This demanding yet spectacular cycle challenge takes us from lakeside Geneva through the Alps and Provence, following part of the historic Route Napoleon as we head south to the sunny Mediterranean city of Nice. We cycle via the picturesque towns of Annecy and Sisteron as we head through beautiful scenery of towering mountain peaks, spectacular limestone cliffs and gorges, dense forests and lavender fields.
Our 2024 edition offers a unique opportunity.
For the first time in almost 50 years the Tour de France finale will not be held on the iconic Champs-Elysees in Paris, it will instead be held in Nice! and we've scheduled our ride to coincide with this spectacle. Instead of the usual 1 night's accommodation at the end of a ride, we're including 3 nights, which will not only give you the opportunity to see this rare finish to The Tour but also some extra personal time to enjoy more of the French Riviera.
On arrival in Geneva, check in and make time to assemble your bike, and ensure everything is ready. Spend any free time (flight-times dependent) exploring the streets of this cosmopolitan city, or head for the lovely lakeside gardens and famous fountain. We meet in the evening for dinner and a trip briefing before a good night’s rest in preparation for tomorrow’s efforts.
Heading south out of Geneva, a gentle climb on quiet back-roads takes us out of Switzerland into France. Beautiful views of the Alps accompany us almost the entire time today – a very inspiring start! We ride south to the beautiful town of Annecy, a lakeside jewel nestled among mountain peaks. We cycle alongside the shores of crystal-clear Lake Annecy for a few miles before continuing south on an undulating road through the forests and quiet villages of the Massif des Bauges. A steady, gradual ascent through lovely scenery takes us to the Col du Frêne – at 950m, not a high mountain pass, and not a steep climb, but nevertheless our first real encounter with hair-pin bends! We descend via more sweeping bends to Montmélian, a town on the Isère river. Night hotel.
Our day starts in the Isère valley, riding parallel to the river for some time before approaching the historic city of Grenoble. No stranger to the Tour de France, Grenoble has hosted the peloton over 40 times. Situated in a broad valley between mountains, the terrain is flat for many miles, though new views of the surrounding peaks continually open up to us. We climb a gently sloping hill to Roissard, pausing to appreciate the spectacular views of the twists and turns of the lovely Drac river, before continuing through to the village of Mens. A stretch of more rolling road takes us to the shores of the Lac du Sautet; we then have a short climb up into the small town of Corps. Tomorrow we will start riding on the Route Napoleon, a classic stretch of road that traces Napoleon’s route from Elba in 1815, and you can’t fail to notice that Corps is proud of its position on the route – there are references everywhere. Night hotel.
Leaving Corps behind us, we continue our journey south through the southern Alps. Many of the roads we ride on today have featured regularly in the Tour de France over the years. Our morning’s ride takes us predominantly along the scenic, hilly Route Napoleon: look out for the flying-eagle road markers that commemorate the route. Striking out on back roads for a short while, we climb the relatively gentle gradient of the Col de Manse – at 1268m our highest point of the challenge – before reaching the Alpine town of Gap. Continuing south on back-roads, the landscape around us gradually changes to thickly-forested limestone hills and sheer cliffs – spectacular scenery. Entering Provence, we reach the ancient, picturesque town of Sisteron, situated in beautiful scenery on the riverbank between towering mountain ridges. From here it becomes more and more evident that we are leaving the high mountains behind, as we ride east to the lovely old spa town of Digne-les-Bains. Night hotel.
Today is a long day, and a hilly one, but it’s also our last day of cycling so we enjoy every kilometre of beautiful countryside! Setting off from Digne, our day starts on a quiet rolling road which warms us up nicely before the Col de Corobin (1230m), which sees up pedalling uphill for almost 10km. The well-earned descent is wonderful, and you’ll be glad to know it’s steeper than the side we ascended! Rejoining the Route Napoleon, we tackle several more testing climbs and descents as the road winds through stunning hilly scenery, passing the lovely town of Castellane on the river Verdon en route. Taking our leave of our historic companion, the Route Napoleon, we head east on very quiet back-roads through small villages. The landscape is made up of rocky outcrops and ridges, verdant forests and deep blue rivers, and provides a breathtaking backdrop to our final day. We reach the photogenic medieval hilltop town of Gréolières, perched high up in the hills behind the coast, and then we can freewheel almost all the way on quiet roads right to the coast! Our descent takes us through the stunningly beautiful Gorge de Loup, before reaching sea level; we join a lovely flat cycle path for the final section. We finish this long day and our incredible challenge celebrating beside the Mediterranean Sea. Night hotel.
