In the footsteps of the Tour de France
The Tour de France: a trip around France, made by professional cyclists. For them a tough competition, for travelers a great 4-country roadtrip to feel and see the varied vibe and nature of France. Put the bikes aside, remove the competition and see France's real beauty!
- Airplane Home - Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel, it's a fairytale!
A magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery, the Mont-Saint-Michel counts among France's most stunning sights. For centuries on of Europe's major Pilgrimage destinations, this holy mount is now a Unesco world heritage site, as is its breathtaking bay. The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances.
- Car Mont Saint-Michel - Utah Beach
Day 1 Utah Beach
Utah Beach, the landing beaches
Utah Beach stretches from Sainte-Marie-du-Mont as far as Quinéville, along about 5 km; the main assault zone was centered on Varreville. This was the first of the two zones selected for the American landings. This beach was wanted by General Bernard Montgomery who wished to establish a beachhead on the Cotentin in order to rapidly capture Cherbourg and its deep water port. The Germans believed that a landing on this part of the coast was unlikely. Fortifications were therefore more sparsely built here and enemy resistance weaker than on the other beaches. This led to fewer casualties there than on "Bloody Omaha" and objectives were met.
- Car Utah Beach - Saint-Lô
Saint-Lô, capital of la Manche, is built on the banks of the river Vire. Destroyed by bombardments in 1944, it is a new town where concrete pleasantly combines with medieval vestiges such as the town walls. Saint-Lô has been named “Capital of the horse” due to its prestigious State stud farm and the “Normandy Horse show” event. Around Saint-Lô you find the Vire Valley. The Vire Valley, typical bocage country, is a nice place for hiking and for river activities. By following one of the many trails, you will discover pretty landscapes, chateaux, manor houses, churches... If you don't care about the sequence of the place you visit, you'd better visit Sain-Lô before Utah beach. it saves a considerable distance!
- Car Saint-Lô - Cherbourg
Day 2 Cherbourg
A favourite port of call for cruise-liners, the city welcomed visitors in the transatlantic harbour station, built in 1933 in the art-deco style. Cherbourg saw, during half a century, thousands of immigrants boarding for the New World. Stars also embarked here for New-York: Charlie Chaplin, Elisabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Salvador Dali. Port of call for transatlantic liners, Cherbourg also welcomed the mythical Titanic. On 10th April 1912, Cherbourg was the liner’s ultimate port of call on its maiden voyage: 281 passengers boarded the Titanic here. From art to nature, you will find in Cherbourg multiple opportunities to enlighten your stay: the Thomas Henry Museum, the former Royal mirror-glass factory, the heights of the Roule mountain (117 metres), the sea views from the “Hauts de Capel” park or have a nice day at the beach.
- Car Cherbourg - Granville
Your next destination is Granville. Our advice: don't take the quickest way to Granville, but drive along the D650 and have a picknick on the beach! Good (beach) places near this route are Surtainville, Baubigny, Hattainville, Denneville (route de la Mar), La Poudrière, Créances or take another stop at a point where you're feeling hungry! Granville commands stunning views of the bay of the Mont Saint-Michel from its fortified headland. Enjoy this invigorating resort's wonderful array of ports, quarters and beaches plus its museums, one devoted to local genius Christian Dior. Ferries from Granville serve the magical Chausey Islands Archipelago, like a mirage 15km out to sea, plus the channel islands.
- Car Granville - Angers
Day 3 Angers
Before you reach Agnes, you have to stop at a historic place: the castle of Fougères! If you haven't found a good pick nick place yet, Fougères has a little cozy lake. This lake is called Carrière du Rocher Coupé. An intellectual centre in the 1400s and a lively university city today, Angers – the historical seat of the Plantagenet dynasty and the dukes of Anjou – makes an engaging western gateway to the Loire Valley. The mostly pedestrianised old town supports a thriving cafe culture, thanks in part to the dynamic presence of 38,000 students, as well as some excellent places to eat. The city is famous for two sets of breathtaking tapestries: the 14th-century Tenture de l’Apocalypse in the city’s medieval château, and the 20th-century Chant du Monde at the Jean Lurçat museum. In the surrounding area you will find a lot of vineyards! Search for a good bottle of wine and have a nice evening.
- Car Angers - Saumur
Start your visit with a walk along the river front to admire the imposing Hotel de Ville and the other attractive river side buildings, all built with the white stone and grey slate grooves characteristic of the area. Especcialy a walk through Loire a Velo trail is really nice (see the pictures). From here you can climb up the steps to the château and enjoy some spectacular views of the town and the lovely stone bridge crossing the River Loire below. In the Château du Saumur you can visit the dungeons and the tower and also the Musée des Arts Decoratifs and the Musée du Cheval which are inside the castle buildings.
