11 days cycling. 1 rest day. 1611km

If you like climbing, this is for you. From well-known ski stations to unknown parts of the Vosges, here are 11 stages of magical climbs and painful gradients that will challenge and reward.

Your first stage takes you through another world of quiet roads and wondrous scenery; your second sees you cycling into the vineyard-filled Beaujolais region. From there it’s pretty much non-stop up as the Tour heads relentlessly through the Alps, the Jura and the Vosges mountains.

There are some obvious highlights; the Grand Colombier, Morzine, Courchevel and plenty of views of Mt Blanc before we tick off the Grand Balon d’Alsace and the now-Tour-famous Markstein. But pause for a second and contemplate how many hidden gems and unsung jaw-dropping climbs are waiting for you here too. The bits you haven’t heard of will be as memorable as the bits you’re anticipating.

From the pros’ point of view, these 11 stages are designed for drama when they arrive a week later. As always, challenging yourself on the roads you’ll see next week is a wonderful experience.

Note: Paris friends and family places (cycling and non-cycling) will be available for anyone who’d like partners or friends to join them for the last night in Paris.


Arrival & Departure:

Tue 4th July: Arrive to Clermont Ferrand by 7pm for arrival briefing. A transfer from Lyon (arrive by 2pm) to Clermont Ferrand is included in this Loop.

Mon 17th July: Depart from Paris hotel under own arrangements.

Tuesday 4th July. Arrival day

Arrive to Clermont Ferrand by 7pm for arrival briefing. A transfer from Lyon (arrive by 2pm) to Clermont Ferrand is included in this Loop.

Wednesday 5th July 2023.
Stage 11 – Clermont Ferrand to Moulins – 180km

 The Tour has promised “recurrent leg-breaking climbs” for stage 11 – good good!

So although the route doesn’t pass through any mountains as such, it’s still far from flat. That said, it’s an absolute gem of a stage with super quiet roads, sweeping descents, plenty of visual interest and a lovely finish town.

Expect steep ups and downs as we leave green and spiky volcanic terrain of the Auvergne, and expect a variation on the same theme as the landscape evolves and we find ourselves in a region of quiet farmland and ancient oak forests. We pass through Montluçon (birthplace of 1956 Tour winner Roger Walkowiak and also home to some splendid medieval architecture) to remind ourselves what cities look like… and then, the icing on the cake is a 25km super-fast run in to Moulins which has never before hosted the Tour; expect festivities and excellent street decorations as you reflect on another unexpectedly gorgeous stage.

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Clermont Ferrand hotel
Finish: Moulins hotel

Thursday 6th July 2023.
Stage 12 – Roanne to Belleville-en-Beaujolais – 169km

Today’s ride winds its way through Charolais countryside (as in Charolais cows and Charollais sheep; today’s photos will be animal-heavy) and ends up in beautiful Beaujolais where we’ll be treated to vineyards, wild flowers and views as far as the eye can see. Seeing out from historic Roanne, the climbing begins almost immediately – relatively gentle at first but soon the hills get steeper, the climbs get longer, and before you know it, we’re in wine country. Although few of today’s roads will be flat, the big showpiece climbs will be the afternoon triple; 3 climbs, all with gradients of around 6-7% (but sometimes 10-12%) and all on quiet roads with lovely tarmac. The last of the three is the col de la Croix Rosier which is a 7km joy-climb with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside at the top. Your reward for making it up all those climbs is the cruisy descent into the Saône valley, intercepting the “route des vins” a few times and spotting plenty of famous Beaujolais vineyard names as we pass by Julienas, Fleurie & Chiroubles to name but three. Surely this evening you’ve earned your glass of red?

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Transfer to Roanne
Finish: Belleville en Beaujolais hotel

Friday 7th July 2023.
Stage 13 – Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne to Grand Colombier – 138km

This is a Big Name Day but don’t let the excitement (trepidation?) of the Grand Colombier distract you from the beauty of the preceding 120km…

To start with Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne is a charming medieval town, also the Jura are genuinely breath taking mountains and top that off with some of the nicest descents of the Tour. If you cycle this stage, you’re in for a lot of lovely surprises.

Happily, on this stage we get to warm up gently, crossing the Saone valley as the Jura get ever closer. The green meadows and dramatic rocky outcrops lead us to the first (of two) big climb of the day -up onto the Hautville-Lompnes plateau (it’s high – you can ski here), famed since the 1920s for its health-giving fresh air (seriously). A long descent sweeps us down towards Culoz, the starting point for our second (massive) climb. Grand Colombier is always a treat when it appears in the Tour de France – it’s a steep, challenging road (17.4km at 7.1%, but touching 12% in places), with some of the most photogenic hairpins you’ll find anywhere and views out over the Rhône river and Lac Bourget (plus Lac d’Annecy, Lake Geneva, the Alps and even Mt Blanc if you’re lucky). Stunning!

