Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour 10 – 18 September 2013

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This is it! The group (just Peter Bugge missing) await the train to Monte Carlo.
Another fantastic tour with a great bunch of people, superb riding and lots of laughs along the way.
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“Once again, thanks very much for such a fantastic tour. The roads were brilliant, the views were stunning and the food was superb. I made a lot of new friends on the tour and hope to catch up with them on future tours…the help that you gave me in getting a new brake lever for my bike was very much appreciated. I still don’t know how you manage to keep running such amazing tours, but I hope you continue to do so for many years to come. It would be nice to think others can have the opportunity to have as much fun as I have had over the years. Absolutely brilliant.”
Ken “Live at the Apollo!” Cullern (8th trip), GSXR 750
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We start the tour in Le Havre with a briefing, followed by breakfast in Honfleur
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“Once again a thoroughly enjoyable, well prepared tour with well-chosen routes, hotels and stop over destinations. Your relentless hard work in preparing and hosting your tours continues to shine through, the proof of which being the numerous times your guests return for more and more enjoyment. Sue and I had a great time busting Monte Carlo, see you next year for a Flaming Rhine!”
Ken (14th trip!) & Sue (10th trip) Wright, Triumph Tiger 1050
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Get to know each other during dinner our first night   –   Always a morning briefing before we set off
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“Monte Carlo or Bust! What an amazing holiday! We enjoyed all of the beautiful hotels in which we stayed which were oozing with French character and in stunning locations. Everything we experienced was well planned with attention to detail. From exciting and varied routes, fuel stops, points of interest and coffee stops. The list is endless. Which gave us a stress-free enjoyable riding holiday. Kath & I have already booked for the Rhine in Flames 2014″
Kath & Chris Adams (4th trip), BMW R1200RT
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Just where is Chris’s hand going?   –   Fabulous views en-route to Aurillac
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“Just what more can we add to the amazing testimonials on the website???? This was our first experience of a Bike Normandy holiday and will certainly not be the last! John & Jen – you are the most brilliant hosts and go way above anything that is expected of you. We totally felt at home as soon as we joined the group – it was like one big happy family. Everyone made us so welcome and the fun continued from the very start. The well planned out route, together with the marker system allowed us to enjoy the scenery without even having to think where we were going. The authentic French hotels were fabulous with their lovely courtyards and wonderful food. The villages we passed through, especially those we stopped at for coffee, were very well chosen. Dare I say it – after the fourth or fifth most fattening, delicate French fancy cake and lunch stops made up of gorgeous French cheeses & hams – we are more than a little rounded now! And yes John, I will continue to hunt for my bargain jars of pate, Kieron will ALWAYS find room in the paniers for my shopping! Our 25th Wedding Anniversary was topped by sitting on our balcony in Villefranche drinking a gorgeous bottle of bubbly, supplied by John & Jen (such a wonderful thought), and could not have been any nicer. Just cannot say any more, we will definitely be booking our next trip to the Rhine in Flames and look forward to seeing you all again sometime. Once again we would like to thank everyone on this trip for their support and help…you all certainly made it a most memorable holiday. Best wishes”
Kieron & Sharron Haines, BMW K1600 GT LE
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“The tour far exceeded what we wanted but that is no surprise as you two never let us down. That is why you are so successful and have such repeat customers. Can’t wait for the 4×4 tour next year and look forward to helping you at the NEC. Kindest regards”
Dave (4th trip) & Jo (1st trip) Washington, BMW R1200GS
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The lovely piano lounge at our hotel in Aurillac
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Drinks before dinner
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“Hi, to all, as my first tour EVER with any company, I have to say that I was just simply impressed with the top notch professionalism of John & Jen. The way it was organised, how it ran, the hotels they chose for us were worth staying in for more than one night, as for the routes that were taken on the tour – just breathtaking. The roads you could be riding by yourself for ages and just enjoy it as you want to. The rest of the guests were kind enough to take me under their wing as many were revisiting. John & Jen must be doing something right to have this running for over 10 years and have so many repeat customers. They get to know you, they make an extra effort to do so, they do not pressure you to keep up. I came away from this tour, tired yes, it was a little hectic, but I think that J&J wanted us to get going so we could take our time if we wanted on the roads to our next stop. For me personally I came away from this tour a better rider as many guests had many more years of experience under their belts and would freely give you advice. I came away knowing the limits of myself and my bike. I came away with more confidence, riding more comfortably and with 2134 more miles on my bike than when I started. I do most certainly hope I can join J&J on another tour sometime in the future. I can only say to all, especially John & Jen, for everything they made possible for me to come on this tour as a complete novice, I have no complaints whatsoever. If anyone out there reads this and has not done a tour abroad then look no further. You don’t need to. John & Jen will take you to places that will remain in your memories until you go to bikers’ heaven – let that be long in the future so you can enjoy numerous tours with Bike Normandy. A massive THANK YOU to John & Jen, all my best to you and your future”
Dave Basey, “the no-longer scared person on the Yamaha MT-01″
[wow, thanks Dave - we just had to post this in it's entirety!]
