" Diagonale Méditerranée "
Paris - Deauville - Saint-Tropez - Paris
Start & finish: Paris - Paris
Duration: 9 days/8 nights -
All terrain Experienced riders
Km per day: Approx. 250 Kms Total km: approx. l,500
Price: From €3,990 (Yamaha 250 WR bike included)
From €2,920 (with self-ride all terrain bike)
All inclusive: Transfer - hotels & breakfasts - restaurants - bilingual guide - Support - Plotting - Transfer + Start Paris - Deauville + Finish Marseille - Paris....
Discover France differently, from length to breadth along tracks and (entirely) small roads. A quick-paced initiation road trip opening up endless horizons. The sheer bliss of riding with breathtaking panoramic vistas.
This is not a technically difficult trip but does require experience in an all terrain bike and excellent physical condition as the pace is "quite" quick.
Crossing an authentic, friendly, secret, welcoming France, far from the conventional tourist routes.
Swimming in 2 different seas, the English Channel and the Mediterranean sea. Wonder which one's the hottest?
Soaking up the morning dew bathed in sunshine, mixed with the smell of hot bread and croissants.
Putting the world to rights with other all terrain enthusiasts from all backgrounds.
Sleeping like a log, worn out but happy.
Feeling like the priviledged few to experience the variety of the climate and vegetation from North to South.
Riding at your own pace and stopping when you want to take photos or chat with the locals...
Paris - Deauville - Bellême
We leave Paris the day before around 6.00 pm and head for Deauville. Dinner to get to know one another ... Presentation of the schedule and the team ... the excitement mounts.
They say that the early bird catches the worm especially when it comes to getting off the beaten track. After a hearty breakfast, we gradually discover the relaxed pace and joyride awaiting us. We start off at Deauville, the famous seaside resort and home to the American film festival. Depending on the season, a refreshing ford reminds us exactly why we signed up for the usual ride in store.
At midday we stop at somewhere typical like la Mère Poularde and make acquaintance, get a few tips and opinions. We cross Normandy taking roads that are often damp due to the local climate. We then head for our evening stopover: Bellême, a haven of peace in our hotel for the evening where a surprise awaits us along with some good food.
Argenton-sur-Creuse – Giat - 230 km
Our journey continues early in the morning. After a bucolic break close to a little stone bridge and a few souvenir photos, it's back in the saddle and the convoy is back on track in every sense of the word, before going back onto a few asphalt stretches and filling our lungs with the fresh air.
In the middle of the day we tuck into a very French meal as only the French know how.
Then it's off for a pleasant ride in the shade of the trees. The local fauna and flora are a delight to the eyes with a few friendly encounters along the way.
How time passes quickly and before we know it, we've arrived at Giat, on the village square.
Dinner beckons and we give in to a healthy fatigue.
Perhaps we'll have an early night.
Bellême – Argenton-sur-Creuse - 375 km ...
We gradually get into the pace of the Diagonale. We have a long day ahead of us riding on a mixture of asphalt and tracks. We go along a few practcable stretches before arriving at a forest area. Time for a break, a chat, followed by a coffee a little bit later in one of the typical villages along the way.
Raring to go again, we head off for the Loire river and its valley. We get our kicks from its historical buildings, lush vegetation, water and fords ... It's about time we had lunch in town and why not on the water front. This region of France is well known for its chateaux as well as its wine. The vineyards line the small roads we travel, sometimes with asphalt, sometimes without.
Southern Touraine, its gentle hills and the nature reserve of Brenne lead us to our evening stopover. We could be staying at the Bouesse chateau hotel, near Argenton sur Creuse where a luxury setting and unforgettable meal await us...
Giat – Saint-Poncy - 220 km ...
Here we are in Auvergne, a land shaped by fire and water. The extinct volcanoes show off their humps amid the many lakes. The names on the signposts sound different and the accent too. Massiac, Saint Flour, Salers...
We're getting close to Clermont Ferrand, following in man's footsteps and the old railroad preciously linking up the valleys and villages.
The Massif Central area showcases its vistas, its nature and dwellings brimming with volcanic charm. We start to climb and our spirits follow. The water is pure here and the mind healthy. It's a real spectable for the eyes but mind you stay on the tracks as the terrain is rugged.
We arrive at the summit of our adventure of the day, slowly but surely and it's about time we took a rest. The simplicity of Saint Poncy is a welcome sight and the meal promises to be a generous one, just like the area.
Saint-Poncy – Saint-Pons - 305 km
Today brings us to St Ponsy and the similar sounding St Pons.
This extensive adventure opens us up to great geological diversity. Going through southern Auvergne and its many nature reserves, the tracks take on a decidely technical aspect, challenging our balance and horizons.
There is a change in the relief and it's a slopey ride... making for great vistas too. We indulge in the spectacle before us amid the mineral environment surrounding us.
The old volancoes fade away and younger mountain ranges appear. Cévennes, followed by Ardèche, close to Avignon and its papal city, we are filled with pride and joy as we near the evening's gîte of la Mère Biquette.
A whole other schedule awaits us.
Saint-Pons – Gréoux-les-Bains -
Yet another long day of riding ahead with close to 300 kilometers to be added to the clocks.
And once again our tires will be put through their paces but we're more than prepared by now!
Being close to Avignon also means we're not far from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. The climate is getting warmer, the vegetation scarcer and the scenery changing by the minute.
Our final destination is getting closer but we take the time to enjoy ourselves at our lunchtime restaurant. After this restorative break, our path takes us to the picture postcard landscape of the South.
We arrive at the spa town of Gréoux les bains. The water in these parts boasts acknowledged virtues, whether for drinking or for the body, we test it just to check...
Then it's off for a rest so we can make the most of this last day...
Gréoux-les-Bains – Saint-Tropez - 170 km
No thermal spa treatment for us today, just a good old dose of riding through the Verdon nature reserve, amid the watchful trees bringing us to the edge of the magnificent Sainte Croix lake and its colour like no other.
We almost forget that we have to leave as the temptation to jump in is hard to resist. Some passages through the water are however on the cards.
Water is the theme of this leg of the journey including when it comes to the meal! La Petite Fontaine and its manager has its usual welcome in store for us before gradually getting back onto the asphalt and becoming tourists again.
We go through Grimaud, Gassin and finally arrive at our destination. Saint-Tropez, its port, village square and gendarmerie (police station), made famous by a series of cult movies in France as well as its café terraces. Life will soon be going back to normal and we swap the saddles of our trusty bikes for an armchair. We intend enjoying the last few hours here and it feels good.