You may decide it’s even better! We’ve worked hard to find restaurants that will give you a sense of both the quality and variety of cuisine that has given France such a special reputation. On our Provencal trip, one of our favorite restaurants is L’Olivier https://www.restaurant-olivier.com/, specializing in fresh regional ingredients. People who have traveled with us, as well as with companies such as Butterfield & Robinson, which charge about 3 times as much as we do, have told us they like the dinners on our trips better than what they got on the more expensive vacations.
Most expenses are included in the price. Here’s what you should budget for: Lunches. We include two picnic lunches on most bike trips. It’ll cost 20-50 euros a week, depending whether you go to cafes (typically about 10 euros for a good lunch) or buy things like quiches and fruit from a small shop and have a picnic (which can run as little as 3-5 euros a day). Dinners. On a typical 7-day trip, all but 2 dinners are included. These two evenings offer a chance to get out on your own. You can have a great dinner in France for 20-35 euros plus beverages. Those who want to splurge can pay twice that. Admissions. On most of our trips, about 30-50 euros will be enough to get you into all the castles, museums, abbeys, and other places you want to visit. For Valley of the Kings, admissions will cost about 5-10 euros at each chateau. There are often two or three chateaux on a given day. Some people like to see them all; others find that one a day is about right. Misc. Other expenses that are common, but obviously not necessary, are: camera supplies, snacks, pastries (which may seem quite necessary after you’ve looked in the shop window!), before- and after-dinner drinks, souvenirs, and art (we’ve had people buy and ship home some great stuff). So, the quick answer to your question is: You can keep your extra expenses under 150-200 euros for the week, if you wish, without feeling that you’re missing anything. If you can budget about 250 euros, you’re in great shape. Anything over that, and you’re eating entirely too much pastry.
Paris, naturally, is the first stop that most people add when coming to Europe for one of our trips. We suggest you plan a Paris stay for after your biking week, rather than before. Chances are, others from the trip will do the same, and you can spend more time together.
No. Most people who travel abroad with us don’t speak the language. But if you do know a little French, we urge you to brush up on it; you’ll enjoy the trip more.
Won’t I get tired of just biking? You won’t. The location for each of our bike trips was chosen because of its varied appeal. Cycling is a great vehicle for doing that. Unless you take one of our longer route options, you’ll rarely spend more than 3 or 4 hours on the saddle in a day. Interspersed with your bike ride might be an hour exploring a picturesque town; a leisurely picnic in a riverside park; an hour at a castle; an hour browsing at a street market; half an hour playing boules. Next thing you know, it’s time for a two-hour dinner, then a late walk through the narrow moonlit streets of a medieval town.
You can, if you wish; nearly all seat posts and pedals come in standard sizes, and you can put your seat or pedals onto the bike we supply. Most travelers decide they’d rather pack light, and quickly get accustomed to the seats and pedals on the bikes we supply. Many people, however, have brought light-weight gel seat covers, which go over the existing seat. These take up very little luggage space, and those with limited biking experience often find them more comfortable.