Inland Provence is a cycling paradise of tiny villages linked by quiet backroads, all calling your name! So grab your bike and pedal into French village life, breathe in the aromas and sample mouth-watering delights. Time-tested relics will guide the way, from prehistory to the Roman era, as you soak up the sun, sights and wine and savour the produce of Cotes du Rhone. Glide along country lanes and Roman roads, climb up to remote hilltop passes. Cruise past vineyards, olive groves and sleepy hamlets, then indulge in frequent stops at ornate chapels and quaint castles. Linger in story-book villages and get lost in Provence.
Your cycling trip takes off from Graveson or Barbentane, just 15 minutes by taxi from Avignon Station. Settle in, rinse off the dust of travel and blend into the surroundings that so inspired Van Gogh.
Strike out on a route to Tarascon, either through the Alpilles foothills or via St Michel’s Abbey in Frigolet. Whichever route you take, the superb scenery will swallow you whole! The well-preserved Castle of Tarascon, former residence of Count Rene d’Anjou King of Provence, guards an excellent display of tapestries and earthenware jars, while the Musee du Tissu Souleiado overwhelms with countless sorts of fabric. Tuesday is market day, a chance to check out local specialties. Take an evening stroll by the river for a closer look at stately 17th and 18th-century homes.
Challenge: 20km, 123m ascent, 128m descent
Head north into the rugged and rocky scenery around Fontvieille, where local windmills include Alphonse Daudet’s Mill, described in the author’s 1869 tales ‘Lettres de mon Moulin’. Continuing on, you encounter Arles, a major Gallo-Roman city founded in 7th century BC. Spend time at the Arena and Roman Theatre, cycle along the canal and stop off at the reconstructed Van Gogh Bridge, setting for the painter’s famous “Pont de Langlois” works.
Challenge: 25.2km, 166m ascent, 107m descent
A shorter ride leaves time to explore the area and Les-Baux-de-Provence, a picturesque village with royal history and towering fortified ruins. Peruse the artifacts at local museums and relish in an evening steeped in history and beauté provençale.
Challenge: 21.2km, 223m ascent, 88m descent
Circle back to Maussane on backroads enjoying gorgeous views of the Alpilles, then continue onward to Saint Rémy. Vincent van Gogh spent time here at the asylum in the year before his death, and his paintings from that era celebrate the local light and colours. Other well-known artists have portrayed the area as well, including Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse and Cézanne. Save ample time to explore delightful Saint Remy, whose hidden charms include the house where Nostradamus was born.
Challenge: 27.4km, 320m ascent, 449m descent
Free day today: you can spend time exploring the town further including the Van Gogh walking trail to discover where his great works were painted or the "Archeological site of Glanum", south of the town.
Pedal along dirt roads lined with orchards, where it’s all olive groves and fruit trees! Pause to peak into the village of Eyragues, with its splendid 18th-century clock tower and fortified Romanesque church of Saint Maxime dating back to the 11th century. Stretch your legs on ancient lanes lined with the remains of ramparts, then speed along through vegetable gardens and farmland around Châteaurenard. Your route finishes full circle as you ride back into Barbentane or Graveson.
Challenge: 24.8km, 164m ascent, 203m descent
Your cycling trip comes to an end today after breakfast. An optional transfer to Avignon train station can be arranged in advance, or on the spot at your accommodation.
7 Nights included
2/3 Star Hotels
Tourist tax included
Breakfasts and 3 Dinners included during the trip
Maps and tourist information on all the places of interest
24/7 Bilingual Emergency hotline
Luggage transport to your next accommodations. Luggage accepted per person: 1 suitcase or travel bag (20 kg maximum)
Parking information on request
We will supply the directions of this trip with a personalized code which gives you access to our travel App.
Avignon can easily be reached by train (TGV). Then it's just a short taxi ride to Barbentane or Graveson. At the end of your trip, it's just a short taxi ride from Barbentane or Graveson to Avignon train station (approx. 20 min).
I LOVED the accomodation in Baux de Provence and the dinner was perfectly amazing. In general, this was a special trip for me and one that I would gladly do again. It was truly a dream come true and I got to see things that some people only dream of. The locations, the accomodation, the map guides and directions, the suggestions of places to see and experience were really great. It was a transformational trip for me and has inspired me to more. The people working in the hotels were super kind and welcoming. It was wonderful. I felt the routes were too easy honestly. I liked the back roads and the way you tried to avoid major traffic routes but every day of my trip, I was on Strava planning an additional ride because the route to the next hotel was much too short. I was a bit disappointed with a few of the gravel roads - usually ones that followed rivers or creeks. Some small sections of the route had very rough terrain for a skinny tire road bike that at times was dangerous. This trip was designed more for mountain bike or hybrid bikes. The map guidance application was a little bit quirky to use but ultimately effective. I think it was relatively easy to use. No major issues. A bit rudimatary. Could be more asthetically well designed. Me, my bicycle and the eager anticipation of the beautiful back roads of Provence. I found myself over the course of several days discovering new places, decadent foods and some of the most beautiful sites on the planet. Each twist and turn in the road was an opportunity to explore and reveal a new treasure of an experience or to meet the characters of the local towns. A castle on the hill, an iridescent angel in a sunlit graveyard, a meal in front of a Roman amphitheater, a rowdy breakfast room full of students visiting Arles!!!, an excited puppy at the hotel in Tarascon licking my face, a warm coffee and pastry on a cool morning ride, the sweat of great memories crystallizing on my face as I reach another milestone. What a ride. Tiago R.