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      July 2012 > C’est fantastique!

C’est fantastique!

I don’t know about you but I became quite hooked over the past two weeks on the Tour de France, Le Tour. My interest grew in proportion to the number of days on which Bradley Wiggins maintained his yellow jersey status.

To see him slowly increase his lead and totally dominate the time trials was quite thrilling, culminating yesterday afternoon in the grand finale along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, with Mark Cavendish winning the final stage, Wiggins winning over all and the somewhat overshadowed – yet equally fantastic – Chris Froome coming second. Fabulous stuff!

Cycling holidays in FranceWatching the stage on which they raced through the Dordogne Valley made me want to get out and join them, not literally, of course, but on my own Tour de France – albeit at a far more leisurely and relaxed pace. After all, I’d want to stop off at some of those picturesque villages to sample the local wines and wander round the romantic ruins of cliff-top châteaux. Thinking about it, maybe it’s not that difficult to arrange your own petit 'Tour de France' – not trying to emulate Mr Wiggins by cycling over two thousand miles in three weeks, but by setting out on a far more sedate affair, with interesting ‘stages’ each day on one of our gentle week-long cycling holidays in France:

Cycling holidays in FranceStage 1: browse your Cycling and More brochure or have look at our French holidays on the website, and select the region you’d most like to visit. The Inntravel Tour begins in Alsace (above) before heading south through Burgundy and on to Provence. Follow the south coast through Languedoc Roussillon and then north through the Tarn, Vézère and Dordogne Valleys before heading out to Bordeaux & St Emilion (left) on the coast (a new 'stage' for summer 2012). Stay on the coast to Charente Maritime (bottom pic) before turning inland to the Sologne and the Loire. A stage through Brittany and a shorter final stage in Normandy completes the Tour, though it would be remiss not to visit Paris.

Cycling holidays in FranceStage 2: our stages are graded according to the terrain and how far you cycle each day. On some, you have two nights at one hotel meaning you can have a rest day in between rides. In the Loire Valley, for example, the rides are gentle and undemanding (what we classify as grade 1) with plenty of time to visit the pretty villages (right) and fairy-tale châteaux that make this region so magical; while the hillier landscapes of the Luberon in Provence are a bit more undulating (grade 2) though still allowing plenty of time to cycle at your own pace. And like Bradley Wiggins, you can cycle safe in the knowledge that you have access to emergency assistance from the bike supplier should any unforeseen problem arise.

Cycling holidays in FranceStage 3: once you’ve chosen your ‘stage’ call us and we’ll make all the necessary arrangements including advising on the best way to get to your starting line, whether that’s flying (we can book your flights for you); by train (by far the most relaxing option – many holidays have a ‘by rail’ price); or self-drive by ferry or through the Tunnel (certainly the best option for Brittany, left). Once you arrive, we will make sure your luggage is transported for you between hotels (many of which include dinner) so all you have to do is enjoy the ride (no time trials on these holidays), cycling at your own pace and stopping off whenever the fancy takes you to enjoy lunch or to discover more about the region you are cycling through.

Cycling holidays in FranceStage 4: no Tour would be complete without a visit to Paris, one of the world’s greatest cities. Now, I’m not suggesting you cycle to Paris, let alone along the Champs Elysées (have you seen the traffic there?). However, if you’re taking Eurostar via Paris then why not add a couple of nights at our charming hotel, a handsome 17th-century building located on the Left Bank, close to the Sorbonne, Panthéon and Luxembourg Gardens? After perhaps strolling along to see the site of Brad’s historic victory, why not order a coffee and take time out to watch the world go by from a pavement café, while contemplating the beautiful places you have slowly discovered by bike…

Cycling holidays in France

Posted: 23/07/2012 08:55:48 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: cycling, festivals, France, slow

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