“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!”
- Brenda and Bruce T.,
Alps: July 17 - 24
Custom trips also available. Call or email for details.
7 days/ 8 nights
Intermediate/ Challenging (your choice)
60-100+ km (35-60+ miles) daily
Variety from rolling to mountainous
Land Cost (current year):
Alps to Paris:
US $2950 (US $3250 after March 31st)
Classic: US $600
Cannondale Supersix 5 carbon bikes with compact doubles & shimano 105; Synapse triples
Van Nicholas ti bikeswith shimano 105
Hybrid bikes (Cannondale Quick Speed 1 and 2) also available
TDF, Alps 2017
Tour with the Pros
Great Explorations will be back at the Tour in 2017 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. Aiming for a 3rd successive victory, Chris Froome and Team Sky are the obvious favourites, 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
- The opportunity to climb Alpe D’Huez and Mount Ventoux, without the crowds
- 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 4 stages on this trip
Arriving to France:
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.
DAY 1; July 17: Rest Day for Pros
Arriving to Grenoble: Grenoble can be accessed by train from Paris or Lyon. Bike fit will be between 4:00-6:00 pm and there will be time for a warm-up ride for those anxious to stretch their legs. Uriage Les Bains is our favourite place to stay in the Alps region and the 4-star Grand Hotel Uriage is a luxurious hotel ideally situated in the center of this idyllic village. We will have a wine reception before dinner at the hotel’s celebrated restaurant. Hotel: Grand Hotel Uriage Les Bains.
DAY 2; July 18: Stage 16- Le Puy en Velay to Romans-sur-Isere- 165 km
With our base in Uriage, we can ride from our front door to explore the Balcons de Belldonne with options for moderate and more challenging rides. This riding gives a wonderful introduction to what is to come in the Alps. We will finish the day with dinner in a fine restaurant in the village. Hotel: Grand Hotel Uriage Les Bains Ride Distances - 60, 80, 100+km
DAY 3; July 19: Stage 17 -La Mure to Serre-Chevaliere - 183 km Live Viewing
The pros are challenging Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Galibier and Telegraph all on the same day, finishing with an ascent up Serre-Chevalier. With our privileged position, there are several options to choose between: Ride out to Allemond and watch the race as it heads up the Croix de Fer; shuttle around to L’Arc and ride over Galibier, ahead of the pros, returning via La Grave and Le Borg-d’Oisans. Enjoy a complimentary massage on us at the spa at our hotel. Grand Hotel, Uriage Les Bains. Ride Distances: 60, 80, 100+ km
DAY 4; July 20: Stage 18 - Briancon to Izoard - 178 km
Starting from Briancon, the pros will challenge Col de Vars and finish with a climb of Izoard. This is our day to challenge Alpe D’Huez with its 21 hairpin turns over 13.1 km with an average grade of 8.1%. It’s been on the Tour de France tour route regularly since 1976. After our climb and descent we will take the fast train (1h30) to Avignon and shuttle to L’Isle sur-la-Sorgue, arriving at our 4-star hotel in the center of this historic town. Ride options of 60, 80 and 100 km
DAY 5; July 21: Stage 19 - Embrun to Salon-de-Provence - 220 km
We can ride from the doors of our hotel and intersect the peleton as they race to the finish in Provence. Along the way, ride through Gordes, Rousillon, Lacoste and Menerbes, each a stunning village to visit. 60, 80 and 100+ km
DAY 6; July 22: Stage 20 - Marseille Time Trial - 23 km Live Viewing
Choose today between a leisurely half-day ride through the Luberon valley or challenge Mt Ventoux early morning, and be back to Avignon in time to take an early afternoon train to Marseille in time to watch the time trial. Grand Hotel Henri, L’Isle Sur-la-Sorgue Ride Options - 60, 80, 100 km)
DAY 7; July 23: Stage 21 - Monteron to Paris Champs-Elysees
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)
DAY 8; July 24:
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 km at a minimum with some hills. If you have any questions about this trip, please consult our Travel Advisors.
What's Included in the Cost of Your Alps Trip?
- Services of a minimum of two Great Explorations guides and 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
- 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)
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:
Do you operate the trip yourself?
Sounds like an odd question, but you might be surprised at the answer. Be sure to book with a company that actually operates the trip. If the person you are talking to hasn’t been on a trip to the Tour, ask to speak to someone who has so you can find out first-hand, the answers to your questions.
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 16 years. Robbin McKinney, founder and owner of Great Explorations has been planning and guiding trips in Europe and around the world for 35 years.
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 that you will be waiting for the 47th person.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 provide bios of our guides on our web site and know now who will be guiding our TDF trips this year.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1.800.242.1825