The French Pyrenees
France’s most beautiful mountains… and more
The French Pyrenees are packed with brilliant roads – and not just the famous passes that feature so often in the Tour de France.
Of course, these mountains are a long way from the UK – and that's a good thing. Between Calais and the Col du Tourmalet are miles of brilliant roads to be enjoyed as this tour crosses Champagne, Burgundy, before carving its way through the Tarn Gorges and the Dordogne.
This one-week trip (Saturday to Sunday) passes through spectacular landscapes and historic towns, with minimal motorway. All nine days are full but not long days in the saddle (it is a riding holiday, after all) with scheduled fuel stops and suggested coffee and lunch stops along the way.
What’s included on the route? Each day’s route has recommended places to stop for coffee in the morning and afternoon, a suggested lunch stop and planned fuel stops.
How long is each day’s ride? Each leg of the tour is planned to be a full day in the saddle. If you check-out of the hotel and hit the road at 9am, you should reach the next night's stop by 5:30-6pm. That's with coffee stops and lunch. They are full riding days. Saddle-time rating: seven out of 10.
What are the highlights? For most riders it will be the days spent on the passes of the Pyrenees – not just the famous ones. There are plenty of smaller, wonderful roads to discover. But the trip also cuts through the rolling hills of Burgundy, through the Tarn Gorges, the Dordogne... There's plenty to see along the way, from the towering Millau Viaduct to marvellous medieval towns and villages.
Why nine days? The tour is planned to fit in with taking a week off work: set off from Folkstone on a Saturday morning (10-11am Tunnel ideally) and return the following Sunday afternoon.
How is it supplied? You can simply download the GPX files and install them in your sat nav. Garmin or BMW Navigator users should download the complete file; TomTom users (or riders using a GPX compatible phone app like Calimoto, Scenic or MyRouteApp Navigator) should download the individual files. However, I strongly recommend getting the tour pack of day-by-day route notes and marked-up maps (not sold separately).
Download the tour
Garmin/BMW users should download the complete-route file. Individual day files should be downloaded for TomTom or GPX-compatible phone apps.