Known to some as the "Venice of the Alps", Annecy lies nestled within beautiful scenery and surrounded by mountain peaks, and has welcomed countless riders in the Tour de France — take our cycling tour to see why it's so beloved worldwide.
£2,395.00 per person*
($2,754.25 USD or $4,311.00 AUD)
£425.00 single room supplement
23rd Jul to 29th Jul 2023
Join us for this cycling tour. All you have to do is pedal
Arrivals are collected from midday at Geneva Airport or Annecy train station.
Morning departure to Geneva Airport or Annecy train station ( connections to Paris and Lyon via TGV are available from Annecy)
For riders who have strong confidence in their cycling fitness. Daily distances can be over 100 km on hilly to mountainous terrain. Tours will include climbs of over 10 km in length and cyclists should be able to climb for an hour without stopping. This type of tour is for cyclists who are having their first go at a mountain tour or for those who want climbing and enjoy stunning sceneryView Gallery
Tour de France first appeared in Annecy in 1948, again in 1959 and then fifty years later the round-the-lake individual time trial won by Alberto Contador in 2009. But since then the Tour de France rode around and through Annecy a handful more times. Annecy, is famous for its old town with canals and bridges and the amazing views of the mountains surrounding the lake. It is the crystal clear water of Lac d'Annecy as it is known in France and the breathtaking mountain climbs that make this one of the most popular tourist destinations in France and a place where we look forward to joining you on our cycling tour.
Our cycling tour showcases the amazing Lake Annecy and surrounding mountain scenery and cols. Though Lake Annecy and the area may be a somewhat lesser known area by cycling enthusiasts outside of France, ask any local and they will tell you that this area and the quiet roads and tree-covered climbs of the Parc de Bauges make this a cycling mecca.
With the proximity to the St Jean de Maurienne Valley the world’s capital of uphill cycling (or so the French claim!) the Parc des Bauges and the Alpes, this road bike adventure allows us to cycle along the same roads as the pro's - all of course within our own time! Also the offering of road e-bikes in the area makes this tour accessible by all!
After collecting everyone from Geneva or Annecy, we head to our hotel on the west side of Lake Annecy where we can put our bikes together and head out for a ride around the Lake. We stop in Talloires on the east side for a drink and then continue our ride back to our Hotel where a dip in the lake is waiting.
Our ride today begins by exploring the natural beauty of the Parc de Bauges. This UNESCO World Geoparc’s rolling countryside, as we head towards the St Jean de Maurienne Valley, is nothing less than stunning! Once we reach the St. Jean de Maurienne valley, we ride up the amazing “Lacets de Montvernier” — so named as the 13 hairpins look like laces up the mountain. Our stay tonight is at the Hotel St. Georges, a hotel that lives and breathes cyclists!
Approximate distance 112km; elevation gain 2150m
The highlight of day 2 of the cycling tour is the Col de Madeleine. Featured in the Tour de France 25 times since 1969, this 19km climb with an average of 8% gradient is always a good day with many other cyclists along the route riding to the top for the reward – the legendary Myrtille tarte! Not one to miss!
We stay in the spa town of Brides Les Bains for two nights. Relax in the hotel pool and spa or pre book a massage.
Approximate distance 85km; elevation gain 2983m
No packing today, as we stay at our hotel for another night. It can be an easier day if your legs feel like a rest as we have two route options. We all head back down the valley and climb up the quiet winding road to the ski station in St Martin de Belleville; a coffee stop in the square, and then a beautiful descent to Moutier before heading back to Brides les Bains. Here your day of cycling can end — or for those up for the challenge, 2020 may be famous for Covid but in the world of cycling it was famous for the debut of the Col de la Loze in the Tour de France.
With Christian Prudhomme the director of the Tour de France stating “ You have to come, it's great, it's unheard of, nothing like it exists in France, with its twists to the left and twists to the right, grades of 20% through the forest , it will be a decisive day” we could not deny you this great climb. While the Col de la Loze via Meribel climb starts close to the hotel on shared roads, the heart of the climb that is talked about in both awe and fear by Prudhomme and others is the top 7km.
