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Pyrenees Peaks to Mediterranean Plage Tour


France Bike Tours

World’s collide on this six-day Pyrenees to Plage tour (plage means beach in French) where the French Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean sea and France meets Spain.

One of the best features of this region of France is its concentrated nature. By that I mean snow covered peaks juxtaposed against the blue-green Mediterranean, arid lavender and fennel scented hills next to high mountain grazing pastures and palm trees waving in sea-breezes beneath conifer forests. You’ll get a feel for the diversity here as we taste our way through local and organic cheese farms, vineyards, olive groves and more.

This is a self-contained trip which means you’ll carry all your stuff in saddle bags and arrive at each day’s destination with the self satisfaction of knowing you got there completely on your own. But don’t get tricked into thinking it’s just a downhill coast. We start in the village of Planès in the eastern French Pyrenees at 1,550 m (5,090 ft) and follow back roads up and down mountainsides all the way to sea level. Each day’s ride is 50 to 60 km (30 to 40 miles) averaging 900m (3000 ft) of daily climbing and 1100m (3800 ft) of daily descending. In all, you’ll pedal 228 km (142 miles), climb 3,600 m (12,000 ft) and descend 4,700 m (15,500 ft).

But don’t get bogged down in statistics. All you need to know is that if you’re an active person, you know how to pedal and you enjoy small challenges, then you should be able to join this trip. You shouldn’t sign on naively, but once you know what it’s about I encourage you to throw the mileage and elevations out the window. What really matters is the scenery, camaraderie and discovery you’ll experience along the way. It’s the ride that matters, not the finish.

Accommodations on this tour are private rooms in remote hikers’ lodges, with the exception of one night in a typical village hotel and one night in a rural B & B. Overall, you’ll get a feel for the French country lifestyle where simple dinners are often shared around a common table. Lunches will either be organic picnics in scenic locations or in village bistros. I plan at least one tasting and/or visit at a local, organic producer each day. This is not a luxury chateau tour, but a real tour where you’ll get to meet the farmer who makes the paté she sells in the weekly market and taste pain de campagne (country bread) from the rural baker. I think there’s something pretty luxurious about that and I hope you will too.



• Two passionate bi-cultural trip leaders
• Scott hybrid bike + helmet
• Handlebar bag + rear rack + rear saddle bags
• Maps + cue sheets
• Transport to and from Perpignan train station at beginning and end of trip (by shuttle or train)
• 5 nights in countryside inns, 4 dinners with local wine (one dinner on your own), 5 organic and locally sourced picnics, 5 French-style breakfasts (think croissants and a latté)
• All tips/gratuities for lodging and meals
• A minimum of one daily tasting or visit at a local, organic producer
• A group maximum of six people, insuring a small, intimate group setting
• Pre and post-trip planning advice–we’ll share local travel tips and contacts for lodging and transport around the trip’s start and finish

• Airfare and/or travel expenses to and from tour beginning/ending location
• Lodging and dining expenses before and after tour start and end
• Any shopping or extras you spend on tour

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Moderate to challenging. Need some experience climbing hills, preferably with saddle bags, but don’t have to be a seasoned adventure cyclist. Read more about difficulty levels

LEVEL OF SUPPORT: Inn to inn, self-contained with trip leaders. Read more about support levels

TO PREPARE: I’ll send you the Pyrenees to Plage Handbook with details on packing, planning and preparing once you’ve confirmed your reservation. You’ll get info on how to pack light for bike travel, how you should train on the bike, what kind of weather to expect and other pertinent information. Don’t worry if this is your first self-contained adventure, I’ll walk you through the essentials.





Day 1 We’ll meet you at the train station in Perpignan, the capital city of French Catalonia that Salvador Dali famously dubbed “the center of the world”. From there we’ll shuttle up into the edge of the Pyrenees where the first night’s trailside eco-lodge awaits beneath the magnificent Cambre d’Aze presiding at 2750 m (9022 ft). We’ll have a light lunch, bike fitting and short intro ride, and then a little free time to enjoy this authentic mountain village in the Parc Naturel des Pyrenées Catalane. On clear days you can see the sea glistening far below. Dinner will be shared around a grande table sourced entirely from organic farms of the region. After dinner you can enjoy the inn’s multiple language library, study regional topography maps or stroll around the supremely quiet village paths before sleeping soundly in your private room.

• Welcome aperitif
• Light farm-fresh lunch
• Local, organic dinner with regional wine around a grande table
• Sweet dreams in a solar-powered lodge where design and comfort shine
• Intro bike lesson and short ride
• Scenery—high mountain cattle pastures, conifer forests, Carlit mountain range, stunning Cambre d’Aze, authentic Pyrenean village, Mediterranean in the far distance

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