Posts Tagged ‘Tour de France’
With the Tour de France upon us – Saturday 2nd to Sunday 24th July – we thought we’d pay homage to the French love affair with pedal power.
Of course, you don’t need to be Lance Armstrong to enjoy France by bike… There are miles of meandering lanes, canal-side towpaths and beautiful stretches of coastal paths perfectly marked out for le vélo.
And there’s nowhere quite like France for a self-catering cycling holiday! You’ll see more of the sights, meet the locals and have the opportunity to engage with the places you pass through. Not to mention a rental apartment will give you the chance to sample local food, and the odd glass of wine…
It’s also a great way to enjoy a healthy and active holiday option – think of it as the summer equivalent to skiing!
The Voies Vertes, or Greenways, are an extensive network of dedicated cycle routes across France linking up nearly 2,600km of safe, marked paths. So whether you want to embark on a week-long tour or an afternoon in the saddle, there are plenty of routes to choose from. Here are some of our top suggestions of the best places to get peddling.
The Loire à vélo, The Loire – For châteaux fans
The Loire à vélo is an ambitious project linking two regions, six départements and six major urban areas over an 800km trail between Cuffy and Saint-Brévin on the Atlantic coast, two thirds of which run alongside the River Loire with its fabulous châteaux.
There are specific segments of the route between Muides sur Loire and Ancenis recommended for families, with a number of short distance options to choose from.
And to rest those tired legs between trips Pierre & Vacances have a range of self catering apartments in the Loire Valley.
Avenue Verte Dieppe-Forges, Normandy – For budding athletes
Destined ultimately to link London with Paris in time for the 2012 Olympics, this 45km route runs from Dieppe on the Normandy coast to the spa town of Forges-les-Eaux along the former Dieppe to Paris railway line.
For now you’ll have to make do with some picture-perfect Normandy countryside with lots of apples and cider to help you on your way. And to kick-back and enjoy the views during your stay, Pierre & Vacances have a range of family apartment rentals in Normandy.
La Baie de Somme à Vélo, Picardy – For beach fans and bird watchers
Le Baie de Somme is made up of seven trails, many kilometres of which run alongside the seashore, weaving through dunes, mudflats and reed beds full of migratory birds. The Baie de Somme railway carries cycles free of charge, so you can hop on and off and tackle as much or as little of the trails as you wish. And to enjoy hopping around Picardy, Pierre & Vacances has a range of self-catering accommodation to rest those weary wheels.
Le-tour-de-Bourgogne-a-vélo, Burgundy – For vineyard fans
The cycling tour of Burgundy, much like the Loire and Somme equivalents, is made up of five individual trails showcasing the region’s main attractions and eventually destined to cover 800km.
The route is made up of towpaths, paths through vineyards, disused railway lines and country lanes. The Santenay-Nolay track, the ‘Voie des Vignes’, is particularly recommended for easy family cycling. And to make the most of your stay Pierre & Vacances has a range of holiday accommodation in Burgundy as a great base to explore the region.
Piste du canal de L’Ourcq, Paris – For city slickers
This cycle path alongside the canal offers a flat and picturesque option, great for a day out from Paris. The route takes you from the Parc de la Villette in north-eastern Paris out into the countryside to Claye-Souilly, 27km from the city. Ultimately this route is intended to link Paris with Moscow!
For a shorter route families can choose a pit-stop at La Poudrerie Forest Park at Servan, 14km along the canal. And to make the most of your stay in the area, Pierre & Vacances has a wide range of holiday apartments to rent in Paris with both scenic and central locations.
And for those after some serious cycling…
Here are two long-distance options for those seeking a serious cycling challenge!
Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes
This greenway is graded as an easy route, running 85 km in total between Charleville-Mezieres and Givet near the Belgian border. The train which runs through the valley is a great back up option for tired legs. And as for accommodation along the route, Pierre & Vacances has a wide range of family self-catering rentals in Ardennes.
Canal du Midi, Languedoc-Roussillion/ Midi-Pyrenees
The Canal du Midi is a UNESCO World Heritage site, bordered almost all of the way by striking plane trees. The route takes you through the heart of the beautiful South West countryside with ample opportunity to sample local wines and visit ancient towns and monuments.
The full route (240km) will take you from Toulouse along the canal to the little port of Marseillan on the Mediterranean, but can be broken down into stages for easily manageable chunks!
The other option is to head North West from Toulouse towards Bordeaux and the Atlantic Ocean along the Canal de Garonne, the full canal route originally designed to link the two coasts. For those wanting to make the most of a cycling holiday in the sublime region, Pierre & Vacances has a selection of self catering accommodation in the South of France .
