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South of France: Chateaux & Vineyards

Enjoy a run-tour of South France with a dreamy homebase that enables you to run all stages with little to no transportation. That’s because you’ll be staying 6 of the 7 nights in basecamp La Villa Jaume, a 19th century Villa 300m from the beach in the shadow of the Pyrenees. With 8 bedrooms, a huge dining room, two living areas, patio, garden and pool you’ll be living the bonne vie.

Don’t be mistaken, you will run your fair share of kilometers during this runcation. But you’re in the South of France! Under the sun of the Côte Vermeille, you’ll balance the kilos with inspiration and recovery as only France can offer: Châteaux sleeps and beaucoup de vin, Medieval castles and quaint towns, mountainside churches, and of course sun-dappled Collioure vineyards.

Price: $2,200 / Early Bird: $2,000 / Deposit: $500

Length: 8 days, 6 stages

Book now

2019 Sept 7-14 **SOLD OUT** 

2020 June 13-20

This expedition in a nutshell

  • Transfers from/to Barcelona (biggest nearest airport) and all local transportations
  • 8 days, 7 nights
  • 6 runs fully guided and supported
  • 100km, 2500d+ (ajustable for all levels)
  • Vineyards tours and runs, immersive cellar visit, medieval towns crossing, boat trip, and a full blend of activities
  • 6 nights in unique traditional Villa Jaume (based on twin/double shared rooms. If you want a single room, add $500 for the week)
  • 1 night in a mountain hut

Some testimonials

  • Run, food, culture, they brought it all.
  • They put a lot of efforts designing the stages to bring in every run 1 Castle or monastery and 1 beautiful vineyard.
  • The runs were perfectly fitted for all participants, as the group was composed of ultra-trailers and casual+ runners.
  • Shoutout also to the wonderful work put in the day of the medieval mountain towns. 
  • Thanks to Pablo and Pierre for this perfect week. The team was amazing. 
  • To sum up, this runcation gave us exactly what we needed and much more.

More testimonials

 

PRICE INCLUDES

  • Airport transfers and all transportation during the expedition
  • Accommodation at the unique Villa Jaume (based on twin/double shared rooms. If you want a single room add $500 for the week) and 1 night in a mountain hut
  • Breakfasts, packed lunchs, dinners and wine along the expedition. Please detail dietary requirements in advance.
  • Equipment for all adventures
  • Local guides & Photographer
  • Daily activities, vineyard tours, cellar visits and wine degustation

PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • International flights to & from Barcelona
  • Personal travel and medical Insurance
  • Energy gels and electrolytes (even if we provide some local snacks to fuel on the runs)

Week overview

For this trip, you’ll have to join us and the rest of Albera-runners in Barcelona, which is the biggest airport near the traveling region. Depending on your arrival, you’ll meet us in one of the 2 pick-up points: at a gathering in a healthy Catalan restaurant, or directly at the airport, for a 2h drive.
The base camp (a wonderful accommodation) will be located in Le Racou, a fisherman’s village and
a wonderful vintage beach. From there, we will be able to hit most of the highlights of the week, within a suitable commute time: less than 20 minutes most of the days, always less than 2 hours.
In this particular region of France, you will run through the famous terraced vineyards of Collioure (French most beautiful town) and discover medieval towns as the area had been the source of fight between France & Spain for centuries. Most of your runs will take place near the beautiful Côte Vermeille and its amazing situation between the mountains and the beautiful rocky Mediterranean coast. Add to that a little detour by the Spanish most beautiful town, a tour of a medieval citadel, and you’ll have everything you need for your perfect runcation. Ah! Nearly missing the amazing French food, wine, cheese & bread that will be waiting for you at every meal.

Activities include: Wine tasting, wine tasting, wine…, vineyard tour, grape harvesting, sailing boat, stand-up paddle, medieval towns and castles tours

Detailed itinerary

2 pick-up stations in Barcelona with a departure at 2PM:
City center: for people that chose to arrive earlier, we arrange a gathering in a healthy flexitarian restaurant in the morning.
Airport: for people arriving in the morning, departure is planned at 2PM. So please make sure to book a flight that lands before 1PM.

We will then hit the road to France. After 2 hours we will reach French territory, in Le Racou, a fisherman’s village at the heart of the Côte Vermeille. We will set camp for the week in the beautiful Villa Jaume, and prepare for the welcoming diner.
Run: optional – to test your abilities on the trails
Meals: LD

After the mandatory breakfast, we’ll go from the Villa to Le Rimbau, a beautiful picturesque 20 houses town where we’ll start the running day. From there, we’ll head straight up to the Madeloc tower (650m+, with an option to cut earlier) from where we’ll enjoy both the view on the Côte Vermeille, and all Collioure vineyards. We’ll begin the descent to Banyuls-Sur-Mer, another picturesque small town, from where we’ll begin our way back to Paulilles. These last 4km through a coastal track and terraced vineyards are delightful, especially the Paulilles small beach. From there, you’ll be able to enjoy lunch on the greatest restaurant, in the middle of a vineyard, 30 meters away from the sea. 
Run: 18-23k ; up to +850m gain
Meals: BLD

After this first long run, we will head in the higher mountains area to actively recover around SPA activities, a visit of a Monastery up in the mountains, or the tour of an impressive medieval town. Sporty activities (canyoneering especially) can be featured if the group is up for it. During this day, you will get to know more about each other, and to learn a lot more about the South of France History.
You will spend the night in a mountain hut in a “lost in the world” atmosphere.
Run: optional – flat by the beach in the morning

Meals: BLD 

Starting directly from the mountain hut where you spent the night, you will accomplish the toughest and most uncommon run of the week: a descending trail run on the border ridge between France and Spain. Passing between the two countries a dozen of times, you will enjoy the view over the whole area in both countries. Globally descending (-1700m descent), this run will also offer some elevation (+700m). Passing through an impressive defense tower, and an amazing castle & vineyard run to finish directly at the Villa.

