Bicycling Paris to Lyon Plus! Marseille
If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 12 days, check out our Bicycling Paris to Lyon tour, which features the first nights of this itinerary.View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Welcome to Paris!
Highlights: Paris, Fit bicycles
Meet this afternoon in Barbizon a short train ride from Paris. We fit bicycles this afternoon and go out for a warm up ride.
Distance: optional warm up ride. Meals: D
Lodging: Hotel des Pléiades
Day 2: Barbizon
Highlights: Guided visit of Fontainebleau Castle, Vaux le Vicomte
Start the day visiting the illustrious Renaissance châteaux of Fontainebleau. Napoléon (of course!) slept here, and may have even resided here for a while. The château of Fontainebleau rivals the palace in Versailles and the châteaux of the Loire Valley in its magnificence. It sits in the middle of a 40,000 acre forest and gardens. After our guided visit, pedal through shaded forest roads back to our comfortable hotel. You'll have the chance to visit another historic castle along the way: Vaux le Vicomte.
Distance: 59km (36 miles) more if desired. Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel des Pléiades
Day 3: Barbizon to Montargis
Highlights: Perched village of Château-Landon, historic Montargis
New Years' eve 1894, Annie pedalled from Nemours to Montargis by way of Souppes-sur-Loing. The route she most likely would have followed is a major highway now so we'll follow her presumed route, or at least approximate it, on parallel roads. Today's ride is packed with history, from pre-history, to Romans, and into the Middle Ages. We're sleeping in Montargis, the "Venice of the Gâtinais" tonight.
Distance: 74 km (46 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Ibis Montargis Hotel
Day 4: Montargis to Sancerre
Highlights: Pont-Canal in Briare
Annie rang in the New Year with a long ride on her single speed bike. She pedaled from Montargis to Cosne-sur-Loire. Annie would have picked up the Loire River valley today and followed it for the next several days, avoiding the adjacent short but steep climbs. She spent the night in a private home in Cosne-sur-Loire. You'll pedal across the famous Briare canal bridge this afternoon, Europe's longest junction canal.
Distance: 98km (61 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Le Clos Saint-Martin
Day 5: Ride up the Loire Valley to Nevers
Highlights: Loire River Valley
You'll continue up the Loire River Valley today to Charité-sur-Loire and on to Nevers. Annie would have followed the river most of the way today, so we'll do the same with a beautiful forested foothills of the Morvan. Annie rode only to Charité today so you might want to stop for photos and then plan on time to take a walk in Nevers this evening.
Distance: 89 km (55 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel de Diane
Day 6: Nevers to Lyon
Highlights: Lyon, Bouchon Lyonnais, Vieux Lyon
It is 230 km from Nevers to Lyon, Annie's next stop. In 1895, the local head of the Union Vélocipédique du France, Mr. Nicart, persuaded Annie to take the train to Lyon "because of the deplorable state of the routes." She heeded his advice and spent two days resting in Lyon. Stage 6 of the 2003 Tour de France™ pedaled from Nevers to Lyon. While you are not going to try and pedal the entire distance, you will take a ride this morning then catch the train into Lyon like Annie did.
Distance: 44km (27 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging:Sofitel Lyon Bellecour
Day 7: Rest Day in Lyon
Highlights: Lyon's monuments, museums, architecture
After a fascinating guided tour of Vieux Lyon you'll have the entire day to relax and enjoy this wonderful city. The historic old town stretches out along a peninsula between the Rhône and Saône rivers, and is filled with beautiful monuments, museums, and buildings. Be sure to take the tramway to the top of the city heights where you'll have a magnificent view over the roof tops of the entire city.
Distance: Rest Day. Meals: B
Lodging:Sofitel Lyon Bellecour
Day 8: Train to Orange, ride to Mont Ventoux
Highlights: Roman ruins of Orange, Côtes du Rhône vineyards
We'll take a train out of Lyon this morning to Orange, where you'll pedal through some of France's most famous vineyards to the base of Mont Ventoux - a perfect position if you'd like to challenge yourself with a ride to the top tomorrow!
Distance: 40km (25 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging:Hotel des Pins
Day 9: The Mont Ventoux!
Highlights: Mont Ventoux, wine villages, Roman and medieval history
Take your choice today between relaxing by the hotel pool and getting a massage, to climbing the legendary Mont Ventoux. For those who prefer something in between, we'll mark a stunning ride through some of the best and prettiest wine country in the world. Our loop takes you through several Roman or medieval villages including Malaucène, Vaison la-Romaine, Séguret, Gigondas and Vacqueyras which will leave you arguing over which is the most charming and magnificent. It is also possible to combine Mont Ventoux and the loop.
Distance: 0-99 km (0-61 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging:Hotel des Pins
Day 10: Ride to the Luberon Valley
Highlights: Bonnieux, Lourmarin
Head south to the Luberon Valley, made famous by Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence. Pedal through ochre-colored Roussillon, and the perched village of Bonnieux on your way to our luxurious farm house just outside of Lourmarin. You can relax by the pool or stroll through the vast hotel grounds and herb garden this afternoon before dinner together.
