Bicycle Tours in France: Best of Provence Plus! the Luberon and Aix-en-Provence

   
 

Bicycle Tours in France: Best of Provence Plus! the Luberon and Aix-en-Provence

BY EXPERIENCEPLUS! BICYCLE TOURS
www.experienceplus.com

UPDATED

7 months ago

DURATION

11 Days

SEASON

May & September

RATES

USD 4,750.00 per person

EXPIRES

Dec 31, 2017
Bicycle Tours in France: Best of Provence Plus! the Luberon and Aix-en-Provence
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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.

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.

***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.***

ADDITION RATE INFORMATION

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Single Supplement: $650.

*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.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive In Arles
Arles, Provence, France
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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 Provencal 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

Day 2: Bicycle To St Rémy
Saint-Remy-de-Provence, Provence, France
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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.

The May 15th departure will miss market day in Arles and instead enjoy a guided visit of St Rémy's 12th century Romanesque cloister, Saint Paul de Mausole, which was converted to an asylum in the early 19th century and was where Van Gogh admitted himself after cutting off his ear in May of 1889.

Distance: 28-43 km (17-27 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Le Castelet Alpilles. The May 2017 departure will be at Hotel Gounod.

Day 3: Bicycle To Les Baux-De-Provence
Les Baux-de-Provence, Provence, France
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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. The May 2017 departure will be at Hotel Gounod.

Day 4: Bicycle To St Quentin La Poterie
Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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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

Day 5: Rest Day In St Quentin La Poterie
Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Optional bike ride to Uzes 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: 0-43km (0-27 miles), your choice. Meals: B

Lodging: Clos de Pradines

Day 6: Bicycle To Séguret
Cotes du Rhone, France
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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: 73 km (46 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Domaine de Cabasse

Day 7: Vaison-La-Romaine And Côtes-Du-Rhône Vineyards
Vaison-la-Romaine, Provence, France
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Highlights: Roman vestiges and medieval castle in Vasion, picturesque wine villages (Sablet, Séguret, 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, archeological museum, and imposing castle. The rest of the loop continues through wine country and Provencal villages with the giant Mont Ventoux set in the background. For who want to push your limits there is also the opportunity to ride 100km (62 miles) and ascend Mont Ventoux, the most illustrious Tour de France climb! Dinner is together this evening.

Distance: 51 km (32 miles), or 100 km (62 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Domaine de Cabasse

Day 8: Bicycle To Fontaine-De-Vaucluse
Luberon, Provence, France
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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. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Distance: 64 km (40 miles). Meals: B

Lodging: Hotel du Poete

Day 9: Bicycle To Lourmarin
Lourmarin, Provence, France
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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: 55 km (35 miles) or more. Meals: B, D

Lodging: Le Mas de Guilles

Day 10: Bicycle To Aix-En-Provence
Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France
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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: 45-68 km (28-42 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Aquabella Hotel

Day 11: Tour Ends In Aix-En-Provence, France
Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France
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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

WHAT'S INCLUDED

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  • Use of a Quality 27-30-Speed Bicycle
  • 11 Days, 10 Nights' Accommodations
  • 7 Dinners with Wine & 10 Breakfasts
  • Special Visits Listed in Itinerary

NOTES

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Total Distance: 364 - 525 km (225 - 324 miles)

Daily Distance: 40 - 58 km (25 - 36 miles) - plus optional distance for those who wish.

What to Expect: A 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 that inspired both Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cézanne as well as writer Peter Mayle.

Rating: 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.


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