Cycling Tours and Holidays | Tour de France

Tour de France Cycle Tour

14 Day Tour | 17-30 July 2018 | BOOK NOW

We are taking bookings now for 2018

Reserve your place now. Our TdF tours sell out every year. The $500.00 deposit is 100% refundable if you don’t like the confirmed itinerary when it’s released in October.

We are expecting the 2018 itinerary to be heavily influenced by the Pyrenees. It should be close to the 2017 itinerary below but in reverse.

Look forward to cycling with you in 2018.

Pyrenees, Provence, French Alps and Burgundy 

Join RIDE Holidays for the greatest sporting event on the planet – the 2017 Tour de France.

First held in 1903, the Tour de France has become one of the most popular sporting events in the world. For over a hundred years spectators have been entranced by not only the drama and intrigue of the epic cycle race itself, but of the stunning mountain ranges, vineyards and sunflower fields that serve as its backdrop. For the competitors the Tour de France is a gruelling, relentless affair, but that’s far from the case for those who choose to embark on a Tour de France experience of their own. RIDE Holiday cycle tours are achievable for anyone who rides a road bike, not just the serious cyclists, and offer an unparalleled experience of both the race and the country. There are three rides to choose from daily – the less demanding ‘cappuccino’ level, then ‘latte’ and, for those keen on pedalling 100km or more per day, ‘espresso’.

There is even a non-riding ‘fluffy’ option, focusing more on markets and wineries. Typically a two-week tour will encounter the Tour de France race about five times, prioritising the must-see sections as the race nears the finish line. Group members will enjoy an insightful sampling of the different types of course sections, from mountain top triumphs to decorated villages. A cycle through France’s incomparable countryside is only broken up for the compulsory morning coffee and noon lunch break.

This itinerary is a small sample of what will be offered. The official race route isn’t released until the end of May 2017. We’ll then plan the daily rides and sightseeing options and include them in a 50 page tour dossier. Viva la Tour.

Our 2017 Tour de France Itinerary

Day 1, Tuesday 11 July

Welcome to Toulouse, Welcome to France.

You’ll feel the Tour de France excitement as soon as you hop off the plane. Cyclists will be arriving from all over the world and all for the same reason - watching the world’s greatest bike race. Not to mention - cycling the best roads on the planet.

Our timing is perfect – you’ll get to see to see the great race the day after tomorrow. We’re expecting a record amount of Kiwi riders next year. Jack, George and the flying mullet will all be needing our support.

Feel free to arrive at any time throughout the day, our hotel is located right at the airport. If you arrive early then you may want to pop in to the city for the day.

Tonight the chef has promised a regional meal. That’s French speak for using local produce to create a stunning welcoming dinner for us. Oh, there will also be champagne and red wine. Welcome to France.

Accommodation: Marriott Toulouse Airport
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2, Wednesday 12 July

The mighty Pyrenees

Now it feels real – as we head towards the 2017 Tour de France action. After breakfast our famous Belgian bus driver Koen will pack all of our bikes and bags in to his brand new bus. Even those of us who have seen this great event many times will be excited. More importantly, this afternoon you will understand why this is the best country in the world to be on a bike.

Our base camp hotel for the next four nights is a small family run hotel. We book it every year because of its location. Look up and you can see the likes of Hautacam, Tourmalet and Col du Solour. We aim to arrive early afternoon, we’ll put the bikes together and make sure all the hire bikes fit perfectly. Our first ride leaves at about 3pm.

Today is all about turning the legs over and making sure your bike is running smoothly. For some, it will be the first time you’ve cycled on the opposite side of the road. Non-riders are free to relax or hop in the van with Morgan and join the cyclists at the top of a rather large hill which offers stunning views of Argeles and the surrounding area. It’s worth the ride just to see the smart cows and the very friendly Clydesdale horses who wander the road looking for people to pat them.

Tonight we all dine together as it’s time to introduce you to our French team and talk about the plan for tomorrow.

