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Booking a Cycling Holiday Inspired by the Tour de France

Homepage > Booking a Cycling Holiday Inspired by the Tour de France

The Tour de France is arguably the cycling event of the year, with many tuning in worldwide to watch the event on telly, whilst others even go a step further and travel to France for a chance to see the action live.

If you’re a cycling fiend, then we’re sure you no doubt enjoy the Tour de France yourself. Well, what if we told you there’s another way to enjoy the action? Our cycling tours in France and Italy offer you the chance to explore the sights, areas and cycle routes in the regions cycled by those competing in the Tour de France itself.

Keep reading as we discuss some of our favourite cycling tours perfect for those looking to go on a holiday inspired by the Tour de France.

What is the Tour de France?

The famed Tour de France is an annual event held (predominantly) in France (as its name suggests) and tends to be considered the most prestigious of the three Grand Tours – the three major European professional cycling stage races, including the Giro d’Italia (in Italy) and the Vuelta a España (in Spain).

It’s also the oldest of the three, having started back in 1903 and taken place every year since, other than during the World Wars.

Traditionally held in July, the 3,500 kilometre route changes each year and alternates between clockwise and anticlockwise circuits, however the general format of the race stays the same, including time trials, passage through the mountain chains of the Pyrenees and the Alps and a finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, although the latter won’t be the case this year.

Why Book a Cycling Holiday?

Cycling holidays offer a plethora of benefits no matter who you are. If you love cycling, then you’ll be sure to find a cycling holiday for you.

One of the main things they offer is the opportunity to explore new destinations, experiencing the culture, food and drink as you do. Exploring via bike in this way can be much more rewarding than exploring destinations via car or public transport and encourages you to experience smaller communities that really represent the local culture.

Another benefit offered by cycling tour holidays is that they give you the opportunity to meet new, like-minded individuals. If you like the idea of solo travelling, but thrive on company, then cycling tours are great for meeting other avid cyclists and socialising whilst you’re away.

Of course, the other great thing about cycling on holiday is that you’ll be staying active! Getting out in the open air and pedalling away whilst taking in the sights is great for your body and mind, yet doesn’t feel like a chore as you’ll be doing something you enjoy. Not to mention, you’ll feel less guilty about indulging in the local delicacies – not that you should feel guilty about doing so anyway!

Cycling Tours in France

The Luberon and Alpilles in Provence

The first tour on our list is our route that takes you through the Liberon National Park and Alpilles Region in Provence. This tour takes place just to the east of where the 16th and 17th days of the Tour de France route will be, which sees competitors cycling from Nimes up past Avignon to Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux.

The Route:

  • Day 1 – Arrive at Avignon
  • Day 2 – Avignon > Barbentane > Saint Rémy
  • Day 3 – Saint Rémy > Fontvieille > Les Baux > Saint Rémy (optional)
  • Day 4 – Saint Rémy > Eygalières > Isle Sur la Sorgue
  • Day 5 – Choice of loop rides from Isle sur la Sorgue
  • Day 6 – Departure

Difficulty: Level 2-3

Itinerary Snapshot:

Offering you insight into some of the beauty Provence is renowned for, this tour has a little bit of everything. From Gothic architecture such as the Popes’ Palace in Avignon to quintessentially French countryside such as the vineyards and olive groves in Saint Rémy de Provence (the adopted home of Van Gogh!), the views certainly won’t disappoint!

Our designated cycle routes will take you through local towns, villages and countryside, with the opportunity to learn about the history of these areas, explore the local shops and get a taste for the local cuisine.

Personally, we recommend cycling to Saint Paul de Mausole on the third day of your trip, which is where Van Gogh infamously spent the last years of his life and painted some of his best work. As for near the end of your trip, consider exploring the antique shops that line the quays in Isle sur la Sorgue.

Lyon to Orange

The next of our suggested tours is our Lyon to Orange on the River Rhone Cycle Path. This tour starts in Lyon, which is just a stone’s throw away from Saint-Vulbas, the stop on the fifth day of the Tour de France, then later takes you right past Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, which is a stop on the 17th day of Tour de France this year.

