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    “Riding in the shadows of dramatic glaciers and snow-capped peaks, strolling in the picture perfect old towns and villages, tasting the delicious mountain cheese while relaxing on the shores of alpine lakes, the French Alps have much to offer to its visitors”…

    “Countless mountain passes amongst jaw dropping scenery and quaint villages nestled high in the mountains”

    “Extending from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea in Nice, the French Alps show a diversity of landscapes, traditions and gastronomy, as well as a great variety of cultural and sport activities”…

    “The great mountain passes in the French Alps played a great part in the mountain range’s history, from the Roman era to the Middle-Ages and from the Napoleonic Wars to the heroic Resistance during World War 2″…

    High up in the French Alps, it’s enthralling to imagine the forces that shaped these colossal peaks. The African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided some 35 million years ago, forcing the land skyward into a 1000km chain of saw-edged mountains – perfect motorcycling territory”...

    Key Information

    Start / Finish Location
    Lyon, France
    Countries Visited
    France, Italy & Switzerland
    9 days & 10 nights
    Variable (circa 1300 –2000km)
    Riding Difficulty
    Culture Shock
    Pillion Supplemnt
    Single Room Suppment

    Introduction – The Alps have so much to offer and it’s no wonder motorcyclists return here year after year to what can only be described as some of the best motorcycling and scenery in Europe. To this day Central Europe remains one of our most popular destinations. There are many different highlights in Central Europe but for this tour we are concentrating on the best of the French Alps bordering Italy and Switzerland. There’s a very long list of highlights and they’re simply too long to list. For sure, many will have heard of the popular mountain passes incl. Col del’Iseran, Col d’Izoard, Col de la Bonette, The Vercors Massif, Route des Grand Alps, & Route Napoleon. BUT, there is so much more to this corner of France including dozens of lakes, epic mountain passes that many will not have even heard of, picturesque mountain lakes, glaciers and much more.

    With ‘less is more’ being the basis for this particular tour we indulge in the very best the regions of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur have to offer in terms of motorcycling, scenery, cuisine and local hospitality. With two number ‘two nighters’ in strategic locations it also allows excellent flexibility with optional ride-outs on the ‘rest’ days; there’s also plenty of ‘off the bike’ activities on offer including some gentle river rafting. This is the ultimate French Alps tour and an absolute must do for all motorcyclists. This tour starts and finishes in Lyon – the capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region sitting at the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers; its the perfect gateway to the best motorcycling in France.

    More Information

    Suggested flights 2024

    • Arrive Lyon Sunday 9th June
      • Aer Lingus: depart Dublin 06:15 or 12:55
    • Depart Lyon Wednesday 19th June
      • Aer Lingus departing 10:10
    Day From To
    1 Ireland Lyon
    2 Lyon Villard de Lans
    3 Villard de Lans Forcalquier
    4 Forcalquier Vence
    5 Vence Barcelonnette
    6 Barcelonnette Barcelonnette
    7 Barcelonnette Briancon
    8 Briancon Briancon
    9 Briancon Val D’Isere
    10 Val D’Isere Lyon
    11 Lyon Ireland


    This tour starts and finishes in Lyon, the capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Its center reflects 2,000 years of history from the Roman Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Vieux (Old) Lyon, to the modern Confluence district on Presqu’île peninsula.

    Departing Lyon, our route takes us southeast and into the stunning 206,208 hectare Vercors Regional Nature Park. Rich in natural treasures, the Vercors Park stands out thanks to its diverse, wild and stunning landscapes. Tall limestone cliffs, deep gorges, chasms and caves, high plateaus, green valleys, mountain pastures and forests reflect an exceptional heritage.

    Home to the largest nature reserve in France, the Vercors’s dramatic rockscape and patchwork of rugged valleys are ripe to be explored. Its wild, grandiose and mysterious scenery is characterised by a wealth of natural treasures including deep gorges, caves, abysses, sheer cliffs, high plateaux, lush valleys, mountain meadows, forests and a rich flora and fauna. It is also crossed by some breathtakingly beautiful roads like Les Grands Goulets in the Drôme, and Les Gorges de la Bourne and Le Canyon des Écouges in the Isère.

    The D76 Combe Laval road sustains all the drama of our route so far with a few fireworks of its own thrown in for good measure, including a sensational 4km stretch overhanging a 600m cliff face above the Cholet river. On the way up we pass through woodlands, emerging at a lay-by with an orientation panel, relating the historical importance of the local timber industry. Originally sawn in water-powered mills, the timber was floated down from Port-en-Royans to the Mediterranean via the Isère and Rhône. 15,000 tonnes are still produced annually.

    At around 1000m altitude we catch sight of the first of a series of rock arches announcing the start of the Combe Laval. The curiously-named Col de la Machine (1015m) soon follows, with more fine viewpoints from which to try to take it all in, on the descent to the ruggedly-beautiful Forêt de Lente. As we emerge from the forest, the small family ski resort of Font d’Urle appears to our right – ideal for a lunch break on the terrace of a pleasant café/bar.

