Pyrénées - Pyrenees Coast to Coast Guided
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FROM 16TH TO 25TH OF JUNE
For those people who always wanted to be an explorer in their childhood fantasies - this trip is a great simulation and a modern expedition for modern amateur cyclists! In the spirit of the old explorers, we bring this trip to the strong and determined cyclists out there who seek a challenge. The Pyrenees Mountain chain, that natural border between France and Spain which remains 'sauvage' - natural and true to traditions, is the barrier to be crossed. Crossed in this case on your bicycle and with your GARMIN GPS that you keep for free after your vacation.
Starting on the Atlantic Coast in the glitzy casino town of Biarritz, you quickly leave the glitz behind and dive into the back country of the Pyrenees. Small villages, small and quiet roads, traditional craftspeople and an older way of life dominate the landscape here. As they say in French; "La France Profonde" - The True Back Country of France! Riding along at a speed that allows you to absorb the majesty of this region will take you mind off the climbing you need to do almost every day before reach the Mediterranean coast at Collioure. After 8 days of riding you can dip your toes in the Med on the other side of the mountains and relish no small victory of one of nature's most imposing mountain barriers in one of Europe's most undeveloped regions.
Price : From 2350 €Request infos
Category : Pyrenees & Alps Challenges
Theme : Small Private Groups, Expert - Ease
Level : Challenging - Level 3 Trips
Access : There is an airport in Biarritz and 2 airports at less than 1h15 from Briarritz : the airport in Pau at 1h15 and the airport in San Sebastian at 30min.
Also you can take the train from Paris Montparnasse train station, this ride is about 5h30 long.
Tour de France and Tourmalet
The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France. It has been included more than any other pass, starting in 1910, when the Pyrenees were introduced. The first rider over was Octave Lapize, who went on to claim the yellow jersey in Paris. In 1913, Eugène Christophe broke hisfork on the Tourmalet and repaired it himself at a forge in Sainte-Marie-de-Campan.
Since 1947, the Tour has crossed the summit 47 times, plus a stage finish at the summit in 1974. As of the 2010 edition of the tour, the summit has been crossed 75 times in the tour's history. There have also been three finishes at La Mongie. Since 1980 it has been ranked hors catégorie, or exceptional. The Vuelta a España has also crossed the pass several times.
The 2010 edition of the Tour included the pass on two consecutive stages, crossing westward on the 16th stage to Pau and eastward on the 17th stage with a finish at the summit.
At the col is a memorial to Jacques Goddet, director of the Tour de France from 1936 to 1987, and a large statue of Octave Lapize gasping for air as he struggles to make the climb.
Basques have a close attachment to their home (etxe(a) 'house, home'), especially when this consists of the traditional self-sufficient, family-run farm or baserri(a). Home in this context is synonymous with family roots. Old baserri names, themselves typically expressing short-range geographical orientations or other locally meaningful identifying features, have transmuted into modern Basque surnames, thereby providing even Basques whose families may have left the land generations ago with an important link to their rural family origins: Bengoetxea "the house of further down", Goikoetxea "the house above", Landaburu "top of the field", Errekondo"next to the stream", Elizalde "by the church", Mendizabal "wide hill", Usetxe "house of birds" Ibarretxe "house in the valley", Etxeberria "the new house", and so on.
Pic du Midi de Bigorre
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre or simply Pic du Midi (altitude 2,877 m (9,439 ft)) is a mountain in the French Pyrenees famous for its astronomical observatory, the Observatoire du Pic du Midi de Bigorre (Pic du Midi Observatory), part of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées (Midi-Pyrénées Observatory). Construction of the observatory began in 1878 under the auspices of the Société Ramond, but by 1882 the society decided that the spiralling costs were beyond its relatively modest means, and yielded the observatory to the French state, which took it into its possession by a law of 7 August 1882. The 8 meter dome was completed in 1908, under the ambitious direction of Benjamin Baillaud. It housed a powerful mechanical equatorial reflector which was used in 1909 to formally discredit the Martian canal theory (histoire du Pic du Midi de Bigorre). In 1946 Mr. Gentilli funded a dome and 60 cm, and in 1958 a spectrograph was installed.
All year long, access by cable car from La Mongie, at the foot of the famous Col du Tourmalet. At the top: the most beautiful panorama of the Pyrenees! Panoramic terraces, but also a museum about astronomy and the history of the Pic du Midi, a traditional restaurant of altitude, and a souvenir shop. Free downhill skiing in winter and mountain biking in the summer.
Garbure is a thick French soup or stew of ham with cabbage and other vegetables, usually with cheese and stale bread added. The name derives from the use of the term garb to describe sheaves of grain depicted on a heraldic shield or coat of arms. Thus the name of garbure, which is eaten with a fork, is a reference to the use of pitchforks to pick up sheaves of grain. It originated in Gascony in south-west France It is similar to potée.