Accommodation: Hotel Les Cimes
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Tour de France Bike Tour

Day 3, Thursday 13 July

Le Tour de France – Mountain stage

It’s hard to describe the feeling one has when you see the Tour de France live for the first time. Especially on such a stage. Today the pros cover 214km of pure climbing. We won’t make you do this – we promise.

You’ll quickly understand why this bike race is so important to the French - they live for it. Viva le Tour! Seeing the race is amazing however it’s often the pre-race caravan that has everyone buzzing. You’ll see grown men diving on the road trying to acquire one of the sponsor’s products. Sometimes you win and come away with a cycling top, sometimes you lose and find yourself with five bags of washing powder. Mind you — they may come in handy in weeks to come.

Get set for the ride of your life. We’ll depart the hotel early and head deep in to the mountains. As per every day we will have a number of options in place. The climb up Peyresourde is simply stunning. My 2nd favourite climb in the Pyrenees behind Aubisque.

Our official support van with Morgan at the wheel will be able to take the non-riders right to the finish line. Quite a treat as the road will have been closed to normal traffic for the past 48 hours.

After the race you can choose – either hop on a bike and cruise back to the hotel with us (over a mountain) or simply roll back down the hill where our coach waits. Home please, driver.

Accommodation: Hotel Les Cimes
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4, Friday 14 July

B&B, BBQ on Bastille Day

The secret to a good cycling holiday is not to see the race too many times. You will have seen yesterday that there’s a lot of patience required when watching the tour from the side of the road. So, today, rather than see the tour we will ride two of the most famous climbs in France. Col du Solour and then on to Col d'Aubisque.

The 10km ride between Solour and Aubisque will make your eyes water. Bar none, it is the most scenic 10km in the whole of France. We will strongly encourage the non-riders to walk it. Waiting for us at the top of Aubisque - a good old fashioned Kiwi BBQ. Lunch anyone? I did warn you that this isn’t a weight loss trip.

And now for the great news. It’s 30km downhill to our hotel. It’s Bastille Day; so watch out for the French cyclists to attack. We’ll have you firmly planted in our hotel bar, beer in hand by the time todays stage draws to a close.

There will be fireworks in town tonight to celebrate Bastille and probably a live band. Two years ago Pink Floyd turned up to entertain us. **

Accommodation: Hotel Les Cimes
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

** Fisherman by birth, prone to exaggeration.

Day 5, Saturday 15 July

Last day in the Pyrenees

We will be encouraging as many as possible to do the 102km Col de Tourmalet loop. Departing Argelès Gazost we ride towards Lourdes and on to St Marie de Campan where we’ll regroup for coffee. From the café, the road heads into the sky for

17.5km. Some riders will take just over an hour, some will take up to three. It’s Highest point is 2,128m.

Cappuccino riders – the shortest ride to the top of Tourmalet from our hotel is only 30km. And there’s no pressure to ride all the way. You can simply turn around when you’ve had enough.

We will try and time it so that all the espresso, latte and cappuccino riders make it to the top at the same time.

Non-riders or those wanting a day off - you simply will never forget the cable car to the top of Pic du Midi de Bigorre from La Mongie (altitude 2,877m). There’s a café at the summit, as well as an interesting observatory, visitor centre and museum. It’s then only a short drive to the top of Tourmalet where your loved one will be waiting.

Tonight after dinner we head in to Lourdes to witness the evening candle lit procession. Even for those who aren’t religiously minded the procession is a must as thousands and thousands of pilgrims flock to Lourdes daily, making Lourdes 2nd only to Paris for hotel rooms in France.

Accommodation: Hotel Les Cimes
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6, Sunday 16 July

Pyrenees to Provence. Mountains to wine.

We’ll be on our bikes early this morning. The idea is to stretch the legs before we hop on the bus as our hotel in Provence is about 6 hours away. Just as well we have a bus packed full of fishing DVD’s. Anyone been fishing in Russia?