This weekend sees the start of the 96th Tour de France. The competition will be running from Saturday (July 4th ) until to Sunday July 26th 2009, with the grand start taking place in Monaco.
Tour de France 2009 will visit a total of six countries: Monaco. France, Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy. Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,500 kilometers.
There are many UK fans out there who will be dying to follow in their tyre marks, and find accommodation for Tour de France this year. To help; we’ve tracked down each of the towns that will appear en-route and have listed places to stay during Tour de France, making it easier for you to decide which leg of the race is worth a visit.
P&V have affordable accommodation all over France, with many of those situated alongside the Tour de France route. With a range of self-catering apartments, our residences make the perfect base to watch the race and be as close to the action as possible.
Tour de France route 2009
1. Saturday, July 4
A grand start in one of the grandest cities. This spectacular start will put Monaco on the map in the next week or so. This is also the place the inaugural time-trial takes place. Watch out for steep hills and quick turns in the area, it will surely separate the weaker competitors straight off the bat.
P&V have many properties on the French Rivera, but also have the Adagio Aparthotel Monaco Monte Cristo, centrally located to experience the buzz of the competition just before the starting gun is pulled.
2. Sunday, July 5th
Monaco (MC) → Brignoles
What a beautiful start to the race! This first section takes place along the shore of some of the prettiest seaside towns in the Cote d’Azur. The route is not mountainous, but the rugged terrain could make an interesting stage. First one to spot a pile up as people are distracted by the view wins…
P&V have a wide selection of accommodation along the Cote D’Azur. Stay at Hotel Latitudes de L’Esterel, which is just 1km from the Bay of Agay, and local village. This section of the race is over a weekend, so why not pair your Tour de France fix with a weekend away in a French seaside town?
3.Monday, July 6th
Marseille → La Grande-Motte
Marseille is a perfect base for fans of the race who like a little culture with their sporting events. Competitors will arrive at the historical Old Port, just metres from the water and the boats to La Grande-Motte with a finish in the heart of “French Florida”. This stage will be in the salty sea air and the wind should play an essential role in the crossing of Camargue.
The Adagio Prado Plage is an ideal place to stay to witness the end of this stage. Our club residence Camargue is set in an idyllic nature reserve and also makes a beautiful distraction once you’ve checked out those in the race.
4. Tuesday, July 7th
Montpellier → Montpellier
This is one of the shortest parts of the race leaving plenty of time for you to explore the surrounding region.
PV-Holidays have a residence in nearby Cap D’Agde which is a perfect base for an active stay. Résidence Loisirs Les Rivages de Rochelongue is surrounded by many cycle tracks and hiking trails leaving you to literally follow in the Jersey trackmarks once the tour has passed through town.
5. Wednesday, July 8th
Le Cap d’Agde → Perpignan
The stage is dedicated to Salvador Dali, who called the Perpignan railway station the “cosmogonic centre of the universe”. He also loved cycling and created the 1959 Tour’s postcard.
6 .Thursday July 9th.
Girona (ES) → Barcelona (ES)
After Monaco and Marseille, the 2009 Tour stops at a third “great beacon” of the Mediterranean. The capital of Catalonia will host a prestigious new stage that will take place in the southernmost destination in Tour history. The last inclines on the heights of Montjuic should be more favorable to sprinters than climbers.
PV-Holidays have 4 properties in Costa Dorada. Rent a car and explore the region from one of our residences as the tour defers into Spain.
7. Friday, July 10th.
Barcelona (ES) → Arcalis (AD)
This is the start of one of the highest finishes in history. Starting with a Level 1 mountain pass it will end at 2,200m elevation. Difficulties would already have been spread throughout the rest of the route so far, so this Pyrenees stage shouldn’t be too much of a shock for cyclists, in fact, we recommend watching out for those bold and strong enough to break away from the park here and try to seize their chance at Arcalis.
8. Saturday, July 11th.
Andorra-la-Vella (AD) → Saint-Girons
In part two of the Pyrenees section, the three ascents will offer good climbers the chance to stand out. The Ariège passes which have featured heavily in recent routes may allow some experienced cyclists to ease forward. This stage will undoubtedly have some surprises in store.
PV-Holidays have 11 properties in the Midi-Pyrenees. Watch the race and get active whilst exploring the local area. Don’t forget your walking boots!
9. Sunday, July 12th
Saint-Gaudens → Tarbes
Crowds are sure to gather to watch the classic climbs of Aspin and Tourmalet passes. Keep an eye on cyclists who feel inspired to speed up the show just before the rest day in Limoges.
10. Tuesday, July 14th
Limoges → Issoudun
Now back on track to the centre of France, the flat plains around the area will enable racers who can excel in these conditions to move forward from the back after falling behind in the mountain stages. Bastille Day is also on July 14th, and a national holiday for locals, so expe
ct to get caught up in lots of celebrations.
