On October 14 2021, the 2022 Tour de France route was announced and Great Explorations was again the first to announce confirmed itineraries for cyclists to ride the course routes and to watch their favourite riders. We have been organizing tours to the Tour de France since 2005 and have unrivalled experience and contacts to allow us to secure accommodation and route intel prior to the public.

The 2022 route is very exciting with the final week from the Pyrenees to Paris where the yellow jersey is likely to be decided, with 3 mountain stages, 2 stages with likely sprint finishes, and a time trial the day before the Paris finish. Will 2021 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar repeat or will new world champion Julian Alaphilippe put up a challenge? Will Mark Cavendish repeat as green jersey winner in 2022? In addition to spectacular riding and up close race viewing, we know for many this is also an opportunity to experience France and we have many cultural and gastronomic events to please. We stay in charming and luxurious accommodation (see the Accommodations tab) and dine at the region’s best restaurants.

We have very limited space in 2022 so if you are thinking of joining, don’t delay.

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
  • A ride you will never forget, 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!

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.

Location

Carcassonne

Carcassonne, France

Day 1

Foix

Foix, France

Day 2

Lourdes

Lourdes, France

Day 3+4

Rocamadour

Rocamadour, France

Day 5+6

Paris

Paris, France

Day 7+8

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

Services of experienced Great Explorations guides
Support vehicle
7 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
Wine reception on first and final nights
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and GPS routes
All baggage transportation during the tour
Detailed Trip Planner with tips and general info about travelling in France
All tips in hotels, restaurants etc.

Not Included

Bike rental
Discretionary tips for guides

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2022

July 18-25

TRIP SIZE

8 - 16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

8 days / 7 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Carcassonne / Paris

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Intermediate/Challenging (your choice)
60-100+ km daily (different options)
Van supported

TERRAIN

Variety from rolling to mountainous

COST

Land Cost:
US $3,950 pp until December 31, 2021
US $4,450 pp after January 1, 2022

Single Supplement:
US $1,250

Bike Rental:
US $280

Racing bikes: 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 15 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 $6,000 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 Carcassonne (1h20 by plane, 5h20 by train) the night before the trip starts; we have several excellent hotels to recommend in Carcassonne. If you wish to train to Carcassonne on the morning of our trip start, this is also possible with an early morning train (note: there is at least 1 train change on the Paris – Carcassonne route).


1

Day 1 (July 18)

Rest Day for Pros

Arrive to Carcassonne, famous for its medieval citadel and 12th century castle. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in France, full of history and charm and the ideal starting point for our tour. We will meet for bike fitting at 4.00 pm, followed by a walking tour, welcome wine reception and the first of many fine meals.

Overnight – Domaine d’Auriac*****, Carcassonne

2

Day 2 (July 19)

Stage 16: CARCASSONNE > FOIX: 179km
Live viewing

The Pros will start their stage from the center of Carcassonne on this day and we will have the chance to ride the course and get out ahead of the peleton. It’s a mountainous stage of 179km with Col du Bac (624m), Porte de Lers (1517m; avg grade of 7% over it’s 11.4 km ascent), Mur de Peguere (1375m; avg grade of 7.9% over 9.3km ascent). After racing (ok riding) toward the Pyrenees, we’ll watch the race at a prime viewing location on one of the climbs and then cycle to our hotel nearby.

Overnight – Château de Longpré****, Varilhes near Foix

3

Day 3 (July 20)

Stage 17: SAINT-GAUDENS > PEYRAGUDES: 130km
Live Viewing

On this day, the riders will have 4 cols to climb including Col d’Aspin (1490m; 12km at 6.5%); Hourquette d’Ancizan (1564m; 8.2km at 5.1%); Col de Val Louron-Azet (1580m; 10.7 km at 6.8%) and a mountain-top finish at Peyragudes at 1580m (8km at 7.8%). If you have never climbed the Pyrénées mountains, they are spectacular – we have pre-scouted the perfect picnic (and viewing) spot on Col d’Aspin. Afterwards ride down to the charming village of Bagnères-de-Bigorre and into Lourdes. Spa time anyone?