Free time to spend as you wish. The last two stages of the Tour de France both start in Nice, so you are spoilt for choice! It’s an easy cycle into central Nice, or a short train ride. You can also make the most of this stunning location to relax on the beach, wander the Promenade, or explore the city.
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure crew. Our crew are selected for their knowledge and experience, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises; they are also trained in first aid. The crew will have mobile phones and/or radios where appropriate, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary.
The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s transporting your luggage, ensuring your route is clear, making you lunch and sorting out any mechanical problems. Support vehicles are with the group all of the time, and carry all luggage and spares.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.
We usually stay in hotels or lodges of a 2-3* standard or equivalent. Standards may vary between the hotels but they are generally comfortable and convenient for our route. Hotels are often on the outskirts of towns to minimise unnecessary extra mileage and avoid traffic.
Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels convenient to our route. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.
There may be a limited number of single rooms subject to request, on a first-come first-served basis, after you have booked. Extra charges will apply.
Your booking is part of a group challenge and the tour costs and fundraising targets listed on our website are based on a minimum number of participants which is shown on the challenge Our typical London to Paris groups run with approximately 35-40 participants whilst all other Euro cycles run with approximately 15-20, however you may find your group is smaller or larger than this.
We will confirm at least 12 weeks prior to departure that your challenge is guaranteed to run however occasionally it may be possible to still to run the challenge with less than the minimum numbers, subject to a small group supplement. If we think a small group supplement may be necessary, we will discuss this with you as soon as possible, usually 5 months before your departure date.
Minimum numbers and groups sizes may vary on Bespoke Charity challenges. If you are booked onto a bespoke challenge please contact your charity for full details.
We like to support local businesses and will source food locally wherever we can. Lunches will be a mix of restaurants along the route or supplies will be purchased from a local boulangerie, dinners are usually eaten at the hotel. For larger sized groups we may opt to cater the lunches ourselves with a buffet style provision. Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Having said that, despite working very hard with the hotels, it doesn't always translate into what we'd like for you. If this is the case on your trip, please chat to the crew at the time and they will do their best to find a solution. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to cancel your booking, we would ask that you notify us in writing either by post or email. Your cancellation will be considered effective from the date the notice is received. Registration fees and amendment fees are non refundable and, depending on your payment option and how close it is to your challenge departure date, you may be liable for a cancellation charge.
Full details of all cancellation charges may be found in the Terms and Conditions of booking.
We have a Passenger Portal which will give you more details of the challenge itself. It also enables you to see any outstanding information we need, the countdown to your challenge departure, see your outstanding balance, make payments and update your contact details. You can access this via the following link - Passenger Portal Log in.
This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience, fitness and ability as well as all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. If you have concerns about your fitness or if you have reduced mobility please do contact us for a confidential chat about whether this challenge is appropriate for you.
For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. Please ensure you allow plenty of time to apply for your visa; we will provide you will all necessary information 6 weeks prior to depature to assist with your application.
Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, with plenty of information, and we are always available if you need advice.
Travel Insurance is compulsory on all of our challenges outside of the UK; we strongly suggest that you arrange insurance cover as soon as your booking with us is confirmed or as soon as you're able to purchase some and at least 8 months prior to travel. Should you need to cancel prior to departure, you will need insurance to cover the costs involved (registration fee and any trip costs depending on cancellation date).
We all hope never to need it, and thankfully most of the time we don't, but on those rare occassions when you do, you want it to cover you as best it can. Whilst it's a fairly boring admin task relating to your trip of a lifetime it is really important you ensure that you have adequate cover for the type of challenge you are taking part in as well as medical emergencies, evacuation and repatriation, so make sure you're happy with the level of cover. There are lots of suppliers out there, all with very varying levels of cover and generally speaking, you get what you pay for! Get and pay for the right level of cover and then you can go on your adventure not having to worry about the what if's. For more details click here.
Once your travel insurance is arranged, just remember to let us know the policy number and 24hr medical emergency phone number which is provided by your insurers!