A ski piste in the winter, the Col de la Loze opened in 2019 uniquely for cyclists. Vehicles and motorcycles are prohibited. It does indeed twist and turn with gradients of 20% and more. You will need to be both mentally and physically fit to master this climb. Take a break at the top, catch your breath and keep your head as you tackle the equally technical descent.
The van is unable to follow you through this section so will meet you at the bottom of the descent into Courchevel. With a welcome lunch break at one of the two lakes you pass on your descents, you are then refuelled for the rolling roads of the afternoon and a descent back into Brides les Bains. Distance 63km Climbing 2110m
Short Option: Approximate distance 40km; elevation gain 1200m
Long Option: Approximate distance 63 km; elevation gain 2110m
On day of the Lake Annecy cycling tour we head north back towards our starting hotel on Lake Annecy. We ride through Albertville — another start town of the Tour De France — and follow the roads of the pro riders over the Col de Saisie and Aravis. A jump in the lake to cool off ends our day before a dinner out tonight!
Approximate distance 133km; elevation gain 2918m
Your final day of riding, and another day of no packing! We ride away from the lake this morning over the Col de Semnoz, a Tour de France stage finish in 2012 and then descend back down to the lake (perhaps a quick dip will be in order) and follow the shoreline back into Talloires for the first of many celebratory drinks before we head back to the hotel for our final dinner together.
Approximate distance 85km; elevation gain 2200m
After breakfast and an exchange of emails with your new friends, we say our “au’revoirs!” and hope you go home with a lifetime of memories!
Not all cycle vacations are the same. Compare what is included in a French Cycling Holidays sports tour:
We try to include as much as we can within the price, while keeping things as flexible as possible. With the explosion of low cost airlines and the easy access to the TGV rail system from the UK, we believe that it is more economical and convenient for customers to arrange their own travel to the region. Links to the airlines and railway companies can be found in frequently asked questions.
We provide the transfers to and from the local airports and the nearest TGV stations, and other locations by arrangement. If you have driven down, we arrange secure parking for your car and return you to it after the tour.
We stay in very comfortable hotels, mostly 3*, occasionally 4*, and very occasionally superior 2* hotels which we choose if they have charm and comfort above their rating. All rooms have en-suite shower or bath facilities.
We select our hotels for their character as well as their facilities, and avoid chains in favour of independent privately run hotels.
Prices are based on two sharing in twin or double rooms. Singles are available on request. Where possible, we choose hotels with swimming pools as there is nothing quite like a dip after a day in the saddle!
It is sometimes necessary to change accommodation for reasons of room availability, minor adjustments to the route or upgrading the hotels. We will always endeavour to use hotels of an equal or higher level of comfort/facilities to those shown – please contact us to check for the most up-to-date information regarding your particular tour.
All evening meals are included, and we carefully select the restaurants for cuisine and ambience, and favour those with a strong regional flavour.
All meals include a starter, main course and dessert, some will have an additional cheese course. We are happy to arrange for our restaurants to cater for specific dietary requirements and allergies etc. On sports tours we try to make sure that the meals are suitable for a challenging week of cycling!
We do not include lunch, as the costing of these is beyond our control, but where route and weather allow we organise picnics; these feature copious salads, cold meats, cheeses, crusty bread, fruits, etc, and a choice of drinks; we ask for a contribution for the costs of the consumables, which usually works out at 8 or 9 euros per person per picnic. Where route or weather does not allow a picnic, we recommend suitable cafés and bistros.
Many people prefer to bring their own bikes for sports tours; however, if you would prefer to rent a bike locally, we can provide quality carbon fibre framed road bikes at a reasonable cost. If you are bringing your own bike, we will carry your bike case with us during the week, or arrange for it to be taken to the final hotel and stored.
There will be two guides on every tour; one cycling with the group and one in the minibus which will follow the group. The bus carries all luggage not required for the day's ride and will always be available for anyone at any point during the day. If for instance you want to take a day off the bike, or if a particular day seems a little hard, the bus will take you for as long or as little as you wish it to.
Everybody is provided with detailed route maps for each day, and both guides are easily contactable by mobile phone. The guides are enthusiastic experts on the local area and will be able to sort out any problems or special requests that you might have.
