcassone and have included the Pic du Nore in today’s ride just so you can experience what the pros endured on stage 15. It is a 12km climb at an average of 6.3% so it is a great climb to prepare your legs for the days to come.

On the ride back into Carcassone we will ride through the plains of Languedoc which is actually France’s major wine growing area so we will enjoy scenes of typical French family vineyards and farms through the valley until we reach the Carcassone. The view of Carcassone from the valley is beautiful and the scenery alone on this route will surely enthral you.

Once we are back at our hotel, you will have time for a quick shower and change of clothes before we head out to the start village to absorb some of the excitement of the Tour. Once we see the pros roll out we will have lunch and then transfer to Lourdes.

Once settled into your luxury hotel, you may like to do some sightseeing before dinner or just rest up for a while before this evening’s aperitif and amazing dinner at our hotel.

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time for a scrumptious dinner at our hotel.

Sightseeing Outline

After a satisfying delicious breakfast and a quick check-out, we will all head back into the town where we have arranged to go on a guided tour of the castle and watch-towers. The tour is worth the effort, even if it’s only to see the views for the towers!

After your tour of the Castle you can wander down into the town to watch the start of the stage and experience some of the festivities and the spectacle of the race start. There are also many interesting buildings in this old town as well as numerous shops and specialty stores along the cobbled streets. Make sure you stop off at one of the many cafes and specialty cake shops you come across…very tempting!

After lunch we will head off to the spiritual town of Lourdes, located in the spectacular foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. Lourdes is one of the most visited towns in France and second only to Paris in terms of tourist numbers. It rose to prominence in 1858 due to the sightings of the Virgin Mary and has become a holy pilgrimage site for many Catholics.

Once settled into your luxury hotel, the sight-seeing choices for you are many! You might want to start with a short tour of the Château Fort des Lourdes, a fortified Roman stronghold and castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment just above the town. To reach the castle, you can either catch the lift or ride up on the petite train, unless you’re up for some more walking. The views from the castle are breath-taking and there are many lovely places to relax and have a refreshment before going back to your hotel to get ready for this evening’s aperitif and amazing dinner at our superb hotel.

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time for a scrumptious dinner at our hotel.

Day 3 - Lourdes

Today’s Ride
Arreau to Arreau
Total route 69km, 2,500 metres elevation (3:00)
Hotel
Hotel Belfry
Included meals
Breakfast | Lunch
Ride Outline

You will have time for a leisurely breakfast today as we will take the support van to the start of your ride today. Stage 17 is the shortest normal Tour de France stage for 30 years and features a climb never before used in the Tour. Even with 3 major climbs this stage is set for fireworks from start to finish. We have a one hour trip to Arreau in the support van. From here we will ride to intersect the race route at Loudenvielle and ride the last 30km of the course including the climb into Col de Portet Saint Lary. This summit is reminiscent of Toumalet as it is treeless and barren and a winter skiing area.

We are sure to see an epic battle on this stage, so we will position ourselves among the throngs of avid fans on the climb to ensure we have prime viewing of this battle of the General Classification contenders. Regardless of the race result you will forever be written into history as one of the spectators on this debut Pyrenean climb; the Col de Portet Saint Lary.

Once the race is complete we will descend for about 30 minutes via a short route back to Arreau and then back into the van and on to the hotel for shower and our usual aperitif and planning session. Tonight you are free to venture into Lourdes for a new culinary experience.

All guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time to decide what you would like to do for dinner. You can choose to independently dine at the hotel or venture back into Lourdes town again for a new culinary experience.

Sightseeing Outline

After an indulgent leisurely breakfast, you can head out to explore the famous Sanctuaries of Lourdes. The Sanctuary is made up of the Notre Dame Cathedral, adjoining chapel and the Grotto Massabielle (Grotto of the Apparitions) which is where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a local peasant girl called Bernadette Soubirous. Since that time the site has been associated with healing powers and responsible for many miracles. Christian pilgrims visiting the Grotto can drink or bathe in the ‘blessed’ water flowing from a spring.

To avoid the crowds, it is best to visit early in the day as the numbers build steadily over the day and into the night when an evening candle-lit procession takes place in the gardens of the Sanctuary; a truly amazing event to experience if you happen to be there at 9pm.

After your visit to the Sanctuary you will be ready for an extraordinary lunch and where better to find the most divine food in Lourdes than at the Les Halles de Lourdes food market, right within the centre of the town. This is heaven on earth for foodies and will give you a glimpse into how locals live, eat and interact with each other. On offer is the very best of the Basque, French and Pyrenees produce available – everything from cured meats, cheeses, pastries, breads, seafood, wines…the list goes on and you will love it!

After your absolutely fabulous day in Lourdes, you can either head back to the hotel where you can relax into the afternoon or remain in the town for more sightseeing and people-watching – the choice is yours.

All guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time to decide what you would like to do for dinner. You can choose to independently dine at the hotel or venture back into Lourdes town again for a new culinary experience.

