Best of Provence Plus! the Luberon and Aix-en-Provence

  • Itinerary Summary

    Explore the best Provence has to offer, including culinary highlights that make for a splendid Mediterranean feast of Côtes-de-Rhône wines, exquisite olive oil from a local olive press 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. You'll also visit the places where Van Gogh and Cézanne painted a majority of their most well-known paintings. For those of you who enjoy architecture, this trip gives you a superb view of both medieval and Roman masterpieces such as the theater and arena in Arles, the impressive Pont du Gard, the ancient Roman town of Aix-en-Provence and the medieval jewel of Uzès. To top it all off the final portion of the trip includes the small hilltop villages in the Luberon valley that made Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence" an international best-seller. This itinerary starts out at a more relaxed pace with numerous two-night stays, then finishes with flexible days where both short and long rides are possible. It is a great bike tour for friends or couples where one partner likes to ride more than the other.

    ***If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 11 days, check out our Bicycling the Best of Provence tour, which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.***

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    1. Day 1: Arrive in Arles

      Highlights: Roman monuments of Arles, gourmet dinner with a local chef

      Meet today at our hotel in Arles on the banks of the Rhône River. 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 enjoy a special introductory meal together in a local chef's home.

      Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: Le Calendal

    2. Day 2: Bicycle to St Rémy

      Highlights: Market in Arles or Saint Paul de Mausole, charming St Rémy

      This morning Arles puts on one of the largest outdoor markets in France. You'll have plenty of time to check it all out before taking a short but scenic ride to St Rémy. This afternoon you can start visiting St Rémy or take an optional loop ride that goes through quaint medieval Provençal towns including Maillane, home to writer Frédéric Mistral, a proponent of Provençal culture and winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize for Literature.

      Distance: 32-50 km (20-31 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Le Castelet Alpilles.

    3. Day 3: Bicycle to Les Baux-de-Provence

      Highlights: Les Baux, Roman ruins, Van Gogh sites

      St. 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 a ride to Les-Baux-de-Provence and into the Alpilles hills. There is much to explore in St Rémy this afternoon including the Roman ruins of Glanum, Van Gogh's sanitarium and the great shopping in town.

      Distance: 0-49 km (0-30 miles), your choice. Meals: B

      Lodging: Le Castelet Alpilles.

    4. Day 4: Bicycle to St. Quentin la Poterie

      Highlights: Pont du Gard, castle visit, ceramics of St. Quentin, olive mill visit

      We'll start the day with an olive oil tasting at a local olive press located just a few kilometers outside St Rémy. On our ride today we will cross the Rhône at Tarascon where you can visit the perfectly preserved 15th-century castle. Our route will then continue north to the Pont du Gard which is arguably 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 Uzés to the Roman town of Nîmes. Later this afternoon we'll arrive in St Quentin la Poterie a small town with a long tradition of pottery making going back to prehistoric times. The craftsmen of St. Quentin contributed their pottery making skills to decorate the Palais des Papes in Avignon in the 14th Century.

      Distance: 62 km (38 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Clos de Pradines

    5. Day 5: Rest day in St. Quentin la Poterie

      Highlights: Optional bike ride to Uzès and local vineyards

      Optional bike ride to Uzes and local vineyards We'll be in St Quentin again tonight, so you can decide whether you want to ride today, relax by the pool, or enjoy exploring the winding streets of St Quentin. We will also offer a shuttle into medieval Uzès for those who wish. If you chose to get out on your bike, we'll take a loop ride south to Uzès and ride through rolling vineyard country.

      Distance: 0-42 km (0-26 miles), your choice. Meals: B

      Lodging: Clos de Pradines

    6. Day 6: Bicycle to Séguret

      Highlights: Ceramics of St. Quentin, visit to Châteauneuf du Pape, Côtes du Rhône vineyards and villages

      Today we head into the heart of the Côtes du Rhone vineyards with some of the most prestigious wines in the south of France including the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We'll have a beautiful ride through small villages and open countryside before arriving at Châteauneuf where you can get a cafe lunch on your own, or picnic at the castle, a former summer palace of the Avignon Popes, followed by an optional wine tasting of your choice at any of the countless local wineries. Our route continues on to Séguret surrounded by vineyards and set against the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains- our little paradise for the next two nights.

