Cycling or mountainbike holiday facing the cobble stones of Paris-Roubaix, the history of the Great War in Flanders, Artois and optional extra day in the Somme!
Enjoy this brilliant cycling holiday where all historical and landscape elements are involved. Including of course also a taste of the high quality beers and food! Depending on the group preferences it’s going to be a mountainbike or road bike tour. In case of road bicycles we may extent daily distances a bit.
3 days or 4 days? A choice to be made
Day 1 = Somme Experience starting in Amiens, Albert or Péronne
Day 2 = Arras – up to Northern France with or without cobble stones
Day 3 = Up to Flanders Fields, with start on the French/Belgian border (lodgings!) up to Ypres
Day 4 = A circle formed tour around Ypres with focus on the battlefields and/or the Hills of Flanders
Option: 1 day in Hell?
If limited in time and you are a fan of cycling classics. Why not choosing this one? We leave cars in Bouvines and pay a visit to the church where in more than 20 stainted windows the Battle of 1214 is evocated! After this medieval introduction we cycle towards Templeuve, where we enter the final part of Paris-Roubaix. 7 cobble stone-zones including Cysoing and Carrefour de l’Arbre are waiting for you. In the end 2 options: still going to the oval of Roubaix or before entering the center (and bigger roads) of Roubaix, we turn back left and will cycle back, mostly on off-road tracks back to Bouvines. Enjoy the water line and some of the Maginot Bunkers of the thirties.
Part 1: 55 KM Location: Day 1 Paris-Roubaix Experience!
Pick-up service at Lille Railway-station and first up to area of Orchies (‘Hell of North’) where we cycle a part of Paris-Roubaix final. Returning back to starting place on superb off-road trails (MTB). In case use of road bikes, we might start a bit further from Roubaix to enlarge distance up to 60 – 70 km. After the Velodrome in Roubaix 2 options: back along asphalted roads to our starting point. Or Velodrome as ‘finish’, which means 70 km of the ‘Hell’-Classic.
On the road you ‘ll hear about the biggest champions in road cycling and their Roubaix-legends. But there is also a remarkable story of the Battle of Bouvines (1214, July 27th). Considered as the birth of the French ‘nation’.
After the cycling tour car/mini-bus transfer to first lodgings: La Howarderie, a rural gite on the Belgian-French border in Ploegsteert. You will sleep close to the river La Lys (or: ‘Leie’).
Part 2: 60 KM Location: Day 2 Battle of the Mining on Messines Ridge & 4th Battle of Ypres on the Kemmelberg
The impressive Plougsteert Memorial of the Missing, then up to the Christmas Truce location, before following the red line of today’s story: the Mining Battle from Messines up to Hill 60. On our way a cosy lunch- & drinking stop in a pittoresque café. A quick look at the nowadays wine culture on the famous Kemmelberg. When legs are good, we climb the legendary cobble stone-Kemmelberg (Ghent-Wevelgem Classic). Facing the Monuments and mass graves as a result of the 4th Battle of Ypres in 1918. Finish in Ypres today, where perhaps tonight (if not tomorrow) we will witness the touching Last Post Ceremony underneath the Menin Gate Memorial at 8.00 pm.
Lodgings in the heart of Ypres where lots of restaurants invite you for a Flemish dinner!
Part 3: 59 KM Location: Day 3 A Great War Tour in Flanders Fields
Ypres or ‘In Flanders Fields’ today offers so much to be visited that we make a circle formed tour. Check our ‘day-program The Great War in Flanders Fields’ to learn about all the possible stops. They form all together a 4 years history that costed 600.000 lives only in this area: ‘We will remember them’.
Depending on the group’s preferences we start at 10.00 am or only at noon. Because you might be interested in visiting the In Flanders Fields Museum between 10.00 hrs and twelve o’clock. In case this choice is made, the cycling tour might be shortened a little bit.
Recommended lunch or drink stop in the ANZAC-café next to Polygoon Wood.
Optional: Battle of Passchendaele Museum, Hooge Crater Museum, Artillery Wood Museum (Hill 62). In case of interest, we talk about this in our daily briefing the night before. One or two Museum-visits may force us to make the cycling part a bit shorter.
Second night in same Ypres-hotel. Dinner in a cosy restaurant with your tour guide?
Part 4: 54 KM Location: Day 4 Up to Notre Dame de la Lorette and Vimy Ridge
We make a car or (mini-) bustransfer tonight. Leaving Ypres in morning up to Lens. In case this is our last day together, luggage need to be taken with us. Because afterwards we bring you back to the railway station in Lille (or airport). In case we still add another 5th day to this program, we will finish in Arras tonight.
Notre Dame de la Lorette is probably the most touching Great War-cemetery and chapel/mausoleum that is dedicated to the victims of the French army. We strongly recommend a visit to the Museum + outdoor trenches nearby. Our day-trip goes further to the biggest Canadian Monument on the Western Front: Vimy Ridge. A short ‘underground’ experience (with Canadian students guiding us – no extra charges) can not be skipped.
If this is our final day: back to Lens where we started the day-trip.
If we have anoter day to cycle together: we continue our day trip towards historical city of Arras. Distance may be 65 km then.
Part 5: 72 KM Location: Day 5 (extention) Arras - 'the Somme'
You have chosen to make a 5 days cycling tour in this program? We go deeper towards the south today. In morning we strongly recommend you to pay a visit to the Carrière Wellington (underground tunnelling constructions). 10.00 open.
In case of the underground visit our bike tour starts only at 11.30 hrs. Up to the battlefields of the Somme, we will face the Newfoundland Memorial, the Ulster Tower, the Thiepval French-British Memorial before arriving in Albert.
Your options in Albert: you go further by yourself (ask us about possible hotel bookings). Or you want to be brought to Lille or another close railway-station.