Provence Backroads

tours / Cycling

Provence Backroads information and booking

from
$1199
  • Duration
    8 days
    Days
  • Group size
    1-15
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    introductory
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Summary
  • 7 nights in 2 star hotels
Equipment Required
Cycle helmet (supplied with bike), wet weather gear, sunscreen, sandshoes and sun hat. (A comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).

Highlights

  • Cycling through the stunning Provence past olive groves and vineyards
  • Exploring the great towns of Arles, St Remy and Tarascon
  • Experiencing the timelessness of the landscapes made famous by Van Gogh
  • Enjoying the exceptional cuisine for which the region is famous
  • Soaking up the hospitality of small family run hotels

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Inland Provence is a cycling paradise, with tiny villages linked by quiet back roads. This cycle journey offers a great insight into French village life and an opportunity to sample the mouth-watering gastronomic delights of the region. We explore the historic relics - from prehistoric to Roman times, and there is plenty of time to soak up both the sights and sample the wine and produce of the Cotes du Rhone and greater Provence. Our route takes us along country lanes, ancient Roman roads and deserted hilltop passes. Travelling through vineyards, olive groves and sleepy villages we follow the region's rivers and mountain ranges. Splendid churches, medieval castles and fascinating Roman sites along the way provide frequent stops. We explore picture book Montagnette villages including St Remy de Provence, the birthplace of Nostradamus.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 dinners (does not include drinks) – breakfasts are continental style and generally consist of croissants, breads, jams, cheese, yoghurt, coffee, tea and juices. dinner will consist of 3 courses which usually include some regional specialties. there are usually, but not always, 3 choices for each course.
  • Dinners are based on the basic set menu available at the restaurant. these are usually of a high standard and often reflective of the local cuisine. however, it is usually possible to upgrade to the a-la-carte menu or a more superior set menu for an additional cost. such an arrangement must be made directly with the hotel or restaurant.
  • 7 nights accommodation in 2 star hotels on a twinshare basis. all rooms have private facilities.
  • 21 speed bike equipped with luggage carrier, rear panniers, pump, anti-theft device and repair kit. helmets are provided. electric bikes are available on request - a supplement applies.
  • Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel (one bag, 10kg per person)
  • Detailed route instructions and maps
  • Tourist information pack

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Graveson or Barbentane
The neighbouring towns of Graveson and Barbentane offer a great beginning to your cycle trip in Provence, just a 15 minute taxi ride from Avignon TGV rail station. On arrival at your hotel, relax and enjoy the gardens and in most cases, the swimming pool. You can also wander into the nearby town. During the afternoon our bike specialist will deliver your bike and make any necessary adjustments. Overnight hotel.
Day 2 Cycle to Tarascon (25 or 27.5km)
After breakfast, begin cycling to Tarascon. Depending on your hotel the previous night, you'll cycle through the foothills of the Alpilles to reach Tarascon or alternatively via the Abbey of St Michel de Friogolet. Whichever route you take, today is full of superb scenery through typical villages of Provence. Situated on the Rhone River, Tarascon has some interesting sights. Its well preserved castle was once home to Count Rene d’Anjou, the King of Provence, and has an excellent display of tapestries and earthenware jars. The Musee des Tissues Souleiado (fabric museum) is also worth exploring. If you arrive on a Tuesday, this is market day and it's well worth spending some time checking out the local specialties. Across the river are some great 17th and 18th century houses. Our comprehensive guide notes will provide further tips for exploring this pretty town. Evening meal and accommodation in a 2-star hotel in the centre of Tarascon.
Day 3 To Arles (41km)
Today the cycle takes you north into rugged and rocky scenery close to the town of Fontvieille. Here you can see the windmills (including Daudet’s Mill – as described in the short stories ‘Lettres de mon Loulin’, written by Alphonse Daudet in 1869), some interesting churches and the Musee de Daudet. Continue to historic Arles, which dates from the 7th century BC and was a major Gallo-Roman city. Here you should visit the Arena and the Roman Theatre, and you can cycle along its canal to the reconstructed Van Gogh bridge, the setting of the painter's famous “Pont de Langlois” works. Our first choice of hotel is in the old centre of Arles. If this is not available, you'll stay in a 2-star country hotel with swimming pool a short distance from the centre.
Day 4 To Les Baux-de-Provence (21km)
Today’s cycle is short, giving you time to explore the area and Les Baux, a picturesque village with a royal history and high fortified ruins. There are some great museums in the village including the History Museum and the Olive Museum. Evening meal and accommodation in a 2-star hotel in Les Baux.
Day 5 To Saint Rémy-de-Provence (28km)
From Les Baux you return to Maussane along a back road, from which there are gorgeous views of the Alpilles, and continue to Saint Rémy. The year before his death, Vincent van Gogh spent time in an asylum in this town and also in nearby Arles. The colours and light were an inspiration in his paintings. Other well known artists that have been attracted to the area include Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse and Cézanne. There is ample opportunity to explore delightful Saint Remy, including the house where Nostradamus was born. Evening meal and accommodation in a 2-star hotel in the village.
Day 6 In Saint Rémy-de-Provence
If you choose to cycle today, the trail from Saint Rémy follows part of the ancient Roman road "Aurélia" which once linked Spain with Italy. The trail then branches off through the vineyards of the "Coteaux des Baux" and follows the foothills of the Alpilles on its return to Saint Rémy. Alternatively you can spend time exploring the town further including the Van Gogh walking trail to discover where his great works were painted. Evening meal and accommodation in the same hotel.
Day 7 To Barbentane/Graveson (16 or 21km)
Today you will cycle along back roads across the market garden plains of Châteaurenard and back to your original hotel. Evening meal and accommodation.
Day 8 Trip concludes Barbentane/Graveson
Arrangements conclude after breakfast.