Bicycling Paris to Lyon Plus! Marseille

Bicycling Paris to Lyon Plus! Marseille

Experience the fairytale landscapes of France's beautiful forests and countryside on a journey from Parisian Île de France to the exciting multicultural Mediterranean port city of Marseille. A route steeped in history, this tour takes cyclists through the Loire River valley with stops at Roman ruins and Renaissance châteaux -including the breathtaking Palace and Park of Fontainbleau. Much of our tour traces the route of Annie Londonderry, who in 1895 became the first woman to bicycle around the world solo-on her 42-pound Columbia bicycle! After a stop in beautiful Lyon, renowned for its authentic French cuisine and its perennial appearance as a stage city in the Tour de France™, we'll continue through the famed Côte du Rhône wine region, cycle past (or up) legendary Mont Ventoux, and wind through the pastoral Provençal region of southern France.

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.

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  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
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Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 12 Days
  • Total Distance / 514-613 km (317-378 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / Average if you ride every mile 68 km (42 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.0
  • Countries / France
  • Begin/End / Barbizon / Marseille
  • Price / From USD$3950
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Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    • Château de Fontainebleau
    • ,
    • Loire River Valley
    • ,
    • Lyon
    • ,
    • Roman Ruins in Orange
    • ,
    • Côte du Rhône Vineyards
    • ,
    • Marseille
  • Includes
    12 days, 11 nights accommodation; 8 dinners with wine, 1 lunch, 11 breakfasts; guided visit of Fontainebleau; 2 to 3 bilingual tour leaders

  • Arrive / Depart
    Paris / Marseille, Paris
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.0 difficulty level 1.0

    Some long days and varied terrain as you bicycle across four regions of France.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    11
    12

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
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DAY 1: Welcome to Barbizon!

Highlights: Fit bicycles, welcome dinner

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

  • Meals: Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11: Ride to Marseille

Highlights: 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: 40km (25 miles). Meals: B, L, D

Lodging:Hotel de la Résidence du Vieux Port

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12: Tour ends in Marseille

Highlights: 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.

Meals: B

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

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