- Car Saumur - Limoges
Day 4 Limoges
You can drive to Limoges along the A58 or the D145. When you choose the A58, you pass some villages with nice castles. You can find them in Langeais, Usse (other side of the river), Villandry, La Horaie and Château de Chambord (Unisco, see picture 2). When you are traveling with your kids, you better can take the D145 route to Limoges (D347 and N147)). Near this route you'll find Themepark Futuroscope. A nice park to have a lot of fun with the kids (see picture 3)! Porcelain connoisseurs will already be familiar with the legendary name of Limoges. For over 200 years, the city has thrived as the top producer of excellent hard-paste porcelain (china) in France. Several factories continue to make ‘limoges’ and stunning examples fill city museums and galleries. Limoges is on the site of the 10 BC Roman city Augustoritum which took advantage of this strategic position on the River Vienne. The modern-day centre is compact and easy to explore: historic buildings and museums cluster in the medieval Cité quarter, alongside the river, and the partly pedestrianised Château quarter, just to the west.
- Car Limoges - Laveissière
Day 5 Laveissière
On the road to the mountains, there are some nice places to stop. When you are traveling with your kids, you can stop at the Parc Zoo du Reynou in Liven. Everybody who loves art must stop at the new art museum Musée & Jardins Cécile Sabourdy in Vicq-sur-Breuilh. Welcome at the mountains! Le Lioran ski resort offers different activities for everybody, from hikers ans sports addictsto families. Le Lioran is the starting point of 300 kms of marked paths situated in the heart of the natural park. The Plomb du Cantal cable car permits to reach the highest peak, where you will discover a panoramic view of the Auvergne volcanoes. Everybody will enjoy the quiet and the beautiful landscapes of the highest volcanoes in Europe. Other things to do: (downhill) mountain biking, canoeing, climbing, hiking, fishing, paragliding, (summer) sledging or go with the kids to the adventure park.
- Car Laveissière - Arpajon-sur-Cère
After a short drive you arrive at Arpajon-sur-Cère. It's the place where the 6th race starts. Outside this village you can find relaxing nature, but let's be honest... There is not special things you can undertake.
- Car Arpajon-sur-Cère - Montauban
Day 6 Montauban
If you want to visit a cozy village, then drive along the N122 to Figeac. This where one of the most important city of the middle ages. Near Musée Champollion-Les Ecritures du Monde, you find a lot of old buildings and nice terraces with refreshing drink. Montauban, located in the heart of southwestern France, the second city of the Midi-Pyrenees.
- Car Montauban - L'Isle-Jourdain
Don't to much from L'Isle-Jourdain. For those who really wants to follow the specific Tour de France route, we advise to have a relaxing moment at Le Grand lac de L'Isle-Jourdain. For those who less bonded on the official parcour, visit Toulouse. Toulouse is a bit a detour, but it's worth a visit. First of all, Toulouse has got a really cool Space museum (see picture 2 to 4). In the city centre, there are a lot of old buildings. A old building you must see is the Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse and Couvent des Jacobins. Have a good lunch, a cold nice drink before you're leaving to Arreau. It will get about 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach this location.
- Car L'Isle-Jourdain - Arreau
Day 7 Arreau
Arreau is a little tipical coze France village at the foot of the Pyrenees. A great place to calm down or to grab a bike. Pay attention! the roads are not the flattest roads! did you forget to take a bike with you? Then go out for a hike. There are a lot of great place to go. Drive to the lakes of Vielle-Aure (see picture 2), or drive to Pic du Midi dé Bigorre (see picture 3).. You can reach Pic du Midi dé Bigorre by a gondola. On the top of Pic du Midi dé Bigorre you find a astronomy museum. If you really like atronomy, try to reservate a night on top of the mountain. It's pricey, but it must be a once in a lifetime experience. A reservation is necessary and you need a little luck. The maximum availability concerns up to 27 people per night. For a little adventure in summertime, you can go back to the village by mountainbike.
- Car Arreau - Pau
Located in the Béarn region of the Atlantic Pyrenees in southwestern France, Pau is a picturesque town. It offers spectacular scenery and a temperate climate year-round with easy access to both the Pyrenees Mountains and the Atlantic coast, and is only two hours away from Spain. For those who want some action, try a rafting experience at Stade d’Eaux Vives. A must visit in Pau is Georgio Maitre Artisan Glacier. This is the place where you can eat the best ice-cream of your whole journey. The last advice we give you is to visit Château de Pau. A big castle with great decoration inside.
