Cycling Provence Plus! the Cevennes
From the heart of Provence to the Mediterranean coast via the Cévennes mountains this bicycle trip has more variety that any of our other tours in France. On our signature small country roads you'll discover the landscapes that inspired Van Gogh and Cèzanne as well as the small hilltop villages in the Luberon valley that made Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence" a worldwide best-seller. You'll also see some of the best preserved Roman monuments and medieval architecture in the world such as the Pont du Gard and the medieval jewel of Uzès.
Our itinerary starts out with a relaxed rhythm for the first week with two-night stays in each hotel. Then we'll discover an entirely different landscape as we head west into the Cévennes with its traffic-free roads and breathtaking views. The trip finishes beautifully on the Mediterranean coastal town of Sète surrounded by canals and colorful fishing boats used by a still vibrant fishing community.
Of course a tour in France would not be complete without our gourmet meals and excellent wine from local vineyards to which we've also added a culinary touch with a visit to a local olive press and chocolatier.
This trip differs from our Bicycling through the Best of Provence tour in that it includes visits to the cultural capital of Provence, Aix-en-Provence, the hilltop villages of the Luberon, the uniquely beautiful panoramas of the Cévennes Mountains, and the coastal finish in the charming port town of Sète.
If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 11 days, check out our Cycling Provence, which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Tour begins in Aix-en-Provence, France
Highlights: Introductions and bike fitting, special welcome dinner
Arrive in Aix-en-Provence today - an easy train ride from Paris or Marseille. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon, then you can explore this ancient Roman town, birthplace of the post-Impressionist painter, Paul Cézanne. We'll enjoy dinner together this evening.Lodging: Hotel des Augustins
Day 2: Loop ride around Mont Ste. Victoire
Highlights: Picasso's castle, landscapes of Cézanne
After breakfast you'll head east for a ride around Montagne Ste. Victoire. It's a delightful ride through vineyards and oak and pine forests, with tremendous views of the limestone mountain Cézanne painted over sixty times. Toward the end of the day you'll pedal by the castle where Picasso lived his last years and where he is buried. Distance: 61 km (37 miles). Lodging: Hotel des Augustins
Day 3: Bicycle Aix to Lourmarin
Highlights: Vineyards and villages of Southern France
Pedal north from Aix today, through vineyards and villages, to a small town near the Luberon Regional Park. From the top of the village castle, you can see Montagne Ste. Victoire, where we were yesterday. If you need some extra mileage we can help with an optional extra ride this afternoon. Dinner together. Distance: 46 km (28 miles). Lodging: Hotel Mas de Guilles
Day 4: Rest day in Lourmarin
Highlights: Optional bicycle ride through towns featured in Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence
Take it easy this morning, as we'll be in the same hotel again tonight. For those wanting to get out on their bicycles, we'll recommend a ride around a spectacular limestone massif and into the Luberon, with its hilltop villages and great cycling. Or spend a leisurely day exploring the village shops and relaxing by the pool. It's your choice. Dinner together. Distance: 51 km (32 miles), optional. Lodging: Hotel Mas de Guilles
Day 5: Bicycle to St Rémy
Highlights: Van Gogh country, charming St Rémy
We head into Van Gogh country today. You'll quickly see why he was so fascinated with the Provençal landscape as you pedal through it. Our destination is St. Rémy, a charming town at the base of the Alpilles with the ancient Roman city of Glanum rising above it. Van Gogh lived here for a year beginning in May 1889 and painted some of his best-known works as a patient at a local hospital. Dinner together. Distance: 71 km (44 miles). Lodging: Hotel Castelet des Alpilles
Day 6: Rest day in St. Rémy
Highlights: Optional bicycle ride to Les Baux, Roman ruins
This is a rest day to explore St. Rémy. Take in the local shops, visit Roman ruins and spend a relaxing afternoon at the hotel. Or, you can take a ride to nearby Les Baux, a fortified hilltop village. You decide. Distance: 20-47 km (12-29 miles). Lodging: Hotel Castelet des Alpilles
Day 7: Bicycle St. Rémy to Uzès
Highlights: Medieval Beaucaire and Tarascon, castle visit, Pont du Gard
You'll follow the Rhone River north to the twin medieval towns of Beaucaire and Tarascon this morning. Stop to enjoy the castle in Tarascon before pedaling on to the Pont-du-Gard, the famous Roman aqueduct and bridge over the Gard River. Our destination is scenic Uzès where we'll enjoy dinner together. Distance: 61 km (38 miles). Lodging: Hotel d?Entraigues
