Do you yearn to escape the mundane, the pressures and routines of everyday to immerse in an experience that relaxes, revives and stimulates you?
Yes - We offer bespoke retreats, an opportunity to withdraw from the normal pattern of life. To have time and space to unwind, recharge, improve and be inspired by wellness activities, great food and drink, cycling and an outstanding environment – Provence, South of France.
Are you seeking a unique and exclusive experience combining cycling and wellness that it tailored individually to you?
Yes - We provide a bespoke service tailored to your needs and your desires. We work with you to plan a range of activities, holistic health, cuisine, nutrition and cycle training and coaching.
Are you searching for a place that is undiscovered yet in a region unsurpassed for stunning scenery, great road cycling, outstanding arts and culture, exceptional cuisine and renowned for health and wellness?
Yes - We are located in the Var region of Provence, France an outstanding area for climate, local produce and magnificent surroundings for cycling, exploring and enjoying arts and culture.
Do you want the experience planned with you and delivered by people who have the knowledge, skills and experience to make an exceptional retreat for you to share?
Yes - We are Paul and Kim and we want to share with you our passion, knowledge and skills for cycling, holistic health and the beauty and benefits of life in Provence. Find out more about what we do below.
To offer you a retreat from every day life to improve your health & vitality, fitness & well-being with a unique, individually tailored holistic health experience combining environment, fitness, culture, relaxation and nourishment
what we do
"The villa was comfortable, we were so lucky to have our own private terrace and enjoyed the sunshine and afternoon tea out there. I think the balance of being with people but also being able to spend time together as a couple privately was spot on. It felt right from the outset as though we had gone on holiday with friends." Elaine & Roy
Max Velo Bespoke Cycling Retreats offer an exclusive and luxurious experience where you can do as much or a little as you want. Our retreats are provided in an outstanding location in the Var region of Provence in the south of France reflecting our appreciation of and inspiration from the natural world and it's health giving properties. Located in a region of outstanding beauty and staying in a beautiful villa with spacious gardens, a pool and great outdoor living; days can be active or relaxing and always enjoyable. We look after you from the moment you arrive, whilst you are a guest we want to ensure you feel very much at home in comfort, privacy and in sharing the lovely space, facilities and all the delicious range of food and drinks. The villa is equipped for your comfort - indoors and out, there are areas for lounging, sunbathing, eating and drinking, reading and relaxing, socialising or solitude as well as space to exercise, train, swim, meditate and walk.
Our retreats are designed to improve your health, fitness and well-being whilst relaxing and indulging with the best quality food, produce and drinks. In our holistic health approach physical training, activity and fitness is balanced with yoga and relaxation as well as links to local spas and beauty facilities all combined with culture and good living. There are endless opportunities to enjoy and appreciate this historic region's arts, culture and heritage. Many writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Somerset Maugham) and painters (Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso) migrated to the region inspired by the breathtaking landscapes and colourful nature of Provence. Visits to art monuments, museums and collections as well as artists homes are part of what is on offer with a Max Velo retreat as we believe these have a place in a holistic health approach.
cycling and training with max velo
"The stand would have to be the routes. The Gorge du Verdon ride was stunning".
The Var region with its climate, scenery, wildlife and landscapes is simply outstanding for road cycling and our retreats deliver a range and diversity of rides to suit all tastes and abilities. Ride from the sea to the sky crossing the Cote D'Azur; Haut Var & Alpes Maritimes, all routes offering stunning views and unexpected sights. The beauty of mountains, gorges and forests unfold intermixed with olive groves, lavender fields, vineyards and stay alert to be rewarded with a glimpse of a baby wild boar, a griffon eagle soaring or a friendly mountain goat boasting his KOM credentials! Max Velo rides, led by ex Professional and Elite Junior GB Triathlete Paul McGowan, are tailored to your own training, fitness and enjoyment requirements. Paul creates routes and riding that will improve and develop your power, performance and ability. Apex coaching is offered to all cycling guests and will be dependent upon your retreat and post retreat objectives. Apex coaching enables small improvements and minor refinements to your cycling.
eating and drinking with max velo
" The food was excellent and an interesting menu throughout the week that never became boring and always used local produce and reflected life in Provence. The selection of local organic and rose wines was also very much enjoyed."
The key to great performance, fitness and pleasure of life is nourishment from good food, so Kim designs our catering and nutrition to develop your optimum energy and fitness, whilst always recognising that the enjoyment and sharing of food is a significant factor towards good health and wellness. Our retreats include cycling specific gourmet food using the best quality home grown or locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in traditional and contemporary styles. With it's temperate climate, offering perfect growing conditions Provence is one big garden, both cultivated and wild. Provence offers abundance and variety of produce as well as products made from its harvest. Provencal cookery is based on seasonality and a focus on using the very best the land has to offer. Kim takes this approach ensuring that all that is in season, of the finest quality and most delicious is used in Max Velo cuisine.
A WEEK AT A MAX VELO RETREAT
"Paul and Kim are fantastic hosts in a beautiful region of France. Riding with Paul and Kim’s cooking will feed you body and soul.