Run: 23k ; +700m gain
Meals: BLD 

Because the Catalan culture has a great influence in our French area, because our runcations are about discovering new areas, and also because Cadaqués is one of the most beautiful cities of Spain, we’ve decided to include in this trip the most beautiful 100% coastal track race at the most eastern point of the Pyrenees. Featuring little deserted beaches, a picturesque (very) little port town, Dali’s house and of course the amazing bay of Cadaqués. The exploration would be incomplete without some Spanish meals for the day…

Run: 7-20k ; up to +400m gain
Meals: BLD 

This day is a particular one, because it’s not a trail running one. Starting from the Villa, we will explore the little old town of Argeles. This run is flat and most of the times on paved road. The ending point is at a special vineyard, where you will have the possibility to take part in the harvesting process, and visit a cellar in this busy period! In the afternoon, chilling at the Villa or discovering some local criques (small rocky beaches) are some recommended options.

Run: 12 ; flat
Meals: BLD 

Running directly from the Villa, we will start the run by going to the Château de Valmy (amazing castle and wonderful vineyard) and will run the first part in road and dirt roads, to pass by not one but 2 mountain churches. After learning more about their importance, we will start the descent back to Le Racou. From here, the road to Collioure (French most beautiful town) is 5km through a coastal track worth every effort, the finish line being on the beach. This medieval picturesque town, with terraced vineyards will host you for the afternoon before a way-back in a traditional local boat to the Villa.
Run: 8-18k ; +400m gain
Meals: BLD

We’ll get up early to head back to Barcelona, where our trip ends. We will be at the airport at 8AM and then have a city drop-off for those who want to stay further in this amazing city (who will be provided with a lot of tips and running paths 😉 ).
Run:  :'(
Meals: B 

Useful information

All levels are welcome, as long as you consider yourself a runner. Daily run maximums are showed under stages details, and there are no minimum required nor time restrictions. No daily run is mandatory. Easier runs options are available any day (except for one) for recovery.

Running equipment: a detailed list will be provided a few weeks before the trip starts, but no specific equipment is required for this expedition. 

The price for this trip is $2,200, with a single room option at $500
A $500 deposit is required to secure your spot.

  • 91+ days from the trip start date : Deposits are non-refundable
  • 61-91 days from the trip start date: 50% of total payment refunded**
  • 60 days or less from the trip start date: No refunds

**This only applies to participants who have paid their balances on time. If you do not pay the balance by the due date and cancel after the fact, we will retain your full deposit

During this trip, you will experience 2 different accommodations: 
– 6 nights in a wonderful Villa (Villa Jaume, Argeles sur Mer) with a big garden, a swimming pool, 300m away from the a little calm beach. Normal price is for a shared “twin” room. Supplement available for a private room.
– 1 night in a mountain hut “Chalet de l’Albera”, that is designed for hikers crossing the Pyrenees through the GR10 (marked trail, from the Sea to the Ocean).

The group size limit for this trip is 14. In addition, you will be accompanied each day by 2 or 3 guides, with at least the 2 founders of Albera. The ratio runner / guide is maintained under 1/6. 

  • For US citizen: passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from Barcelona or other European airport – more info here
  • For citizen from Schengen space, no specific requirement is needed
  • For other, we invite you to check with your consulate for entrance/departure requirements, some useful info here 

Why South of France ?
This expedition is very particular for us, because it’s our homeland. Exiling ourselves in other regions of the world, we wanted this area to be the first on our expeditions’ list. This particular area has the advantage of pairing wonderful elements: famous terraced vineyards from Collioure & unique Medieval towns ; the end of the Pyrenees mountains and the Mediterranean Sea on one of it’s most beautiful place (Côte Vermeille) ; French art de vivre with traditional Catalan culture.
We will make you belong.

Why do we land in Barcelona ?
Barcelona is the biggest airport in the expedition’s area. From there, we ensure that most of the citizen of the world can join us in a 1-stop flight. Also, we heard that Barcelona was a nice city, some of you might enjoy an early arrival and/or late departure…

What’s included in the trip cost?
The trip price includes pre-trip communication, airport transfers from/to Barcelona, all accommodation during the trip (5 nights in a wonderful Villa, 2 nights in traditional mountain huts), all meals (BLD) & snacks, hot beverages & juice with breakfasts, water and some local snacks for the runs. Transportation, drivers, experienced guides (us), for organized & supported runs and an Albera Expeditions backpack & goodies shirt. To sum up, pretty much everything is provided between Barcelona & Barcelona ! For travelers wanting to discover Barcelona and the surroundings, we will provide you with some useful tips, do not hesitate to ask !

What isn’t included in the trip cost?
The cost does not include your flights to/from Barcelona & travel insurance. Why ? Because runners are coming from all around the world, and everyone will have a different schedule and travel expectations. However, if needed, we can set you up with a local travel agency that will provide you exactly what you’ll need.

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