    Suitably refreshed, we soon reach the Site National de la Résistance which occupies a commanding position on the Col de la Chau, a wild and beautiful hillside high above Vassieux, and recalling the heroic WWII events which brought the Vercors lasting fame. A few kilometres later down on the valley floor the D76 turns sharp right, past a prominent cemetery in which many of the martyrs of the French Résistance lie buried.

    Travelling further south we cross the Valensole Plateau. Since prehistoric times, men have tried to tame this arid country and shape its landscapes. The Valensole plateau is a good example of the work they have done over the centuries. Farmers have developed lavender and durum wheat crops on a several hundred-meter thick pebble area. From the perched villages, visitors can enjoy one of the most magnificent view in Provence of these golden and blue fields. The influence of the Gallo-Roman civilization is very present on this territory.

    Soon we reach the Verdon Natural Park. Alpine and Mediterranean influences that have allowed the development of a unique and thriving fauna and flora. This territory is home to a third of the French flower varieties and to a rich and diversified fauna. Animals that are less common can be observed with a little patience: little bustard, griffon vulture, ocellated lizard, the largest in Europe, etc. On the water’s edge, holm oaks and kermes oaks are present. They are remnants of an ancient charcoal industry. The Verdon and its impetuous waves have slowly dug a valley. Men gradually settled there, developing agricultural and craft activities. The bubbling waters of the river have been domesticated and almost all freshwater fish species in France now flourish in the lakes (Lac de Sainte-Croix, Lac Castillon, etc.).

    Barcelonnette, France

    Optional ride-outs today to incorporate some more spectacular cols with an option to visit Italy and take in some of the Route des Grandes Alpes; The journey between Lake Geneva and the shores of the Mediterranean embraces the entire French Alps. The winding road crosses spectacular mountain landscapes, and in the valleys you’ll find local cultural features and gastronomic specialities. Whether on 2 wheels or 4, Route des Grandes Alpes is a fabulous mountain road. The 684 km between Thonon-les-Bains and Menton include 16 passes that are among the highest in the Alps. It’s an exceptional natural and cultural environment.

    North in search of some of the greatest Col’s of them all.

    At 2770m, the Col de l’Iseran is the highest paved road in Europe, surrounded by the glaciers of Val d’Isère and the Vanoise National Park. It’s also an epic climb of the Tour de France and the setting for the Chamois Reborn motorcycle hill – climb festival.

    The Col d’Izoard is one of the great Cols of the French Alps. At an elevation of 2.360m above the sea level, it’s a high mountain pass located in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. Few Alpine cols are more mythic than the Izoard. The pass is traversed by the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes. The Col d’Izoard is one of the most famous mountain passes in  history. While it’s rightly famous for the part it has played in Tour de France history, the Giro d’Italia has ascended it several times.

    Please note this is an outline route and may be subject to change. We will be providing a detailed itinerary pre departure.


    • Return transport of your motorcycle from our base in Gorey, Co. Wexford to Lyon, France
    • B&B accommodation in quality 3-4 star hotels.
    • 3 evening meals 
    • Tour guide(s)
    • Detailed route maps / itinerary etc. allowing some self-guiding if preferred.

    Not Included

    • Any travel costs to get to the start and from the finish point for the tour.
    • Personal travel, accident and medical insurance (covering matters such as medical expenses, repatriation, cancellation, curtailment, loss or damage to property)
    • Motorcycle insurance cover, motorcycle breakdown cover or recovery costs
    • Entrance fees to sights and parks, optional local excursions or local activities, (except where stated)
    • Lunches or snacks (except where stated). Any meals whilst on board ferries. Evening meals on rest/optional ride out days.
    • Personal spending money, tips, souvenirs or other extras.
    • Personal documentation (eg visas, passport), vaccinations, personal taxes, border crossing fees, motorcycle documentation
    • Costs of motorcycle repair (parts, labour or other related costs), tyres
    • Fuel, oil & other motorcycle consumables
    • Toll road fees, traffic fines or other charges relating to breach of the law
    • Any other item not specifically included in the price.


    As with all our guided tours we carefully select very good standard 3 or 4* hotels. Over the years we have built up a vast selection of tried and tested hotels around the world and we select hotels for their character and service rather than just on their star rating.  Hotel standards vary all over the world and a 4* in Africa or South America is not always the same as in Europe. In some more remote locations, we may use equivalent 3* hotels or the best available in the area, which could be a more family run establishment, with local character.

    Pre trip we provide you with Tour Specific Information that gives you detailed information about how to prepare and plan your tour, and what to expect when on tour.  These are a few FAQ that many people have. If you have any further queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.

    What bike is suitable to bring?
    Generally speaking we recommend adventure or touring style motorcycles as the most suitable.  However, sports, sport-touring and cruiser motorcycles may also be suitable subject to you being comfortable riding it for the distance and duration of the tour and that it has been properly prepared and adequately serviced with good tyres.

    What riding experience do I need?
    Generally speaking we recommend all participants to be experienced tourers in Europe and/or beyond. Obviously, some destinations are easier than others, as classified by our difficulty ratings, and should you have concerns please do not hesitate to contact us. It is your responsibility to ensure your motorcycling skills are up to the requirements for this tour. Obviously advanced riding skills increase enjoyment factor and reduce risk.