- Car Pau - Bagnères-de-Luchon
Day 8 Bagnères-de-Luchon
Before reaching Bagnères-de-Luchon you can choose for a stop in Lourdes. This city is one of the world's most important sites of pilgrimage and religious tourism. it is after Paris the most visited city of France! If you're not interested in Lourdes, and don't give much about a big detour, there is a great excursion you can visit. In Fabrèges starts 'Le Train d'Artouste'. A train ride along the Pyrenees on the edge of the mountains. Near the village you can find the ski station of Luchon-Superbagnère. From here you have a nice view.
- Car Bagnères-de-Luchon - Vielha
Today we bring a short visit to Spain. Vielha is surrounded by mountains. A great place to jump on your cycle and test your condition. When you go up on the street 'Camin de Coma d'Auran', you will not only have a good work out, but also a marvelous view. You also can find great hiking spots in the environ of Vielha. Take your time for your ride to La Massana, it's beautiful!
- Car Vielha - La Massana
Day 9 - 10 La Massana
Welcome to Andorra! La Massana is a villige which is adapted for winter sports. In summertime, it's not the most lively place on earth, but a great place to cycle! For fans of nature and sports, there is one great hike to do. Pic de Comapedrosa (see picture 2) is the highest mountain of Andorra. You can hike to the top and back in one day. But get well prepared befor you go!
- Car La Massana - Andorra
Andorra la Vella
Welcome to the capital city of Andorra: Andorra la Vella! This city in a great valley is surrounded by great mountains. The setting is really beautiful! Andorra la Vella is a good place to shop tax-free.
- Car Andorra - Revel
Day 11 Revel
Revel is an old typical France village. When you visit the city on saturday, you have to go to the local market hall. It's situated in the centre of this little town. If you didn't visit this place on a saturday, then you rather can visit Lac de Saint-Ferréol (2 km from Revel). It's a good place to have a rest! It's a good idea to overnight in Carcasonne. According to many people Carcasonne is great to visit in the evening.
- Car Revel - Carcassonne
Have you ever played the board game Carcassonne? It's based on a really inspiring place in France! Welcome to one of the greatest places and one of the most popular attractions of France: Carcassonne, the city with two UNESCO World Heritage sites! Step into a time machine and you'll arrive at Carcassonne. It's one of the most impressive old cities you will ever see. In the medieval city you will find The St Nazaire Basilica (very old and beautiful curch), The Castle of the Counts, Théâtre de la Cité and a lot more impressive places in this old and overwhelming town! Outside the medieval city, you'll find Bastide Saint Louis. This place offers you a lot of monuments, a nice drink (try the local wine!) and good food. Our advice: book two nights at this great place!
- Car Carcassonne - Montpellier
Day 12 Montpellier
Montpellier is a lively and multifaceted city. The crowded terraces, great architecture and the vibe of the city makes it a great place to stay. Speaking of terraces... Montpellier is situated in the middle of a big wine region. This is the place where you can taste the best wines. Check the Montpellier event calendar before visiting this city. Montpellier offers regular great cultural events. The cultural richness also manifests itself in the form of L'Opéra Comédie, Le Carré Sainte-Anne (modern museum, free entrance), Archaeological Lattara (Museum Henri Prades), nice street art throughout the city, modern art in Farbe Museum. For everybody who loves to shop, there are a lot of market places. Check the website of Montpellier to see where the markets are. In the city center, you can't miss the beautiful medieval streets. Montpellier has one extraordinary strength. You can easily reach the beautiful beach at the south side of the city. Montpellier has it all!
