Tour de France: Alps & Alpe d'Huez (Non-Cycling)
I have just returned home to Canada from a fabulous Tour de France experience with Custom Getaways: the five-day non-cycling Alps & Alpe d'Huez tour.
This was a VIP tour, with access to the Relais Etape in Bonneville for Stage 10, Espace Iozard in La Rosiere for Stage 11, a private chalet on the Alpe d'Huez for Stage 12, and the Start Village and Team Paddock in Bourg d'Oisans for Stage 13.
This trip was worth every penny.
--- Our guide, Gilles: he was incredibly knowledgeable, personable and took very good care of all of us. Gilles set us up every morning and evening with all of the information we needed and he always had time for our many questions (about Le Tour, the riders, our routes, our host cities, France's history and even his life!)
--- Our Itinerary and Bus Routes: the Custom Getaways itinerary was well planned. The locations of our hotels and the routes we took each day were efficient and smooth. The timing of our departures and arrival each day felt appropriate for the days' activities.
--- Our VIP experience: we were blown away by the access we received with our package. The VIP areas were well-located, premium, beautiful and felt appropriate for the tour cost. We got to meet soooo many riders! And free-flowing beer and rosé while watching Le Tour is always a nice time.
--- Our Driver, Pierre: our delightful bus driver, Pierre, is one of the most talented bus drivers I have ever experienced. And when you're driving up the Alpe d'Huez, you don't want a first timer on your hands!
--- Other Surprise-and-Delights: receiving the Official Roadbook and other official Tour de France merch, being gifted extra caravan swag, and most importantly: getting ON THE PODIUM STAGE for photos at the finish in Alpe d'Huez. Once in a lifetime.
--- First Night Dinner in Chambery: for convenience after a long day of travel for most people, we had our first dinner across the street from our hotel at a restaurant that was totally acceptable, but not an authentic French experience. Easy to change for coming tours.
--- Travelling with Other Groups: on the last two days, we shared a bus with another Custom Getaways group. We were happy to be with them - but they weren't a part of the VIP experience and it made for very awkward bus announcements. It left our group feeling icky and sad that they couldn't be a part of it with us!
--- Custom Getaways T-Shirt: we were gifted a Custom Getaways t-shirt which was a lovely gesture. The only problem was that it was a heavy cotton material in dark navy. In 30+ degree heat on the side of the Alps, it was just too hot to wear!
Vince and Angie, the owners of Custom Getaways, are lovely human beings. They are in France for the entire Tour, ensuring that their guests are being taken care of. The first question Vince asked when I met him was "What can we be doing better?" They really care.
If you do choose Custom Getaways for your cycling adventure, I know you will have an incredible time. I've attended many major sporting events in my life and this one was one of the highlights, thanks to Custom Getaways.
Allez and vive Le Tour de France!