Touring - French Group Tour Operators
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01-25-08, 12:26 PM
My parents (middle-aged) and I (21) are planning to take a bike trip in France this June. We'd like to go on a group trip with a tour operator who will plan everything for us, but we're not sure how to go about finding a good one. If anybody has any suggestions on specific operators or on how to find them, we'd be very grateful. Here are our criteria:
Fairly easy level of riding (my dad and I have biked a fair bit, but my mom doesn't bike a lot)
Mostly flat terrain
Van to carry luggage
About five to seven days
Comfortable accommodations (not tents!)
Preferably locally-operated French company
In terms of locations, we'll be visiting my uncle, who lives in a little village halfway between Nimes and Valence, and flying out of Paris, so tours near either of those locations would be preferable, although not required.
Thanks in advance!
01-25-08, 12:34 PM
Check this out: Breton Bikes (http://www.bretonbikes.com/).
They're organizing bicycle trips in France, they're based in the Bretagne region which is fairly flat. I think they're British and moved to France to set up their business.
I have no idea how good those guys are, I just know them because the bikes they loan for their organized tours can also be bought new. They are cheap and decent touring bikes.
They seem to know their stuff, let me know what you think.
Adventure Cycling (http://www.adventurecycling.org/index.cfm) has Cyclist Yellowpages (http://www.adventurecycling.org/cyp/index.cfm) section. In there they have a Tour Operators (http://www.adventurecycling.org/cyp/tourops.cfm) search page.
Here is a page from www.biketouringtips.com that has 4 links to international bike touring (http://www.biketouringtips.com/searchTips.html?country=France&state=&place=&id=Tour%20Planning&subtopic=15.7). All of the links have information on bike touring companies in France.
01-25-08, 05:25 PM
I (middle-aged) operate out of Pont-en-Royans, not far from Valence. I'm not "local" in that I'm not French, but speak enough to get by and have been doing tours there since 2005. There's little truly flat terrain in the vicinity, but if your mom is game to try shallow climbs (3-5%) there's lots to see. Food's wonderful, accommodations are in an air-conditioned hotel. We don't move around but stay in Pont-en-Royans the whole time, either riding out-and-back, driving one way and riding the other, or driving somewhere within 60-90 minutes to ride.
If you'd like to know more, please visit our website, http://www.agile-compass.com.
Michael Khaw, Agile Compass cycling tours
"Rides to Fit YOU, Picked Fresh Daily"
I did a trip in the Luberon area of Provence in 2006 with French Cycling Holidays.
They are a British based company, but do their trips in France.
It was a week long trip, meeting all your criteria.
It sounds like this particular trip is hillier than you're looking for, but they offer a number of other trips.
I thought they did a really nice job.
I believe you need to contact cyclezealot, a forum member here.
01-26-08, 05:08 PM
I have almost 100 tour companies listed on my web site: www.outfittertours.com. Click on Bicycle Travel and Tour Company Links in the Left Navigator Bar.
I also run Custom Self Guided Tours in France which might fit your needs perfectly. While I am not a French operator, we live there half time so really know the region, the Dordogne, which these tours are located in. Particularly we have tours that work out of one hotel which may be perfect for your needs. Good luck in finding a tour. France is the most user friendly place to bike tour we have found!
Dick Powell, www.outfittertours.com
Founder & Former Owner of The Bicycle Outfitter of Los Altos, California
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