Day 8: Bicycle Uzès to Anduze
Highlights: Languedoc region of Southern France, ceramics
You'll leave Provence today and head west into Languedoc to the town of Anduze. It's an easy ride, but there are more challenging rides for those who wish. Dinner is together this evening in our hotel, which is nestled in the foothills a few kilometers outside of Anduze. Distance: 55 km (34 miles). Lodging: Hotel Les 3 Barbus
Day 9: Bicycle Anduze to Ganges
Highlights: Scenic cycling in the foothills of the Cévennes Mountains
One of the prettiest rides on any of our tours awaits you today as you pedal through the foothills of the Cévennes Mountains. You'll love the spectacular views and the gentle pace as we explore medieval villages seemingly frozen in time, and ride traffic-free roads not much wider than a bike path. Our hotel is located just outside of Ganges and is a fortified farm and wine estate nestled against the foothills of the Cevennes and the great plain of the Languedoc. After such a spectacular ride you can reward yourself with a glass of beer or wine made from the hotel's vineyards. We'll enjoy another delicious meal together this evening. Distance: 71 km (44 miles). Lodging: Domaine de Blancardy
Day 10: Bicycle Ganges to Sète
Highlights: St. Guilhem, scenic rural cycling, finish on the Mediterranean Sea
This morning you'll follow the gorges of the Herault River to St. Guilhem-le-Désert (desert because it is a lone village on this dry limestone plateau). Stop in St. Guilhem for coffee and a stroll before heading on to the Mediterranean Sea. We'll celebrate the end of a long ride to the sea with an oyster and mussel tasting accompanied by a local white wine. Our approach to the delightful seaside town of Sète will be via ferry where we'll visit the famous oyster and mussel beds of the Etang de Thau. This evening is a special farewell dinner together. Distance: 89 km (55 miles). Lodging: Grand Hotel
Day 11: Tour ends in Sète, France
Highlights: Bon Voyage
You're on your own now, prepared to go back and visit your favorite places. Bon voyage!
HighlightsSt. Rémy, Pont-du-Gard , Aix-en-Provence, the Cévennes, Cézanne's montagne Sainte-Victoire, S&eagrave;te, Luberon ValleyKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
Includes11 days, 10 nights' accommodation; 7 dinners with wine & 10 breakfasts; special visits listed in itinerary plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Arrive/DepartParis: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly Airport (ORY) , Marseille Provence Airport (MRS)
Total Distance525 - 552 km (324 - 341 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage daily mileage 58 - 61 km (36 - 38 miles)
Rating301 There are a couple flat days but most of the rides are through hilly terrain. The last two days are considerably longer in distance or have challenging climbs of up to 5 miles.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
* 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.
- A self-guided walk in Aix-en-Provence
French Rail Map
Rich Young recommends a map of the rail lines in France.
Helpful web sites about France
Here is a list of URLs compiled by our staff to help you plan your travels to France.
Paola's favorite Ratatouille recipe
Ratatouille is a Provencal specialty
Provence by Lawrence Durrell
Read this book before you travel to the south of France, while relaxing in the Provencal sun, and again after you return home.
Purchasing French Train tickets from the US
Our own John Giebler contacted SNCF (the French National rail system) to inquire about the best way to get train tickets in advance from the USA. Here's what he found
- What to do with 36 hours in Aix-en-Provence
- Cézanne's Provence
Joe Friel - Cycling past 50
This book contains a wealth of information for the over fifty rider who wants to take charge of the aging process and become a better cyclist at the same time.
ExperiencePlus! has contracted with national fitness expert Joe Friel to create customized, day by day, training programs to ensure you are ready for your biking tour.
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. Finally, the oysters and white wine at the end of the last ride were a wonderful touch. We truly enjoyed each others' company having completed the challenges of the tour "together".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
The chalk arrows were great! Having done a self-directed cycling tour last year, I was really aware of the ease of following a marked route. The maps were also good to have as a back up - the one time I did get off route it was easy to find where I was and get back to where I needed to be.Sandy W.
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