The 3* Beauregard’s most obvious attraction jumps out at you – the stunning location! With lawns running down to Lake Annecy and the majestic mountains of the Aravis massif opposite, you would never tire of the views. With a respected restaurant ‘La Boussole’ serving delicious local produce in this fabulous location, you’ll be well set up for the challenges of the week ahead!
A hotel since 1866, the 3* Saint-Georges has been a firm favourite with sporting cyclists – we have been staying here for 12 years! Martine, the owner, has been extending her warm welcome to cyclists for decades, and as a result the facilities for storing and maintaining bikes is second-to-none.
The luxurious 4* Grand Hotel features a well-appointed spa as well as an outdoor and an indoor swimming pool – so if your limbs are aching after a few days of cycling, book yourself in for a sauna and a massage! The gourmet restaurant is a real treat after a post ride beer in the piano bar!
Below we answer all the most common questions that you might ask before choosing a French Cycling Holidays cycling tour. If you have any further questions then please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.
Anybody who is reasonably active should be able to take part and enjoy our cycling tours in France.
The tours have different levels of physical exertion — whilst the Loire Valley tours and Bordeaux tour are easy going; the Normandy, Provence Roman Heritage, and Burgundy tours are a little more strenuous, whilst the Provence Lubéron, Dordogne and Languedoc tours require a reasonable level of fitness.
For nearly all of our cycling tours an e-bike - electrically assisted bicycle - is an extra-cost option. These bikes apply a 'multiplier' to the level of input provided by the rider, the level of assistance can be adjusted for the terrain. This can be useful if there are members of your party who have very different levels of bike-fitness and experience, as hills that look daunting suddenly become easy with an e-bike. Contact us via the contact page if you would like more details.
The Sports tours are aimed at enthusiast cyclists who might want to bring their own road bikes. However, the rides are not races and there is no time limit - and there is always the minibus if things get too tough!
We would nevertheless recommend that anyone who has not taken any regular exercise for some time consult their doctor before considering any activity-based holiday. Bear in mind that a little regular riding before coming on a cycling vacation will always be a benefit to the experience.
We pick up and drop off from the nearest TGV/railway stations to the start of each tour. (We may be able to drop at a nearer airport or station by arrangement if more convenient for you and logistically possible). This gives everyone the option of making their way by the most economical or convenient means. The major options are:
Ryanair flies into the following airports:
Nimes (for the Provence tours and Languedoc tours; Ryanair also fly out of Beziers and Montpellier for the Languedoc tour); Bergerac (for the Bordeaux tour), Dinard for the Normandy tour, Grenoble for Alpine trips and Pau (for the Classic Cols tour)
Ryanair operates out of Liverpool, London Stansted and London Luton Airports amongst others.
Easyjet flies into Montpellier (for the Provence tours) and out of Bordeaux (for the Bordeaux tour); it flys into Geneva and Lyon for Alpine tours and also out of Nice for the Alpine Raid.
British Airways prices can be reasonable if booked in advance — BA fly into Bordeaux for train transfers to Bergerac (Bordeaux tour), and Marseilles (Provence tours).
If we do not pick up from the airport itself, we will advise on rail connections from the airport to our pick-up points.
The TGV can be an exceptionally quick way of reaching many French destinations from the UK and from Paris for those flying from overseas or UK regions.
The Eurostar SNCF (French National Railways) TGV websites may be useful. As a guide, London St Pancras to Avignon via TGV takes approximately 6½ hours; Tours takes 4 hours. From Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the point of arrival for most intercontinental flights, Tours is 1½ hours by TGV, Avignon (for Provence) just over 3 hours.
Brive-la-Gaillarde is 4 hours from Paris by rail for the Dordogne tour. We are more than happy to advise on rail options — please contact us. Internet sales from the French SNCF site ( www.voyages-sncf.com sites are possible but are in French; the approved agency for the US and Canada is RailEurope ; however we are happy to advise and help with the French website.
