Tour de France: Bike Like a Champ

Pavillon de la Reine

With Tour de France competitors recently whizzing through Provence and on to Paris, France is undoubtedly the European destination for cyclists.

Pedaling in the shoes of those wiry gods may seem daunting to us mere mortals, but we can’t deny that watching them slog up hill and down dale is a sight to behold!

Here are some options for those wishing to get up close and personal with the Tour de France, no training necessary.

Provence

A trip to the summit of Mount Ventoux is a must. Considered one of the toughest climbs of the Tour de France, it is only included in the route every two years. This year, the cyclists catch a break and bypass the mountain but fans won’t miss out as the route doesn’t deviate too much, with the Sisteron – Bourg-les-Valences leg passing nearby.

Where to stay:

Hotel Crillon Le Brave, Provence

Hotel Crillon Le Brave

Overlooking vineyards and olive groves, this refined-rustic hotel offers expansive views of Mount Ventoux and is only a 90 minute drive from the Start and Finish lines of the Sisteron – Bourg-les-Valences leg. The five star 32-bedroom property consists of seven beautifully restored stone houses, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, that are linked by bridges, cobblestone walkways and hidden courtyards.  A mini-spa, heated swimming pool, authentic cuisine and nearby tennis court round out the hotel’s amenities.

Ø  Cycling enthusiast bonus: Guests can embark on their own excursion through the historic village with the hotel’s complimentary bicycles. BYO yellow t-shirt.

Paris

The Champs Elysees is a world-class finish line in so many ways… Not only will Tour de Francers finally see the last of the checkered flags here, but it is of course the be-all and end-all when it comes to shopping and dining in the highest of style!

Where to stay:

Pavillon de la Reine

The recently renovated ivy-clad 54-room hotel was originally built in the 1600s as part of the Place Royal by King Henry IV. Discreetly luxurious, Pavillon de la Reine is the only hotel on the historic Place des Vosgesin the Marais district.  The interiors are a brilliant combination of antiques and sleek contemporary design – cozy but stylish; sophisticated but comfortable.

Ø  Cycling enthusiast bonus: The hotel’s unparelled concierge service can arrange cycling tours around Paris.

Pavillon des Lettres (website launching this month)

Opening this fall, the boutique luxury hotel combines arts, literature and fine design. Each of the 26 rooms represent a letter of the alphabet and an international writer corresponding to that letter. Think H for Hugo and B for Balzac. Text from the corresponding author’s book will be painted above the bed and a hard copy of the book can be found on the nightstand, next tot the Ipad which will be loaded with international bestsellers.

Ø  Cycling enthusiast bonus: Located in the 8th arrondissement, the hotel is only 10 minutes away from the Tour de France finish line.

St. Tropez

The mountain passes, the peloton crashes and yellow lycra galore… Oh la la! For those who had enough of the crowds, why not skip the hubbub of the Paris finish line and head south for some R&R instead.

Where to stay:

La Reserve Ramatuelle, St. Tropez

La Réserve Ramatuelle

The spa at La Réserve Ramatuelle – a hillside retreat outside of St. Tropez – offers the ultimate in relaxation. Sometimes the rigor of being a sports enthusiast can be almost as draining as the real thing, so rinse off under a divine jet shower and try a revitalizing La Réserve massage, or a soothing body wrap to recover from the sideline stress. After a day in the spa, watch the sun set over the sea while enjoying a plate of delicious, diet-friendly, Mediterranean cuisine.

Ø  Cycling enthusiast bonus: Return home looking like you might have cycled the race yourself after completing La Réserve’s Six Day Program, which focuses on weightloss, sculpting, and revitalizing the body through spa treatments and light activity, such as yoga. Or, guests can choose from a menu of à la carte Crème de la Mer beauty treatments.

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