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Dinner our second night is included in a local restaurant
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“This was our 4th tour and the most exacting yet. Terry thoroughly enjoyed the riding and wouldn’t have missed any of the challenges for anything. I as always enjoyed the scenery, the company, the food and the hotels and have many pictures to evidence it all! We are always touched by the care and professionalism of both John & Jen and can’t thank them enough for the richness of the total experience Bike Normandy never fails to provide for those who enter into the “Joie de Vie” offered in the package! God bless you both & keep you safe ’til next time” 
Fran (4th trip) & Terry (6th trip) Stanfield (above right), Triumph Sprint GT
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Breakfast at Aurillac – they knew the Scousers were coming as the bread knife is tied down!!
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The bikes arriving at the Millau Bridge
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“Thanks for a great tour, overall I enjoyed my 12th Bike Normandy experience. The roads & scenery on this tour were brilliant, especially on day three with the superb after lunch sweepers I got to ride “solo”. As usual all good hotels…I was just looking at the photo I took from my room in Villefranche looking across the bay to Cap Ferrat – gorgeous. The last night hotel was so quaint and full of character, one I would definitely like to go back to. It was a long trip and by the end I was getting pretty tired…I still feel that on some days I would like to be at the hotel by afternoon coffee to have a chance to relax before dinner…On balance a good trip, great roads, stunning scenery and above all great company. It was a good group of bikers and I think as a whole one of the most able riding groups I have toured with. Above everything it is you two that makes Bike Normandy, you are such lovely people and most of all you care about your clients, the success of Bike Normandy is as much about you personally as it is about the places you go and the roads to take. Thanks”
Andy Biggs (12th trip), Kawasaki ZZR1400 (BG11 BOY)
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The group at the Millau Bridge – only Ray & Ann missing
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Ken & Sue   –   Sharron & Kieron
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“I really enjoyed the holiday, although it was probably a bit too long for me. Some days left me rather out of puff albeit happy after a good day’s riding…I was pretty much all-in on the last part up to Le Mont Dore in the cold & wet; having said that, if we’d been luckier with the weather I would have been full of energy and cracking on down those fabulous roads. But the weather is the weather and we had plenty of nice sunny days as well. On balance I have to say it was a great holiday…Ok, I was worried by the first hotel [tired room] although it was actually very nice and the town looked lovely. The evening meal got the trip off to a great start so I guess that all adds up OK. After that the hotels were all excellent. I particularly enjoyed the last one which had great charm, good food and the room was spot on. The group meals always go well and the “last supper” was good fun. My fellow tourists were a universally pleasant group and good company both on the road, where riding standards were generally high, and socially whenever we stopped. One of the things I really enjoy about a BN holiday is the way a diverse group blends together through shared pleasures. The drop off system works brilliantly, everyone can enjoy their own ride and no-one gets held up or pressured to go faster. All of that doesn’t just happen; full credit to you both, ably assisted by John & Rita, for all the hard work you put into planning and running the tour to make sure everyone has a great time. So there it is, another great Bike Normandy holiday to look back on – Thank you. only 2 more trips and I get a T-shirt!” 
David Biggs (8th trip), BMW K1600 GT SE
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The road twisting through the Tarn Gorges
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Pretty coffee stops
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“Thanks John & Jen for an expertly organised tour – couldn’t wish for better. You had the additional headache of accommodating our 4-wheel monster in the mix which gave you more work to do and continually have to consider as well, many thanks for all your trouble (and to the rest of the crew for accommodating us so obligingly)
[Ray & Ann followed the tour in their Jaguar after at the last minute Ray was unable to ride his bike]
Ray & Ann Speight (2nd trip), Jaguar XK-R!
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You meet the nicest creatures on the way into town!
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Uzes main square lit up (for those that couldn’t find it!)
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“Thanks again for another fantastic tour. Great roads, hotels and company. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, hopefully see you again soon. Many thanks”
Paul Horton (3rd trip), Honda VFR 800
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Pizza’s in Uzes   –   Sue & Sharron hit the cocktails!
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Our hotel pool by night   -   Chris & Kath enjoying breakfast al-fresco
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At the morning briefing – is this an alien invasion? No, just MT-01 Dave!