      Distance: 72 km (45 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Domaine de Cabasse

    7. Day 7: Vaison-la-Romaine and Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards

      Highlights: Roman vestiges and medieval castle in Vaison, picturesque wine villages (Sablet, Beaumes-de-Venise), optional climb up Mont Ventoux.

      You can take a day off the bikes and relax at the hotel or pedal our loop ride to Vaison-la-Romaine and the nearby quaint villages known for their wines. Vaison offers some great insight into Roman and medieval life and architecture with its Roman ruins, archaeological museum, and imposing castle. The rest of the loop continues through wine country and Provençal villages with the giant Mont Ventoux set in the background. For those who want to push their limits there is also the opportunity to ride up to 100 km (62 miles) and ascend Mont Ventoux, the most illustrious Tour de France climb! You also have the option to take on Mont Ventoux (49 km) and forgo the loop ride. Regardless of what you decide it's guaranteed to be an amazing day!

      Distance: 53 km (33 miles), or up to 100 km (62 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Domaine de Cabasse

    8. Day 8: Bicycle to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

      Highlights: Vénasque, Sénanque Abbey, Gordes, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

      Today we pedal south into the Luberon Natural Park with its spectacular hilltop villages. Our scenic roads will lead you to the beautiful 11th century Cistercian Sénanque Abbey then up to the perched village of Gordes, one of the most prominent villages of the Luberon. We'll enjoy a beautiful view of the valley as we wind our way down through the adjoining countryside and village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse which was built around the mysterious spring of the Sorgue river that surges out from underneath a towering limestone cliff.

      Distance: 63 km (39 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel du Poete

    9. Day 9: Bicycle to Lourmarin

      Highlights: Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Oppède-le-Vieux, Ménerbes, Lacoste, Lourmarin

      Often referred to as the "Venice of Provence" Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is just a short ride away this morning where you can stop to explore network of canals and water wheels. Our route today continues on to more of the picturesque hilltop villages of the Luberon many of which were featured in Peter Mayle's best seller "A Year in Provence". We'll take our time enjoying the great views, quaint streets, cafés, and impressive architecture that each place has to offer. After pedaling by the Marquis de Sade castle in Lacoste we'll wind our way between the Grand Luberon and the Petit Luberon mountains by way of Bonnieux and reward ourselves with a fantastic descent through the canyon to the village of Lourmarin. You can relax at the hotel this afternoon, visit the castle in Lourmarin or continue to explore the nearby villages on the southern side of the Grand Luberon.

      Distance: 56 km (35 miles) or more. Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Le Mas de Guilles

    10. Day 10: Bicycle to Aix-en-Provence

      Highlights: Cézanne landscapes, Aix, Montage Sainte Victoire

      Our destination today is Aix-en-Provence, ancient Roman town and birthplace of the post-Impressionist painter, Paul Cézanne. This morning's ride will take you through local vineyards of the Côtes du Luberon and Côteaux d'Aix wines and the captivating countryside that Cézanne painted so many times. Once in Aix you'll have the option of pedaling out to get some up-close pictures of his greatest muse, the Montagne Sainte Victoire, or taking your time to explore the charming town of Aix.

      Distance: 45-73 km (28-45 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Aquabella Hotel

    11. Day 11: Tour ends in Aix-en-Provence, France

      Highlights: Bon Voyage

      Our tour ends this morning after breakfast. Thanks for cycling with us through the highlights of Provence. Whatever your plans are from here, bon voyage!

