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Advice needed- travelling to Mt Ventoux

Coppi meCoppi me Posts: 59
edited August 2014 in Road beginners
Hello everyone
I'm new to the site (pointed here after watching Boris v Ventoux)
As a treat for my 50th me and the Mrs plan to travel to France so I can ride the infamous Ventoux. The plan is to drive to Dover, get the Euro train over and hopefully get another type of euro train to the South and either drive to Bedoin or a nearby town. I don't plan to drive the length of France.

Has anyone here done this trip before and can offer any help?

I'm riding a Coppi Lombardia with a compact and a 32/11 cassette

cheers

Posts

  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Eurostar to Paris, across to the Gare-du-Sud, then TGV to Avignon and hire car from there - stay in Carpentras?
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Monty Dog.........cheers for the reply. I haven't really looked into it that far yet, its a dream that WILL happen though. I have to look at my leave in work to see when I can get over and work around this years TDF dates
    An old neighbour took his car and got a train to about 30 miles outside Bedoin then drove there on the day and rode up the Ventoux. I'd like this way but I'm open minded

    Gare-du-Sud, do you stay on the Eurostar to get there or what?



    then TGV to Avignon ........can I drive a car on board like the Eurostar?


    and hire car from there.......rates/is insurance included/who do you recommend?

    - stay in Carpentras?.........is this a place or a hotel/have you or anyone you know stayed here/can you recommend?


    cheers
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    What about catching the European Bike Express? It's a luxury coach with trailer to carry bikes safely. It picks up at various points along the M1 from Middlesborough, round London and then Dover. It drops off at Orange (handy for Ventoux) at about 6.30am the following day. You could hire a car from Orange.

    I've used this bus for about 20 years - a hassle-free way of getting your bike to the south of France.
  • bondurantbondurant Posts: 842
    Coppi me wrote:
    Monty Dog.........cheers for the reply. I haven't really looked into it that far yet, its a dream that WILL happen though. I have to look at my leave in work to see when I can get over and work around this years TDF dates
    An old neighbour took his car and got a train to about 30 miles outside Bedoin then drove there on the day and rode up the Ventoux. I'd like this way but I'm open minded

    Gare-du-Sud, do you stay on the Eurostar to get there or what?



    then TGV to Avignon ........can I drive a car on board like the Eurostar?


    and hire car from there.......rates/is insurance included/who do you recommend?

    - stay in Carpentras?.........is this a place or a hotel/have you or anyone you know stayed here/can you recommend?


    cheers

    Why don't you just get the Eurostar to Paris with your bike then hire a car when you get to Avignon? The Eurotunnel shuttle only goes to Calais. To get your car on a train after that you'd have to travel to Paris then get a (very limited) Motorail service from what I can see. All the big car hire companies are in Avignon:
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=avignon+car+hire+from+train+station&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari
  • bucksbucks Posts: 91
    when i did it a few years ago, i just flew to marseille with my bikebox and then rented and drove the 150 something km. wasn't very expensive and was pain free.

    french rail is very efficient, but having to drive to london to board the eurostar, get metro to gare-du-sud and then the train and then drive, would just annoy me, since I hate travelling in general.
  • Why don't you just drive to Bedoin? I don't understand all this car + train palaver if you do have a car and want to carry your bike.
    If it's too far for you, break the journey it in two days. Reims is not a bad place to spend the night and try the local version of Lambrini... train + bike is a right pain as you're not travelling on the same Eurostar as the bike
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    The drive down to Provence is fairly painless - but it does take a day to drive it which can leave you a bit knackered for riding straight away.
    I did look at trains to various parts of France - but all the ones I found were quite pricey for two ppl compared with taking the car. Then if you factor car hire in as well it just wasn't worth it.

