Great Explorations

(800) 242-1825
(604) 730-1247

National Geographic

“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.,

Vancouver, BC


More testimonials

travel & escapes


Trip Dates:


Alps to Paris:

July 16-22

Mt. Ventoux Extension:

July 13-16

Custom trips also available. Call or email for details.

Trip Size:

16 participants

Total Days:

Alps to Paris:

7 days/ 6 nights

Extension- Mt. Ventoux :

3 days/ 3 nights


Extension Mt. Ventoux: Avignon

Alps to Paris: Grenoble


Activity Level:

Intermediate/ Challenging (your choice)
60-100+ km (35-60+ miles) daily
van supported


Variety from rolling to mountainous


Land Cost (current year):

Alps to Paris:

US$2950 ($3450 after Jan 1)

Includes 7B/2L/5D

Extension (prior to trip):

US $1295 ($1495 after Jan 1)
Includes 3B/3D

Single Supplement:

US $300

Alps to Paris:


Bike Rental:
Racing: US $290
Hybrid: US $210


Van Nicholas Mistral with shimano 105 or Cannondale CAAD 5 triple


TDF, Alps to Paris 2013

Tour with the Pros

We join those who welcome in a new spirit of competitive bicycle racing, one in which those who compete fairly will be celebrated. One has to applaud those who have stepped forward, admitting past mistakes, and who truly want the sport to come clean. We are excited about these prospects, but 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. 2013 will be a special year for the Tour de France; it is the 100th anniversary of this enigmatic race and here’s hoping it marks a new era!

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
  • A ride you will never forget: Alpe D'Huez ahead of the pros
  • in Paris, view the race from 2nd floor balcony overlooking the course
  • 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 5 stages on this trip!

* in 2013, if we are running multiple trips, we will limit each group to 16 and may on occasion have more than one group at some hotels. There will be a minimum of 2 guides per 16 guests with at least one support van per group.


Mt. Ventoux Extension- July 13-16

For those who wish to start their TDF experience in Provence, we will meet on July 13th, near Mt. Ventoux, which will feature on Stage 15. You can reach Avignon from Paris by the TGV train in 2h10. On this day, we will fit bikes between 4:00-6:00 pm, and, for those that wish, go for a quick loop followed by dinner at a local bistro. Next day, you will have a choice of riding up Mt. Ventoux in the morning and watching the stage finish at the summit, or alternatively cycling a route through wine villages and hill-top towns, arriving to our viewing locale late afternoon just before the peloton arrives. July 15th is a rest day for the pros, and on this day, we have options for 80 and 100 km loops that will include summiting Ventoux if you didn’t the day before and a descent of the Gorges du Nesque, one of our favourite rides in France. On July 16th, we will cycle on the official route from Vaison towards Gap.

DAY 1; July 16:
Arriving to Grenoble: Grenoble can be accessed by train from Paris or Lyon. Bike fit will be between 4:00-6:00 pm with dinner to follow. Uriage Les Bains is our favourite place to stay in the Alps region and the Grand Hotel Uriage is a luxurious hotel ideally situated in the center of this idyllic village. Hotel: Grand Hotel Uriage Les Bains.

DAY 2; July 17:
The individual time trial is often the most thrilling stage of the Tour and this stage is located in the stunning region of Lac de Serre-Ponçon , one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. After a morning loop, we will transfer to the stage finish in Chorges, watching the top riders finish. Who will challenge Bradley Wiggins at the ‘race of truth’ in 2013? Hotel: Grand Hotel Uriage Les Bains.

DAY 3; July 18:

We are in an ideal position to ride to (and up!) Alpe D’Huez, ahead of the pros. With a double ascent this year, we know it may be perhaps the most exciting day in Tour history on this mountain. Compare your time with the pros and then after the race, ride back to Uriage Les Bains. Grand Hotel Uriage Les Bains.

DAY 4; July 19:
With the stage start in Bourg D'Oisans, we will ride the official route over col du Glandon to La Chambre.  For those wanting more climbing, col de la Madeleine awaits, followend by a 5000' descent to Albertville. Afterwards, it is flat and fast to our hotel, ideally located on the shores of Lac d’Annecy. Hôtel Splendid, Annecy.

DAY 5; July 20:

The pros will be starting and finishing the stage in Annecy and our hotel is literally steps from the start/finish line. Afterwards, we will ride a loop around the lake and into the hills, arriving back in time to watch the finish. Annecy often features on our Tour trips because of its location and proximity to fabulous riding. We will dine at a restaurant that is renowned in the region. Hotel Splendid, Annecy.

DAY 6; July 21:

We will transfer to Paris on the morning train, arriving in time to participate in the 100th anniversary public ride. This year’s nighttime finish will be exciting and we have suites booked above the route with private balconies for just our group. We are again staying at the same hotel as the pros and this is your opportunity again to ‘rub elbows’ with your favourite riders. 4-star Tour hotel in Paris.

DAY 7; July 22:

Departure: After breakfast we'll bid our farewell.

Note: This is a preliminary itinerary which will be updated as further route information becomes public. Hotels used on the trip are representative of those we will use. 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 our 2012 Tour trips, 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 to Paris Trip?

  • Services of a minimum of two Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
  • Lodging as per final itinerary
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
  • Detailed map and cue sheets
  • All baggage transportation during the tour
  • Travelogue
  • 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)
  • The Alps to Paris trip includes train tickets from Annecy to Paris on July 21


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 12 years. Robbin McKinney, founder and owner of Great Explorations has been planning and guiding trips in Europe and around the world for 28 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 2 -3 guides for this number of clients. Most of the other companies take 24-26 participants. Yikes!

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. Not fun. 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 in 2013.

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.

Finally, we know we can’t be all things to all people. It isn’t our objective to be the largest tour operator on the planet or take the most people to the Tour. Our goal is to attract interesting, easy-going, appreciative individuals who like to enjoy themselves. We know from experience that these kinds of people will love our trips  and make it fun and enjoyable for our staff and guides. If you would like to ask other questions, please don’t hesitate to call and feel free to ask for Robbin.

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 or by telephone at 1.800.242.1825