This bicycle tour takes your to the highlights of Provence and includes some culinary highlights to make a splendid Mediterranean feast of Côtes-de-Rhône wines, exquisite olive oil from a local olive press, to-die-for chocolate, and more Roman ruins than you will find even in Italy. France's small country roads will lead you to discover the secrets behind the local artisans savoir-faire. And we'll give you a chance to taste it all from special visits and markets right up to special final dinner at a local chef's home. You'll also visit the places where Van Gogh painted a majrity of his most well-known paintings. For those if you who enjoy architecture, this trip gives you a superb view of both medieval and Roman masterpieces such as the theaters in Orange and Arles as well as the impressive Pont du Gard. Because we enjoy a more relaxed pace with numerous two-night stays, this is a great bike tour for those new to cycling or for couples where one partner likes to ride more than the other.
Day 1: Arrive Orange, France
Highlights: Orange, Roman theater, wine tasting, special introductory dinnerMeet today at our hotel in Orange, in the valley of the Rhône River. Orange was a Roman city built in the first century B.C. and is home to some of the best preserved examples of architecture from the Empire period, including an ancient Roman theater and a lovely triumphal arch. After fitting bicycles this afternoon, you can enjoy a walk around town before we gather for introductions and a wine tasting from the nearby Côtes du Rhône villages of Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Dinner together this evening.
Day 2: Loop ride through the Côtes du Rhône
Highlights: Wine villages of Rasteau, Seguret, Sablet and Gigondas, informative wine tastingToday's ride takes us through vineyards to the wine villages of Rasteau, Seguret, Sablet and Gigondas. The legendary Mont Ventoux and the jagged limestone peaks of the Dentelles of Montmirail at its base provide a stunning backdrop. We'll gather just before a picnic lunch together for a fascinating winery visit where we'll learn about the art of wine tasting. Dinner on your own this evening. Distance: 63 km (39 miles) or more for those who wish.
Day 3: Bicycle to Uzès
Highlights: Visit to Châteauneuf du Pape, ceramics of St. Quentin, medieval UzèsPedaling south this morning, you'll pass through the famous wine village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the former summer palace of the Avignon Popes. From there, we'll cross the Rhône and suggest a stop in the ceramics village of St. Quentin-la-Poterie. The craftsmen of St. Quentin contributed their pottery making skills to decorate the Palais des Papes in Avignon in the 14th Century. You can visit some of the local studios before continuing on to our destination in Uzès, an almost perfectly preserved medieval town. Dinner together. Distance: 58 km (36 miles).
Day 4: Rest day in Uzès
Highlights: Optional bike ride to local vineyardsWe'll be in Uzès again tonight, so you can decide whether you want to ride today, relax by the pool, or enjoy the lovely square. For those of you who want to get out on your bike, we'll take a loop ride south through rolling vineyard country. Enjoy a picnic along the way and extend your ride if you have extra energy to burn. For dinner on your own this evening, we'll suggest some of our favorite restaurants. Distance: 0-58km (0-36 miles), your choice.
Day 5: Bicycle to St. Rémy
Highlights: Pont du Gard, castle visit, charming St. Rémy, chocolate visitThe Pont-du-Gard is the most extraordinary Roman ruin in all of Europe. It dates to 20 B.C. when it was built to support the aqueduct that carried water from Uzès to the Roman town of Nîmes. We pedal across this bridge on our way to St. Rémy-de-Provence. On our ride we cross the Rhône again at Tarascon where you can to visit the perfectly preserved 15th-century castle. Later this afternoon, a local St. Rémy chocolatier will offer us some of his delicious creations. We'll be in St. Rémy for dinner together this evening. Distance: 61 km (38 miles).
