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France

Pedalling Provence

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$1,815 P.P.
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Is there a more iconic destination in France than the sun-kissed land of Provence? We think not. Whilst the glitzy coastline was the traditional haunt of well-to-do tourists early in the 20th century, the idyllic, slow lifestyle of those living inland, tending to their olive groves and vineyards is now what most visitors come in search of.
This tour takes you on an easy-going journey through not only our favourite pocket of Provence, but the favourite of Vincent Van Gogh too. The colours of the landscape and the soft, hazy sunshine that is so reliably present in summer will make it abundantly clear why. The riding is nice and flat for the most part, so the tour is really accessible for cyclists with a basic level of fitness, making it the perfect way to explore this incredible landscape by bike. 
Starting and finishing in St-Remy-de-Provence, where Vincent spent the later years of his life, you’ll take in a loop around the Alpilles, along the Via Rhona and into the Camargue, riding through peaceful countryside and calling into Arles for some time in a bustling city with Roman sites and a vibrant, uniquely Camarguaise atmosphere.
Other attractions of note include the hilltop fortress of Les Baux-de-Provence, a perched village with a spectacular view of the Rhone valley and the quintessentially Provençal market village of Fontvieille, where time really does seem to slow down.
All of these memorable places are linked together by a selection of very easy-going cycling routes that traverse the landscape on a mix of quiet rural roads and cycle paths.
arles-amphitheatre-france-bike-and-boat-cycling-holiday.jpg

Highlights

  • Riding through landscapes immortalised by the works of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Enjoying fine local produce, including excellent wines, olive oils and herbs
  • Soaking up the atmosphere of St-Remy-de-Provence with some al fresco dining and late night aperitifs
  • Exploring the Roman amphitheatre in the heart of Arles, just 50m from your hotel
  • Riding through peaceful French countryside, olive groves and vineyards
  • Spotting the hilltop fortress of Les Baux-de-Provence

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in St-Remy-de-Provence

Today you’ll make your way to St-Remy-de-Provence and settle into your hotel before a welcome briefing and bike fitting delivered by a member of the local team.

A short acclimatisation ride will be an option for early arrivals, or you may prefer a walk through this charming town’s narrow streets lined with boutiques and restaurants. The Roman ruins of Glanum are a 30 minute or so walk from your hotel, or take a stroll to St Paul’s Mausoleum.

Day 2
St-Remy-de-Provence to Fontvieille
12 Miles / 19 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 63 Metres Approx.

You’ll start the day by leaving St-Remy and picking up the Eurovelo 8 cycle path for a flat, traffic free ride to Mas-Blanc-de-Alpilles and Saint-Etienne-du-Gres, a picturesque village at the foot of the Alpilles (a miniature mountain range).

A short stretch of cycling through the countryside brings you into Fontvieille with ample time to explore this gorgeous small town. Its main claim to fame is being the home of Alphonse Daudet, a celebrated 19th century novelist, and a small museum in his honour can be found a short walk from the centre if you’d like to learn more about him. Otherwise, kick back, relax and enjoy the infectiously slow pace of life.

Day 3
Optional loop ride to Les Baux-de-Provence
16 Miles / 25 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 252 Metres Approx.

Today you have the chance to visit one of the area’s most renowned villages, the spectacular Les Baux-de-Provence. Famed for its hilltop fortress and the vast panoramas offered of the Alpilles, the Rhone valley and even the Cevennes mountains much further west.

The village itself is lined with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, making it perfect for a long lazy lunch break. After relaxing with a post-lunch café au lait, you’ll make your way back to Fontvielle, freewheeling down from the Alpilles, back to the comfort of your hotel.

Day 4
Fontvieille to Arles
23 Miles / 37 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 138 Metres Approx.

Leaving the Alpilles behind you’ll venture towards the Camargue today, with the history rich city of Arles your destination.

Today you’ll be riding through the countryside, with your first experiences of some typical Camarguais landscapes. En route you pass Pont-du-Crau, a suburb of Arles that was immortalised in some of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings.

Arles itself is possibly the most Provençal city you can find, with a rich history and strong cultural identity that is on show all around the city. Be sure to check out the famed amphitheatre and the Van Gogh foundation whilst you’re here.

Day 5
Optional loop ride in the Camargue
29 Miles / 47 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 163 Metres Approx.

A rest day is an option today and the chance to stroll through Arles at leisure is certainly tempting.

But for those looking to ride, the Camargue beckons. This loop ride takes you to Étang de Vaccarès, a vast salt-water lagoon in the heart of the Camargue and a great spot for wildlife lovers and bird watchers.

We suggest packing a picnic and settling down by the lagoon, looking out for flamingos and other wild birds whilst you eat, before a flat ride back into Arles.

Day 6
Arles to Tarascon
14 Miles / 23 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 70 Metres Approx.

This morning you’ll wave goodbye to Arles as you saddle up and hop onto the Via-Rhona cycle route, heading north towards the twin towns of Beaucaire and Tarascon. The two towns take positions on either side of the Rhone, with Beaucaire offering a charming waterfront area lined with cafes and restaurants still mostly unknown to most visitors to the area.

Tarascon’s imposing fortress is worth a visit, particularly to learn about the legend of La Tarasque, a monster of the river who terrorised the inhabitants some 2000 years ago.

