Cycling holiday Provence, from Lyon to Arles

Provence, from Lyon to Arles

Along the Rhone river to the land of Van Gogh

Starting at € 1.449,-
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Summary
  • 8 days
  • 45 km per day
  • Start Lyon Paris, Charles de Gaule Airport
  • Finish Arles Paris, Charles de Gaule airport
Highlights
  • Via Rhôna cycling route
  • Wine village Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Avignon, city of the Popes
  • Vincent van Goghs Arles
Characteristics
  • Guided and self guided tour
  • Group tour
  • Bike & Barge
  • Biking Level 1

    Distance: 35-50 km average per day. Altitude: 0-100 hm average per day. The lightest cycling holiday; over mostly flat terrain, with not too long daily distances (average 50 km). Short spicy slopes with height differences of up to ± 100 meters occur.

Along the Rhone river to the land of Van Gogh

A brand new bike and boat tour in France featuring Lyon and the Provence! Your floating accommodation, the deluxe MS Provence, will cruise the Rhône river, from Lyon to Arles or reverse. You will cycle much of your itinerary on the Via Rhôna, the Rhône Cycle Route, which follows the course of the mighty Rhône all the way down to its delta on the French Mediterranean coast.

Lyon, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers is the third largest city in France. Its history goes back to the times of the Romans but was inhabited even before that by Celtic tribes. Here you begin or end your tour and you will find the historical and cultural essence of the region, known for its wine and cuisine. You will cycle a rolling landscape, dotted with imposing castles, ancient monasteries, and pass through delightful Provençal villages, vineyards, and fields of sunflowers and lavender that were so dear to the painter Vincent van Gogh.

 

 

Daily Program

  • Day 1 Lyon, embarkation

    You are expected to arrive on our barge on Saturday the latest at 5 PM. When you arrive on board the ship, you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Time to meet the crew and your fellow travelers for this week.

  • Day 2 Lyon - Tournon-sur-Rhône, 42 km

    Get ready for incredible scenery, tastes, and fragrances! Sailing to Vienne where you start your cycle tour. You immediately bike into the nature reservation Île au Beurre where you can enjoy the peace and quietness of nature. The landscape slowly changes into that of vineyards as you enter the land of the Côte Rôtie.
    The vineyards are unique because of the steep slopes facing the river and their stone walls. The landscape changes again, this time into the green landscape of the Ardèche countryside Here you can find the boat moored in Andance. During dinner, the ship will navigate to Tournon sur Rhône.

  • Day 3 Tournon-sur-Rhone – Le Pouzin, 33/58/73 km

    On the short route this morning the captain and his crew start the day early to bring you to the city of Valence, where the boat will arrive after breakfast. This town with its colorful markets and it’s historic “Quartiers” is the starting point of your cycling day featuring the typical small villages of the Ardèche, historic sites, and the green meadows of a nature reserve towards Le Pouzin in the Drôme area.
    The long route takes you inland to the Drôme region and the ancient city of Crest with its imposing defense tower that overlooks both the river and the city.
    The third option is an exceptional one and needs pre-booking. From Tournon an old steam train takes you and your bike up to Lamastre, the starting place of the Dolce Via bike route. The next 73 kilometers you will ride along an old railway line that has been turned into a bike route. You ride through the imposing mountainous landscape of the Ardèche through tunnels and along ravines. The route is partly unpaved. A day for the good cyclists.

  • Day 4 Le Pouzin – Viviers, 42 km

    Today the tour brings you pass the medieval abbey of Cruas and further along you will be crossing a memorable rope bridge in Rochemaure. Though built in built by Marc Seguin in 1858, the architect was inspired by the castle ramparts. This bridge can be seen as a symbolic passing from old to new, from history to the future. At the end of the day you will be parking your bike next to the boat and you can enjoy a stroll through the historic village of Viviers.

  • Day 5 Viviers – Avignon, 40 km

    After a morning sail, the bikes will be put ashore at Roquemaure. From here you will bike straight into the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. You might want to purchase a bottle of wine of the same name to take home! Once you pass the hilly landscape around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you are rewarded with an almost completely flat bike path along the river. Soon you will enjoy a panoramic view of Avignon, the home of the Popes in the 14th century. In this city, you can wander the old streets, enjoy the French way of life on the squares with their terraces, and just breath the culture.

  • Day 6 Avignon – Tarascon/Arles, 50/58 km

    Many choices today on the ride from the ancient city of Popes to the South.
    The longer and easier route (58 km) takes you on a relaxed ride along the river on the Via Rhôna.
    The shorter but more strenuous route is a breathtaking stage, which brings you to the Alpilles, with the perched villages of Les-Baux-de-Provence and Saint Rémy de Provence. A landscape of limestone cliffs and olive trees will accompany the trip.
    For the very keen cyclists we have the option of a long ride inland (more than 70 km) that brings you to the best preserved Roman aqueduct in Europe: Pont du Gard.

