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!

Location

Grenoble

Grenoble

Day 1

Uriage

Uriage

Day 2

La Mure to Serre-Chevaliere

La Mure to Serre-Chevaliere

Day 3

Briancon

Briancon

Day 4

Embrun

Embrun

Day 5

Marseille

Marseille

Day 6

Monteron

Paris

Day 7

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides
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)

Not Included

Bike rental (US $280)

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2020

July 13-20

Custom trips also available. Call or email for details.

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 km at a minimum with some hills. If you have any questions about this trip, please consult our Travel Advisors.

TRIP SIZE

8 / 16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

7 days / 8 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Grenoble / Paris

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Intermediate/Challenging (your choice)
80-100+ km daily (different options)
Van supported

TERRAIN

Variety from rolling to mountainous

COST

Land Cost (current year):
US $2,950 (US $3,250 after January 1st; US$3,450 after March 1st)

Single Supplement:
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.

FAQ:

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 info@great-explorations.com or by telephone at 1.800.242.1825

Getting there :
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.


1

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

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

Day 6; July 27

Stage 20 – Albertville to Val Thorens- 123 km 

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

7

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)

8

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.

Le Castellas, Collias

This charming 4-star hotel situated in a group of 17th century buildings offers you an idyllic stay. It is located in the historic town of Collias, between the famous Pont du Gard and the medieval city of Uzès. You can relax in the garden with swimming pool and jacuzzi.


La Font Vineuse, Saint-Pierre-d'Argençon

A charming and peaceful guesthouse situated on its own grounds with a lot of history; visited since Roman times and lived in by monks. This former thermal hotel offers rooms with each a private jacuzzi.


La Perelle, St. Francoise - Longchamp

Situated at the foot of the Col de La Madeleine this hotel offers amazing views. You can enjoy the hotels baths, sauna, hammam and massages


Hotel Splendid, Annecy

A charming 3-star hotel with exceptional location close by the lake in one of the oldest towns of the North Alps, Annecy. Explore the historic towncentre, as you’re staying right in the middle of it.



			

Trip Reviews

July 25, 2008

“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!”

July 16, 2013

The riding was fantastic. I was expecting challenging climbs and great viewing areas of the riders and this tour delivered.

July 22, 2013

Too many highlights to pick just one. It was the trip we were looking for….great guides, great food, great climbs, great secondary routes, great new friends, great scenery, great viewing spots for the Tour….It may take a year to clean the smiles off our faces.

July 20, 2015

As usual I loved the trip. Being so close to the Tour de France was a real highlight for me! It was wonderful to cycle in France and the Alps!

September 27, 2019

It was absolutely superb. The hotels were all great. The food was excellent. Most importantly the guides were fantastic, knowledgeable, extremely resourceful, flexible in plans and routes that group wanted to take, very well organized and superb communicators in English. They certainly seemed to go above and beyond what I would expect from them and remained bright and upbeat at all times no matter what was thrown at them, or what the day brought. Superb leaders and a great pairing together, I cannot imagine the trip without Dimitri and Sebastien as the guides. Van was there wherever it was supposed to be, stocked with whatever was required. Technical support was tremendous, as guides hunted down pedals for the pair of us having forgotten to pack them. Nice bikes, suitable for the job, mechanically sound. The region is absolutely stunning, with amazing scenery and beautiful little villages. It was the French Alps, nothing more to say.

September 27, 2019

“Could not have been happier. Loved being in the Alps. Just beautiful. Guides Sebastian and Dimitri were great. Went above and beyond to make sure we had a great trip. As you know Dimitri even arranged for Karen and me to sit in the grandstands on the Champs Elysees during the final. We enjoyed every aspect of the Tour de France. Sebastian and Dimitri made every effort to combine cycling with tour viewing. Riding our bike from Briacon to the base of Col du Galibier was so much fun.Then watching the tour pass within inches was amazing. Collias Hotel, Annecy Hotel and Le Meridian in Paris were all great. Sebastian and Dimitri customized Karen and my routes. Either a guide was riding with us or the van was close by. We never had to use the RidewithGPS. The paper maps were nice to get an overview. we rode as much as we wanted. Riding up Ventoux was HARD. Glad I did it -almost all the way. There were some challenging rides, but our guides were always close by to help out or give us a ride in the van. Of course Sebastian and Dimitri had the TDF Yellow Book which was great to read and study.”

September 27, 2019

“Our guides really made the trip!! Dimitri and Sebastien felt like friends rather than guides within minutes of meeting them. They were a great team! Sebastien is so organised and Dimitri is so laid back. We were made to feel that they would be happy to accommodate the trip to suit our needs. My partner was able to climb as many mountains as he desired and the rest of us mere mortals could also have a challenging ride. Having been to France before and after having watched the tour for many years I knew what to expect, I already knew I loved the area. I was nervous prior to my arrival knowing that I would be cycling in the mountains and wasn’t sure I was ready however, my fears were allayed as a result of our guides. they were able to rate our riding skills and find something challenging but possible for each of us. All the hotels were great. Dinner at both the Collias hotel and the following night in the town of Collias were delicious. Hot lips hotel was fantastic too! Our gastronomique meal in Annecy was delicious too. Can’t even imagine how complicated it must have been to organize this trip! Adam and I teased Sebastien that he was our parent! I know how my kids feel now…all we had to do was show up at the time specified and everything was done for us! I loved the fact that we were able to be so flexible. Adam and I really wanted a trip with a lot of cycling while catching some of the tour..it exceeded our expectations! Loved the triple ring!! Was wishing for a quadruple ring halfway up the Ventoux but, seems I’ll have to get Adam to invent it for me. Honestly can’t say enough how much we loved this trip! So appreciative!!”

September 27, 2019

“The trip was a great mix of cycling challenging terrain to beautiful destinations and being able to observe many facets of the TDF. Plus it was fun to be with our leaders who were both cycling and TDF enthusiasts. It is pretty amazing to have cycled the “Alps to Paris!”. We appreciated the small group, enabling us to be nimble when needed, plus be comfortable “living” in the van. Meals were fine; as expected. Guides were helpful with my being a vegetarian. Our “fancy” dining experience in Annecy was really special. The main focus was the TDF. This led to early mornings, a lot of logistical maneuvering for the guides — who handled it masterfully — and quite a bit of time in the van. Enjoyed it all under the circumstances. Massage was nice! Didn’t use the maps. Most of the time we either were following the guides wherever there may have been turns or we were riding up a single road with no chance to get lost. Guides got to know us quickly and assessed our interests and abilities and accommodated our every need. Van/water/snacks were always readily available and plentiful. Bike was just fine. We brought our own pedals to clip in, which was key!”

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