Day 4 - Lourdes

Today’s Ride
Lourdes to Lourdes
Total route 92 km, 2,200 metres elevation (3:50)
Hotel
Hotel Belfry
Included meals
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Ride Outline

Today is the big one, the Col du Tourmalet; the highest pass in the central Pyrenees. After a sleep-in and a delicious breakfast we will head out to tackle this iconic climb of the Tour de France.

The Col du Tourmalet has featured more times than any other peak in the Tour de France and with good reason. It is imposing, challenging and beautiful in a brutal way. We will ascend the West side as this is (in our view) the nicest and certainly the longest of the 2 sides. The gradient is steady with the last kilometre being the most challenging. Once we reach to summit we will have a coffee and a snack and then head home the same way we came up enjoying the fast and technical descent. On the way down you may even notice the beautiful views of the jagged cliffs and babbling brooks.

We will be back at the hotel with time for a massage before our usual aperitif and briefing and then we go into Lourdes for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants for a taste of the best of the Basque region.

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time to head back into the town to one of our favourite restaurants for a taste of the best of the Basque region.

Sightseeing Outline

After another divine breakfast, you will be taken to the romantic city of Toulouse, a Latin style town with a typically laid-back and welcoming spirit.

When you enter Toulouse, known as La Ville Rose, you will be quickly swept up in the beauty of this incredible city. With its many Ochre rooftops, coral-coloured shopfronts and pink churches, it is impressive to say the least. Many of the massive red-brick palaces and mansions lining the square in the historic centre house world-class museum. The Musée des Augustins is one of my favourites and holds paintings and sculptures from the Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque periods. If art is one of your passions, then take the time to go on a guided tour of this gallery. Another majestic building overlooking the cobbled square is the once famous Hotel de Ville. Now a government building it is still as glorious as it was in its heyday. The town square is filled with permanent market stalls selling everything from souvenirs to food and adding to the buzz of this town.

Heavily influenced by the Spanish culture, Toulouse is full of lively bistros and bodegas where you can enjoy delicious regional cuisines and tapas before heading back to Lourdes.

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time to head back into the town to one of our favourite restaurants for a taste of the best of the Basque region.

Day 5 - Lourdes

Today’s Ride
Lourdes to Lauruns
Total route 60 km, 1,700 metres elevation (2:30)
Hotel
Hotel Belfry
Included meals
Breakfast | Lunch
Ride Outline

You will definitely have time for a sleep-in and a leisurely breakfast today before we head out on the bikes.

This is the final mountain stage of this edition of the Tour de France and it will be an exciting stage particularly if the General Classification is not yet decided. Our plan today is to watch the race start in Lourdes and then race the peloton to Lauruns. Our route will certainly be shorter but we will still tackle the Col des Borderes, Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque before descending into the stage finish at Lauruns.

By the time the pros reach us at the finish they will have raced for 200km and climbed the Aspin-Tourmalet-Bordères-Soulor-Aubisque Cols. Will this be a day for the break-away or will the GC still be up for grabs; either way it is sure to be a memorable stage and a fabulous way for us to conclude our last day of cycling in the Pyrenees.

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time to decide where to independently dine at a restaurant of your choice.

Sightseeing Outline

Following a relaxing start to the morning and a breakfast fit for kings, you will continue your French adventure with a visit to the town of Pau, an ancient Royal City at the Foot of the Pyrenees. We guarantee you will be gobsmacked by the views.

The first thing to do in Pau is to walk along the famous Boulevard des Pyrénées, a 1.8km-long avenue with majestic views of the mountain range. The boulevard leads up to the famous Chateau de Pau Castle, the birthplace of King Henry IV of France, who was born there in 1553. The Chateau was also famously used by Napoleon as a holiday home during his period of power! Full of stunning tapestries, period furnishings and artworks, the Castle is well worth seeing.

Also along the boulevard are many tantalising cafes and restaurants where you can stop for a rest, enjoy the views and be tempted by the delights on offer. For the die-hard art lover, Pau has many interesting museums and galleries. In particular, the Pau Museum of Fine Arts houses masterpieces from the 15th to 20th centuries.

After a day in Pau you will be taken back to your lovely hotel in Lourdes to freshen up before drinks.

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session it is time to decide where to independently dine at a restaurant of your choice.

Day 6 - Lourdes - Paris

Todays Ride
Lourdes to Lourdes
Total route 25 km, 150 metres elevation (1:00)

 

Hotel
Hotel des Champs-Elysees
Included meals
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Ride Outline

No doubt you are tired and satisfied after the past 4 days intense riding so we have selected a recovery ride route for today. We have time for a leisurely breakfast in our beautiful hotel before we head out on a relatively flat loop. We will have to stop at one of the many patisseries along the way just to get that extra croissant because we have earned it.

When you get back you can get an extra long massage from our soigneur before we shuttle you to Pau for your early afternoon flight to Paris. We will collect you from the airport and shuttle to your chic Paris hotel right in the thick of the Tour de France action. Once checked in and settled in you are free to explore Paris. There is so much to see and do so no time to waste.