Garbure was the daily sustenance of Gascon peasantry. It differed from one home to the next and varied with the rhythms of the seasons, the resources of the cook, and with household income. The basic principle behind this dish is the lengthy simmering of an assortment of vegetables and meats, generally meats preserved en confit. As far as vegetables go, anything is possible. The cabbage may be accompanied by broad beans, fresh or dried, mange-tout, potatoes, turnips, peas, onions, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, beets, lettuce, chestnuts, nettles or borage. Thus the garbure could be adapted to the needs of every household.
A large tureen of garbure is often presented to the table in Bearnais restaurants, and guests can help themselves to as much as they wish at the start of the meal using the ladle supplied.
Frequently the meal would end with a traditional chabrot, which is a custom of mixing half a glass of red wine in with the liquid left in the bottom of one's bowl after eating the solid contents and then consuming it.
arrival in Biarritz in the southwest of France. Here is where the epic begins! You have to go into the surf to baptise yourself in the cool Atlantic before you turn inland. Biarritz just happens to be a very dynamic city and fun place to spend your first night before you head into the back country. Orientation, bike setup, and dinner included tonight.
Lodging/food : charming 3 star hotel, dinner included
the first ride day is supposed to be slightly moderate in order to shake off any jet lag and adapt to the terrain. This is a 70km ride over rolling countryside into the start of some moderate climbs. St Jean is a key stop on the famous St James Way or St Jacques de Compostelle. It serves as a good point to stop for the day.
Lodging/food: 3 star hotel with genuine Basque atmosphere, dinner included
the climbing begins in earnest today with an 66 or 73 km ride and about 2000 meters of elevation gain. Includes a ride along the Spanish border and the cols of Haltza and Burdincurutcheta. Charming hotel awaits in Arette.
Distance: 66km or 73km
Lodging/food: small charming 2 star hotel , dinner included
a bit longer today at 85 or 92 km, you will summit the Col de L'Aubisque and Col de Soulor of Tour de France fame. The Aubisque from this direction is about 16km long with an average grade over 7% and good part of it above 8%. The Soulor follows and then you have a rolling ride into Argeles Sur Gazost and a nice 3 star hotel. For something different, you can go visit Lourdes with any free time.
Distance: 85km or 92km
Lodging/food: 3 star hotel, dinner included
a lot of climbing today; this ride is 112 km with 3370 meters of elevation gain including the most famous col in the Pyrenees - the Tourmalet. After that you come down and go over the Aspin and then Col de Peyresourde. From Luz the Tourmalet is 18km long at almost 8% and going up to 2115 meters. The last kilometer is over 10%. Continue on down to the very charming town of Bagneres de Luchon.
Distance: 105km or 112km
Lodging/food: 3 star hotel, dinner included
another day of 96 km with 2900 meters of elevation gain. Somewhat less know but not to be taken lightly are the cols de Mente and Portet d'Aspet. Going this direction the route gets the hardest part of the Portet d'Aspet - up to 12.8% and average near 9.5%. Finish in the quiet town of Oust surrounded by nothing but big mountains.
Distance : 96km
Lodging/food : 2 star hotel, dinner included
a rather punishing day at 112 km and 3140 meters of elevation gain, the route covers the Col de Port and Col des Caougnous. Rejoin some civilization today passing through several village and staying in the thermal hot springs village of Ax. This is a great place to relax after a hard day on the bike.
Distance : 112km
Lodging/food : 3 star hotel, dinner included
The mountains aren't yet behind you as you continue toward the Spanish border today and a long route of 91 km with still 2350 meters of elevation gain. Arriving in Prades the big mountains are now behind you.
Distance : 91km
Lodging/food : 3 star hotel, dinner included
rolling countryside, including some rich wine country greets you today for a final stretch to the Med. The route is still 102 km with 1150 meters of total gain, but it will feel easy. At Collioure you must visit the beach and cleanse with the waters of the Mediterrean which annoint you the conqueror of the Pyrenees. Celebrate tonight and enjoy picturesque Collioure; your expedition has reached its goal.
Distance : 102km
Lodging/food : 2 star hotel, dinner inclued
Depart after breakfast and transfer to Perpignan airport
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
Located in the city center of Biarritz,in the heart of an historical part of Biarritz where fisherman used to live by the Ocean
In one of the most beautiful villages in the region, Anne-Marie and Firmin Arrambide and their children receive their guests in the elegant rooms of a former stagecoach (rated hotel RELAIS & CHATEAUX). The Pyrenees restaurant has a Michelin star. The greatest Basque our chefs put his knowledge and talent at the service of gourmets. Sublime local wines and also a great time.