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      Cézanne's Montagne Sainte-Victoire, Aix-en-Provence, Luberon villages, Saint Rémy, Special dinner at a local chef's home, Pont du Gard, Châteauneuf du Pape, Olive mill visit, Informative wine tasting, Arles, The best of Roman Provence, Sénanque Abbey, Uzès, Van Gogh country, Côtes du Rhones wine villages
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights' accommodation; 7 dinners with wine & 10 breakfasts; special visits listed in the itinerary plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Arles / Aix-en-Provence
    • Arrive/Depart

      Paris (CDG) or Marseille Provence Airport (MRS)
    • Total Distance

      520 km (321 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      58 km (36 miles) - plus optional distance for those who wish
    • Rating

      301 Options for shorter or longer rides. Several days have short distances and are on flat or rolling terrain with one or two moderate hills. On other days expect hillier terrain with some climbs of 2 to 3 miles.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    Sep 29-Oct 9, 2017 USD$4750 USD$650 Guaranteed to Go! Book it
    May 11-21, 2018 USD$4995 USD$650 Book by November 15th and save $200 Book it
    Jun 8-18, 2018 USD$4995 USD$650 Book by November 15th and save $200 Book it
    Sep 14-24, 2018 USD$4995 USD$650 Book by November 15th and save $200 Book it
    Sep 28-Oct 8, 2018 USD$4995 USD$650 Book by November 15th and save $200 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • How would you describe this tour to a friend? Roman ruins, medieval castles, centuries'' old churches, great food and drink, great weather, great scenery!

      Pam B., Eugene, OR
    • The scenery and cycling tradition in Provence is not to be missed. Love the chalk marks!

      Laurie R., Minneapolis, MN
    • Thank you for another great trip. We are always confident that Experience Plus will offer us fun, safety, culture, and a great ride. I LOVE my new used bike!

      Linda Z., Sherborn, MA
    • Day sheets are extremely well done. Elevations and distances are very helpful. And the arrows, of course, are fabulous! Needless to say, we loved our bikes so much we brought them home.

      Brooks Z., Sherborn, MA
    • Spectacularly beautiful. For an amateur, some challenging climbs. Loved all of it.

      Verdi D., Wynnewood, PA
    • The whole experience with your company has been excellent. We like your arrow system, your choice of routes and hotels, your briefings and the materials provided for each day''s ride, and of course your guides. Thank you very much.

      Brooks Z.,Sherborn, MA
    • Fantastic trip. Love the arrows.

      Robert K., Reno, NV
    • Outstanding. Well organized, great region in France. We are ready to go again but we will go on other tours with you for the next 5 years and then do this one again.

      Peggy A., Soquel, CA
    • Thanks for recommending this tour it was unbelievable! We had a really terrific time.

      Lizz V., Sunnyvale, CA
    • A great ride in beautiful countryside with amazing Roman ruins, delicious food and wine, and some pretty good hills too!

      Laura Edman, Tacoma, WA
    • Dear all at EXP. Wow what a wonderful time we had this year on Provence Plus Oct!! The best guilds ever, outstanding weather, excellent program design, outstanding food and hotels, good bikes, and the best scenery in France. The routes you have designed could not be better. Time and time we would say that this back road was the best and up to the last day you would show us another even better one.

      John S., Portland, OR
    • If you want to experience Provence by way of fabulous cycling without cue sheets or hassle stress free at your own pace, this is the way to go. We were especially delighted to make new friends and share great cultural and social experiences.

      David S., Voorhees, NJ
    • This was an excellent trip. I would recommend it to anyone.

      Hal F., Saginaw, MI
    • In ten years of active travel, with a variety of companies, this was among the best trips we have taken. We were simply stunned by Provence. And our tour leaders, being native Europeans, were superlative. Just the best. Period.

      Paul R., Baltimore, MD
    • Fabulous, beautiful, fun, the best way to take a bike trip. The perfect combination of guidance and independence. The routes were well thought out - beautiful and interesting. My niece and I are vegans and our guides made sure the meals were perfectly done for our needs and had extra food available if we needed it. The bicycles were great and the guides very attentive to their daily care. The pre-assistance I received was very helpful as well.