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Belleville en Beaujolais hotel or transfer to Chatillon sur Chalaronne (TBC)
Finish: Transfer to Annemasse

Saturday 8th July 2023.
Stage 14 – Annemasse to Morzine – 152km

This stage packs an almost unbelievable 4,100m of climbing into its relatively short length, with six major cols, and barely a kilometre of flat road. There’ll be views of Lac Léman (that’s Lake Geneva to the anglophones) as we pull away from Annemasse, but we’ll more likely be focused on the climbing ahead starting with the relatively benign Col de Saxel – it’s a gentle ascent through forests and meadows and nice warm-up for what’s to come. Next up is the Col de Cou (7km at 7.4%), quickly followed by the Col du Feu (5.8km at 7.8%) and the relatively trouble-free Col de Jambaz. We then enjoy a long descent, with a scenic balcony section (will you interrupt the descent to top for photos?), down to Mieussy – and then it gets serious, with a 14km ascent of the Col de Ramaz, which claims an average gradient of 7.1%, but definitely has a 12% section in there somewhere. This monster climb takes us up above the treeline, before sending us down into the busy valley of Samoens, where we embark on our final challenge – the 1,691m Col de Joux Plane (11.6km at 8.5%). Some might find it difficult to relish this final ascent because your legs will be weary, but there’s a beautiful lake at the top, a blessed downhill finish into Morzine and the knowledge that you just cycled stage 14 (the Etape du Tour stage) of the actual Tour de France.

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Annemasse hotel
Finish: Morzine hotel

Sunday 9th July 2023.
Stage 15 – Les Gets to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc – 180km

There are some tricky gradients in today’s stage (few of us will enjoy the 17% section during the final climb up to Saint-Gervais for example) but they are amply compensated for by some of the finest scenery the Alps have to offer. We have an easy start, with 30km of downhill or flat before we tuck into the 920m Col des Fleuries, which takes us over the hills to Annecy. Once there we roll alongside the heavenly blue lake for 10km, en route to the first serious climb of the day – the Col de la Forclaz. We have gorgeous views of the lake as we catch our breath at the top, and then it’s onwards (briefly downwards), and upwards over the Col du Marais and the Col de la Croix Fry, lined with pretty wooden chalets that will make you want to park your bike and live here forever. There’s a shallower drag up to Megève from Flumet, and then the real fun begins – a fast descent down to Domancy, and then a really steep climb up towards Saint-Gervais, with the hardest section coming early on, to ensure that, after 4,300m of climbing, your legs really are finished by the time you reach the top. One week later the pros will be here, making history on the exact same climbs and their legs will be finished too!

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Morzine hotel
Finish: St Gervais hotel (3 night stay)

Monday 10th July 2023

Rest Day in Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc

Tuesday 11th July 2023.
Stage 16 –  Passy to Combloux – 22km

 This stage is short but significant and still involves over 650 metres of ascent (which actually ends up being 850 due to our ride starting and finishing at hour hotel – that also adds 15km to the distance). After a meander through the ski town of Sallanches in the shadow of Mont Blanc, it’s a short sharp climb up the Côte de Domancy (just 2.5km but at an average of 9.4%). The road is pretty and winding and the mountain views get better and better. We end the stage in Combloux admiring the jagged horizon that surrounds the town – and then enjoy the short cycle back to our hotel in time for lunch.

Whether you go for it so that you can compare your strava time with the pros next week, or take it easy and chill out in the mountains, it’s a great ride that will definitely feel like a cycling day, not another rest day.

Le Loop Logistics
Start: St Gervais hotel
Finish: St Gervais hotel

Wednesday 12th July 2023.
Stage 17 – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc to Courchevel – 166km

If ever there were a headliner, this is it – more than 5,000 metres of climbing, and Le Loop’s first ascent of the awe-inspiring Col de la Loze. (The Tour went over it for the first time in 2020 when we couldn’t). But before we reach this 2,304m behemoth, we have three other long climbs to enjoy. After a gentle roll past the meadows of Megève (views, views, views), we have the beautiful climb of the Col des Saisies – 13.3km at 5.3% (honestly, 5.3% is quite manageable; you’ll be moving happily rather than griding slowly) – and a descent to the pretty little town of Beaufort. From here it’s a Tour de France classic: the glorious Lac de Roselend, with its iconic waterside chapel, and the road zig-zagging on up the mountain to the 1,968m Cormet. After a rock-and-roll descent down to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, we cruise along the Isère valley for a bit, ascend the Côte de Longfoy, whizz down a ridiculous number of hairpins, and steel ourselves for the big one. Col de la Loze involves almost 30km of ascent, the gradient varies constantly, and there’s a stretch of 24% in the final 5km – but it’s open only to cyclists, the tarmac is perfection, and it’ll be a high point in more ways than one. You’ll be smiling all the way down to Courchevel.

