This years holiday plans - any suggestions

This year, as normal, I'll be traveling down through France to Aveyron. Instead of trying to beat the clock, I would like to take it easy and either go down one side or the other or possibly zig-zag either left, right or central.

As I've got 2 children with me (6 and 8) who don't want to camp, I'd like to stay in the type of hotel we're already used to - Fast Hotel/Campanile - budget and somewhere to get something to eat and sleep, though I wouldn't rule out a B&B.

There must be someone who has done this kind of thing before and I welcome any suggestions.

Thank you!

Oups! not sure where the photos went, the little boy is my son Robin and they were really flaked out. No we didn't have to get there early, it's a road we use on our training runs. I was in the shop from 7am until mid afternoon, we just had the time to pick the kids up from school and use the back roads to get to where we saw the caravan and riders come through. Alex came through alone at that point having left the rest of the breakaway group. It was in the late 30s, over 40° on the road.

From memory that day was one of the hottest stages with temps in the mid 30's - no wonder that kid on the left is flaked in the chair! Looks like a great spot - did you have to get there very early?

It was the first time I was inside the zone with the riders (apart from the mid 90s when the security wasn't as tight and I got to talk to Marco Pantani :-D

Yes Alex, did everything he could but in 40° he cracked (he doesn't like the heat) and was caught just outside his flat at La Primaube :-( He wasn't scheduled to ride the tour either - he came 9th in the Giro and his season was built round that so he came to the tour without the build up and rest required. But he later did a great job assuring Thibaut Pinot the win at Alpe d'Huez :-)

Wow, that's great to meet some of the team, when we saw the teams near the buses in London, they were all 'in the zone' - like moving mannequins! Sadly because of school here, we only get over when the tour is in its final days and heading north to Paris. Was Alex the fella who wanted to win the stage into Rodez last year but was pipped when they were coming up from La Primaube? :-(

I knew there were a few brits in that area, Annie Johnson was an Australian estate agent who managed to sell to a load of brits. Don't really know any others, used to live near Rieupeyroux too, all my OH's family are in that area down to Sauveterre de Rouergue, including Alexandre Geniez (although he's from Flavin to be exact!) who rides for FDJ, a distant cousin: my M-I-L and his Dad are cousins, but our claim to fame in the cycling world. I got a VIP pass to the tour village last year in Rodez from the FDJ - I'm a buraliste and part of the FDJ network too - and got to meet a few of the stars, including Alex and Chris Froome :-D

According to my French neighbours, there are about 5 families in Monbazens that are from the UK. I have never met them, in fact I never speak English when I'm there at all. There was a lady selling cupcakes and cookies in the market there on a Wednesday and it was a surprise to hear her voice but she hasn't been there for ages. And then there's that fella with the green MG sporty thing, but I have never spoken to him either.
No, I bought from a fella called William Bec who used to work out of a immob in Rodez but from a quick search on Google, I think he's down near the Cote d'Azur now. I bought the house in 2006 when I lived in Essex. In fact my neighbour in Montbazens is selling her house now due to an illness, she lives with her son and D-I-L in Roupeyroux, for some reason it shows up in searches for immobs in Haute Savoire?
I know all about nail biters and shouting at the TV! It gets too much for me sometimes but I love the race/stage finishes and watching the scenery and cobbles in the spring classics races.

No, don't know her, but there again I left that area in 2012 and never was really in with the ex-pat community - my OH and kids are French and I've always worked with the French so I miss out a bit!

La couvertoirade is lovely, my OH used to work in St Affrique and still has friends that way. We nearly took over the maison de la presse in Millau but decided otherwise (where we are now in Carmaux) as they were asking too much, but that's another story!

Cycling; don't get me going, it's my life! Just been talking to a friend in the shop about this afternoon's training run (if I can make it because I've got the accountant here etc.). And what about Geraint Thomas' win in the Paris-Nice, the last 20km was such a nail-biter!

Just out of interest, you didn't buy through annie johnson ?

Ah! Sadly I've never met Joana, but one of our neighbours is a teacher, her name is Sonya and I think she either works in Lugan or Montbazens. Everyone is so lovely. I met the two chaps who lived in the Chateau at Lugan some years ago now, but one of them had medical problems so I think they've moved from there now, possibly closer to Toulouse? Had a look at some maps, I think I might try the side you've suggested. Murol looks amazing, so many of these sites around - we went to La Couvertoirade in 2014 - a great day and the children always love going over the bridge. Funnily enough, we follow the cycling too and traveled to Paris to see the Tour finish in 2007, having been at the Grand depart in London that same year.

Montbazens, I know it well. I used to ride with one of the cycling clubs in Decazeville, lived in Aubin and Decazeville, Saint Santin de Maurs too. Perhaps you've come across Joana who lives in Lugan, I used to teach English at the CCI in Rodez and believe she still works there. à +

Hi Andrew, we’re just up/down the road from Decazville at Montbazens, it’s a great village with everything we need. I normally like to leave on a Sunday so getting past Paris and the peripherique seem to be a breeze and then stay in Artenay overnight. I’ll take s look at Via Michelin/Google maps for routes. Thank you! Kx

oh, and the choices are limitless for where to stop, so many things to see and visit which ever way you go...!

We do the reverse from the Aveyron (now Tarn). It breaks the trip up and akes it much more of a holiday from the start. Last time we stoppedto visit a château (Murol) then continued and stayed in a 1er classe further north, the following day we stopped in Paris briefly and ended the day in Dunkirque to catch the ferry the following morning. All very easy and hassle free - my kids are the same age as yours, 8 nd 6, so I know what you've got ahead of you! Mine are aveyronnais (Rodez and Decazeville for the kids, Naucelle for my OH) although we now live and work in the Tarn. Where abouts are you in the Aveyron?

Hello Andrew, we found out last weekend that the Tour was coming through the village of Montbazens, as it winds its way from Aurillac to Montauban. Sadly we won't be there as we'd have to take the kids out of school and they (the school) aren't too keen on that here. There will even be a sprint so we're guessing it will be all cameras to catch the action. Hope you get to catch a couple of stages this year! K