We’ll be seeing a lot of the Tour de France next week. This week is all about quality riding and we head to Provence for one major reason. It’s so major that it’s actually scary. Mont Ventoux. Boom!

Anyway, that’s enough about tomorrow, let’s talk about today. On the way to our hotel we stop in Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a fantastic wine tasting in an old Roman cave, followed be a spectacular dinner. The restaurant is in the shadow of a stunning old castle. Oh, what a perfect day.

It will be a late arrival in to our hotel. I can guarantee that no one will be complaining. Sleep well. The Giant of Provence awaits.

Accommodation: Provence
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7, Monday 17 July

Mont Ventoux – enough said.

The Full Loop - The Ventoux Epic. Starting at your hotel you ride through country lanes to the large town of Bédoin at the foot of Mont Ventoux. A certain rider who once claimed to have won seven yellow jerseys - before admitting to the world that he was indeed as high as a kite used to vouch that Mont Ventoux is the most difficult of all the Tour de France climbs. Drugs or no drugs – Lance is right.

There are over 1200 species of plants on Ventoux however chances are that you won’t see any of them as you sweat you way up the 1,912m. Pause at Chalet Reynard (which is where the cappuccino riders will start from) for a refreshment stop, collect you thoughts prior to the final 6km assault to the summit. Enjoy a fast descent to Malaucène and return back to Bédoin where you can either board the bus or ride back to your hotel for a well-deserved swim.

Non-riders – it just happens to be market day in Bedoin. Our suggestion is to check out the market and then head up Mont Ventoux. This afternoon Morgan will give you a private tour of the stunning villages that make this area famous - Gordes and Venasque being must-do’s, as well as a visit to Abbey de Sananque, built in 1148. We’ll see you back at home.

Accommodation: Provence
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Tour de France Bike Tour

Day 8, Tuesday 18 July

Le Puy-en-Velay – race start

Au Revoir Provence. Bonjour the majestic French Alps. The pinnacle of the 2017 Tour de France. In my opinion they are the Pyrenees on steroids. Our hotel has again been picked for location. Turn right out of the hotel you have Col du Galibier, Col du Télégraphe and Col du Lautaret. Turn left and the top of Col d’Izoard is only 15km away.

We will catch four Tour de France stages here in the Alps. More importantly, you’ll get the chance to ride some of the world’s best climbs - including the most famous of them all – L’Alpe d’Huez. Consider riding Alpe de Huez on this day and then ride to Embrun for the start?

Generally speaking by day 8 when we suggest a non-riding day we don’t get a lot of complaints. Especially when you look at the agenda over the next four days. So, today is potentially a no-ride day. Our focus moves to the race start at Le Puy-en-Velay which is only about 100km from our Provence hotel. Race starts are a hive of activity as we watch all the cyclists sign on for the impending carnage. It’s a great opportunity for autographs and souvenirs.

We won’t be late in to Serre Chevalier. Certainly in time to be in the bar watching the conclusion of today’s stage. This really is the last day for the sprinters to shine.

Accommodation: Hotel Plein Sud, Serre Chevalier
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9, Wednesday 19 July

When the TdF comes to us….

2017 will be our 11th consecutive Tour de France trip. And this year we have a couple of firsts. The finish line is less than 500m away from our hotel. Bingo.

To get to the finish line the pros will need to account for Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier. Hmmm. There will be a lot of road closures today so we’ll need to be as smart as a fox.

Here are your choices….

  1. An early start. Ride up Galibier and descend down the other side as far as you like. This is my pick as you’ll then be on the right side of the hill to watch the riders climb. There is the small matter of having to climb back up Galibier at the end of the day to get home.
  2. If you are feeling particularly leggy then carry on to Telegraph. That would make it a 140km day and about 3,500m of climbing. We will publicly drug test you if you choose this option.
  3. Ride up Galibier (very achievable as it’s only 8km) and head back down the hill to our hotel. Park your bike and let the action come to you. The atmosphere will be electric.
  4. If you have no interest in today’s proceedings then Morgan will take you in to Briancon. There are also many walks to do in this area.

