Provence Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

If you would like to see a map of our different French routes, it is here.
And, for a comparison of our Provence route with our other French trips, see here.

Colors of Van Gogh and Cézanne, flavors of the Mediterranean diet, the smells of wild rosemary and sage wafting from the fields at dusk... a gentle climate which gives life to fields of lavender and poppies, olive groves and parasol pines, and sun-bathed vineyards which in turn produce rich, full, floral wines. Not to mention field upon field of fruit: Rhône Valley cherries and strawberries, Cavaillon melons, fresh figs hanging from the trees, and grapes of every scent and hue.

Provence

Arles, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence... the towns of Provence seem timeless, still very much at home in their Roman relics. Our favorite church in Arles was carefully restored... in the 1600’s! And the villages are no less charming: carved from the hills around them, blending into their surroundings and espousing their terrain in ways we could only hope for in our modern world.

A feast of soft sensations make the age-old appeal of Provence easy to understand.




The following trips visit Provence:

Roman Roads of France & Italy (4 weeks)
Visits France (Bordeaux & the Dordogne, the Cévennes, Provence), and Italy (Tuscany)

Tour de France (3 weeks)
Visits Provence plus two other French routes

Lavender & Olive (2 weeks)
Visits Provence followed by Tuscany

Roman Souvenirs (2 weeks)
Visits the Cévennes, followed by Provence

France & Italy Trips (2 weeks)
Visits Provence and one region in Italy
— in 2017, only “Lavender & Olive” does this.

A Week in Provence follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the “Facts & Figures” table, below.                                        Photo:  picnic on the way into Aix

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Other Trips We Offer

 
Day-by-Day Itinerary:   Provence
Day of the Week
Description
Typical distances, in km
Saturday
Pre-Trip Access Package and thru travellers only.

ARRIVAL in NIMES.
The trip meets tomorrow morning at breakfast, but most of us will arrive in Nimes today.  If you have subscribed to our Access Package, it includes a Saturday night hotel in Nimes.  You should also receive a document called “Arriving in Nimes,” offering our suggestions for making use of whatever time you have here before we all get together over coffee tomorrow morning.

Half Baggage
Sunday
All Travellers...

ACROSS the CAMARGUE to ARLES.
We assemble at our hotel in the morning.  Those starting their journeys can practice pedaling outside the hotel.  Those arriving from the Cévennes, or from another Blue Marble itinerary, may wish to visit Nimes a bit before setting out.

Then it’s off to Arles.  The ride is flat, but options add distance, hills, or the historic Pont du Gard, a triple-deck Roman aqueduct that inspired the modern freeway interchange.  The villages you pass offer narrow alleys leading to lovely places
shaded with sycamores.  The faded pastel colors and lazy rythms of the locals will put you in the mood for a pastis and a game of pétanque (bocci) before you can say eh bien.

Arles itself would be worthy of a week’s stay. Search the town center for images from your favorite Van Gogh.  Marvel at the vestiges of the Roman Empire.  Visit the pretty cafés and admire the view of the Rhône down on the waterfront.  Plot your return....
40 - 70 k
Monday
The ALPILLES.
A more than full biking day.  But how richly you will be rewarded for your effort!  Les Baux is a standard against which citadel villages are measured.  Not to mention the center of a lucious little wine appellation, and the first place where bauxite was mined (hence the name).  Have a glass of the local elixir while you smelt some aluminum, or whatever one does to make aluminum.

Nearby St.-Rémy offers further remarkable proof of the “civilization” in “Roman Civilization.”

But the real interest of the day is in the natural beauty of the Alpilles limestone ridge, lined with cypress trees and offering views out to the Mediterranean.  Glorious biking amongst the vineyards and olive groves.  Cavaillon, a market town on the banks of the Durance, will be our home for two nights.

Half Baggage
60 k
Tuesday
The VAUCLUSE, AVIGNON.
Lots of options for a baggage-free day:  head into Avignon along the banks of the Durance River to visit Provence’s most famous city.  Seven popes resided here, and left a magnificent palace behind to remember them by.   The bridge of elementary school fame offers itself for your dancing pleasure.

Or bike to the “Vaucluse fountain,” where a subterranean river surges from a rock.  On the way back, stop to visit the charming cafés which line the river in Ile-sur-la-Sorgue, and perhaps tour an old olive oil mill.

Back home, wander through Cavaillon, a center of provençal Judaism.  The wholesale fruit market here is the biggest in France, and the town has given its name to a yummy variant of cantaloupe.

Half Baggage
15 - 60 k
Wednesday
VILLAGES of the LUBERON.
Today we head into the Luberon, the area of Provence popularized by Peter Mayle (in French, by Marcel Pagnol).  Our route follows the hillside through lovely stone villages, so different from the pastels of the plain. Oppède-le-Vieux, Ménerbes, Bonnieux....  Lacoste is home to lots of cloth alligators, and was once home to the Marquis de Sade.  You'll better understand his point of view after biking up there.

Grape vines cover the hillsides, lavender graces the fields up top.  A hilly day, but the base distance is kept short, to allow you to enjoy the views and the town squares along your route. Think “post card writing” – something about the surroundings seems to put people in the mood.  Our next two nights are spent in an isolated country inn set in extraordinary surroundings.
40 k
Thursday
The MONTAGNE du LUBERON.
A day to explore the mountain.  Climb onto the ridge for a glorious cycle in the national park, on a road closed to cars, with views to the Mediterranean.  Or go hiking on the secluded paths behind our hotel.  Scout out a country restaurant with a terrace for a leisurely lunch.  A cycle path follows the old rail line from Apt to Cereste, if you’re tired of hills.  Return home from wherever you have gone for a glass of rosé and a country dinner.
0 - 60 k
Friday
LOURMARIN MARKET, AIX-EN-PROVENCE.
We ride out of the hills, and past the pretty provençal market town of Lourmarin (an extraordinary selection of fresh produce, flowers, honey...), on our way to Aix-en-Provence, a beautiful university town.  Cézanne’s inspiration is ours as well, as we sip a sunset pastis in the oft-painted decor of the Cours Mirabeau.

If your trip ends with this ride, it disbands upon arrival in Aix-en-Provence, to much sniffling. An evening TGV, a late flight, or an overnight train can take you to a variety of places.  But Aix is beautiful.  We suggest that you stop the night, for a flight from Marseille, or a high-speed train to Paris (or direct to Charles de Gaulle airport), on Saturday.

You will also stop the night in Aix if you are headed on to Tuscany.  In that case, an all-day train ride along the Riviera will bring you to Pisa tomorrow.

Dinner and the night (in Aix or on a train) are included as part of the Access Package, and also for travellers continuing their trips with us.

Half Baggage
40 - 65 k
Saturday
TRAVEL DAY
onwards by train, plane...


A Week in Provence — Facts & Figures
2018 Dates

Baggage Services Offered**
(optional, except as noted)
Difficulty of the Ride
May 20 - 25

Later dates TBD
Follow this link to help choose them
$1,825 US
$2,175 C
1,295€
Daily, Half

Moderate

Some hills and a couple of longish days crowd into riding times shortened by interesting non-biking sightseeing.

Back-ups are present, but tiresome.  You’ll generally prefer to complete the rides, which is not a hardship. 

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.   Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
Currency
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service in order for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).
Daily
Half
$US
$290
$148
$280
$C
$350
$178
$335
€uros
240€
120€
230€
210€

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Nimes
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Aix-en-Provence