Bicycle Tours in France: Cycling the Languedoc Plus! French Catalonia

   
 

Bicycle Tours in France: Cycling the Languedoc Plus! French Catalonia

BY EXPERIENCEPLUS! BICYCLE TOURS
www.experienceplus.com

UPDATED

9 months ago

DURATION

11 Days/10 Nights

SEASON

May, June, September

RATES

USD 4,900.00 per person

EXPIRES

Dec 31, 2017
Bicycle Tours in France: Cycling the Languedoc Plus! French Catalonia
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DESCRIPTION

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The South of France or Langue d'Oc region as it is known has always been a border region - between Spain and France, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and, in ancient times, between Rome and northern Gaul. Today it is classic Mediterranean France with vast expanses of vineyards, vestiges of Roman history in Nimes and Narbonne, and a mix of languages that include classic French, traditional Occitan and Catalan. Join us to bicycle and explore this little traveled region on roads not much wider than bike paths.

Highlights: Nimes, Bamboo Forest Reserve, Carcassonne, Great bicycle rides, St. Guilhem le Desert, Canal du Midi, Cathar castles, Kings of Majorca and St. John's Cathedral

***If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour, check out our Bicycling the South of France tour, which shortens this itinerary by 3 days.***

ADDITION RATE INFORMATION

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Single Supplement*: $650.00

*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 Nîmes
Nimes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Roman buildings including the amphitheater or "Arena" and the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple in the Center of Nimes

Our tour begins today in Nimes, one of several cities founded along or near the Rhone River by the Romans in the first and second centuries B.C. Take time to visit the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in France, the "Arena" which is still used for Provençal style bull fights and the Maison Carrée, a perfectly preserved Roman temple dating to 16 BC. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon and suggest a warm up ride for those who wish. We have a welcome dinner together this evening.

Distance: Warm up rides of 5-15 km (3-9 miles). Meals: D

Day 2: Bicycle From Nimes To Anduze
Anduze, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Mediterranean villages, lavender, sage, rosemary, Costières de Nimes wines, Bamboo Forest

We ride west into Languedoc through small wine villages of the Costières de Nîmes today. Aromatic drought resistant scrub bushes and plants, including lavender, sage and rosemary, dot the landscape. Our hotel is in the foothills of the Costiéres de Nîmes a few kilometers outside of Anduze. Take time to visit the Bamboo Forest that you'll pass by just before our hotel. It hosts a fascinating collection of exotic, tropical plants including 150 species of bamboo, Sequoia and banana trees.

Distance: 59 km (37 miles). Meals: B, D

Day 3: Loop Ride In The Cévennes
Cevennes, France
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Highlights: Tiny mountain roads, Alés

We pedal in the foothills of the Cévennes Mountains where you'll have spectacular views and a gentle pace as we explore medieval villages that seem frozen in time. It was in the high Cévennes that Robert Louis Stevenson walked with his donkey, Modestine, and wrote his classic Travels with a Donkey. Plan to enjoy lunch in Alés, an important town in the Protestant fight for religious freedom, and home to Alphonse Daudet, and Louis Pasteur.

Distance: 47 km (29 miles). Meals: B, D

Day 4: Ride From Anduze To St-Guilhem-Le-Désert
Anduze, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: One of our favorite bicycle rides anywhere, Market day in St Jean du Gard

People who have ridden today's route tell us it is one of the prettiest rides on any of our tours. Enjoy traffic-free roads not much wider than a bike path, and get picnic supplies at one of the most charming local outdoor markets we know. We leave the Cévennes mountains behind as we glide downhill through the gorge of the Herault River to St-Guilhem-le-Désert ("desert" because it is the lone village on this limestone plateau).

Distance: 87 km (54 miles). Meals B, D

Day 5: Bicycle St-Guilhem-Le-Désert To Sète
Sete, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: St-Guilhem-le-Désert, oyster beds, the Mediterranean Sea

It's an easy ride to the Mediterranean coast today, so take some time to explore more of St. Guilhem's medieval atmosphere. Here, in 904 AD William of Gellone established a monastery. The village still retains an ancient Medieval atmosphere. Part of the cloister from the monastery was moved to Manhattan in the 1930s and is now "The Cloisters" portion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stop in St. Guilhem for coffee and a stroll before heading on to the Mediterranean Sea. Our approach to the delightful seaside town of Sète will be via ferry and you'll visit the famous oyster and mussel beds of the Etang de Thau.