Each retreat is unique, we limit numbers so that we can design a distinct, individually tailored experience with our guests to ensure they get the most out of their stay. So we cannot give a definitive itinerary until we discuss and plan with you, but here is an illustration of a week with Max Velo. "
Every day starts with waking in your sumptuous room, open the shutters to glorious sun & azure skies - Provence enjoys on average 300 days of sunshine per year and has been a destination and home to many artists due to the exquisite light and climate.
Le Petit Dejeuner, breakfast in France is a glorious way to start your day. Begin the day with a power breakfast a wide selection of home produced, fresh breakfast products including our own fresh made muesli & granola with organic yogurt, selection of cows, rice, almond milks, fresh juices and smoothies, breads and pastries fresh from the local artisan baker, cured meats & cheeses from local farmers, home made jams, honey and a wide range of soft fruits.
A yoga session outdoors continues the energising and awakening of your day, gentle stretching & movement to power you in preparation for riding or other activities.
Cycling guests are offered between 3 - 5 guided ride during a week's stay with mileage between 30 - 90 miles over a variety of undulating and hilly terrain (flat terrain is in short supply around the Var!). Rides travel through picturesque Provencal hill top villages & towns, valleys, forests, mountains with ever changing and contrasting scenery, and sweet smells of pine wood and wild herbs. Climb into the Alpes Martimes and Haut Var; circle the Gorges of Verdon or travel through award winning vineyards, olive groves and fields of fragrant lavender. Or head to the coast, a sublime journey amongst the fragrant ceder forests, surprise and delight at the first sight of the sea perhaps stopping to cool off in the sea on sandy beaches and stony outcrops.
Integral to a great ride, stops for coffee and lunch are always at locations that show the best of Provence, it's food, service and scenery. Cycles routes and our experience and knowledge are available to assist you with non-accompanied rides. For guests who are just getting started with road cycling or like something easy, fun and purely for enjoyment rides are offered with routes of reduced distances and intensity but always with stunning viewpoints, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the beauty of Provence.
We enjoy sharing days on the bike with non-cycling partners, so a ride may incorporate a lunch stop in one of the delightful hilltop towns, where the cyclists can meet with partners who have been visiting the village and enjoy a good meal in one of the beautiful restaurants. And yes! In this region cyclists in their cycle gear are welcomed.
Interspersing awesome days of cycling, days off the bike can be equally rewarding, invigorating and exciting. You can always elect to laze by the pool, relax in the garden or stroll into the village.
Without travelling far there is the fabulous beauty and pleasure of the Provencal landscape and nature. Spend an afternoon hiking around this rural environment to encounter the seductive colours of fields of lavender and sunflowers; the sweet scents of cedar forests and wild herbs and the surprise sightings of deer, red squirrels, wild boar and majestic griffons. Or enjoy the history, heritage and culture of this unspoilt place. Discover hilltop towns that feel lost in time, where you may take drinks or lunch on the ramparts of a medieval castle or stroll amongst winding cobbled streets to appear on a sun dappled square with a bubbling fountain.
A visit to a Provencal market is a must. No single event better symbolises the French preoccupation with fresh products, and in no other region is it more celebrated than in Provence. We have discovered some of the the finest Provencal markets where you can enjoy to browse and buy and take in the great atmosphere, sitting in a cafe watching the world go by. You can find an endless array of products, an unsurpassed range of fresh foods, clothing, crafts and Provencal produce.
Days can be spent enjoying the world renowned arts and culture of Provence. We can guide you to a number of places to enjoy and explore museums and art collections. A visit to Seillans, for example, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most Beautiful Villages of France) is an enticing maze of narrow cobbled streets, arched passages, winding stone steps and splashing fountains. The surrealist artist Max Ernst spent the last 12 years of his life here until he died in 1976. As you wander the village pass by Ernst’s villa and view one of his sculptures high on the hillside central to the petanque ground.
The spectacular Cote D'Azur is less than an hour away. For a day on the coast it is ideal to visit St. Tropez or the road cycling recognised St Raphael. Enjoy sitting on soft sandy beaches and swimming in silky blue waters, with a little break from the heat to cool down with a glass of well chilled rose at a chi chi beach bar. A little further along the coast route are the chic resorts of Cannes, Nice and Antibes, where you can watch the beautiful people and be amazed at the range of exclusive shops.
All the wonderful array of Provencal produce needs to be tasted and tried, so a lovely day can be spent wine tasting at one of the outstanding local organic vineyards or perhaps a visit to a olive mill to take home some of the award winning olive oil.
Our menu is dependant on the season, what is fresh at market and what has inspired us in quality, colour and tastes. In spring and early summer we may start with sweet Provence melon slices with jambon cru - local farm cured ham and soft sweet goats cheese; in late summer and early autumn we may start with wild mushrooms and soft scrambled eggs.
Choices of meat, fish or vegetable dishes are always freshly made often quite simply to truly enjoy and appreciate the quality and flavours. Sweet roasted lamb, a Provencal pride may be served with fresh green beans or succulent whole bass roasted may be served with superfood salad. We end the meal with desserts reflecting the season sweet Provencal cherries or Tarte au Citron are favourites.
We enjoy to pair dishes with the locally produced organic wines and artisan beers and we can also provide you with a fine wine menu so you may make your own choices, and sparkling and mineral water is always available.