  • Day 7 Tarascon/Arles – Arles, 21/50 km

    For those who want to explore Arles and all the cozy corners Van Gogh once painted we have prepared an nice short route of only 21 kilometers.
    If you want to spend your last day cycling the longer option (50 km), we offer an interesting ride into to Camargue, the river delta of the Rhône. Here you will find salt marches and century old traces of human population. You might even see the famous Camargue wild horses.

  • Day 8 Arles, end of tour after breakfast

    After breakfast your tour along the Rhône and through the Provence ends. 

Cycling in France

Along the Rhone river to the land of Van Gogh.

Our carefully selected routes will lead you along the most beautiful spots of the country. The average daily distance is around 45 kilometers. Most participants prefer riding in a group with the cycling guide, but you can also ride individually. A road book is included (1x per cabin). Gps-tracks can be provided by e-mail.

 

Travel Dates

Departure
End
Accommodation
Starting at
Availability
Departure
27 Mar 2021
End
03 Apr 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.449,-
Availability
Available
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Departure
10 Apr 2021
End
17 Apr 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.449,-
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Available
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Departure
24 Apr 2021
End
01 May 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.849,-
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Available
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Departure
08 May 2021
End
15 May 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.849,-
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Available
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Departure
22 May 2021
End
29 May 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.849,-
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Available
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Departure
05 Jun 2021
End
12 Jun 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.849,-
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Available
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Departure
19 Jun 2021
End
26 Jun 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.849,-
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Available
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Departure
03 Jul 2021
End
10 Jul 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.849,-
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Available
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Departure
17 Jul 2021
End
24 Jul 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.449,-
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Available
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Departure
31 Jul 2021
End
07 Aug 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.449,-
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Available
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Departure
14 Aug 2021
End
21 Aug 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.449,-
Availability
Available
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Departure
28 Aug 2021
End
04 Sep 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.949,-
Availability
Available
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Departure
11 Sep 2021
End
18 Sep 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.949,-
Availability
Available
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Departure
25 Sep 2021
End
02 Oct 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.949,-
Availability
Available
Book
Departure
09 Oct 2021
End
16 Oct 2021
Accommodation
MS Provence
Starting at
€ 1.949,-
Availability
Available
Book

What else do you need to know?

Prices 2021 per person

27 March, 10 April, 17 and 31 July,  14 August
Soleil Suite € 1.449,-
Lavender Suite € 1.499,-
Imperial Suite € 1.949,-

24 April, 8 and 22 May, 5 and 19 June, 3 July
Soleil Suite € 1.849,-
Lavender Suite € 1.899,-
Imperial Suite € 2.349,-

28 August, 11 and 25 September, 9 October
Soleil Suite € 1.949,-
Lavender Suite € 1.999,-
Imperial Suite € 2.449,-

Surcharge Single Suite € 500,-

Not included

Guided tour option per week € 150,-

Rental bike per week € 95,-
E-bike per week € 180,-

Insurance for rental bike € 20,-
Insurance for e-bike € 40,-

Reservation costs € 20,- per booking.

Included

  • All nights on board, (Sat.-Sat. 8 days / 7 nights), cabin in the booked category;
  • Full board (7 x breakfast, 6 x self-made picnic lunch for bike tours, 7 x 4 course dinner)
  • Use of bed linen and towels
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • City walks with tour leader
  • Free WiFi (limited available)
  • Route information for self-guided option
  • GPS tracks (on request)
  • Support vehicle
  • Ferry fares on the route

Not included

  • Reservation costs € 20,- per party
  • Bicycle rent
  • Guided tour option for short and long routes; tour guide cycles with the group, max. 20 cyclists per group: € 150,- per person
  • Bicycle insurance (optional) € 20,- per bicycle
  • Bicycle insurance electric bike (optional) € 40,- per bicycle
  • Entrance fees to museums
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Drinks on board

 

Arrival info

You are expected in Lyon at the barge on Saturday afternoon, before 5 PM.
You can recognise the barge by the banner with Cycletours written on it. The name of your barge is printed on the voucher, which you will receive separately. After arrival there’s coffee and tea on board. You can bring your luggage earlier to the barge, but not before 2 PM. We are busy cleaning the barge, but we can provide you with suggestions to have a nice walk into town.

The mooring place of the barge in Lyon is on the Rhône river near the city center.

Plane
There are a couple of options for your arrival and departure airports depending on your travel plans and tour start and end cities.
– Paris (CDG)
– Lyon (LYS)
– Marseille Provence (MRS)
*Remember that you can fly into one airport and out of another.

Train
– From Paris CDG airport to Lyon: TGV train from/to Paris CDG takes approx. 2 hours
– From Paris CDG airport to Arles: TGV train from/to Paris CDG takes approx. 5 hours

– From Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport (LYS) to Lyon: Tram Lyon Express (Rhône Express) to/from the city center.
– From Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport (LYS) to Arles: TGV train to/from Arles which will take approx. 2 hours.