The Route:

  • Day 1: Arrive at Lyon
  • Day 2: Lyon > Vienne
  • Day 3: Vienne > Serrières
  • Day 4: Serrières > Valence
  • Day 5: Valence > Montélimar
  • Day 6: Montélimar > Bourg-Saint-Andéol / Pierrelatte
  • Day 7: Bourg-Saint-Andéol / Pierrelatte > Orange
  • Day 8: Departure

Difficulty: Level 2

Itinerary Snapshot:

Taking you through many towns with Roman roots, this tour sees you starting in Lyon, considered to be one of the gastronomic capitals of the country, before finishing in the Provence commune of Orange.

The options for what there is to do in Lyon are endless, with numerous shops, museums and restaurants to visit, or you could explore the Halles de Lyon Market. The route ahead offers an insight into the historical importance of navigation as you cycle along the river Rhône. You’ll see an array of sights, including the surrounding orchards, gardens and vineyards, as well as colourful markets, shaded gardens and historic quarters.

If you’re interested in your religious history, then you’ll find the sixth day especially fascinating, which will include cathedrals, chapels, grand clerical residences and a rare sculpture of a Mithraic deity in Bourg-Saint-Andéol.

Cycling Tours in Italy

Venice to Florence

If you’re looking for a holiday slightly further afield than France, then how about one of our Italian tours? Despite its name, the Tour de France often briefly ventures into some of its bordering countries. This year, it’s starting in the beautiful city of Florence. As such, we think our Venice to Florence holiday is perfect to include in this list.

The Route:

  • Day 1: Arrive at Venice
  • Day 2: Venice > Chioggia/Sottomarina
  • Day 3: Chioggia/Sottomarina > Adria
  • Day 4: Adria > Comacchio
  • Day 5: Comacchio > Ravenna
  • Day 6: Ravenna > Brisighella
  • Day 7: Brisighella > Florence
  • Day 8: Departure

Difficulty: Level 2

Itinerary Snapshot:

Why visit only one famous Italian city when you can visit two? That’s exactly what you get with this holiday! Starting in Venice and finishing in Florence, this route offers you some of the best experiences Italy has to offer.

You’ll traverse stunning landscapes that are rich in fruit cultivation and will be sure to have the opportunity to try a taste of their sweet nectar along the way, as well as have the chance to navigate some of the local piazzas that Italy is famed for – amongst many other things, of course!

Some of our favourite parts of the journey include stops in the lesser known locations of Chiogga and Sottomarina, where there are wide sandy beaches, as well as Faenza – a charming stop where you will get to bear witness to artisans painting the world-famous ceramics they create.

Turin to Sanremo

This holiday route starts in the same place the Italian leg of the Tour de France finishes: Turin. After Turin, the Tour de France continues in France itself. As for you, you’ll instead be travelling south into Italy, adjacent to the border between the two countries before reaching your destination of Sanremo. So, will our Turin to Sanremo tour be for you?

The Route:

  • Day 1: Arrive at Turin
  • Day 2: Turin > Pinerolo
  • Day 3: Pinerolo > Saluzzo
  • Day 4: Saluzzo > Mondovi
  • Day 5: Mondovi > Millesimo
  • Day 6: Millesimo > Albegna
  • Day 7: Albegna > Sanremo
  • Day 8: Departure

Difficulty: Level 2

Itinerary Snapshot:

Travelling from the Alps to the sea, this beautiful route offers charming culture, fantastic views and mesmerising smells throughout – not to mention there will be many treats and amusements along the way.

As with all our tours, this route gives you the opportunity to experience many different towns, one of which being Millesimo, where the old town centre is considered in Italian to be one of the “Borghi più belli d`Italia” – meaning it’s one of the nicest within the whole of Italy! This will also be the last stop before you cross the Alps!

One thing’s for certain on this trip – you certainly won’t go hungry for delectable food. From indulging in some of the country’s finest chocolate from its chocolate-making hub of Turin to the fresh seafood at the Sanremo coast, all the cycling will help you work up an appetite to the delightful cuisine Italy has to offer.

Book Your Cycling Holiday Today

So, are you ready to book your Tour de France-inspired cycling holiday? Whether you’re looking for a self-guided cycling holiday in France or prefer the sound of a bike tour in Italy, we’ve got a holiday for you here at Hooked on Cycling and Walking.

Book yours today, or get in touch to learn more about how we operate and what to expect from our tours.

About the author

I have worked for Hooked on Cycling & Walking since 2007 and love to travel and explore. I like to get outdoors and take my two young boys with me and hiking/cycling is enjoyed by all of us.

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