11. Wednesday, July 15th
Vatan → Saint-Fargeau
Racers are now halfway between Monaco and Paris, but the main stakes will still be up for grabs. Saint-Fargeau is likely to be a decisive stage, and it’ll be exciting to watch riders compete for the Green Jersey around here.
12. Thursday, July 16th
Tonnerre → Vittel
This flat stage could prove to be a competition between the sprinters. If they are strong and determined enough people who have betted on safe bets could lose cash here as the underdogs ease forward.
13. Friday, July 17th
Vittel → Colmar
A medium mountain route but the road between Vittel and Colmar has all the makings of a tricky stage. Expect the crowd to watch with baited breath, but don’t forget to explore the surrounding area of Alsace, which is known as the “Little Venice” of France.
14. Saturday, July 18th
Colmar → Besançon
For the Tour’s first visit, in 1931, the wine capital of Alsace had the privilege of seeing title-holder André Leducq win. After a nasty accident at home early in the season, Laurent Jalabert made a stunning comeback in this area, winning his second stage in the 2001 Tour after Verdun.
Résidence Pierre & Vacances Le clos d’ Eguisheim is located in the Alsace area and is located in one of the most beautiful villages in the area. It’s also in the heart of the Alsatian vineyards, making it a perfect hub for following the wine-tasting route of the region.
15. Sunday, July 19th.
Pontarlier → Verbier (CH)
Finally entering the Swiss Alps: witness the contest step up a notch between climbers as the front-runners’ ranks will be thinned. There is just one week to go before the finish in Paris.
16. Tuesday, July 21st
Martigny (CH) → Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Forty-three years later, the Grand-Saint-Bernard Pass is back on the Tour de France’s route. The more-than 30 km climb rises to 2,469 m above sea level. Then the riders will climb the Petit-Saint-Bernard before plunging down to Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
17. Wednesday, July 22nd
Bourg-Saint-Maurice → Le Grand-Bornand
This is the Tour’s densest mountain stage with five passes that count towards the best-climber classification. The challenges will rise with the terrain and the relatively short distance promises a decisive struggle between the front-runners. Fans flock to hotels be trackside for the most grueling stage of the competition so take advantage of our self-catering accomodation in the area which will save on money.
Hôtel Latitudes du Golf and Hotel Latitudes du Golf de Courcheval 1650 are located in Courcheval; a popular resort for other fans who have booked accommodation to watch this leg of the Tour de France. A beautiful location, the village is surrounded by a dense forest with panoramic views over the Courchevel Valley.
18 . Thursday, July 23rd
Annecy → Annecy
In this gorgeous setting, the Tour’s last time-trial often marks the end of the struggle. But the 2009 Tour is not over yet because the loop around Lake Annecy is approximately just 40 km long. Watch this oddly shaped leg of the race and see how the competitors weave their way around the water. The Adagio Annecy centre is just 10 minutes away from the famous lake and centrally located.
19. Friday, July 24th
Bourgoin-Jallieu → Aubenas
The 96th Tour de France is almost over, but many racers still have something to prove. It may be the toughest leg, but the route winds through the beautiful Ardeche Gorges, a welcome distraction for even the most tired riders.
20. Saturday, July 25th
Montélimar → Mont-Ventoux
Some of the Tour de France’s most legendary moments have happened in this area, but it has never been on the route just 24 hours from the final finish. Whatever the rider wearing the Yellow Jersey, he will have to face the Tour’s toughest climb yet.
21 . Sunday, July 26th.
Montereau-Fault-Yonne → Paris
The final stage. Winning on the Champs-Élysées is a distinguished achievement and is an incredible sight. The home stretch on the “world’s most beautiful avenue” is always exciting, whoever wins. Expect hotels and other accommodation around the city to be jam-packed but check out availability at one of the 11 Adagio Aparthotels in Paris
If you can’t afford to fly off for a few days this summer, why not book a last minute family holiday village in France, and fit the Tour de France around your break? Our Beat the Euro deal fits the Tour de France route nicely. This summer, we’re basing our prices on the Euro to Sterling exchange rate of summer 2008 (£1 to €1.28), when holidays were around 22 per cent cheaper than earlier this month (£1 to €1.05). of up to 45% off all of our properties in the summer break.
The offer is available on all P&V properties on all dates, including the school summer holidays, up until November 2009. Discounts can also be combined with any other P&V offer currently available, including the 15 per cent early booking discount or the 20 per cent discount on stays over two weeks.
Find more information about P&V properties, on PV-Holidays.com, the website for P&V.
Thanks for reading,