Hotel de L'ours
Located in the green Valley of Baretous. Small charming hotel for recovery
Argeles-Gazost, city of Pyrenees National Park, is the ideal starting point to discover most important attractions (Gavarnie, Cauterets, mystic mountain pass roads, Pyrenees Animal Park, Eagles' Dungeon...). It offer easy access to winter sports at main resorts like Cauterets, Luz-Ardiden, Bareges-la Mongie, and resorts for families such as Hautacam or to Nordic ski resort Val d'Azun or to feel peace before praying in Lourdes. Our chef, Pierre PUCHEU invites you to share his passion for Pyrenees in his restaurant Le Casaou. Using fresh market produce, he offers a delightful, gourmet, and amazing experience with moderate price.
The hotel is located in the heart of the famous spa-resort Bageres de Luchon, opposite the chusrc and within easy walking distance from the Allees d Etigny, the "champs Elysees" of Luchon
Hostellerie de La Poste
This stately hotel is a fromer coach house where the Andrieu family has cultivated the art of hospitality for five generations, offering modern comforts with the charm of yesteryear.
A true family hotel , it welcomes you to a pleasant stay, opposite the station, 5 minutes' walk from the centre of town (thermal baths, cable cars) and nestling in a grove with a view of the river and of the mountains
Hotel facing south with a panoramic view over the mountains, Mont Canigou and countryside, rooms overlook the gardens and swimming pool. Breakfast room with terrace, salon with flat screen, library, board games, free internet accees.
Princes de Catalogne
The hotel is located 100 meters from the harbor, the famous Boramar beach and Royal Castle, in the heart of Collioure. The hotel consists of 30 rooms and suites combining comfort, design and technology. The hotel was completely renovated in 2009 and offers a unique and specific style to each floor.
In Hautes-Pyrenees you will perhaps want to visit the Pyrenees National Park, and perhaps even venture to Mont Perdu in the deep Pyrenees on the Spanish border, a listed world heritage site. A little more accessible is the mountain and spa town at Bagneres-de-Luchon.
Throughout the year, but only on a few dates on the occasion of special astronomical events, the Pic du Midi welcomes you to an unforgettable evening at the top, from 17h to 23h30. A full program: sunset, night sky observations with astronomers from the terraces where instruments are installed, traditional dinner at the restaurant. Each evening is unique, choose yours!
The chain extends in an almost straight line 270 mi (435 km) from the Bay of Biscay on the west to the Mediterranean Sea on the east; its maximum width is c.80 mi (130 km). About two thirds of its area is in Spain. Of the three main ranges of the Pyrenees, the central section is the highest. The Pico de Aneto, Spain (11,168 ft/3,404 m), is the tallest peak; other peaks include the Pic de Vignemale and the Pic du Midi d'Ossau (France) and Monte Perdido (Spain). Characteristic of the French Pyrenees, which are much steeper than the southern slopes, are the torrents called gaves, often falling in cascades, and the natural amphitheaters known as cirques, notably the famous Cirque de Gavarnie. The more important rivers—the Garonne, the Aude, and the Adour—run north; among the Spanish rivers rising in the Pyrenees are the Aragón, the Cinca, and the Segre.
The amount of the precipitation the range receives, including rain and snow, is much greater in the western than in the eastern Pyrenees, because of the moist air that blows in from the Atlantic Ocean over the Bay of Biscay. After dropping its moisture over the western and central Pyrenees, the air is usually dry over the eastern Pyrenees. The winter average temperature is -2 °C (28.4 °F).
Sections of the mountain range vary in more than one respect. Some glaciers are found in the western and especially the snowy central Pyrenees, but the eastern Pyrenees are without any glaciers - with the quantity of snow falling there being insufficient to cause their development. The glaciers are confined to the northern slopes of the central Pyrenees, and do not descend, like those of the Alps, far down into the valleys, but have their greatest lengths along the direction of the mountain chain. They form, in fact, in a narrow zone near the crest of the highest mountains. Here, as in the other great mountain ranges of central Europe, there is great evidence of a much wider extension of the glaciers during the Ice Ages. The case of the glacier in the valley of Argeles Gazost, between Lourdes and Gavarnie, in the département of Hautes-Pyrénées is the best-known instance.
The snow-line varies in different parts of the Pyrenees from about 2,700 to 2,800 metres above sea level.
Our team welcome you and assist you during your trip
Olivier - Guides Team
Professional cycling guide and high mountain guide for winter sports; Olivier is bilingual in French and English and is an accomplished road and mountain bike racer; contested world champion in MTB tandem. Never stress with him! “Everything OK!”
Look 566 carbon Road bike
Rental rate: 225 euros/bike for the duration of the tour.
Clients should bring their own clipless pedals to be changed over and pedal wrench.
The use of A4A bike and all equipment to make your ride comfortable (description per person : A4A water bottle, A4A helmet, handlebar, patch kit, toolkit, spare inner tube)
Partie réservation & tarifs