Provence & Carmargue by Bike and Barge

Guided Lifestyle Cycling Tour from $1673 NZD

Cycling Tour of Provence

As you bike and boat through the regions of Provence and Camargue from Avignon to Arles to Aigues-Mortes (or vice versa), experience Van Gogh’s magical landscapes.

Explore a land of salt marshes, rich in flora, fauna and wildlife (including the bulls and white horses in the wild Camargue region).

Many artists have been inspired by the magical Mediterranean quality of light. This area was home to Van Gogh between 1888-1889 during which time he produced about 300 drawings and paintings, among them ‘Bedroom in Arles’ and ‘Starry Night’.

Highlights of this unique bike and boat trip include the medieval fortress town of Aigues-Mortes, the Gallo-Roman city of Arles with its 7th century Roman sites and the famous Pont du Gard. Experience the aroma from lavender fields, explore beautiful towns and savour wines from famous vineyards.

Avignon to Aigues Mortes

Avignon
  • Lifestyle
  • Grade
  • Maximum group size is 21-22
  • EUR 300 single cabin surcharge (2019)
  • EUR 350 single cabin surcharge (2020)
  • EUR 85 touring bike hire
  • EUR 195 e-bike hire
  • EUR 50pp vegan & gluten free diets
  • Tour is invoiced in EUR
  • 2021 prices subject to change
  • Tour operates in the reverse direction on alternate weeks
  • You must check availability with us before booking
  • Charters available
We'll cycle each morning (sometimes after a short cruise) and meet the boat later in the day for dinner. In the evenings, stroll through historic towns before settling in your cabin, on-board your comfortable barge. The tour offers an easy to moderate guided (or self-guided if preferred) cycling challenge on normally quiet country roads and paths. Daily distances range from 25–60 km, on mainly flat or gently rolling terrain.

Full Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrival Day: Avignon

No cycling

Please make your own way to historic Avignon, located on the opposite side of the Rhône river to Villeneuve-lez-Avignon, the newer 'sister' city. You will find your boat moored at the pier of Quai de la Ligne which is next to the famous bridge of Pont St. Bénezet. Check in to your cabin from 6pm, although you are welcome to arrive earlier and store your luggage while exploring the town. Dinner will be served at 7pm, after which there will be a pre tour briefing.

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2

Avignon (round trip)

Cycling: 30 km / elevation up: 100m

From Avignon, the city of popes, we’ll get to the other side of the river Rhone by crossing the island Île de la Barthelasse. Then we’ll cycle through the typical garrigue landscape between vineyards and orchards. Before heading back to the boat we’ll visit Villeneuve Les Avignon, once known to be the town of the cardinals. In the afternoon there will be time to discover the historic centre of Avignon.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3

Avignon to Aramon

Cycling: 40 km / elevation up: 100m

We start the day with a cruise along the river to the small town of Aramon. Then cycle to the best preserved Roman aqueduct in all of Europe, the Pont du Gard. This bridge, with three levels of stone arches, was part of an aqueduct built in the 1st century for carrying water from near Uzès to Nîmes, a distance of over 50 kilometers. After spending some time here we'll return to our boat at Aramon via a different route. In the distance we can see famous Mont Ventoux.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4

Aramon to Vallabrègues

Cycling: 35 km / elevation up: 90m

Firstly we sail to Vallabrègues, a pretty Provençal village on the banks of the Rhône. Then along country roads we'll cycle to Barbentane with its castle, situated where the Rhône and Durance rivers meet. After cycling through picturesque hillside vineyards we'll stop at the magnificent Abbey of Saint Michel de Frigulet before continuing to the medieval village of Boulbon. Finally we return to Vallabrègues where we’ll moor for the evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5

Vallabrègues to Arles

Cycling: approx 55 km / elevation: 300m

Today's route is more challenging, but the fantastic views along the way are well worth the effort! Cycle past limestone cliffs, flower fields, olive trees and through the plains where Van Gogh painted Starry Night. Pass through St-Rémy-de-Provence, the birthplace of Nostradamus, then on to Alpilles and Les Baux-de-Provence, a picturesque village lodged in the rock, making it a popular tourist destination in France. The day ends in the beautiful town of Arles, with its many Roman monuments and attractions.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6

Arles to Aigues-Mortes

Cycling: 25 km / elevation up: 0m

This morning we explore Arles, the ancient capital of Gaul with its fantastic Roman ruins. A professional guide will take you on a tour of the 'jewels' of this town. After lunch we cycle to the loch of Saint-Gilles and then cruise to our destination of Aigues Mortes. This charming and striking 13th century medieval town with 5 massive towers and a walkable wall surrounding it, still looks very much like it did in the Middle Ages. Aigues Mortes was orginally built as a port, with access to the sea via a canal. We will moor here overnight.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7

Aigues-Mortes (round trip)

Cycling: 55 km / elevation up: 0m

On easy country roads we'll cycle between canals, lagoons and small villages. As we pass cane and rice fields, white horses and Camargue bulls may be your companions. We may also see pink flamingos feeding in the shallow waters as you ride to the seaside town of Le-Grau-du-Roi. There are several cycling options along the coast or you may just prefer to relax at the beach. This afternoon don't miss the incredible salt marshes as you head back to the boat at Aigues Mortes in this beautiful part of Camargue.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8

Departure Day: Aigues-Mortes

No cycling

After breakfast it is the end of your tour and time to say goodbye to Provence, your fellow travellers and boat crew. The boat is moored close to the train station and we ask you to please check out by 9am.

Meals: Breakfast

Tour Inclusions and Exclusions:

Tour Includes:

  • Accommodation: 7 nights on a comfortable boat in air conditioned cabins (with ensuite)
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary (7 breakfasts, 6 self packed lunches, 7 dinners)
  • Tea and coffee available on board
  • Tour leader (also the cycling guide)
  • Emergency van in the area
  • Detailed maps and route description
  • Guided visit of Arles
  • Entrance to Pont du Gard
  • Wine tasting in Chateauneuf-du-Pape
  • Harbour charges

Tour Excludes:

  • International and domestic flights (and trains)
  • Travel Visas (where applicable)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Bike hire (touring bike or e-bike)
  • Personal expenses and alcoholic drinks on board
  • Tips for your guide & crew
  • Entrance fees to museums and sights not listed above