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In the Pink Patisserie Andy finds a chair big enough even for him, while Ken can’t resist the cakes
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Neither can Chris & Kath
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We ride along stunning tree-lined roads in Provence before heading down to Villefranche-sur-Mer
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At our afternoon coffee stop Pete & Paul enjoying ice-creams
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Upon arrival at Villefranche the Celebrity cruise liner “Eclipse” is just leaving  -  Our biker babes Rita & Sue
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The view from our hotel terrace in Villefranche from where you can watch the sun set
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On our day off the bikes, take a swim before breakfast
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Visitors at breakfast   -   Chris tests the water
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Paul & Pete, Sharron & Kieron who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with bubbly in Villefranche
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Meet up on the terrace before we stroll into town
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The harbour at Villefranche  -   brothers Andy & David take in the view
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Walk along the sea front before catching the train to Monte Carlo
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Dave & Jo in Monte Carlo   -   Dave (MT-01)
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Ken & Sue, Kath & Chris take the tourist bus around Monte Carlo
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Ken C can only dream!   Drinks & lunch before we hit the casino
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David & Andy   -   Walk up the Formula 1 route towards the casino
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Stunning views of the marina
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Your tour leader John (Jen drove the van after breaking her arm in Germany) The Palace in the background
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Fabulous view of the yachts out at sea
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Andy borrows a hat to pose alongside his new Ferrari!
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The group outside the casino – missing Sue & Ken , Kath & Chris who are still on the bus!
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The fencing team rehearse their welcome for when Prince Rainier arrives
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Jo & Dave emerge from the casino winners at the roulette!
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Cocktails afterwards in the Cafe de Paris
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Snap the smart cars in Monte Carlo   -   or the character ones in Villefranche!
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The beach and Citadel in Villefranche
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Modern Art in Villefranche – now you see him – now you don’t!
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The old harbour at Villefranche
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Villefranche by night
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The boys relax with a few beers on the hotel terrace while Pete & Ken put the world to rights
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Watch the fireworks over at Cap Ferrat
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Sunrise over Villefranche (lasted all of 5 minutes!)   -   Our regular morning briefing
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Here come the boys! After a fuel stop we ride the Route Napoleon
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Rita, our “Rear of the Year” 2012 and 2013! “Riding the Kids’ Inheritance”
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Chris & Kath and Peter B set off along the Route Napoleon followed by back-markers John & Rita
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Spectacular scenery at Castellane
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The bikes parked up for lunch stop where Paul can’t resist having a huge dessert!
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The Jag follows the back-markers through the Gorges de Verdon
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Great roads which finish at the superb Lac de Sainte Croix   -   Ken C with his GSXR 750
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The group at the end of the Gorges de Verdon (missing Ray & Ann and Sue & Ken)
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Spectacular scenery
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Dinner at our hotel in Orange
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Our hotel is situated just a short stroll from the original Arc de Triomphe
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Any idea where these two are from???   -   Watch out for locals crossing the road!
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More twisties and great scenery in the Gorges de l’Ardeche
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The famous Pont D’Arc at the end of the Gorges
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“Big Boy” Andy’s perspective of the bikes parked up at coffee stop!
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We’re all held up by roadworks   -   sandwiches pre-ordered for lunch
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We discover the van has a puncture – Paul “does my bum look big in this?” gets the wheel off
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Paul & Pete change the wheel   -   Sharron & Kieron head off to Clermont Ferrand for a new back tyre!
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A misty arrival in the Volcanic region
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Our hotel at Le Mont Dore
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Eat out in a traditional Auvergne restaurant
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Ken C on the spiral staircase in our hotel
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Our final hotel
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The proprietaire Marie-Christine serves aperitifs before dinner
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Ken C, Paul, Dave & Pete   -   Ann & Ray
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Shawn & Chrys   -   Sue & Ken with Peter
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David, John G & Andy   -   Ken with Kath, Chris & Terry
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Dave & John, Andy with Jo   -   Marie-Christine outlines the history of the hotel
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The last supper speeches before the jokes start
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Jen kicks off “Ahoy – you over there!”   -   followed by Peter
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Kieron steps up followed by Ken, again & again & again !! (now you know why he’s “Live at the Apollo!”)
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Pete cracks up at Ken’s jokes!   -   Dave W goes next
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David takes his turn followed by Peter
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Jen takes a second turn followed by Andy
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Ken has everyone in stitches…   -   John G takes his turn
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Big Andy again followed by Shaun
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After leaving his heated grips on all night Pete’s flat battery has to be recharged by the van!
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Under the spreading Chestnut Tree – the bikes line up for the final run home.
Another really great tour – we thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s company and hope to see many of you again on future tours. That’s all for this year folks !!!!