Great Explorations

(800) 242-1825
(604) 730-1247

National Geographic

“Great Explorations provided a truly amazing once in a lifetime experience of the Tour de France. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Again and again!”


- Brenda and Bruce T.,

Vancouver, BC


More testimonials

travel & escapes



Trip Dates:


Alps: July 22 - 29


Custom trips also available. Call or email for details.

Trip Size:

16 participants

Total Days:

8 days/ 7 nights


Avignon/ Paris

Activity Level:

Intermediate/ Challenging (your choice)
60-100+ km (35-60+ miles) daily
van supported


Variety from rolling to mountainous


Land Cost (current year):

Alps to Paris:

US $2950 (US $3250 after Jan 1; US$3450 after March 1)

Single Supplement:

Classic: US $600

Bike Rental:
US $280

Racing :

Cannondale Supersix 5 carbon bikes with compact doubles & shimano 105; Synapse triples

Hybrid bikes (Cannondale Quick Speed 1 and 2) also available


TDF, Alps 2019

Tour with the Pros

The Tour de France will be celebrating its centenary in 2019 - the first was held in 1919. Great Explorations will be back at the Tour in 2019 and eagerly awaits the chase for the yellow jersey. For us, going to the Tour has been as much about our ride as watching the pros. Nothing can match riding on closed roads lined with thousands of fans, over hors categorie cols, joining in the festivities of the race. Team Sky will be an obvious favourite, but anything can happen at the Tour de France. Finishing in Paris, staying in the same hotel as the pros will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
  • A ride you will never forget: Galibier, ahead of the pros
  • Less time in vans means more time riding
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won't find in guidebooks.
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises.
  • We will see 6 stages on this trip!


Arriving to France:
We suggest flying into Paris and making your way to Avignon (3h10 by train) the night before the trip starts; we have several excellent hotels to recommend in Avignon. If you wish to train to Avignon on the morning of our trip start, this is also possible with an early morning train.

DAY 1; July 22: Rest Day for Pros

We will meet incoming arrivals at Avignon TGV station at 11:22 am (on arrival of the 8:37 am train) and whisk you to our hotel near the Pont Du Gard. After a light lunch, we will do a bike fit and head out for a ride. We are staying at a luxurious hotel close to the Pont du Gard.
Ride Distances - 40, 60, 80+km

DAY 2; July 23: Stage 16- Nimes-Nimes- 177 km

The stage on this day will be a loop course through the Gard departmente and will include a crossing of the ancient Pont du Gard, one of the most iconic sites in southern France. Our hotel is just 20 km from Nimes (where the start and finish is) and 6 km from the Pont du Gard so our location could not be more ideal. We should mention that the restaurant at the hotel is one of the top gourmet restaurants in the Gard. Bon appetite. Ride Distances - 60, 80, 100+km

DAY 3; July 24: Stage 17 - Pont du Gard to Gap - 206 km Live Viewing


The Ride start is from the Pont du Gard, just 6 km from our hotel. You can choose to watch the festivities of the start or get a head start on the peleton and ride the course through the Rhone Valley - the route will pass through Orange and Vaison le Romaine as the peleton races north. We will stay in Vaison le Romaine, giving those who want to challenge Mt. Ventoux, that option. Ride Distances: 60, 80, 100+ km

DAY 4; July 25: Stage 18 - Embrun to Valloire - 207 km

There is time for an early morning ride near Vaison and then we’ll shuttle up towards the Alps, reaching Embrun in time for the official start. As the peleton loops around Barcelonette and col de Vars, we can ride straight to Eyliers along a quiet road and see the peleton on the Col D’Izoard. Ride as far as you like today. We are staying in the wonderful town of La Grave, saving Galibier for the next morning. Ride options of 60, 80 and 100 km

DAY 5; July 26: Stage 19 - St. Jean de Maurienne to Tignes - 123 km

Live Viewing
We can ride from the doors of our hotel early morning to challenge Galibier without the crowds or traffic and intersect the peleton as they race towards Tigne. We will climb col Madeleine en-route to Annecy the idyllic lakeside village that is one of the most iconic in France Ride options of 60, 80 and 100+ km

DAY 6; July 27: Stage 20 – Albertville to Val Thorens- 123 km Live Viewing Live Viewing

The ride start today is in nearby Albertville and you can ride directly from the hotel to the ride start or ride further along the course to view on the Cormet de Roselend. Make our way back to Annecy for some afternoon time on the lake. Ride Options - 60, 80, 100 km)

DAY 7; July 28: Stage 21 - Monteron to Paris Champs-Elysees

Live Viewing

The finish of the final stage is always festive as the winner of the yellow jersey is celebrated into Paris and the sprinters have their day on the cobbled street of the Champs-Elysees. We already have our dinner reservations at an acclaimed restaurant close to the finish and will toast another great year at the Tour. Felicitations to all. Hotel - our secret (same as the pros stay in)


DAY 8; July 29:
Depart at your leisure.


Note: This is a preliminary itinerary which will be updated as further route information becomes public. Any changes made will be done with the goal of making the trip the best that we can given available hotels, services etc.


If you wish to see a short video of what it was like on a previous Tour trip, click here: 2012 highlights video

On our Tour with the Pros trips, we generally try to provide options to cycle 60 km, 80 km or 100+ km on each cycling day. Although anyone of moderate cycling level may enjoy this tour, it is ideally suited to those with intermediate to advanced fitness levels. By this we mean you should be able to cycle 60-80 km at a minimum with some hills. If you have any questions about this trip, please consult our Travel Advisors.


What's Included in the Cost of Your Alps Trip?

  • Services of a minimum of two Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
  • Lodging as per final itinerary
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Wine reception on first and final nights
  • Complimentary massage at the spa of our hotel
  • Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
  • Detailed map and cue sheets
  • All baggage transportation during the tour
  • Travelogue
  • Pre-departure Trip Planner with tips on what to bring and general information about traveling in France
  • All tips in hotels, restaurants etc. (excludes discretionary tips for guides)


We can imagine that it might be overwhelming to try to determine who to travel with for your Tour de France experience. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a quick decision- take the time to do some research. Here are some questions you might ask any tour operator you are considering traveling with:



Ask how much experience running trips in Europe and in particular at the Tour de France.
We have been operating trips at the Tour for over 20 years. Robbin McKinney, founder and owner of Great Explorations has been planning and guiding trips in Europe and around the world for 35 years. It's not our first rodeo.


Ask how many people will be on the trip you are booking.
We feel an ideal number of guests is 16 and we ensure there are 3 guides for this number of clients. Most of the other companies take 24-26 participants which may compromise your trip.


Ask whether the support vehicles used are vans or buses.
If the company is using a bus, you have to factor in waiting for a bus and 48 people. We use 9 psgr vans that can navigate the roads and crowds of France.


Ask how much time you will be shuttling in vans.
This may have the single greatest impact on how enjoyable your trip is. We plan our itineraries to minimize transfers- ask how long you will be in the van each day.


Ask how much experience the guides on your trip will have.
Ask for their bios; if the tour operator doesn’t know or won’t provide, this may be a red flag. We know already who will be leading our Tour trips already.


Why do some companies charge $5,000 and up for a 7 day trip and how do we compare 'apples to apples'?

When comparing prices, consider the number of days and nights, standard of hotels, guide to guest ratio, meals included and other events that may be included including how many stages you will see. At Great Explorations, we strive to create an experience that is unique and special and we charge a price that allows us to include things that we know will make the trip a once in a lifetime experience but at the same time provide value.

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at or by telephone at 1.800.242.1825




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