The sublime landscapes and pretty villages of Provence have been an inspiration for artists for centuries. To really appreciate the countryside the ideal means of travel through the region is by bike. Fields of lavender and poppies, old olive groves and vine covered hills, orchards brimming with fruit and crumbling farmhouses are characteristic of the landscape. Explore historic relics from prehistoric to Roman times, and take your time to soak up the sights and sample the wine and produce of the Cotes du Rhone and greater Provence. Splendid churches, medieval castles and picture-book Montagnette villages along the way provide an excuse for frequent stops. The two nights in St.Remy de Provence, the birthplace of Nostradamus and the town where Van Gogh spent his last years painting some of his best works, are one of the many highlights of this inspiring cycling adventure.
You individually travel to Arles, historic town which dates from the 7th century BC and was a major Gallo-Roman city. Here you should visit the Arena and the Roman Theatre, and you can cycle along its canal to the reconstructed Van Gogh bridge, the setting of the painter's famous “Pont de Langlois” works. Our first choice of hotel is in the old centre of Arles.
Today’s cycle is short, giving you time to explore the area and Les-Baux-de-Provence, a picturesque village with a royal history and high fortified ruins. There are some great museums in the village including the History Museum and the Olive Museum. Evening meal and accommodation in a 2-star hotel in Les-Baux-de-Provence.
Challenge: 23km, 481m ascent, 307m descent
From Les-Baux-de-Provence you return to Maussane along a back road, from which there are gorgeous views of the Alpilles, and continue to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The year before his death, Vincent Van Gogh spent time in an asylum in this town and also in nearby Arles. The colours and light were an inspiration in his paintings. Other well known artists that have been attracted to the area include Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse and Cézanne. There is ample opportunity to explore delightful Saint-Remy, including the house where Nostradamus was born. Evening meal and accommodation hotel in the village.
Challenge: 28km, 483m ascent, 348m descent
Today you will cycle along back roads, between olive and fruit trees. You will cross the charming village of Eyragues, where you will see its splendid 18th century clock tower and the fortified, Romanesque-style Saint Maxime church dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. Along the lanes, you will see the remains of the ramparts. After reaching the market garden plains of Châteaurenard, you will cycle to your hotel in Barbentane or Graveson.
Challenge: 28km, 174m ascent, 215m descent
End of your trip after breakfast. A taxi driver can will pick you up at the pre-arranged time for your transfer to Avignon train station.