Boat & Bike Provence / Camargue in France
8 days / 7 nights | Ships: MS L'Estello and MS Caprice | Guided or Self-guided cycle tours
On this cycling tour, you will discover the diversity of the landscapes of the French countryside between Camargue and Provence. You cycle through lovely vineyards, marshland and rice fields, a landscape that is home to flamingos, herons, cormorans and more than 400 other bird species. It goes through the river valley of the Rhône and you can enjoy the view of the bizarre rock landscapes in the National Park Alpilles. On the route are historic cities like Avignon and Arles, the latter famous by artists such as Van Gogh or Gauguin. The itinerary is a weekly change from Aigues Mortes to Avignon and vice versa. A minivan with driver is available for daily trips of the non-cyclists (against supplement) as well as for emergencies.
Total length: 240 km
Total vertical up: 620 m
Terrain: 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved
The tour is totally in the lowlands during the two stages in Camargue, while the stages north of Arles present some ups and downs, which are however easy to overcome. There is just one more demanding slope towards Les Baux de Provence, but you will be fully repaid with an extraordinary landscape. The itinerary is mostly on secondary roads with low traffic; some short stretches on more busy roads are however inevitable. There will also be a couple of navigation stretches to make the stage more enjoyable.
Itinerary: From Aigues-Mortes to Avignon
Day 1: Aigues-Mortes.
We welcome you in Aigues Mortes, medieval town, ancient military and commercial port on the Mediterranean aboard your new home-from-home from 6.00 p.m. onwards, and then regroup for the introductory briefing – at 6.30 – with your tour leader, skipper and crew, along with a first refreshing aperitivo.
Day 2: Aigues-Mortes, round tour (Cycling 55 km / 34 miles)
Going through small country lanes of the Camargue between canals, lagoons and small villages you will have the chance to see the famous black bulls and the white horses typical of this region, as well as the pink flamingos. In the afternoon you will reach the charming fishermen’s village Le Grau-du-Roi. Possibility of a refreshing bath on the beach.
Day 3: Aigues Mortes – Arles (Cycling 25 km / 16 miles)
You will sail for a couple of hours up to Saint Gilles and then cycle to today's destination: Arles, known for the richness of its antique and Roman patrimony. The city fascinates you with its hidden treasures. Getting lost among its small alleys will be like entering a picture by Van Gogh. In the afternoon you will also have the opportunity to be welcome by a professional guide, who will accompany you around the jewels of the town.
Day 4: Arles – Vallabreguès (Cycling 55 km / 34 miles)
This is a breathtaking stage, which brings you to the Alpilles, with the perched village of Les-Baux-de-Provence and then to Saint Rémy de Provence. A landscape of limestone cliffs and olive trees wil accompany the trip. In the evening you will moor in Vallabrègues, pretty Provençal village on the banks of the Rhône.
Day 5: Vallabrègues – Aramon (Cycling 35 km / 22 miles)
Along country roads you will arrive to Barbentane with its castle at the confluence of the Rhone and Durance rivers. You will cycle to the magnificent Abbey of Saint Michel de Frigulet and afterwards down to the medieval village of Boulbon. In the afternoon navigation to Aramon for the overnight with a beautiful view over the Mont Ventoux.
Day 6: Aramon – Avignon (Cycling 40 km / 25 miles)
The stage today will bring you to the best preserved Roman aqueduct in Europe: Pont du Gard, a very spectacular work. Back to Aramon in the afternoon you will sail to Avignon, the city of the Popes. Your mooring place is in Quai de la Ligne next to the famous Pont St. Bénezet. Free dinner in Avignon.
Day 7: Avignon, round tour (Cycling 30 km / 219 miles)
Today we’ll get to the other side of the river Rhone by crossing the island Île de la Barthelasse, and we’ll ride in the typical garrigue landscape, between vineyards and orchards. Before going back we’ll visit Villeneuve Les Avignon, once known to be the town of the cardinals. In the afternoon there is time to discover the historic centre of Avignon.
Day 8: Avignon.
After breakfast, end of services. Possibility to book extra nights.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.