Any day now all those Lycra-clad athletes cycling in the Tour de France will be be getting on their bikes for the annual cross-country extravaganza.
Just why it starts in Yorkshire, England, isn’t clear. But soon they’ll be sweating their way through one of the most stunning regions in Europe: The south of France.
France’s southern enclaves, known colloquially as le Midi, have become a popular destination with LGBTI travelers looking for luxurious activities, in beautiful surroundings, serious about switching off completely and chilling.
The Lotus Tree guesthouse, situated where Provence meets Languedoc, is moments away from France’s most popular beaches (some of them gay), iconic countryside vistas and historic towns ready for exploring.
You can grab a pair of cycling shorts if you must, but there are less constricting ways to make the most of the area than cycling through at break-neck speed.
‘A gay holiday can be much more than just laying on the beach or hitting the bars,’ says James Proctor, an English traveler who left London to run The Lotus Tree guesthouse.
‘Even though the beaches near here are better than those in either Sitges or Mykonos, in my opinion,’ he adds quickly.
Proctor is a travel writer who has been to every corner of the world, so it says something about the south of France if he’s chosen to live in the region for over ten years now.
Here are his top seven reasons to visit the south of France:
Choose the right location and there is so much right on your doorstep. Lively cities like Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Nimes. Sights to see range from Roman temples and aqueducts to quaint rural villages seemingly unchanged through the years.
Fields of lavender, sunflowers and vines, oh my! The regional climate (warm and lush) contributes to some amazing landscapes. The area is popular with locals and visitors for its huge sandy beaches on the Mediterranean and smaller gay beaches on several of the rivers. If you want, you can do like the locals and go the naturist route.
Long summer days with temperatures that will make you forget about home in no time.