Following its first season in 2019, cycling guest house Escape To The Pyrenees has announced its expanded calendar of fully supported and guided tours for 2020.
Four tours are offered in the year ahead:
- Tour de France week – see the race live and ride the stages
- Giants of the Pyrenees – the most spectacular and challenging experience
- Meet the Mountains – an introduction to the big climbs
- Peak Gravel – the ultimate off-road adventure
Located in the heart of the mountain range, Escape To The Pyrenees is billed as ‘the perfect base to discover this area’s incredible riding.’ Celebrated climbs such as the Col du Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden, Hautacam, Col du Soulor, Col d’Aubisque, Col d’Aspin, Horquette d’Ancizan, are close to the guest house and within easy riding distance from the door.
The Escape To The Pyrenees team adds that there are many lesser known climbs to discover, too. ‘Lac de Cap-de-Long, for example, is one of the most spectacular and rewarding ascents anywhere, so there’s every reason to return and explore further.’
Away from the roads, the gravel riding is a hidden gem of the Pyrenees. The trails run uninterrupted for hours and are often much higher than the roads and on even more challenging gradients.
All of the firm’s tours are built around guided riding in a group of no more than eight, with a support vehicle carrying food, drink, extra clothing and spare wheels. Tours are fully catered, including a large breakfast with many options, homemade ride snacks and lunch on the road, homemade cake post-ride, and a three-course dinner each night. Food is important at Escape To The Pyrenees and a big part of the overall experience.
Tours also include airport transfers (Lourdes, Pau, Toulouse), use of a secure garage and tools, kit laundry, and any mechanical assistance that may be necessary. Bike rental and sports massages can be arranged with local providers.
New for 2020 are shorter versions of the Meet the Mountains and Giants of the Pyrenees tours. These trips offer four complete riding days, instead of six, with a day each end for travel. Depending on flights selected, it’s often possible to ride on travel days, too.
Cyclists are also welcome to stay for self-guided holidays and enjoy the same home cooking, including homemade ride snacks and post-ride cakes.
Tours are priced at €1375 for six days’ riding, or €925 for the 4-day versions. Self-guided trips are priced at €110 per person per night.
- 29 Jun – 6 Jul – Tour de France Week (Mon-Mon)
- 11-18 Jul – Peak Gravel
- 1 Aug – 8 Aug – Giants of the Pyrenees
- 10-15 Aug – Meet the Mountains (4 days’ riding)
- 22-29 Aug – Peak Gravel
- 31 Aug – 5 Aug – Giants of the Pyrenees (4 days’ riding)
- 19-26 Sep – Peak Gravel
Escape To The Pyrenees is an independent, catered guest house in Villelongue, near Lourdes, in the High Pyrenees of France, offering guided and supported cycling tours as well as self-guided holidays. The business was founded and is run by Kitt Blackman and Jamie Wilkins, originally from Wiltshire, UK. In November 2018, after a year’s planning, they took the leap, left their families and jobs, and moved to France to chase a dream. The business opened in summer 2019.
Escape To The Pyrenees also offers tailored autism-friendly holidays, ‘creating a calm and private haven in a beautiful location, with the benefit of full-board catering to ensure the whole family can enjoy a break.’
Kitt Blackman said “Our first season was so much fun. While it might sound corny, we genuinely felt like everyone left having become our friends. We’re really looking forward to this summer.”
Jamie Wilkins added, “It was such a pleasure to share the mountains with our guests through our first summer, and to see them have the most amazing time. There’s nothing better than when guests arrive back at the house and exclaim ‘That was epic!’ That’s why we do this.”