Distance: 52 km (33 miles). Meals: B

Day 6: Bicycle From Sète To Narbonne
Narbonne, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: St-Guilhem-le-Désert, oyster beds, the Mediterranean Sea

It's an easy ride to the Mediterranean coast today, so take some time to explore more of St. Guilhem's medieval atmosphere. Here, in 904 AD William of Gellone established a monastery. The village still retains an ancient Medieval atmosphere. Part of the cloister from the monastery was moved to Manhattan in the 1930s and is now "The Cloisters" portion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stop in St. Guilhem for coffee and a stroll before heading on to the Mediterranean Sea. Our approach to the delightful seaside town of Sète will be via ferry and you'll visit the famous oyster and mussel beds of the Etang de Thau.

Distance: 52 km (33 miles). Meals: B

Day 7: Bicycle From Narbonne To Carcassonne
Carcassonne, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Small country roads, Corbières vineyards, Canal du Midi, Carcassonne

Our leisurely ride today takes us across the flat plains of Languedoc to the perfectly preserved late Medieval town of Carcassonne. This corridor between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, bounded on the south by the Pyrenees Mountains, has been an important transportation route since pre-Roman times. Completed in the 13th century, the famous walls of Carcassonne were restored in the late 19th century.

Distance: 76 km (47 miles). Meals: B, D

Day 8: Loop Ride Out Of Carcassonne
Carcassonne, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Carcassonne

Take a loop ride north of Carcassonne today toward the "Montagne Noire." Like the Cévennes, "Black Mountain" is a part of France's central mountains, the "Massif Central." Depending on how far you venture, you may begin to see the transition zone where Mediterranean vegetation begins to give way to a wetter, more Atlantic vegetation zone. Today's ride should leave you plenty of time to wander the Medieval streets of Carcassonne.

Distance: 44 km (27 miles) or more for those who wish. Meals: B

Day 9: Bicycle From Carcassonne To Cucugnan
Cucugnan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Vineyards, Cathar castles, river gorges and beautiful vistas in the foothills of the Pyrenees

Some vintners in Limoux would have you believe that they produced sparkling wines even before Champagne did. We'll ride through this wine region south of Carcassonne as we enter the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. Today's ride features meandering river valleys, steep sided gorges, and perched Cathar castles. Bicycling has been a part of the local culture since the Tour de France came through here in 1909. Our destination is the small town of Cucugnan.

Distance: 87 km (54 miles). Meals: B, D

Day 10: Bicycle To Perpignan
Perpignan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Queribus castle, Cathar castle ruins, Perpignan Cathedral

In Nimes we were on the border of Provence and Languedoc where Occitan was the historic language. Today we pedal out of the Pyrenees to Perpignan and enter another border region between France and Spain where Catalan is the second language. The bicycling here is exhilarating and the culture unique to this corner of France. In Perpignan you'll want to visit the palace of the Kings of Majorca and St. John's Cathedral, both built by Spanish kings who controlled the region off and on over four centuries. We'll enjoy a special final dinner together this evening.

Distance: 47 km (29 miles). Meals: B, D

Day 11: Tour Ends In Perpignan
Perpignan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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Highlights: Bon Voyage

Our tour ends today in Perpignan. Perpignan was once the capital of the Kingdom of Mallorca so perhaps you'd like to continue your travels to that exotic island. Alternatively, Barcelona is not far across the border. Whatever you choose, "bon voyage," or, as they say in Catalan "bon viatge!"

Meals: B

WHAT'S INCLUDED

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  • Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle
  • 11 days, 10 nights' accommodation
  • 10 breakfasts, 7 dinners with wine
  • Oyster tasting
  • Guided visit Carcassonne
  • Wine tasting and windmill visit
  • And more!

NOTES

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Total Distance: 609 - 619 km (326 - 378 miles)

Average daily mileage: 61 km (37 miles) with options for days off the bike

What to Expect: Flat rides and some gentle climbs on Days 2, 6, 7, and 8. Days 3, 4, 5 have some more challenging climbs in the Cevennes Mountains. The final two riding days are in the foothills of the Pyrenees.


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