Day 6: Rest day in St. Rémy
Highlights: Optional bike ride to Les Baux, Roman ruins, olive mill visitSt. Rémy is where Van Gogh painted several of his most famous works during a year's residence in the local sanitarium. You'll appreciate the views that inspired him as we support an optional ride to Les-Baux-de-Provence. Or, if you prefer a day off the bike, relax and explore great shopping in town. Whichever you choose, you'll want to visit the Roman ruins of Glanum, which are just a short walk or ride from our hotel. We'll top off the day with an informative - and delicious - visit to a local olive mill. Dinner on your own this evening. Distance: your choice, 0-47 km (0-26miles).
Day 7: Bicycle to Arles
Highlights: Roman ruins of ArlesOur last day on the bikes features a leisurely and scenic ride to Arles, one of Provence's premier market towns. After lunch on your own we'll check into our hotel and prepare for a walking tour of Roman Arles together. The Romans bridged the Rhône here during the 1st Century B.C., and today the city has a well-preserved Roman theater and arena. The latter is still used for Provençal bullfights. This evening, we'll celebrate the end of our journey with a farewell dinner together. Distance: 27 km (17 miles).
Day 8: End in Arles, France
Highlights: Market day in ArlesOur ride through historic Provence ends after breakfast, but its market day in Arles so we highly recommend you stay a little longer and enjoy the festivities. Whatever you do, thanks for joining us.
HighlightsThe best of Roman Provence, Côtes du Rhones wine villages, Van Gogh country, Informative wine tasting, Olive mill visit, Châteauneuf du Pape, Uzès, Pont du Gard, Arles, Chocolate tasting, Saint Rémy
Includes8 days, 7 nights accommodation, 4 dinners with wine & 7 breakfasts
Arrive/DepartParis: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly Airport (ORY) or Marseille Provence Airport (MRS)
Total Distance297-337 km. (185-209 miles)
Daily Distance32 - 60 km. (20-37 miles); plus optional distance for those who wish
What to ExpectAn special selection of Provence?s ancient Roman and medieval sites topped with delicious culinary experiences and local wines. A myriad of small country lanes through the picturesque Provencal landscapes.
Several days have short distances and are on flat or rolling terrain with one or two moderate hills. A couple days have more hilly terrain with some climbs of 2 to 3 miles.
Please call 1-800-685-4565 or e-mail us for the dates for this tour.
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
City (on route)
City (not part of route, provided for reference)
A fabulous experience! Thank you.
Ellen L., Boulder, CO
This was our 1st bike tour & we are ready to book another!! Terrific vacation
Phil C., Littleton, CO
What was your favorite experience on this trip? That's like picking a favorite child...scheduling two days at each hotel gave flexibility and some relaxed time to get to know a town and area... that is a plus. Visiting the chocolatier and the olive oil operation were highlights. Great wine...great food selections.
Ande H., Fort Collins, CO
What was your favorite experience on this trip? SOOO hard to choose....just riding through the vineyards when the weather was nice. Loved the castles, clambering around Les Baux, the olive farm tour was really special. LOVE LOVE LOVE this tour.
Sandy W., Madison, WI
We returned to Cheyenne last night after a wonderful trip and wanted to thank you for a truly great trip.
Sandra S. & Bob P., Cheyenne, WY
Our guides were wonderful. John was so knowledgable about France and the subject of wine. He really enhanced our trip. Mario's experience combined with his warmth and friendliness are such a wonderful combination - and he is so good at chalking the route! And Sandrine was a joy! This was her first time guiding a tour with Experiene Plus and we certainly hope it was the first of many. We hope to travel with her again in the future.
Our tour guides: John, Sandrine and Mario were the best part of our trip! Each one was as nice, helpful and knowledgeable as the next. We love them all and can't imagine taking a tour without all of them!!!
The Provence region was even better than we had hoped. I enjoyed the ancient towns, castles and Roman ruins and meeting the French people.
We doubled the official mileage almost every day by doing additional side trips. The tour leaders were very encouraging about this: they were all great
Fred & Marion S.
I'm hooked on bike touring! I loved all the small French towns that we visited - places I never would have found if I was on my own. I liked being able to get away from the tourist crowds and really experience Provence!