Day 7
Tarascon to St-Remy-de-Provence
11 Miles / 18 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 79 Metres Approx.

An easy day of cycling is in store for the final day of your trip.

The route follows the Mediterranean cycle route on a mix of cycle path and quiet lanes, back to the lively hustle and bustle of St-Remy-de-Provence. At just 18km in length, you should arrive with plenty of time to soak up one final afternoon of Provençal perfection, perhaps visiting the Roman ruins at Glanum or simply taking it easy in the square with a cold bottle of rosé.

Day 8
Departure from St-Remy-de-Provence
  • Meals: Breakfast

After a final breakfast in St-Remy-de-Provence it’s time to say au revoir!

Trip extensions are available on request with extra nights in nearby Avignon or Marseille recommended.

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The Cycling

Terrain

The route is predominantly flat, with just one day taking you up a notable hill. Most of the riding is on small, quiet roads (approx. 70%), generally with low levels of traffic. Some heavier traffic is to be expected on the way in and out of Arles, but there are cycle lanes to make this a little easier. 20% of the route is on traffic-free cycle paths (in particular on the way into and out of Sr-Remy and Arles) and the other 10% sees you using cycle lanes.

We recommend a hybrid bike for this tour, however due to the nature of the terrain (mostly tarmac/asphalt and cycle lanes), a road bike would also be suitable.

Val d'Enfer, Baux-de-Provence - Rupert Shanks-12.jpg

Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 1 : Easy

Distances generally between 10-20 miles / 15-35 kms per day

For those looking for an accessible cycling trip

Manageable daily distances

Predominately flat terrain

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

If you‘re new to cycling, or perhaps haven’t ridden your bike for a while, then the relaxed rides on our Grade 1 trips might be for you. Of course no route can be pancake flat the entire way, with some gentle slopes being inevitable, but if you‘re looking for short, daily distances on mostly flat terrain, (with plenty of time to go at your own pace and explore your destination), then these holidays would be a good place to start. We’d expect those on a Grade 1 trip to be able to ride their bike confidently and generally be fit and healthy.

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Dates & Prices

2021 and 2022 Daily departures available from 01 Apr – 10 Oct.

Please select the Hotel Upgrade supplement below when booking, if you would like to upgrade your hotel in Fontvieille (2 nights) to a 4* hotel.

Choose your date
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
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Duration
8 days
Price
$1,815.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in 3* hotels

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Welcome meeting

D) English speaking local representative (with welcome meeting)

E) Detailed route notes and maps (GPX files available on request)

F) Luggage transfers

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Travel to/from hotel on arrival and departure day

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The Essentials

Travel Options

This tour starts and finishes in St-Remy-de-Provence, a small village 25km south of Avignon, the nearest major city.

Most guests will fly into Marseille (MRS), a well served airport from several UK departure points, including most London airports, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh. From the airport a private taxi transfer is the easiest way to get to St-Remy-de-Provence. Or you can use public transport, catching the train to Cavaillon and jumping in a taxi from there, or a direct bus (line 57).

Alternatively you can fly or catch the Eurostar to Paris, before making your way to Avignon TGV station by TGV train (2hr 45 mins). If taking the Eurostar, you’ll need to transfer between Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon by Metro (RER line D, 30 mins incl. walking).

Most flights from North America require overnight travel, and a stop over in an intermediary airport, with Norwegian, Virgin Atlantic or Air Portugal combining with another airline being a common combination. Flying from North America may involve multiple travel days.

We can help with airport / train station transfers if required. Estimated prices as follows:

Avignon TGV Station to/from St-Remy-de-Provence – $165

Marseille Airport to/from St-Remy-de-Provence – $455

All prices are for a return journey in a standard saloon car (max. 3 passengers). Minibus prices and prices to/from other locations may be available on request. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Please check with Skedaddle before making any travel arrangements so that we can ensure they fit in with the holiday schedule.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will be en suite, in high end 3 star hotels.

We have selected hotels that really showcase the area and this tour is really about great riding and great accommodation at the end of a day out on your bike. We can send a list of example hotels ahead of booking if you’d like an idea of the standard to expect.

If you would like to upgrade your hotel in Fontvieille (2 nights) to a 4* hotel, please select this option at the time of booking.

Bike Hire

If you’d rather not bring along your own bike, we have bikes available to rent.

Rental bikes are typically Trek T200s. A capable and versatile touring bike. A lightweight Shimano 24-speed drivetrain and a Dynamo hub make it the perfect choice for everything from daily rides to exploration in new terrain. Available in standard (as above) and low step frame types (depending on your height, please let us know if you have a preference).

We also have electric bikes available. These are typically Trek TM1+ Lowstep (500Wh. A versatile electric trekking bike with a step-through frame geometry that makes it easy to mount and dismount. It’s built for comfort and dependability on all kinds of recreational rides. The powerful Bosch motor helps you sustain speeds up to 25 km/h, comfortable touchpoints and 8-speed Shimano drivetrain make it perfect for this tour.

Rental bikes will come with a back pannier rack and bag, a mobile phone mount, a puncture repair kit and spare inner tubes and a water bottle holder. Rental helmets available on request. You are welcome to bring along your own pedals (and shoes) and / or saddle if preferred, please just let us know in advance.

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