    Do I have to ride in a group?
    No!  We do not make you ride in convoy and we offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride. However, we find most people prefer to ride with the group without the need to navigate. We use either the ‘drop off’ or ‘buddy’ systems when group riding (depending on country and complexity of navigation); these are tried and tested systems of group riding and allow riders to ride at their own pace. Full details are provided at pre-trip briefings. Daily departure times are set every evening for the following morning depending on the days route and points of interest. If you prefer to ride on your own, we provide you with a map and route cards with recommendations for lunch or coffee stops and hotel information. We offer a very flexible approach with an emphasis on maximum enjoyment.

    Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
    Yes. Pillion passengers should be experienced tourers / travellers. 

    What is the average group size?
    Our groups are normally between 8 – 14 riders (some riders will have passengers). Most riders are from the Ireland, but we do also have overseas riders who may take part.

    What documents do I need?
    You will need your original documents as follows: 

    • Passport and Driving Licence.  Passengers only need their passport.  As a general rule, passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the end of the tour; however, this may be shorter in some European countries. 
    • If you are bringing your own motorcycle, you will also need your motorcycle registration document (RF101 / log book) and your motorcycle insurance.
    • In addition, you must have valid travel/medical insurance.
    • Visas as required Please ensure that you are fully aware of all passport and visa requirements and that you allow adequate time to obtain them.

    What will the weather be like?

    Depending on season / time of year we will advise expected weather conditions in the pre-trip information and also suggest the most suitable gear based on our experience. It is imperative that tour participants have suitably adequate gear. Please note our tour calendar is carefully planned taking into account the most suitable seasons / local weather for the destination. However, as much as we would like, we cannot always guarantee the best weather. Particularly considering the un-predictable climates the world has been experiencing.

    What about my health when I am abroad?
    You need to be physically fit and healthy and also take the necessary health precautions.  It is essential for you to consult your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date medical travel information prior of travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Please ensure that you are fully aware of all official travel advice, local customs, current affairs, travel requirements and medical/travel advice. Please check with your GP regarding recommended inoculations. 

    Do I need Travel / Medical Insurance?
    It is a condition of you travelling with us that you are adequately insured.  Your insurance policy must cover you for the costs of any medical expenses, medical treatment or repatriation needed, due to injury or illness on this trip, including those that occur whilst motorcycle touring, either as the rider or a passenger.  It is important that your insurance company understands that the main purpose of your trip is motorcycle touring, using your own large capacity cc motorcycle or a rental motorcycle.  Your insurance must cover you for the full duration of the trip and for all countries we travel through.

    In addition, we strongly recommend that your insurance policy has cover for loss or damage to your personal belongings, delay at your outward or homeward point of departure, personal liability, overseas legal expenses and cancellation and curtailment. We do not refund your deposit simply because you failed to take out insurance in sufficient time. Some travel insurance policies do not cover motorcycle travel over a certain cc or for a prolonged duration.

    Minimum Numbers
    We require a minimum number of 8 riders on this tour.  If we do not have this number of bookings, then we reserve the right to cancel the tour.


    • Overlanders may accept a booking online, via telephone or by email. To confirm a booking a deposit is required – once the deposit is received the booking is confirmed.

    Payments & Fees:

    • A deposit is required at time of booking.
    • Guided tours – 50% required at least 60 days prior to the shipment / travel date.
    • All payments must be made in full at least 30 days prior to the shipment / travel date.

    Cancellation/Amendments/Refund Policy:

    • Please note that all payments and deposits are non refundable nor transferrable if cancellation accrues within one month before the shipment / tour date.
    • Where possible we will try to accommodate any amendments you wish to make.
    • In the event of curtailment no refunds shall be made.
    • Refunds may be processed via the original method of payment, except for cash transactions where refunds will be provided by cheque.

    Preparation for Shipping (if applicable)

    • All rider/pillion gear including boots and helmets should be packed into a kit/sports bag and labelled with the owners name, bike make/model and registration. One kit bag permitted per person.
      • Please note loose items or items tied onto the motorcycle will not be transported.
      • Bin liners, rubbish bags, cardboard boxes etc are not acceptable.
    • Motorcycles should be in a clean and presentable condition both for outbound and return shipments. If your motorcycle is considerably dirty post trip please wash it before returning it.
    • All Luggage (hard and soft panniers) should be left unlocked and removable from the motorcycle if necessary for transport purposes.
    • Alarms should be switched off or in “Ferry” mode for transport purposes.
    • Fuel level should be kept relatively low. All our depots are within a few km of fuel stations.
    • Keys for both the motorcycle and luggage should be left with the motorcycle.
    • At handover we will require a signed customs declaration form and a photocopy of the registration document / log book stapled together. Customs declaration from will be emailed pre-shipment. These should only be handed over in hard copy at time of delivery.
      • Do not email copies in advance.
      • We will not accept original copies of registration documents/log books.