    It may be cheaper to fly & rent if you really don't want to take your car - but it depends what the overall goals are.
  • rphertsrpherts Posts: 207
    I found Carpentras a bit of a dump. Lots of small villages around Ventoux - Beaumes-de-Venise is nice.
  • rphertsrpherts Posts: 207
    Why don't you just drive to Bedoin? I don't understand all this car + train palaver if you do have a car and want to carry your bike.
    If it's too far for you, break the journey it in two days. Reims is not a bad place to spend the night and try the local version of Lambrini... train + bike is a right pain as you're not travelling on the same Eurostar as the bike

    Yes, Eurostar recently changed their policy on bikes. Swine.
  • rphertsrpherts Posts: 207
    bucks wrote:
    when i did it a few years ago, i just flew to marseille with my bikebox and then rented and drove the 150 something km. wasn't very expensive and was pain free.

    french rail is very efficient, but having to drive to london to board the eurostar, get metro to gare-du-sud and then the train and then drive, would just annoy me, since I hate travelling in general.

    You can get Eurostar to Lille and change there for a direct train to Vallence/Avignon, but Eurostar's policy on bikes has changed and now the bike either has to travel in a separate coach or a separate train, not sure which. Good luck on ever seeing it again.
  • rpherts wrote:
    bucks wrote:
    when i did it a few years ago, i just flew to marseille with my bikebox and then rented and drove the 150 something km. wasn't very expensive and was pain free.

    french rail is very efficient, but having to drive to london to board the eurostar, get metro to gare-du-sud and then the train and then drive, would just annoy me, since I hate travelling in general.

    You can get Eurostar to Lille and change there for a direct train to Vallence/Avignon, but Eurostar's policy on bikes has changed and now the bike either has to travel in a separate coach or a separate train, not sure which. Good luck on ever seeing it again.

    It has changed a long time ago... it was already like that in 2009
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,155
    I think the most recent change was to restrict the size of hand luggage, such that the Alan Bike Box or similar is now too big to take that way.

    I'd say fly to Lyon then drive down. EasyJet, but then I loathe Ryanair (who may or may not be flying to Marseille, depending on how they feel about the French!).
  • some good points here, cheers
    I'd better express myself better.......an old neighbour done it the way I mentioned so I'm hoping I can bump into him again to pick his brains

    the idea is me and the Mrs to go over for a few days and have a break with me getting to ride the Ventoux.
    he drove from Liverpool to Dover, bike in rear of car, his Mrs in the front. Then got a similar type train (drove car onboard, had scran and slept) and arrived about 30 miles outside Bedoin fresh as a daisy. Drove to the Ventoux got bike out and rode the mountain, stayed a few days done more riding and reversed the trip back

    the drive from Liverpool to Dover will be enough for me, I'm not driving down France......end of. If anyone can shed any light on how I want to do it then please feel free to advise.

    cheers everyone
  • Coppi me wrote:
    some good points here, cheers
    I'd better express myself better.......an old neighbour done it the way I mentioned so I'm hoping I can bump into him again to pick his brains

    the idea is me and the Mrs to go over for a few days and have a break with me getting to ride the Ventoux.
    he drove from Liverpool to Dover, bike in rear of car, his Mrs in the front. Then got a similar type train (drove car onboard, had scran and slept) and arrived about 30 miles outside Bedoin fresh as a daisy. Drove to the Ventoux got bike out and rode the mountain, stayed a few days done more riding and reversed the trip back

    the drive from Liverpool to Dover will be enough for me, I'm not driving down France......end of. If anyone can shed any light on how I want to do it then please feel free to advise.

    cheers everyone

    I am not aware of such train. From Dover (actually Folkestone) you can take the Euro Tunnel... load the car on the train, but you go as far as Calais, then you need to drive. There is no such thing as a train that takes you all the way to Provence.
    Driving in France is a hell of a lot more relaxing than in the UK. The traffic on the A 26/A4 is pretty much inexistent. From Liverpool you have to do it in two days and Reims is nice enough to spend the night. The Cathedral is majestic, and the local bubbly isn't bad either.
    Personally I hate the Euro tunnel and rather spend a couple of pleasant hours on the ferry, having breakfast or lunch in the brasserie overlooking the sea.

    In essence, I don't think your plan is feasible and if you don't want to drive, get a bike box, fly to the nearest airport and rent a car there
  • pdstsppdstsp Posts: 1,264
    I drove to the Ventoux a few years ago from Liverpool - set off early (3ish am) arrived Carpentras 6ish that evening. There were two of us driving so that helped but easy enough to do. To be honest it's not that much more of a hassle than waiting around at airport, flying, sorting out hire car and then driving from Lyon/Nice/Marseilles airport.