This may be a good choice if your French Cycling Holiday is part of a longer stay. We may be able to arrange parking for your car at or near our first hotel, and return you to your car at the end of the trip. (Note - this service may not be available on certain long-distance tours - please check with us). The major ferry and crossing companies from the UK are Eurotunnel, P&O, Brittany Ferries, LD Lines, Speedferries and SeaFrance.
If it is more convenient for you to hire a car Europcar in our experience has the best rates for rentals where the drop-off is at a different location to the pickup.
However you choose to travel, we are very happy to help you sort out your itinerary.
Pedals are obviously fairly important on a cycling tour! We stock the following kinds:
Flat – i.e. no special cleats or grips, these pedals can be used with any kind of footwear. If you do not regularly use special pedals or cycling shoes, we recommend standard trainers/sneakers to wear while riding.
SPD/flat – we also have pedals with one side flat and one side an SPD cleat. This is the standard Shimano SPD compatible system; two bolts and the small cleat pictured on the shoe with the yellow sole. These cleats are ideal for cycling tours as the cleat is usually recessed into the bottom of the shoe.
Flats with cages – we have a small number of flat pedals with cages & straps – again if you are not used to this, we wouldn’t recommend starting a tour with them!
Other – we do NOT stock any other pedal systems. If you use any other kind of pedal, you are very welcome to bring your own and our guides can fit them to your bike for the week. However, we would advise against racing-style pedals such as the Look Keo, Shimano SPD-SL or similar, as these tend to have a large, protruding cleat on the sole of the shoe which makes walking around visits or lunch stops (or even nipping into a public toilet!) quite uncomfortable and dangerous. Sports tours are a little different as there are much longer days and less off-the-bike walking – a choice is ultimately up to you though!
We are happy for anyone to bring their own bikes. However, the budget airlines charge around £50 each way and packing and carriage can be a hassle. Our Trek bikes are of a high standard, and our customers usually express pleasant surprise at the quality of the machines, so it might be a better option to bring your saddle and/or pedals which we will be very happy to fit. In any case there will always be a backup bike should you have a mechanical problem. Please feel free to call us for advice on bike transportation.
The main thing that people who are not regular distance cyclists worry about is a sore behind. This is not as is popularly thought due to too-hard saddles, but friction between skin and garments. This is why professional cyclists wear skin-tight lycra shorts with padded inserts. Many people feel a bit self-conscious in this sort of gear and your local cycle shop will have a range of padded undershorts which can be worn under normal clothing, or regularly styled shorts with sewn-in padded liners. Otherwise, lightweight comfortable clothing (tee-shirts, shorts, trainers) is ideal, with something warmer like a fleece just in case. As we will be dining well, you might like to take something presentable (but not formal — no-one on a French Cycling Holiday stands on ceremony!) for the evening meal.
As well as being an active holiday, sampling the best that France has to offer, we believe that our trips should be an opportunity to meet people and make new friends. Our groups are limited to a maximum of 16, which is the largest number that we can give a personal service to, and a minimum of 6 people, which we feel is the number needed to achieve a group spirit. If we cannot achieve this number, we may cancel the tour giving a minimum of five weeks notice.
We time our tours so that the weather should be ideal for cycling for each tour. For that reason we have our Provence and Languedoc tours in the late spring and early autumn, rather than in high summer when it can be too hot to cycle comfortably after 10 a.m. The Loire Valley, Dordogne, Bordeaux and Burgundy tours are more temperate, which is why we concentrate these tours in July and August. We cannot guarantee the weather, but it would be very unlucky to have more than one wet day on any of the tours.
There is no specific upper age limit — the only constraint is a reasonable level of fitness. Children between 10 and 16 are welcome as part of family groups. We do not recommend these tours for children under 10.
We require all participants to have travel insurance with full medical cover. It is part of the conditions of our tours that participant should provide evidence of suitable cover. If you have any questions about the cover required please contact us for advice.
In accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992” customers of French Cycling Holidays Limited will be indemnified in respect of their net ascertained financial loss sustained arising from the cancellation or curtailment of the declared trip travel arrangements arising solely from the event of the financial failure of French Cycling Holidays Limited.
This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through Hiscox Insurance Company Limited.