Any tour to France will be highlighted at the very least by gastronomic excellence, as even the fast food outlets seem to add a certain je ne sais quoi to their burger et frites.
Bordeaux, one of the wine wonders of the world has plenty to offer the tour party: The Garonne weaves east from surf rich beaches through its centre to vineyards famed for their prize winning vintages. By contrast it isn’t possible to get more French than in the capital of both France and Romance: Paris, whose highlights are too many to enumerate here.
Safe to say that whether it is floating down the Seine or having your portrait sketched in Montmartre with the magnificent Basilica behind you, your tour experience will be a memorable one.
Perched in the stunning Pyrenees, Andorra makes an excellent choice for those looking to make their sports tour a truly memorable one: with its pretty villages set amongst towering mountains Andorra ensures that even with the cauliflower ears and roman noses of the rugby forwards the team photos will be photogenic.
You will not be surprised to hear that Andorra is one of the smallest countries in the world but despite this it boasts great beauty, history, lots of spas (it has the largest mountain spa in Europe) and.......shopping (TAX-FREE)!
Andorra is becoming increasingly popular for skiing as the beautiful Pyrenees mountain scenery attracts tourists from around the world.
Due to the great skiing conditions, Winter is probably not the best time to head there for a sports tour. Early Spring through Summer and Autumn are great times to visit as the climate is comfortable, making sports even more enjoyable.
Lille is a city in the area of France called Nord-pas-de-Calais and the Lillois have a reputation as one of the friendliest city peoples in France. It has an attractive old town quarter with a strong Flemish accent; three renowned art museums, plenty of fine restaurants and a revitalised commercial centre.
There is an art deco public baths near here that, already an architectural masterpiece has been converted into a temple of the arts, a new space that showcases fine art, applied art and sculpture in a wonderfully watery environment.
The Duke’s Club boasts three bars and three dance floors and if your dance style needs improving then opt for lessons between 9.30 and 11.00pm on Saturday night for just 6e including a drink.
Leer is also close to the Belgian border in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region only 13km from Lille. It is more rurally located and so closer to those country side features that make this such a pleasant destination: forests, rivers, rolling farmland, wild life and the homely affability that gives an extra dimension to more pastoral locations.
Nearby is the finish line of the Paris – Roubaix cycling classic, one of the most prestigious events on the cycling calendar. As a consequence, there is a good response to organised sport in the area and resources to cater for every eventuality. Roubaix is also a village in bloom (ville fleurie).
This 300 mile long peninsular jutting into the English Channel has a very distinctive character. It has a unique language more akin to Welsh than French. It is an area with over 1700 miles of coastline and has perfected the art of leisure since the war. Whether ballooning over the apple orchards or horse trekking along the canals there is always something a little different to do in Brittany, and everything else besides!
Everything about Brittany is distinctive and it would make a fantastic sports tour destination. Its’ weather is clement, rarely getting too hot in summer and seldom snowing in the winter.
Paris has so much to see per square mile it’s difficult to comprehend how there’s time for sport. The ever changing iconic backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe or the gold tipped obelisk that sits in the Place de Concorde will give your team photos a unique quality. The white dome of the Sacre Coeur will signpost you to pavement portraits in Monmartre or spot the twin towers of Notre Dame that inspired Victor Hugo’s hunchback tale and find yourself on the left bank walking in the footsteps of Hemingway, Picasso and too many other luminaries to mention.
The Louvre really needs at least a day or even two to properly absorb its contents, however just walking between its impressive building and the Seine is an activity in itself. Boat tours of the Seine are a great way to see this beautiful ‘City of Light’.
The ancient buildings that give this vibrant city its old French character are a backdrop to a cafe culture that brings it right into the modern world. This juxtaposition of old and new makes this city very exciting to visit. Bordeaux is also a centre of excellence in the world of wine and offers tours of its very special vineyards. The region is most famous for its reds with its sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon topping the bill. Tasting sessions in the wine shops of St. Emilion to the east of Bordeaux will give you both a glow on your cheek and a bottle to take back.
For the team players between matches there is the surfing beach Lacanau Ocean where a beautiful lake provides opportunities for water sports as well as ocean front for surfing.