- Car Montpellier - Brantes
Day 13 Brantes
On the road to Brantes, you have to take a little sideway to visit the Pont du Gard (UNESCO). The Pont du Gard was built shortly before the Christian era to allow the aqueduct of Nîmes (which is almost 50 km long) to cross the Gard river. The Roman architects and hydraulic engineers who designed this bridge, which stands almost 50 m high and is on three levels – the longest measuring 275 m – created a technical as well as an artistic masterpiece (see picture 2). Another great place to stop is the city Nimes. Nimes was a very important Roman capital, and has still a few great treasures (picture 9 to 12). One of the us the Maison Carrée, it is one of the best preserved Roman temple façades to be found in the territory of the former Roman Empire. The Arena of Nimes is also a fascinating Roman building. Other great polaces to visit in Nimes are: Jardins de la Fontaine and Temple de Diane. Nimes is gonna surprise you with a lot of history and beauty! Next stop is Avignon (see picture 13 to 14). Avignon, once the residence of the Popes in the Middle Ages, is still a vibrant destination today. The ramparts, churches and chapels (Unesco World Heritage Sites), makes this city unique. Great places to visit in Avignon are: Palais des Papes, Musée du Petit Palais and Pont St-Bénezet. Restaurant Christian Etienne is a nice place for a good lunch or dinner! Visitors can see the Palais des Papes, the famous pont d'Avignon, The home of a prestigious contemporary theatre festival, and the European city of culture in 2000, Avignon has a taste for the avant-garde. Your ride ends in Brantes. Brantes is a fortified village nestled in the flank of the mountain. Old stone homes, cobblestone streets, vaulted passages. Pottery workshop, café-gallery, seamstress shop, santons and ceramics, wrought iron, stone carver. A true outpost overlooking Mont Ventoux, total peace and serenity in the village. There are two types of activities you can undertake. You can choose a cultural activity by visiting Roman heritage. This place has got a rich Roman history with a lot of beautiful treasures (see picture 3 to 7). A real Tour de France fan chooses to climb the Mont Ventoux. This is one of the most famous stages of the Tour de France. From this point you've got a great wide view over Vaucluse (see picture 8).
- Car Brantes - Bourg-Saint-Andéol
Pay attention! On your way to Bourg-Saint-Andéol, you pass a nice old little town with interesting Roman traces: Vaison-la-Romaine. Bourg-Saint-Andéol is not a touristic place. The benefits of it: it's a pure France village that's not that crowded. A major disadvantage: there's not much to do in this village! So grab a bottle of local wine and enjoy!
- Car Bourg-Saint-Andéol - Vallon-Pont-d'Arc
Day 14 Vallon-Pont-d'Arc
There is one place (a little detour) you have to stop before reaching Vallon-Pont-d'Arc. Saint-Marcel-d'Ardèche (near Bourg-Saint-Andéol) has a fantastic cave (La Grotte de St Marcel d’Ardèche) that looks like a fairytale (see picture 2 to 4)! In spite of the route on the D86, D201 and D4 is faster, we prefer to reach Vallon-Pont-d'Arc by taking the D290. You drive along the river and passes some great viewing points. You also pass the caves Grotte de la Madeleine and La Grotte des Tunnels. Your destination Vallon-Pont-d'Arc is a beautiful place. Visit the river (Ardèche) and be amazed of the great nature! Rough rocks combined with the clear water makes this place very beautiful. The best way to explore is by kayak! Pont-d'Arc is one of the most iconic en fascinating spots of the Ardèche (see picture 1).
- Car Vallon-Pont-d'Arc - Montélimar
Time to visit Montélimar! Driving to Montélimar through the D4, you'll pass a big museum called Caverne du Pont d'Arc. Caverne du Pont d'Arc is the largest decorated cave replica in the world and features an extraordinary collection of paintings, drawings, and engravings reproduced from the Chauvet Cave, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the French wine fans: take Domaine Château Bizard as your next stop! This wine farm sells really great wine and is located at the south-side of Montélimar. The address for your navigation is: Chemin de Bizard,26780 Allan, France. Enjoy! Now it's time for Montélimar! This town is famous for our favorite piece of candy: nougat! The Momtélimar inhabitants are the inventors of this candy. So, what is the best place to buy it?! Some nice nougat shops are L'Artisan nougatier and Nougat Diane de Poytiers. But you'll find anywhere through the city nougatiers anyway. This region is also known for lavender fields and lavender products. After buying some delicious local products, there is one cool place remaining. This place is Château des Adhémar (see picture 2).
- Car Montélimar - Villars-les-Dombes
Day 15 Villars-les-Dombes
Let's go to Villars-les-Dombes! Do you need more wine on-board? After you've passed Pont-de-l'lsère you drive through a great wine region. Along the A7/E15 there are al lot wine farms where you can find great local wines. Arriving at Villars-les-Dombes. A small village that is known as a birds paradise with an abundance of rare birds, fauna and flora of exception in a preserved nature where are nested charming flowered villages. Parc des Oiseaux is a great bird park. A typical phenomenon in this landscape is the Dombes. The Dombes, land of a thousand ponds, first region in fish farming (carp, pike, tench, roach...) in fresh water: a traditional net fishing, since the 11th century.
- Car Villars-les-Dombes - Bourg-en-Bresse
Bourg-en-Bresse is a not the most inspiring places of this trip, but it has some nice places to visit. The most famous building is Monastère Royal de Brou, 'a Flamboyant Gothic masterpiece'. The centre of Bourg-en-Bresse has some nice old houses. You can find them in the area around Église Notre-Dame (16 Rue Gambetta and Place Edgar Quinet).
