The 116th Tour de France is underway and, as debate continues over the overall winner, we can all agree that the planned routes will provide spectators with an eventful and competitive three weeks of racing.
With this in mind, our official cycling holiday partner Love Velo has put together some of their favourite destinations that overlap with the 2018 stages. Discover the best cycling locations France has to offer, from the beautiful city of Valence to the acclaimed Alpe d’Huez and Col du Tourmalet.
Stage 12 - 175.5km - 19 July
Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs to Alpe d’Huez
It will be during the closing moments of stage 12 that the 176 riders first encounter one of our favourite French cycling destinations. The famous Alpe d’Huez climb is one of the most popular destinations for seasoned riders in France. As you ascend the 1815m mountain, you’ll meander the iconic 21 hairpins and be treated to stunning views over the Western Alps.
While the Tour riders will depart from Bourg d’Oisans the next day, we love staying in the area for a while. Whether you choose to stay atop Alpe d’Huez, down in Bourg d’Oisans or somewhere else in the valley, you can easily ride out and explore the incredible beauty of the area on the Alpe d’Huez cycling holiday. Climb the Col du Glandon and the Col du Galibier before relaxing in the evening amongst the stunning mountainous landscape, knowing you have successfully followed in the footsteps of Tour legends.
Stage 13 - 169.5km - 20 July
Bourg d’Oisans to Valence
The following day the riders will begin a 169.5km ride out of Bourg d’Oisans. The small French commune, well-known for its frequent appearance on the Tour, is also the starting point for the legendary Marmotte Granfondo that has taken place every July since 1982, making it one of the longest running sportives in France. As one of the organiser’s official tour operators we love this 174km sportive. A must-ride for any seasoned cyclists looking for a challenge.
The peleton will head west before concluding stage 13 in Valence, known as ‘the door to the south of France’. Valence is one of the cities we love staying in during our picturesque Lyon to Orange cycling holiday. This trip is ideal for riders who want to spend time enjoying the stunning vineyards, vibrant lavender fields and the best wines France has to offer.
Stage 19 - 200.5km - 27 July
Lourdes to Laruns
The Pyrenees. The famous south of France mountain range and home to the iconic Col du Tourmalet; the 2115m pass that has been ridden on the Tour since 1910. Featuring this year at stage 19, the 200.5km Lourdes to Laruns route is sure to be an exciting one as the riders are faced with their last opportunity to change the general classification. Due to frequent visits from the Tour and the stunning mountainous scenery, our Pyrenees cycling holiday is one of the most popular in France.
We recommend staying in the picturesque commune of Argeles-Gazost, just south of Lourdes. Accommodation in this charming town puts you in the perfect position to explore the area and tackle the Col du Tourmalet in the east and the Col d’Aubisque in the west. You can choose to take on the climbs or enjoy the flat riding in the area as the Pyrenees is also full of charming valley’s and peaceful cycle paths.
Stage 21 - 116km - 29 July
Houilles to Paris Champs-Elysees
As the Tour comes to an end in the glorious city of Paris, so does one of our favourite European trips: the Amsterdam to Paris cycling holiday. This holiday, lasting 12 days (or tailored to your requirements) provides you with a unique ride through varying European landscapes including quaint towns, stunning rural countryside and famous landmarks and cities.
You’ll conclude your trip by following the Canal de l’Ourcq and Canal Saint-Martin into the French capital where we recommend staying for a few days to really immerse yourself in the city’s rich, lively culture. A few days prior to this, you will stop in Cambrai. This delightful commune, that features during stage nine of the 2018 Tour, is home to beautiful architecture and offers a selection of delicious places to eat and grab a coffee.