Basically – whatever your poison, we’ll have a plan.

This evening we plan on visiting the excellent local thermal pools. Time to give some love back to your weary legs.

Accommodation: Hotel Plein Sud, Serre Chevalier
Meals Included: Breakfast (Dinner own arrangements)

Day 10, Thursday 20 July

Hot chocolate and Col d’Izoard

Another first for RIDE Holidays. Never before have we been able to see a race start and a race finish all within 35km of our hotel. Amen.

As guides we are asked many times what our favourite rides are. Two stand out for me. The mighty Aubisque in the Pyrenees (tick) and then Col d’Izoard in the Alps. It is simply spectacular and also very achievable as the start is only 15km from our hotel. It’s reasonably long at 19km, however not as scary as some of the steeper hills with an average of just over 5%. There are a few reasons for loving Col d’Izoard. Other than the ride, there’s a café at the start of the climb that simply offers the best hot chocolate in the whole entire world. And that’s a fact. No Milo powder at this joint. It is pure Swiss melted chocolate and man it tastes good.

The massive bonus for 2017 is that today’s Tour de France stage finishes on the top of d’Izoard. It really is an opportunity not to be missed. In fact, you can easily see the race start in Briancon (8km from our hotel) and then easily catch the finish at the top of the mountain. It should be a cracking mountain stage and all of the GC boys will be starting to get a bit nervous. Today is really their last chance to make up some mountain time.

Non-riders may be starting to get a little disinterested with the Tour de France by this stage. How about an espresso? The Italian border is only 20km from our hotel. Our target destination is Pinerolo. A sizable town centrally located in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy. The principal square in the town centre is stunning. The situation of Pinerolo on the edge of the Alps means it is also a popular sports destination – for example it was one of the bases for the Winter Olympics in 2006, the end of a mountain stage in the Tour de France 2011, and is a frequent stage in the Giro d’Italia.

Accommodation: Hotel Plein Sud, Serre Chevalier
Meals Included: Breakfast (Dinner own arrangements)

Day 11, Friday 21 July

The elephant in the room.

The one and only L’Alpe d’Huez. First climbed in the 1952 Tour de France, it climbs over 1,100m vertically over 14km and has 21 legendary hairpin turns. The climb can be broken up into three stages. The first part is the steepest with gradients above 10% for the first 6 hairpins until the hamlet of La Garde. The gradient then eases a little to 8% after hairpin 6 and the turns become more spread out for the following 6kms. With only 5 hairpins left, the gradient ramps up again for 1km to 11% before easing off to 9% till you reach the L’Alpe d’Huez village. It’s only 2km to go to the top at around 5% gradient, you can now relax a little and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work. Well done, it’s a great accomplishment and another milestone achieved! How will we get to Alpe de Huez? Road open? I think the road around the other side of the lake should be finished for riders and local traffic (not the bus). D’Huez will be a whole day travel ride event. We can also have an option to ride back to the hotel after we double check the side road.

The other option isn’t bad either. It’s your last opportunity to see the Tour de France and the race isn’t far away from our hotel in Embrun. In fact, we rode there two years ago when it featured in a time trial. It's thanks to its climate, among the driest and sunniest of the area that the city earned the nickname of “Nice of the Alps”. From the top of its rock, it dominates the artificial lake of Serre-Ponçon, one of the largest in Europe.

Tonight’s team dinner is important as we say goodbye to three of our team who leave us tomorrow afternoon – Silas, Morgan and Patrick. Cheers boys.

Accommodation: Hotel Plein Sud, Serre Chevalier
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12, Saturday 22 July

Last day – let’s make it a goodie.

This morning we bid au revoir to the Serre Chevalier and start making our way towards Paris and the conclusion of our tour. For some – tonight will be a highlight as we are staying in a gorgeous old country chateau near Dijon. Think Mustard.

