Cycle Provence

Ride your way through neat rows of vineyards, beneath towering aqueducts and past verdant forests on an eight-day active cycling adventure through Provence. This journey through Southern France is the perfect blend of scenic trail riding, historical sightseeing and indulgent wine tasting. Visit the serene gardens of St Remy to see where Vincent van Gogh created his famous works, savour regional red wines at a vineyard outside Avignon and walk the cobbled streets of Les Baux to the top of the limestone cliffs. With a handful of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Roman history and serene landscapes where wild horses roam free – what more does a European cycling adventure need?

Calender 8 days

Difficulty: Moderate

From £ P/P

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Itinerary

  • Cycle through the same landscapes that inspired some of Vincent van Gogh's greatest masterpieces, like ‘Irises’ and the iconic ‘Starry Night’.
  • Pass by fragrant fields on the way to the spectacular three-tiered city of Pont du Gard – this Roman aqueduct is a UNESCO World Heritage site and if it’s quiet, you’ll even get to ride the bridge!
  • Search for wild white horses outside Camargue as you cycle to the Mediterranean Sea. The lakes of Camargue are also a bird spotters paradise, home to more than 400 species of birds.
  • Encounter rich Roman history and architecture in the historic towns of Arles and Orange. You’ll see Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Roman Amphitheatre and one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in Europe.
  • Stop in at famous vineyards outside Avignon and savour the delicious, regional French wines of the area. You deserve a reward after days of riding, don’t you?
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, World Bicycle Relief. Donations provide school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas with bicycles that provide access to education, healthcare, and income.

Bonjour! Welcome to France. Your adventure begins in Avignon with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, maybe visit the historic Palais des Papes and the Pont d’Avignon or explore the leafy streets and the massive Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace) at your own pace. You could also flop down on the grass of the Jardin des Doms with a fresh fougasse (French bread often sculpted to resemble a head of wheat) and some cheese. Tonight, ask your new local leader for the best dinner spot.

After breakfast today, there will be a bike fitting for the group followed by a short test ride to ensure everyone’s equipment has been set up properly. Then, you’ll leave Avignon and cycle along quiet and flat country roads to Orange. Along the way, pass through the famous wine region of Chateauneuf du Pape and maybe make a stop at a local vineyard. Sample some of the red wine this region is famous for, then continue the road to Orange. When you arrive, head out on an orientation walk of the town, visiting the Arc de Triomphe d’Orange and the outstanding Roman Theatre – one of the best preserved Roman theatres in Europe. The rest of the afternoon is free.

Leave Orange behind and ride the quiet roads south to the walled Provencal commune of Caderousse. Here, cross the mighty Rhone River passing the medieval village of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres and cycle past the vineyards that produce Lirac wines – the favourite wines of kings and the papal community in Avignon. Continue west through wine country to the legendary Pont du Gard – widely considered to be one of the world’s best-preserved examples of a Roman Aqueduct. Towering high above the Gardon River, this three-tiered stone masterpiece never fails to impress. On a quiet day, there may even be an opportunity to ride across it! After visiting the Pont du Gard, continue west to the small town of Uzes with its graceful circuit of boulevards and cute cafes.

Today is a long day in the saddle, but you’ll be rewarded with impressive sights along the way. Hopefully, the infamous mistral wind will be blowing from the northwest, providing a tailwind all the way to Saint Remy. Winding back across the Rhone, travel beneath the old city gate and into the small town of Tarascon. Take a short break from cycling to visit the imposing medieval castle, before sitting on the riverbank to learn about the legend of the Tarasque, the namesake of the town. After lunch, continue to Saint-Remy-de-Provence. In distinct contrast to the surrounding larger cities and towns, Saint Remy displays a typically Provencal way of life. Visit the serene gardens of Saint-Paul Asylum where Vincent van Gogh was a self-admitted patient and where he painted many works of art, including ‘Irises’ and the famous ‘The Starry Night’.

Today is a free day off the bike to explore charming Saint Remy at your own pace. Indulge your inner Van Gogh and chill out in a Provencal cafe, or if you’re still keen for a ride, your crew can suggest the best route in the local area. You can also take on the legendary Mont Ventoux on a carbon road bike. Driving from Saint Remy to Bedoin early, you’ll be riding on the mountain as the sun rises to beat the infamous Ventoux winds and summer heat. The unguided ride should take about 4 hours, leaving enough time to grab a coffee and croissant before you rejoin your driver in Bedoin for the drive back in Saint Remy.

Hit the road again after breakfast. Today, you start with a short ride to the hilltop commune of Les Baux-de-Provence. Although the distance is short, this is also one of the more difficult rides. For those not wanting to ride uphill, your support vehicle is always available. The first climb through the forest is rewarded with a short but beautiful descent on possibly the smoothest road in all of France. Carry on through olive groves and vineyards before arriving at Les Baux – declared ‘one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France’ thanks to its narrow, cobbled streets and surrounding countryside. Visit Chateau des Baux, which sits perched on a limestone cliff offering 360-degree views. After, ride through the Val d’Enfer’s (Valley of Hell) white limestone rock formations. From here, it is a downhill ride to Fontvieille, where you’ll follow the Canal d’Arles alongside the Rhone River all the way into Arles. Park the bikes and take a leader-led walk, passing the Place de la Republique, Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Roman Amphitheatre.

Swap vineyards for waves on a ride south to the capital of the Camargue – Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, which sits on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Set on the Rhone River delta, the lakes of Camargue are a bird spotters paradise, home to more than 400 species of birds. The area is also known for its famous white Camarguais horses, often seen running free around Camargue. After lunch, return to Arles by vehicle. You also have the option to ride back to Arles (but this optional ride will not be supported by either the leader or your vehicle). Tonight, maybe get the group together to enjoy a final dinner.

There are no activities planned after breakfast today and your adventure comes to an end. You’re free to leave at any time after check out. If you’d like to extend your stay, just get in touch with your booking agent ahead of time to organise additional accommodation.

Route large icon

Route overview

This trip covers quite some distance and you’ll be cycling up to 60 km a day on varied terrain with a few hills. As well as the ability to confidently ride a bike, you’ll need a moderate level of fitness to enjoy all activities.

On this trip, you have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker.

There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way – a puncture here and there – but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure.

If you feel like doing all the riding but with less effort, we have the option of hiring an electric bike (e-bike) on this trip.

What’s included

  • Orange Roman Theatre
  • Pont du Gard Entrance
  • Saint Remy - Van Gogh Asylum visit
  • Arles Amphitheatre
  • Castle Visit - Les Baux de Provence
Whats included

Check Availability

We have put together a fantastic selection of self-guided cycling holidays throughout Europe. All prices shown are per person sharing a double/twin room and exclude flights.

To book, please select a day of the week the cycling holiday operates on. If the tour starts daily, you can pick any date. If there is a specific start date e.g. Saturday or Sunday only, please choose the day of departure from the list of dates.

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