Overnight – Hotel Belfry & Spa*****, Lourdes

4

Day 4 (July 21)

Stage 18: LOURDES > HAUTCAM: 143km
Live Viewing

Awaking in Lourdes, depending on timing and your ambitions, watch the start of the race and then cycle up the valley to Argeles-Gazost where you can watch the final ascent to Hautacam. If you have the legs and its on your bucket list, complete a grand boucle over Tourmalet – either way the riding is superb.

Overnight – Hotel Belfry & Spa*****, Lourdes

5

Day 5 (July 22)

Stage 19: CASTELNAU-MAGNOAC > CAHORS: 189 km
Live Viewing

This stage, through the departments of Gers and Tarn-et-Garonne and Lot is a flat stage which will no doubt provide sprinters a chance to show their mettle as they finish in Cahors. Having stayed in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, we can ride from our hotel to the Stage start, watch the sign-in and start festivities and then shuttle north towards Cahors to ride in to see the finish. Afterwards, ride (or shuttle) to our hotel in the majesty of the Dordogne Valley, in Lacave. Take a swim in the pool and then enjoy dinner in the fantastic dining room.

Overnight – Le Pont de l’Ouysse****, Lacave near Rocamadour

6

Day 6 (July 23)

Stage 20: LACAPELLE-MARIVAL > ROCAMADOUR – Time Trial: 40km
Live Viewing

The time trial is one of the most exciting stages of the Tour de France and this one, on the penultimate day may be where the winner will be decided. Our hotel is ideally situated so that you can ride to the finish, just 12 km away. We will head out early to explore quaint villages in the Dordogne Valley- this region has more charming villages in France than any other in the country, arriving to Rocamadour in time to watch many of the riders finish (the leaders will be arriving one by one late afternoon). Back in Lacave, we dine out and review another great day.

Overnight – Le Pont de l’Ouysse****, Lacave near Rocamadour

7

Day 7 (July 24)

Stage 21: PARIS LA DEFENSE ARENA > PARIS CHAMPS-ELYSEES: 112km
Live Viewing in Paris

You’ll have cycled from Carcassonne to, through and over the Pyrenees, visited the departments of Aude, Ariège, Hautes-Pyrénées, Dordogne, Lot and Tarn Valleys, arguably some of the most beautiful parts of France. After a morning spin near Rocamadour, we’ll transfer to Brive and take the fast train to Paris to watch the final stage finish. We will watch the stage on the Champs-Élysées. After the race, we’ll mix with the pros at our hotel, finishing the trip with an extraordinary meal. Felicitations.

Overnight – Paris Hotel**** (we keep this 4-star hotel a secret as it is the same hotel that the pro teams all usually stay at and is not public knowledge)

8

Day 8 (July 25)

Departure Day

After breakfast, depart at your leisure.

Note: This is a preliminary itinerary. Any changes made will be done with the goal of making the trip the best that we can given available hotels, services available etc.

Domaine d'Auriac, Carcassonne

Just a step from the City of Carcassonne, the Domain of Auriac reserves you an unforgettable hotel experience. The hotel abounds in treasures and wonders with numerous collections of art and artefacts from throughout the centuries found within these walls.


Château de Longpré, near Foix

The château de Longpré welcomes you in a magnificent building of the 18th century right in the heart of Ariège. Each room has its unique character.


Hotel Belfry & Spa, Lourdes

Historic Hotel of the city, the formerly named “Hôtel de la Grotte” enjoys an exceptional location. Built at the roots of the fortified castle and directly facing the Sanctuary, the luxury hotel in the city centre of Lourdes is idealy situated.


Le Pont de l'Ouysse, near Rocamadour

This is one of our favourite hotels in all of France and one we have been using for decades. Perched on a cliff above the Ouysse River, this 4* hotel features wood floors and antique-style furnishings, the cozy, elegant rooms.


Paris Hotel (our secret!), Paris

We have stayed at this 4* hotel over the years and it is a superbly located hotel, a short walk from the finish line of the final stage. In previous years, this has been the hotel that the Pro teams stay at so the atmosphere, with team buses, families and friends of riders (and us) is electric. We can’t promise, but here’s hoping. Either way, it’s a fabulous hotel to stay at in Paris!