- Car Bourg-en-Bresse - Culoz
Day 16 Culoz
If you still need to have a lunch today, you'd better take your lunch with you and consume it at the Lac the Nantua in Nantua. Mainly, when you climb one of the rocks around this lake, you'll have a great place for a picknick! You'll pass this lake tomorrow, too so you might choose to postpone the picknick. Culoz is a small town where you can hike, bicyle or just have a good rest with the local wines you bought earlier!
- Car Culoz - Moirans-en-Montagne
Moirans-en-Montagne is a small village without a lot of thrill seeking activities, but a walk along the river can be a great experience. The roads are also great for fanatic cyclers. Let's go to Bern! For those who want to reach every city by bicycle... This is really a hell of a job!
- Car Moirans-en-Montagne - Bern
Day 17 - 18 Bern
Not many cities have managed to retain their historic features quite as successfully as Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The old town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Did you know that Switzerland didn't have a capital city in the past? The Clock Tower (Zytglogge) was Bern's first western city gate (1191-1256) and is now one of Bern's most important sights. Other nice places to visit are the Rose Garden and Bärengraben. Terrasse & Casa is a great place for dinner.
- Car Bern - Lac d'Emosson
Day 19 Lac d'Emosson
Let's go to Lac d'Emosson. On the way you'll pass Chillon Castle, a great building at a fabulous location (see picture 2 to 3). This medieval castle has a great underground, a nice wine cellar, a cozy boutique and a nice little beach for a good picknick. Another great place to visit is the mountains near Saint Maurice (see picture 4 to 5). You can drive a long way up by car. Drive to the restaurant Auberge de Morcles and then follow the route Alp Rionda. The last stop this day is at Lac d'Emosson. A great place to hike, to have just a great view or to make a great cycle-tour. Maybe better than these choices is to go up the mountain by train. From Lac d'Emosson Minifunic you can climb up and have a fantastic view!
- Car Lac d'Emosson - Sallanches
The start of this ride is fantastic. With a fascination view over the valley. Arrived at Sallanches, you can choose an activity like hiking or cycling, but you can also have a picknick and a good rest at the beautiful lake 'Lac de Passy'.
- Car Sallanches - Megève
Day 20 Megève
Megève is a equipped for winter sports. There aren't much activities you can undertake. But after a sports day or a day at Lac de Passy it has been a nice day. Let's have a drink and a good night!
- Car Megève - Albertville
If you are in the mood to go up the mountain, you can visit Fort de la Batterie at Marthod. It's on the route to Albertville, and despite of the Fort isn't that beautiful, the view from this place is great. Albertville has a nice square and some cozy streets. But it's not one of the highlights on this journey. Albertville has a little lake (Plan d'eau de Grignon) where you can have a nice picknick. Let's go on to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.
- Car Albertville - Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Day 21 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains has no secrets. A cozy church and some pleasant terraces. It's for sure a good place to climb up the hills by bike. You can also get the train and discover this area from another point of view.
- Car Saint-Gervais-les-Bains - Megève
We are back at Megève.
- Car Megève - Morzine
Day 22 Morzine
Enjoy your last day at the Alps. In Morzine you can end this Alps experience your own way. A last tour on your bike, a last walk or hike, buying some local candy, see how cheese is made in Morzine, a relaxing moment at the wellness, canoeing, paragliding, fishing, climbing mountains or go downhill on a scooter. Make your own choice and have a good time!
- Airplane Morzine - Chantilly
Visit Chantilly while traveling to Paris. Must-see highlights in and around Chantilly are Chateau de Chantilly, Chateau de Montataire, Le Cachot, Parc et Vestiges du chateau royal, Royaumont Abbey.
- Car Chantilly - Paris
Day 23 - 24 Paris
Finally, Paris. The city of love and the city of every Tour's last stage. Enjoy all major highlights like the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Moulin Rouge, Pont Neuf and many more. If you don't want to say France goodbye, stay some additional nights in Paris before heading back home.
- Airplane Paris - Home
- Day 1 Utah Beach
- Day 2 Cherbourg
- Day 3 Angers
- Day 4 Limoges
- Day 5 Laveissière
- Day 6 Montauban
- Day 7 Arreau
- Day 8 Bagnères-de-Luchon
- Day 9 - 10 La Massana
- Day 11 Revel
- Day 12 Montpellier
- Day 13 Brantes
- Day 14 Vallon-Pont-d'Arc
- Day 15 Villars-les-Dombes
- Day 16 Culoz
- Day 17 - 18 Bern
- Day 19 Lac d'Emosson
- Day 20 Megève
- Day 21 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
- Day 22 Morzine
- Day 23 - 24 Paris