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session we will have a final group dinner at one of our favourite local Moroccan restaurants.

Sightseeing Outline

You will have time for a big breakfast and one last look around Lourdes this morning before check-out and shuttle to Pau for your early afternoon flight to Paris. We will collect you from the airport and shuttle to your chic Paris hotel right in the thick of the Tour de France action. Once checked in and settled in you are free to explore Paris. There is so much to see and do so no time to waste. Not much to say at this point other than “Paris here we come!”

All Guests

After our usual Aperitif and planning session we will have a final group dinner at one of our favourite local Moroccan restaurants.

Day 7 - Paris

Todays Ride
No planned ride today
Hotel
Hotel des Champs-Elysees
Included meals
Breakfast | Lunch
Outline for ride guests

This is the most romantic city in the world so we recommend a sleep in and a late breakfast to re-charge your batteries after the epic week gone by. Although we do not have a planned ride today you can always hop on a city bike and cruise around Paris to absorb as much of this city of lights in the time that you have left for exploring.

We will meet up at the The Westin Paris – Vendôme at 1pm because this is our vantage point to watch the final stage of this 2018 Tour de France. Perched on the 4th floor above the  Rue de Rivoli our private Superior Suite will provide us with a birds eye view of the peloton as they wind their way around the Paris circuit. We will be able to watch the proceedings from the start to the finish on television so no need to miss a moment of the action. We will also provide food and wine until the race finishes at around 7pm and then it is time for you to explore the city and enjoy the post tour festivities.

Outline for sightseeing guests

This is the most romantic city in the world so we recommend a sleep in and a late breakfast to re-charge your batteries after the epic week gone by. The best way to see this beautiful city is on foot but as we have limited time we suggest that you hop on a city bike and cruise around Paris to absorb as much of this city of lights in the time that you have left for exploring.

We will meet up at the The Westin Paris – Vendôme at 1pm because this is our vantage point to watch the final stage of this 2018 Tour de France. Perched on the 4th floor above the  Rue de Rivoli our private Superior Suite will provide us with a birds eye view of the peloton as they wind their way around the Paris circuit. We will be able to watch the proceedings from the start to the finish on television so no need to miss a moment of the action. We will also provide food and wine until the race finishes at around 7pm and then it is time for you to explore the city and enjoy the post tour festivities.

Day 8 - Paris

Todays Ride
No planned ride today
Included meals
Breakfast
Outline for ride guests

It is hard to believe that your time with us has come to an end but today is about getting ready for your journey on to your next adventure. Hopefully you will be heading on to other beautiful European destinations but if you have to head home we are certain that you will be leaving with beautiful memories of an outstanding adventure with new found friends from this beautiful corner of France.

Our team will have already packed your bike bags and we will assist you to get underway with transfers to Paris airport or train stations.

Outline for sightseeing guests

It is hard to believe that your time with us has come to an end but today is about getting ready for your journey on to your next adventure. Hopefully you will be heading on to other beautiful European destinations but if you have to head home we are certain that you will be leaving with beautiful memories of an outstanding adventure with new found friends from this beautiful corner of France.

Our team will assist you to get underway with transfers to Paris airport or train stations.

Price per person: € 4,900 per person twin share

Single occupancy supplement: €1,400

Booking: € 1,000 deposit

Balance Due: 90 days prior to the tour departure date

You may also pay in full at the time of booking

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • 7 nights twin share* accommodation in classic* style hotels
  • We safely deliver your bags to your room each time we change hotels

Transport

  • All transport from your designated pick up and drop off points with bike and one other bag
  • Transportation to and from planned tour activities

Support

  • Throughout your tour there will be a minimum of 2 hosts looking after you
  • Support vehicle and mechanical breakdown support on each ride
  • Experienced mechanics will ensure your bike is ready to ride upon arrival

Tour Activities

  • Entrance fees into planned tour activities 

Meals

  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners and 1 afternoon tea are included in the price of this tour. On certain nights you will have the opportunity to explore the town you are in and choose your own restaurant for dinner.
  • We provide wine with every included dinner. Limits apply
  • We provide one Aperitif per person during our daily planning sessions

Other – Ride guests

  • 2 sets of  SEARCHTRAVEL Cycling Kit made by Marcello Bergamo (2 x knicks, 2 x jerseys, 1 x wind vest)
  • Sports Massages as required
  • Mechanical Support as required
  • Daily washing of SEARCHTRAVEL Cycling Kit
  • Prepare for your tour like a pro. We include a 6 month Pro CyclEd Training Plan in the cost of your tour.

What’s not Included

  • Airfares to and from the tour
  • Transportation to the pickup/drop off locations
  • Accommodation before and after the tour
  • Activities that are not organised and scheduled by Search Travel
  • Bikes/ helmets
  • Travel Insurance 
  • Laundry services

Follow the link below to book your tour!