    As ugo says there are plenty of nice places to stop on way down if you want to take it easy.

    Motorail - if it still exists - used to be very expensive too.

    Drive or fly is my advice.
  • pdstsp wrote:
    Motorail - if it still exists - used to be very expensive too.

    It no longer exists in the UK... very limited in France and nothing from Calais
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    I'm sure the OP's neighbour was talking about the Motorail service, which I believe ended from UK some years ago. My wife and I used it in the late 80s, just with bikes, no car, to get from Dover to the Dordogne the next morning. A great way to get a reasonable night's sleep while travelling. They even had a buffet breakfast laid out for us on a platform.

    The nearest alternative, as I suggested earlier, is European Bike Express. Much less logistical hassle than flying or train, although overnight on a coach is gruelling.
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    I flew to Paris and cycled the rest of the way - does that count?? ;)
  • pdstsppdstsp Posts: 1,264
    Mercia Man wrote:
    I'm sure the OP's neighbour was talking about the Motorail service, which I believe ended from UK some years ago. My wife and I used it in the late 80s, just with bikes, no car, to get from Dover to the Dordogne the next morning. A great way to get a reasonable night's sleep while travelling. They even had a buffet breakfast laid out for us on a platform.

    The nearest alternative, as I suggested earlier, is European Bike Express. Much less logistical hassle than flying or train, although overnight on a coach is gruelling.

    Bike Express is only gruelling if you don't take enough Cotes de Rhone on board with you. :D

    Also - you need to look carefully at the timetable as, if I remember correctly, they alternate the Med and Atlantic service these days. However if the timetable works the bike bus gets my vote too.
  • I detest that drive down to Folkestone/Calais and then you have the risk of French strikes/crashes on M25/Tunnel fires etc. etc. No thanks!

    How about driving across to Hull and getting the overnight ferry to Belgium? It's not that cheap, but is like a mini-cruise and is an excellent service. You'll arrived refreshed and ready for the pleasant drive down to Provence.

    You could also drive to Paris and put your car on the "Autotrain" to Avignon. You have to travel separately on a TGV. It's not as expensive as it sounds and is probably cheaper than paying for fuel and tolls (depending on your car).

    http://autotrain.voyages-sncf.com/dynam ... rol.action
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  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Why not just fly down and hire a car and then hire a bike in Bedoin? Very easy to do. See my post on this thread:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40003&t=12977385&hilit=Ventoux
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  • Coppi meCoppi me Posts: 59
    cheers tomo, just read your other post with interest. do you know which is the nearest airport to Bedoin, I'm hearing little airports in the UK fly to little airports in France, I'd like to go direct from Liverpool, where did you hire the car from or was the bike at the airport awaiting you?
  • BeaveBeave Posts: 31
    Me and the missus are driving down there in a couple of weeks time for a weeks holiday , its around 10 hours driving the other side of the water to Malaucene so no big issue . We are hiring bikes when we are down there to save the hassle of dragging them down on the back of the car .
    We are going down on the Friday to break the trip up a bit and not ruin the first days holiday by being knackered but im doing the whole trip back in one on the way home .

    We looked at flying down to Marseille , hiring a car and using that for the week but the route has connecting flights from Schiphol airport and the lay off times on the way home for our dates was over 10 hours , it worked out quicker to drive and have a bit of a road trip instead . I did have the idea of going to the "Dam" for a while when waiting for the connecting flight but that little plan was immediately shot down in flames by the OH , I wonder why :?
  • antsmithmkantsmithmk Posts: 717
    I've just come back from 2 weeks in the Alps, similar sort of drive.

    We drove to Dover for a 7am Ferry, stopped in Dijon at an Ibis hotel on the first night, got to Bourg for lunch on Day 2.

    Coming back we had 2 stops... Dijon at a holiday inn express (it had a pool and it was lovely!) Then we stopped again in Reims at a cheap motel... Not that nice as the holiday inn was very swish! Last day was Reims to Calais (2 hours) and then Dover to home (just over 2 hours).

    I would definately recommend driving. In the Times this Sunday the travel section had a write up of a French version of route 66 to follow from Paris to the South avoiding the tolls etc.
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