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France is probably the most popular destination for European cycling tours. The Tour de France has allowed us all to become familiar with classic cols such as the Tourmalet and the Galibier, and many cyclists will want to come to test their abilities on these epic climbs.
We offer a number of different French cycling holidays, depending on your level of fitness and the time you have available. Some tours are more demanding than others, but they're all fully supported and well organised, so you don't have to worry about a thing except riding your bike.
If you're organising an event for a group of seven or more riders, we can tailor any of our supported cycling tours to your requirements. Just tell us how many kilometres you want to ride per day, and how many metres of climbing you want to do, and we'll rework the event to suit you. Whatever your ability, there's something here to suit.
The Raid Pyrenean (sometimes called the Raid Pyrenees) is a timed randonnée, overseen by the Cycle Club Bearnais. It started in 1941 and has been running ever since. Thousands of riders have undertaken the challenge of cycling from one coast of France to the other, across the Pyrenees. You ride as close to the Spanish border as possible, in less than 100 hours, having an official carnet stamped at checkpoints along the way. The most common direction is cycling West to East, from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Cerbère on the Mediterranean. You take in many famous climbs, such as the Tourmalet, the Aubisque, the Aspin, the Peyresourde, the nasty little Portet d'Aspet and the magnificent Port de Pailhères, all while riding through some really beautiful scenery. This is an official event, and everyone who completes it in the required 100 hours will receive a certificate and a medal to prove it.
For those who prefer a little more time to relax and enjoy the scenery, we have the French Pyrenean Coast to Coast. This cycling tour follows the same basic route as the Raid Pyrenean, starting on the Atlantic coast in Hendaye, and finishing in Cerbère on the Mediterranean, but is ridden over six full days, making it that much less stressful. There are a few optional extra cols that we can include along the way if you want a bit more of a challenge, making it the perfect event for a large group with mixed abilities.
The French Coast to Coast is one of our most popular events, and it's not surprising. Beautiful scenery, epic climbs, and plenty of time to enjoy it all.
Many people aren't aware that you can ride the Raid Pyrenean in both directions. The most common is from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, but it's also possible to cycle from East to West, starting in Cerbère and ending in Hendaye. If you've ridden it the other way before, you might want to consider cycling it this way for a change - you'd be amazed at how different it seems. We stop in different towns to those we use on the Raid Pyrenean, so you'll get to know different places if you've done it before.
It was only a matter of time before it occurred to us that if you were to cycle the Reverse Raid Pyrenean and then cross over the border and cycle the Spanish Raid, finishing where you started, it would be a complete circumnavigation of the Pyrenees. This is probably the most difficult tour that we offer, and it makes the perfect charity cycle ride.
We're always looking for new things for our clients to do, so when we heard about the book France en Velo, we had to find out more.
The route takes you from the sandy beaches of St Malo, past fields and hedges, endless churches, caves, vineyards, along riverbanks, up Mont Ventoux, down the other side and you finish in the amazing, cosmopolitan city of Nice. We stay in 3-4* hotels, mostly family owned and run, and enjoy all the local food specialities along the way. We pass through one wine producing region after another, and of course, we have to try the local vintage while we're there.
If you've already ridden from Land's End to John O'Groats, then this is right up your street - an "end to end" with a truly continental flavour. This is a great way to see the many different facets of France in one trip, and of course, it makes the perfect charity cycle ride.
The Route des Grandes Alpes runs from the shores of Lake Geneva to the Côte d'Azur, taking in some of the largest and most well-known cols you'll find in Europe including the Iseran, the Izoard and the Galibier; you'll have seen them included in the Tour many times over its 100-year history. Although the Cime de la Bonette isn't on the official route, it runs right past the foot of the climb, and we couldn't bring ourselves to leave it out, so we added that as an option. We ride it in six demanding days, picking up from Geneva and dropping back in Nice. You simply can't beat the Alps for epic climbs and diverse scenery.
* or 19, including the optional Marie Blanque
* or 19, including the optional Marie Blanque