Provence-Alpes Tour

AV-32PAT-12.6-CiansfIn 2009, I planned and organized a tour through Provence and the French Alpes. I don’t even want to think about how many hours I spent at the computer, poring over maps and surfing through dozens of websites, trying to come up with one tour that would check the most items off my personal bucket list for the region: lots of the famous cols from the Tour de France, but other, less-well known attractions too…deep gorges and quaint villages… I messed around with what seemed like an endless number of possible routes before finally settling on the one we used. (“We” was me and eight of my Santa Rosa Cycling Club friends.)

In the end, we were on the road for 16 days: 14 stages and two off-the-bike rest days. Over the course of those 14 stages, we accumulated a little over 900 miles and 103,000′ of climbing. It turned out to be an almost perfect trip, except for two days when we were pelted with cold rain. (But hey…it’s the mountains. That comes with the territory.) All my homework paid off. The rouOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtes were all wonderful; the overnights were anywhere from acceptable to fabulous. But lord, what a lot of work I put into planning that trip! It was definitely worth it, because I got to visit all or at least most of the places I had wanted to visit. But the next time I tour in Europe, I think I’ll pay the money and sign up with a good, catered tour company…let someone else do the planning for a change.

I wrote up a fairly good overview of the tour in this column at my site. And a month later, I revisited the tour with more general observations about the experience in this column.

A gallery of the first half of this tour can be found here.

A gallery of the second half of this tour can be found here.