 Le Loop Logistics
Start: St Gervais hotel
Finish: Courchevel hotel

Thursday 13th July 2023.
Stage 18 – Moûtiers to Bourg-en-Bresse – 186km

This stage offers a lot of bang for relatively little buck, as we’ll spend most of it surrounded by spectacular mountains, but we won’t have to ride up them. Instead we roll along the valley from Moûtiers to Albertville, where we skirt the craggy bulk of the Bauges Massif, pass through the historic city of Chambery, and encounter the glistening waters of the Lac du Bourget. (If you were around for Stage 13, this is the one we saw from the top of Grand Colombier.) One of our more significant climbs of the day is the Col du Chat, which will lead us away from the lakeside via a punchy 6km ascent with a 5.9% average gradient, ramping up to 13% at one point, before delivering us into the green and pleasant Jura region. With a bit of climbing to keep our legs nimble, we roll through the crags and high pastures of this lesser-known mountain range, before descending into the Rhône Valley at the end of the day.

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Cycle 15km downhill to Moutiers
Finish: Bourg en Bresse hotel

Friday 14th July 2023.
Stage 19 – Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny – 173km

It is a theme of this year’s Tour that even the flat stages are quite hilly, and this one is no exception. We start riding in the heart of the Jura, and although there are no enormous passes to ride up, there’s still be a mountain feel during the first half of the day as we leave Moirans (the capital of wooden toys!) and skirt the beautiful Lac de Vouglans, France’s third largest reservoir. For the rest of the day we’re out in the countryside, passing more lakes and a fair few hills – as we make our way towards the 8km finishing straight that leads into Poligny, the capital of Comté cheese (the cow tally will increase as the day goes on).

Don’t be fooled into overlooking this stage and what it has to offer. It’s position on stage 19 means the route is designed to encourage attacks and high drama. For us, that means a constant change of pace and gradient – some to enjoy and some that will come as a bit of a shock. And sticking with the Tour influence, this stage is made for the helicopter shots; on the last Friday of the Tour, they’ve pulled out some near-perfect cycling scenery to help us along.

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Transfer to Moirans en Montagne
Finish: Transfer to Belfort

Saturday 15th July 2020.
Stage 20 – Belfort to Le Markstein – 133km

One of the great love stories of cycling seems to be playing out between the Tour de France and the Vosges. In recent years we’ve seen Tadej Pogačar and Annemiek van Vleuten ride to glory in these mountains – now we get to play out our own grand finale, with a swashbuckling 3,600m of ascent, along winding roads, shaded by trees, and opening out to magnificent mountain vistas. First up is the Ballon d’Alsace, (11.5km at 5.3%), which was the Tour’s first official mountain climb back in 1905. The middle section of the stage boasts two categorised climbs, among a total of five cols, as the route meanders through ski areas and past high-altitude lakes. There follows a smooth and scenic descent to Munster, with its Germanic architecture and smelly cheese, and then we’re into the final sequence of climbs. First comes the Petit Ballon (9.3km at 8.1%), with its shady lower slopes which open out 2km from the top for panoramic views across the Rhine valley to Germany. And then the unremitting slopes of the Col du Platzerwasel (7.1km at 8.4%), taking us up to our magnificent finish line at Le Markstein, where the route levels out for the last 3km giving us the opportunity of a victory lap and a few minutes to reflect on what we’ve achieved.

Le Loop Logistics
Start: Belfort hotel
Finish: 5hr transfer (with dinner en route) to St Quentin en Yvelines

Sunday 16th July 2023.
Stage 21 – Paris Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to Paris Champs Élysées – 112km

Time for our lap of honour and the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Paris! But before we live out our maillot jaune fantasies on the sacred cobblestones of the Champs Élysées (one lap only for us – one is enough!), we’ll enjoy a relatively gentle roll in from the suburbs. The national velodrome in St Quentin en Yvelines will be our send-off and approx. 100km later after a photo stop at the Eiffel Tower with friends and family there to cheer us in, Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe will greet us. We stick as closely as possible to the Tour route but may have to change some portions of the stage in order to avoid roads that can be closed for the pros but not for us.

Le Loop Logistics
Start: St Quentin en Yvelines hotel
Finish: Paris hotel

Mon 17th July: Departure day

Depart from Paris hotel under own arrangements.


Stage profiles: All available stage profiles are displayed on our Route page. The Tour de France publish maps and profiles for every stage in June. Until then we have profiles for the mountain stages and the most significant climbs only.


Deposit Second Payment
Due end Jan
Final Payment
Due end Mar
Fundraising Target 80% Fundraising
due end April
£2525 £250 £1265 £1010 £1500 £1200

The price of this Loop is based on a nightly cost of £175 plus supplements of £130 for the Paris party, £30 for the transfer on arrival day from Lyon airport to the Clermont Ferrand hotel, £30 for the Courchevel hotel and £20 per night for the St Gervais hotel (3 nights).


What’s included:
  • Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy in January)
  • All food (3 meals and the best feedstops you’ve ever seen)
  • Fully signed route, the stuff of legend
  • Mechanical, medical and moral support
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Coach transfers to the next stage start when the stages aren’t contiguous
What’s not included:
  • Travel to and from France (but we’ll give you advice on the best travel routes)
  • Bike Transport (£30 each way if you want us to drive your bike there and back)
  • Evening massage (£10 or €10 per massage if you’d like one – highly recommended)
  • Beer/wine/drinks at dinner