– From Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) to Lyon: It is less convenient to use this airport for tour starts in Lyon as onward travel will require both bus and train travel with transfers. It would be most convenient to fly into Paris CDG or Lyon.
– From Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) to Arles: Arles city center is accessible by train and takes only about 1/2 hour travel time.

Car
Should you arrive by car, we strongly advise to arrive earlier to unload your luggage and find a parking place later.

End of the tour
The tour ends one week later in Arles on Saturday morning after breakfast at 10 AM. You will spend the night from Friday to Saturday on board in Arles. The mooring place of the barge in Arles is on the Rhône river near the city center.

Our barge, your hotel

Imagine a floating hotel sailing to the next stage, while you are calmly pedalling along. No lugging of luggage: that is exactly what Bike & Barge is all about! In the pleasant atmosphere on board you can have a chat, go through the day with the others, and enjoy the meals prepared specially for cyclists. In the evenings you can enjoy a drink in the salon or admire the setting sun on deck. Do not expect a cruise ship with its passive luxury. The Bike & Barge Holidays are for people who really enjoy the physical activity of cycling and who value sociability more than wholesale luxury.
Free WiFi is (limited) available in lounge and on deck.

What are the cabins like?

On board the MS Provence there are several types of luxury double and single cabins. Under the button Accommodation you can find and extensive discription of the ship and available cabin types. In all categories the cabins have airconditioning, central heating and a porthole or window. The cabins are provided with running water (hot and cold), private shower/toilet and 220 voltage. There is limited storage space in some cabins. We recommend 1 suitcase per person. 

The team, hospitality comes first

The captain/skipper, the chef, the hosts and your tour guide all welcome you warmly. They are trained specifically for these trips and will provide good and safe passage, good meals, and a friendly, pleasant atmosphere. They will, of course, also give you a great deal of interesting information during and after the cycling and sailing. The skipper is responsible for the smooth running of things on board; the cook is in charge of the catering. A tour leader accompanies you during the bike ride and can assist in case of breakdowns. He/She will be your guide to point out the things of interest along the way and is multi-lingual (English/French/Dutch some speak German and/or Spanish/Italian).

The meals

Your chef is used to cook delicious meals for hungry cyclists. Besides an extensive breakfast, you will also be offered a packed lunch for on the road. It consists of different types of bread and sandwich fillings, juice, a snack and a piece of fruit. Lunch package needs to be prepared by yourself after breakfast. Dinner is different every day. There is a first course, main course and dessert The meals on board are included in the price, as are coffee and tea. Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks can be obtained at a reasonable charge. When you return on board after the day’s cycling, a cup of tea or coffee with a biscuit will be waiting for you.
If you have special meal requirements we ask you to mention this when booking, but at the latest until 14 days before arrival. Diets which need a special preparation or special ingredients can only be offered in limited form. We will do our best  to meet your needs, but we also ask for your understanding as due to limited logistic possibilities on a barge we are not able to prepare complete specialized menus.
In case of Celiac; gluten free diet; vegan meals there is an additional charge of € 50, – per week.

You and the group,new friends from around the world!

One of the most attractive aspects of the Bike & Barge holidays is that you encounter an international company on board, including people from e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, France and United Kingdom. It’s a great opportunity for you to get to know various cultures at the same time! We have people of all ages, solo travelers, couples and also families with children (during the school holidays). 

F.A.Q.

  • Can I rejoin the barge before the end of a stage

    No, the barge doesn’t take the same route that the cyclists do. Sometimes the route may be altered because of weather conditions or repairs to bridges or locks and then the guests and the guide can arrange with the skipper to be met at a different place. Naturally you can always stay on board for one or more days.

  • How long are the daily cycling stages

    The average daily distance on our Bike & Barge tours in Holland is 50 kilometers (32 miles). But don’t forget that Dutch countryside is very flat and the stages, taken at a leisurely pace, take seven to eight hours including a number of breaks and visits.The time spent on your bicycle is about 4 hours per day.

  • Is WiFi available on board

    Yes, free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck.

  • What happens if it rains

    Most people wear rainwear and get on their bicycle. If the weather makes cycling absolutely impossible (this doesn’t happen very often!) the guide will arrange an alternative programme which might include a longer visit to one of the towns along the way or cultural excursions.

  • What is the average age of the participants

    The ages vary between 35 and 75, but of course we have younger (even babies and kids) and older guests. In particular it is quite possible during the school holidays that children might be booked on your tour.

  • What packing list do you suggest

    Specialised cycle clothing may be handy but not strictly necessary. What you do need (among other things) is the following:
    •    shorts/ long trousers/ track suit/ legging
    •    shirts/ sweater/ rain clothing
    •    gloves (in case you travel in April or October. It can be chilly in the morning)
    •    good solid shoes/ sneakers
    •    sunglasses/ cap/ swimming costume​​​​​​
    •    personal care and beauty items
    •    hair dryer (220V; available on the barges Zwaan, Sailing Home and Provence)
    •    insect repellent
    •    sunscreen

    Your travel documents include the final packing list we suggest for your booked tour.