Distance: 70 km (43 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging:Le Mas de Guilles
Day 11: Ride to Marseille
Today we'll take on the last stage of Annie's journey all the way to her triumphant arrival in Marseille. Although Annie took the most direct route into the city, we've planned for a much more scenic approach to the base of the Chaine de l'Etoile mountains that serve as a magnificent backdrop for Marseille set against the sea. Our ride ends with a picnic lunch just outside Aix-en-Provence. After lunch we'll shuttle to our hotel in the heart of Marseille where you can spend the rest of the afternoon discovering the city. We'll have our final dinner together tonight at a local's favorite.
Distance: 45km (28 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging:Hotel de la Résidence
Day 12: Tour ends in Marseille
Our journey ends this morning after breakfast. For those of you who would like to spend more time visiting this unique city, we'll suggest some highlights. It was a pleasure having you join us on this ride into history.
HighlightsChâteau de Fontainebleau, Loire River Valley, Lyon, Roman Ruins in Orange, Côte du Rhône Vineyards, Marseille
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 12 days, 11 nights accommodation; 8 dinners with wine, 1 lunch, 11 breakfasts; guided visit of Fontainebleau; 2 to 3 bilingual tour leaders plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Total Distance519-618 km (373 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage if you ride every mile 69 km (42 miles)
Rating301 Some long days and varied terrain as you bicycle across four regions of France.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes Aug 23-Sep 3, 2015 $5300 $650 Guaranteed to Go Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
We Are ExperiencePlus! Meet your Tour Leaders
We'd like to introduce you to your tour leaders. We believe we have the best bicycle tour leaders out there, click through to see a slideshow about them.
The story behind Annie's momentous ride and her other cycling adventures, written by her great-grand nephew, Peter Zheutlin.
Col Collective rides Mont Ventoux (Bedoin)
A video featuring the climb up Mont Ventoux from Bedoin which is the direction we go for our optional ride on the Paris to Marseille and Provence trips.
Listening to Sancerre Tell Its Story
This article from the New York Times delves into the story of the wines of Sancerre and what makes them so good.
Retracing Annie Londonderry's Victorian Odyssey
A little more about Annie's history, and Peter's own personal quest to learn more about his great great aunt.
The Annie Londonderry website
Learn more about Annie's two-wheeled ride around-the-world, one of the most audacious undertakings and publicity stunts of the Victorian era. Links to articles, photos, and more information. Also pre-order Peter Zheutlin's book soon to be published by Citadel Press.
The Bicycle and the Women's Movement of the 1890s
Annie Londonderry; Women on Wheels: The Bicycle and the Women's Movement of the 1890s This article, also by Peter, is an interesting look at the evolution of cycling, and how the popularity of cycling affected the Women's movement and Annie's personal journey.
- We Are ExperiencePlus! Meet your Tour Leaders
This was our third tour with ExperiencePlus, and are already busy deciding on the fourth. They are the best tours we''ve done.Dana S., Fairport, NY
Excellent overall experience and riding challenge with long distances and varied terrain. Selection of restaurant, excellent service, with carefully chosen dinner menu and excellent food and wine for gourmet dinner in Sancerre.Helen S., Melbourne, Australia
Wonderful experience. The food and hotels were excellent. Fancy putting on 5 pounds AFTER a bike ride??!! Excellent food and wines.Jane C., Lucca, Italy
Gorgeous scenery, everything was taken care of and thought through, route marking was fantastic, food was amazing, wine was amazing, .... best fully-supported trip I''ve been on.Helena S., Sunnyvale, CA
Everything was flawless; the guides were excellent, the selection of routes was great. Selected hotels, food, etc. far exceeded our expectations. Take it next year !!!Milan S., Fairport, NY
This was a great trip; made new friends and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. a wonderful way to see a variety of regions of France. ThanksEd R., Sun Lakes, AZ
Fun/ great food, wine and hotels/ beautiful route/ educational/, well planned/ ,outstanding tour leaders/amazing villages and scenery...Gary F., Ft Collins, CO
A great way to see France. Riding was moderate, scenery was beautiful, food was fantastic!Carol R., Sun Lakes, AZ
ou all do an amazing job of making your bike tours user friendly! Every detail is taken care of and it is so nice to have absolutely no worries while riding your bike through the most beautiful country!Jody D. Ft Collins, CO
My favorite part? The tour of Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte and riding through the forests in the upper Loire valley. The ride through the wine villlages in the Cote du Rhone was great!David G.
The routes chosen where exceptionally terrific with smooth pavement, wonderful vistas, and little auto traffic.Jim S.
Santa Fe, NM
Every day was a new and exciting experience (plus)!Jay S.
San Diego, CA
I was very happy with the route, the leaders, the chalked turns, and the food. It was a wonderful trip!Claudia C.
Walnut Creek, CA