The Ultimate Tour De France Adventure

Expedition: Pyrenees: The Best of the Pyrenees: Raft, Trek, Canyon (6 day)

360 Expeditions

It is Le Grande Boucle. The greatest race in cycling and one of the most-watched sporting events on the planet. It is the yellow jersey. Alpe d’Huez’s 21 hairpins. The Tourmalet’s interminable rise. The crescendo of the Champs-Élysées. Heroic breakaways and blistering, race-changing attacks in the mountains. It is, of course, the Tour de France.

With more than a century of history, the Tour de France is cycling’s most prestigious event. A three-week carnival that travels the length and breadth of its home nation in search of perfect roads, climbs and sprints to test the best riders in the world. Winners are guaranteed a place in the pantheon of cycling greats. But for many other riders, simply making it to the start line will be the high point of a career spent in the service of one of the sport’s superstars.

Which is why we are so excited that our July 2024 Best of the Pyrenees Expedition matches up perfectly with the Tour’s arrival in the Pyrenees and allows us to see this year’s most appetising and appealing stage.

The Tour de France 2024 in brief

The 2024 Tour de France will be the 111th edition and kicks off on the 29th of June with the Grand Depart in Florence, Italy. The race will continue onto Bologna and Turin before entering French territory for the first time on Stage Four. From there, it heads north, circling France in an anti-clockwise direction before entering the Pyrenees for Stage 14 and Stage 15 on the 13th and 14th of July respectively. The first of these two stages will see the riders head from Pau to Pla D’Adet and the second from Loudenville to the Plateau de Beille.

Stage 15 promises to be the toughest of the 2024 Tour. A 198 km mountain odyssey that takes in the Peyresourde, Col de Menté, Col de Portet d’Aspet and Col d’Agnès, before a summit finish on Plateau de Beille. It is being touted as the stage that will determine this year’s winner and the clearest opportunity for contenders to put serious time into their rivals. The roadsides will be packed with crowds, the hairpins awash with passionate fans and the atmosphere electric. It also passes right by our Best of the Pyrenees expedition base.

A sporting experience like no other

Whether or not you follow cycling closely, the opportunity to watch the Tour de France is an exciting proposition. Unlike most sports, all the action occurs on public roads. There are no entry tickets. You can walk or cycle each stage (or parts of it) before the professionals pass by later in the day. It is like being able to enjoy a kickaround at the Camp Nou before Barcelona plays.

The mountains take this to the next level. There is no grander setting than the high mountains. They are a natural amphitheatre, a breathtaking backdrop to the sporting action and the ultimate test for athletes who regularly push right up to (and often beyond) their physical limits. And in the Tour de France, no mountains are more important than the Pyrenees. 

The Pyrenees and the Tour

Though the French Alps are home to many of the Tour’s most famous climbs, it is the Pyrenees where the race-defining action typically occurs. Just the words Tourmalet, Aubisque, Portet d’Aspet, Aspin and Peyresourde bring delight to any cycling fan. These mountain passes have enriched many an edition of the Tour de France and cyclists from around the world make the pilgrimage to grind their way up their leg-burning gradients.

But the Tour’s love affair with the Pyrenees is not built exclusively on the severity of its mountain challenges. There is something special about the Pyrenees. Unlike its natural comparison, the Alps, it has largely avoided extensive ski-resort development and retains a wild and wonderful feel. You still pass through traditional mountain towns on your way up to the cols, and the distinct cultures spread across the mountain range – Basque, Occitan, Catalan, French and Spanish – are very much present and proudly expressed. It is also home to some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world.

360 Best of the Pyrenees Expedition

Our Best of the Pyrenees Expedition is a six-day adventure that encompasses a wide range of activities and showcases some of the Pyrenees’ most iconic locations. Basing ourselves in the picturesque mountain town of Luchon, we will spend the first full day rafting on an exhilarating 52 km journey through beautiful gorges and eye-catching rock formations. Easily the best rafting experience in southern Europe, it concludes with a delicious evening of tapas in the Catalan town of Vielha.

You will spend the second and third full days enjoying the 1,000 Lakes Trek – a stunning adventure through Catalonia’s Parc National d’Aigüestortes i Sant Maurici. One of Europe’s most enjoyable and diverse trekking routes, it takes you through sheer ravines, past tumbling waterfalls, over alpine meadows and beneath some of the region’s highest peaks. The abundant wildlife is remarkable and the lakes themselves are unforgettable. We hope you are ready for some cold water swimming! Accommodation for the night is in the excellent Ventosa refuge.

The final full day of the expedition is an action-packed canyoning adventure in the national park’s magnificent limestone canyon, Viu. A specialist canyoning guide will help us descend through the canyon, jumping into crystal-clear pools, abseiling down narrow cracks and swimming through slender passages. It is a brilliantly fun way to experience the park’s outstanding natural beauty. At the end of the day, we will end up back in Luchon for a celebratory dinner.

Trekking expedition transitions into Tour de France experience

Here, we depart from our traditional itinerary. On the final day of the expedition – one usually reserved for travel – we will catch the Tour de France as it passes by on its way to Plateau de Beille. By organising a late departure from Toulouse airport, you will have plenty of time to watch the race and transfer to the airport for your flight. Alternatively, you could stay on in France for a few days and chase the race to a historic denouement in Nice, the first time the Tour has ever finished outside of Paris.

However you choose to end the trip, we would love to share this incredible experience with you. For cycling fans, this is an opportunity to experience the pinnacle of your sport. For non-cycling fans, this is a chance to immerse yourself in Pyrenean landscapes and culture, of which cycling most certainly forms an integral part. 

To learn more about our Ultimate Tour de France Trek that runs from the 9th to the 14th of July, check out the Best of the Pyrenees expedition page or contact the 360 team directly if you have any questions.


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