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Cycling the Languedoc

  • Itinerary Summary

    France's Langue d'Oc region has always been a border region - between Spain and France, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and, in ancient times, between Rome and northern Gaul. Today it is classic Mediterranean France with vast expanses of vineyards, vestiges of Roman history in Nimes and Narbonne, and a mix of languages that include classic French, traditional Occitan and Catalan. Join us to bicycle and explore this little traveled region on roads not much wider than bike paths.

    ***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Bicycling Languedoc Plus! French Catalonia tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.***

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    1. Day 1: Arrive in Nîmes

      Highlights: Roman buildings including the amphitheater or "Arena" and the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple in the Center of Nîmes

      Our tour begins today in Nîmes, one of several cities founded along or near the Rhone River by the Romans in the first and second centuries B.C. Take time to visit the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in France, the "Arena" which is still used for Provençal style bull fights and the Maison Carrée, a perfectly preserved Roman temple dating to 16 BC. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon and suggest a warm up ride for those who wish. We have a welcome dinner together this evening.

      Distance: Warm up rides of 5-15km (3-9 miles). Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel Imperator Concorde

    2. Day 2: Bicycle from Nîmes to Anduze

      Highlights: Mediterranean villages, lavender, sage, rosemary, Costières de Nîmes wines, Bamboo Forest

      We ride west into Languedoc through small wine villages of the Costières de Nîmes today. Aromatic drought resistant scrub bushes and plants, including lavender, sage and rosemary, dot the landscape. Our hotel is in the foothills of the Costiéres de Nîmes a few kilometers outside of Anduze. Take time to visit the Bamboo Forest that you'll pass by just before our hotel. It hosts a fascinating collection of exotic, tropical plants including 150 species of bamboo, Sequoia and banana trees.

      Distance: 55km (34 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: L'Auberge les 3 Barbus

    3. Day 3: Loop ride in the Cévennes

      Highlights: Tiny mountain roads, Alés

      We pedal in the foothills of the Cévennes Mountains where you'll have spectacular views and a gentle pace as we explore medieval villages that seem frozen in time. It was in the high Cévennes that Robert Louis Stevenson walked with his donkey, Modestine, and wrote his classic Travels with a Donkey. Plan to enjoy lunch in Alés, an important town in the Protestant fight for religious freedom, and home to Alphonse Daudet, and Louis Pasteur.

      Distance: 45km (28 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: L'Auberge les 3 Barbus

    4. Day 4: Ride from Anduze to Ganges

      Highlights: One of our favorite bicycle rides anywhere, Market day in St Jean du Gard

      People who have ridden today's route tell us it is one of the prettiest rides on any of our tours. Enjoy traffic-free roads not much wider than a bike path, and get picnic supplies at one of the most charming local outdoor markets we know. Our hotel is located just outside of Ganges, nestled between the foothills of the Cévennes and the great plain of Languedoc.

      Distance: 55-62 km (34- 39 miles). Meals B, D

      Lodging: Domaine de Blancardy

    5. Day 5: Bicycle Ganges to Sète

      Highlights: St. Guilhem, scenic cycling, finish on the Mediterranean Sea

      We leave the Cévennes Mountains behind as we glide downhill through the gorge of the Herault River to St. Guilhem le Desert (desert because it is a lone village on this dry limestone plateau). Here, in 904 AD William of Gellone established a monastery. The village still retains an ancient Medieval atmosphere. Part of the cloister from the monastery was moved to Manhattan in the 1930s and is now "The Cloisters" portion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stop in St. Guilhem for coffee and a stroll before heading on to the Mediterranean Sea. Our approach to the delightful seaside town of Sète will be via ferry and you'll visit the famous oyster and mussel beds of the Etang de Thau.

      Distance: 92 km (57 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging:Grand Hotel

    6. Day 6: Bicycle from Sète to Narbonne

      Highlights: Roman Narbonne, Narbonne's 13th century cathedral, Canal du Midi

      We're on the road again today among vineyards and farmland as we head to the ancient Roman city of Narbonne. Narbonne was built along the Via Domitia, the Roman road that connected Italy with Spain during the second century B.C. when Rome expanded beyond the Alps. We'll bypass the busy city of Beziers and cross the famous Canal du Midi just to the south near the impressive "nine-locks" of Fonséranes. The canal connects Atlantic France with the Rhone River and Mediterranean France. Narbonne was and continues to be a major transportation corridor on the great coastal plain of Languedoc.

      Distance: 82km (52 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel La Residence

    7. Day 7: Bicycle from Narbonne to Carcassonne

      Highlights: Small country roads, Corbières vineyards, Canal du Midi, Carcassonne

      Our leisurely ride today takes us across the flat plains of Languedoc to the perfectly preserved late Medieval town of Carcassonne. This corridor between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, bounded on the south by the Pyrenees Mountains, has been an important transportation route since pre-Roman times. Completed in the 13th century, the famous walls of Carcassonne were restored in the late 19th century.

      Distance: 74km (45 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Mercure Porte de la Cité

    8. Day 8: Tour ends in Carcassonne

      Highlights: Carcassonne

      Our tour ends today in Carcassonne. You might choose to stay another day here to take in all of the sights or head over the "pink" city of Toulouse to continue exploring. Whatever you choose, "bon voyage," or, as they say in Catalan "bon viatge!"

      ***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Bicycling Languedoc Plus! French Catalonia tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.***

    • Highlights

      Canal du Midi, Nimes, Bamboo Forest Reserve, Canoe down the Herault River, Carcassonne, Great bicycle rides, Langudoc wines
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 8 days, 7 nights' accommodation; 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners with wine; special visits listed in the itinerary plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

      France
    • Begin/End

      Nimes / Carcassonne
    • Arrive/Depart

      Nimes Airport (FNI), Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) / Marseille Provence Airport (MRS), Barcelona (BCN)
    • Total Distance

      363 - 430 km (224 - 265 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average daily mileage: 51 - 61 km (32 - 38 miles) with options for days off the bike
    • Rating

      201-301 Mostly flat riding on the Plains of Languedoc with some climbing days in the Cvennes Mountains and the foothills of the Pyrenees.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Single Supplement Notes
    May 16-23, 2015 $3795 $550 Book by November 15th and Save $200, per person. Book it
    Jun 20-27, 2015 $3795 $550 Book by November 15th and Save $200, per person. Book it
    Sep 5-12, 2015 $3795 $550 Book by November 15th and Save $200, per person. 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.

  • Stories

    • Cycling the Languedoc

      ExperiencePlus! Staff member Jo Baldwin offers her impressions of the inaugural tour through the Languedoc region of France

    • France Trip Planner

      Read up on country customs, airport information, culinary specialites, and more!

    • 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.

    • Restaurant Basics in France

      Ordering, meal times, and customs at the restaurant in France

    • Small Hotels in Paris

      Travel and Leisure recommends affordable small hotels in Paris. Enjoy one pre or post-tour!

    • Wine & Cheese Pairing Chart

      Our friends at Wine Inquirer have put together a great chart to help you figure out what to serve with the wine you enjoyed on tour!

    • In the few days since we have been back I have highly recommended the tour to anyone who will listen. It was well organized, interesting, and an all-around great time.

      Peter H., Portland, OR

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