The plan is to stop half way and ride Les Lacets de Montvernier. You probably watched this on the TV in the 2015 TdF. It was the amazing switchback climb that was closed to the public on stage 18. Jaw dropping stuff and worthy of our last ride together.

For latte and espresso riders we will be riding to Les Lacets straight from our Serre Chevalier hotel. It’s only 47km away. Although you have a few bumps to encounter first. That bump would be Col du Galibier. Todays numbers read - climbing 886m, downhill 2344m. So, not a bad day in the office.

Cappuccino riders get a lift to the bottom of the first Lacets switchback. The race is on.

We plan to make it to our castle in time to watch the TDF time trial on TV. Those who have no interest in the cycling can pop out for a few holes of golf on the accompanying championship golf course. Or simply sit back in the pool and sip a champagne.

There will be a bit of housekeeping though – dismantling the bikes for one. Game over.

Accommodation: Château de Chailly
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13, Sunday 23 July

Paris – here we come.

It’s been a great 13 days. Those mountain climbs have been officially tamed. Let’s look back at what we’ve achieved. Hautacam, Tourmalet, Aubisque, Solour, Ventoux, Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Lautaret, Izoard and Les Lacets. What a trip.

Hmmm, all good things have to come to an end. We hop on the bus after breakfast and drive the 4 hours up the motorway to Paris. Time goes quickly though as we pull out the Russian Fly fishing movie again. We will certainly have you in Paris in plenty of time to watch todays from our hotel bar.

Or, you can see it live. Some may decide to leave our chateau early and head straight to downtown Paris via the TGV travelling at 400km/hr. We can easily arrange this. As well as Grand Stand tickets on the Champs Élysées which is only 200m from the finishing line. It’s really your only option to experience the race today as millions of people queue for the free seats. The riders will complete eight laps of the 6km circuit to decide who wins the final stage on the famous cobbles. (There extra cost is approx. $800.00 including TGV and grandstand tickets)

Tonight is our last night together. Bring out the champagne. A few stories will be told no doubt.

Accommodation: The Mercure Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14, Monday 24 July

Safe travels home

Our tour finishes after breakfast. For some it’s time to head home, while others will take some time in Paris or head off to explore other parts of Europe. Thank you for joining us on the adventure of a life time and the greatest sporting event in the world.

Safe travels for the remainder of your journey.

Karl Woolcott and the team from RIDE Holidays

Enquire Now Book Now for 2018

Tour Inclusions

  • 1 night Toulouse, 4 nights Pyrenees, 2 nights Provence, 4 nights Alps, 1 night Burgundy and Paris (CDG Airport)
  • Ride all the classics - Hautacam, Tourmalet, Aubisque, Solour, Mont Ventoux, Mont Blanc, Alpe d’Huez, Col du Galibier and many more classic climbs
  • 5-6 stages of the Tour de France
  • Choice of 2-3 rides per day at your pace
  • 7 staff including mechanic
  • Luxury 48 seat coach plus 9 seat support vehicle
  • Quality hotels in excellent central locations
  • All breakfasts, all evening meals (except two) and one lunch
  • Includes all tips (guides and pre-arranged meals)
  • Tour de France souvenir booklet and RIDE Holidays cycle jersey
  • Maps provided as well as GPS assistance
  • Non-riders are very welcome and well catered for.

The Price Excludes

  • International Airfares – Karl can arrange these.
  • Bike Rental – NZD 600.00
  • Grand Stand tickets on the Champs Élysées and TGV ex Dijon (approx. $800.00)
  • Lunches, drinks & snack bars, cycling food.
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory!
  • Pre & post tour accommodation or tours

The Tour Cost

$7900.00 NZD per person twin share

$7700.00 NZD for past, repeat clients.

$1200.00 NZD for single room. (Subject to availability)

 Tour de France Bike Tour

 Tour de France Bike Tour

Tour de France Bike Tour

Tour de France Bike Tour

Tour de France Bike Tour

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