      Kathy S., Saginaw, MI
    • This was a great biking tour. Our guides were all excellent and the cycling routes and directions were very well done. We enjoyed the scenery immensely and loved seeing the countryside and all the small towns that we visited. This was a great trip and we appreciate all the people at ExperiencePlus! who do the work to make it happen so flawlessly.

      Shelley M., Scottsdale, AZ
    • What a blast!

      Leonard M., Sunnyvale, CA
    • THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts! I think that plenty of fresh air, exercise, great accommodations, and great food and drink shared together makes for perfect conditions for people to leave the stress of work behind and thoroughly enjoy each others company as we adventure together. We are sold on bicycle touring for all these reasons!

      Anne C., North Oaks, MN
    • Another fantastic ExperiencePlus ride with informed guides and fun people to ride with. It was our 10th ride and we have loved everyone of the 10. Plus the discount was nice! Next will be Spain in 2014.

      Mary B., Newport Beach, CA
    • I loved everything about this tour. The route was beautiful and interesting. I liked the flexibility that was available as well. The tour guides were so knowledgeable, helpful, fun and just really nice guys! The accommodations and food were great. I learned a lot and had a terrific time. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

      Pam H., Mukilteo, WA
    • It was a great tour... Thank you. I can''t wait to sign up for a 2014 tour.

      Susan C., Ft Collins, CO
    • Favorite things: Mont Ventoux, the food, the sights and guides.

      Robert P., Bellevue, WA
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? Les Baux de Provence, the bull games in St. Remey, the chance to ride up Mt. Ventoux. A great trip.

      Gordon B., Calgary, Alberta
    • Best vacation we''ve ever had. Beautiful country, Excellent tour guides, Excellent overall tour process.

      Jim H., Loveland, CO
    • I have done over 20 cycling tours in Europe with 5 different touring companies .... they were all good, but this was one of the best .... the routes, the arrows so each could cycle at their own pace, and the guides were all excellent.

      Bill M., Paso Robles, CA
    • I have described it as the best cycling trip I have taken. I have recommended the trip to everyone as a must do. One reason I like tours is so that someone else can do the planning and events in a country with which I am not familiar. This trip was well planned and executed. You are the experts!

      Jean M., Paso Robles, CA
    • The tour leaders were absolutely awesome. I would recommend this tour to everyone that has an interest in biking. It was an experience of a lifetime. The countryside is absolutely beautiful!

      Linda H., Loveland, CO
    • I loved it. Eating and biking across Provence. I ate dessert at every meal and didn't gain weight. Warm, sunny days. Cools evenings. Natural beauty combined with historical attractions, and great biking.

      Jeffrey B., Wilmington, DE
    • 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
    • The Provence region was even better than we had hoped. I enjoyed the ancient towns, castles and Roman ruins and meeting the French people.

      Ron J.
    • 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!

      Mike O.
      Florissant, MO
    • We look forward to our next tour with Experience Plus! We enjoyed the people we met on the Provence tour. A very compatible group, the guides were excellent and the routes were superb!

      Ludmila S., Prospect, KY
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? There were many memorable moments and experiences - pehaps my birthday picnic beside the river looking up at the Pont du Gard - and then cycling across it - was a favourite. I also enjoyed the many interactions with French folks along the way who were good humoured and patient with my fractured French.

      Diane C., Gabriola, BC, Canada
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? The hilltop towns of the Luberon and the variety the routes provided day to day. At times it felt as if we were riding in a totally different country from day to day.

      Gayle R., Whitefish Bay, WI
    • It is one of the great joys of our lives to be able to do your tours.

      June W.
      Saint Paul, MN
    • This is my first bike tour and my first trip to France and I loved both! It was so nice to take a trip and have someone else take care of most of the details. I look forward to another bike tour in France in the very near future...thanks for the wonderful experience!

      Prati W.
      New Berlin, WI
    • Everything was perfect, I wouldn't change a thing!

      Marilea S.
      San Diego, CA

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