- Cycling through Provence & the landscapes of Van Gogh
- Enjoying the villages and vineyards around Avignon and Arles
- Visiting the Pont du Gard, the highest Roman Aqueduct and UNESCO World Heritage Site
- The wilderness of the Camargue with its wild white horses, flamingos, bulls and cowboys
- Easy cycling on quiet cycle paths and country lanes
Discover the highlights of Provence on a sublime bike and barge cruise from Avignon to the wilderness of the Camargue; Avignon, Pont du Gard, Arles, St Remy de Provence and the natural beauty of the Camargue.
Your trip begins when you board your comfortable barge moored in the Papal city of Avignon. Ringed by 800-year-old stone ramparts Avignon is a delightful maze of cobbled streets, magnificent architecture and leafy squares.
For the first three days of your trip you will visit the highlights of Van Gogh’s Provence; Avignon, Pont du Gard, Saint Remy de Provence, Arles and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The latter part of your adventure explores the Camargue, which is Western Europe's largest river delta. The Camargue is a wild landscape of salt lagoons teeming with flamingos, rice paddies and cane fields. Home to herds of wild white Camargue Horses and farms where Europe's only cowboys - the Gardiens - raise fighting black bulls for the bullrings of the Languedoc and Spain.
Day 1:Arrive Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
Arrive in Avignon. Your cabin will be available after 6 p.m. Although you can leave baggage if you arrive earlier. After boarding in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon you can look forward to a welcome briefing and dinner.
Overnight: On-board in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
Avignon & Châteauneuf-du-Pape
After breakfast you cycle the short distance to Avignon. The papal city of Avignon, ringed by 800 year old stone ramparts, is a delightful maze of cobbled streets, magnificent architecture and leafy squares. The Palais des Papes and Pont d’Avignon are just two of the highlights.
You then cycle in the direction of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape, following quiet country roads lined by vineyards. In Châteauneuf- du-Pape you can enjoy a tasting of the reknowned provencal wine. You return to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon via Roquemaure along the banks of the Rhone.
Cycle: 45 km, ascent 100 m.
Overnight: On-board in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
Pont du Gard & Vallabrègues
The highlight of your cycle today is a visit to the best preserved Roman aqueduct in Europe: Pont du Gard. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and truly spectacular work of architecture. In the evening we will moor in Vallabrègues, a pretty Provençal village on the banks of the Rhone.
Cycle: 60 km, ascent 300 m.
Overnight: On-board in Vallabrègues
Vallabreguès to Arles
Biking through the beautiful landscapes of Provence you soon reach Saint Remy de Provence, birthplace of Nostradamus. This beautiful village is well known for having hosted Van Gogh in the days of his mental illness. Then, you move onto the Alpilles, with Les Baux de Provence, a village lodged in the rock itself. A landscape of limestone cliffs, lavender and olive trees accompanies your journey through Provence to Arles.
Cycle: 65 km, ascent 300 m.
Overnight: On-board in Arles
Arles to Gallician
This morning is dedicated to exploring Arles, the ancient capital of Gaul with beautiful Roman ruins. There is a guided tour available which visits the jewels of the town. After lunch you reach the lock of Saint Gilles and from there you will sail to Gallician, where you will spend the night.
Cycle: 20 km, ascent 0 m.
Overnight: On-board in Gallician
Gallician to Aigues-Mortes
Leaving Gallician your route takes you through the Camargue, which is Western Europe's largest river delta. The Camargue is a wild landscape of salt lagoons teeming with flamingos, rice paddies and cane fields. Home to herds of wild white Camargue Horses and farms where Europe's only cowboys - the Gardiens - raise fighting black bulls for the bullrings of the Languedoc and Spain.
You pass through Saintes Maries de la Mer before you arrive in Aigues-Mortes. Situated at the crossroads of two canals the imposing medieval fortifications of Aigues-Mortes enclose a lively little town filled with shops, restaurants and bars.
Cycle: 65 km, ascent 0 m.
Overnight: On-board in Aigues-Mortes
Circular ride through the Camargue
Today you will enjoy a delightful circular ride through the Camargue. With plenty of time to relax, watch the bird and wildlife, visit the beach or immerse yourself in the alleyways of Aigues-Mortes you can look forward to a lovely day.
Cycle: 45 km, ascent 0 m.
Overnight: On-board in Aigues-Mortes
After breakfast you disembark. We can arrange extra nights in Aiges-Mortes.
If you are returning home Montpellier (40km), Nimes (40km) and Marseille (140km) are the closest airports. We will provide full travel details on request or booking.
Our Boat in Provence
L’Estello is a Dutch Barge built in 1937. She has been completely refurbished to offer a high level of comfort without compromising her original charm.
Accommodating 20 guests in 10 double cabins (1 double and 9 twins) of 7-8 square metres. Each cabin has two portholes, (one is in the bathroom), air conditioning and en-suite facilities with shower area. Bed sizes: 1.90/2 m x 0.75/0.80m .
The air conditioned living area divided into a restaurant with large picture windows and a bar area with comfortable sofas and armchairs. A sundeck with seating and a fixed awning gives plenty of outdoor space. Free WiFi is available in in the restaurant/bar area.
Additional Nights and Extensions
Both Avignon and Aiges Mortes are wonderful places to spend a few extra nights. We can book extra nights in both for you.
Single Cabins and Solo Cyclists
Single cabins are available, although a supplement is payable. This trip is available to solo cyclists and is perfect as there are plenty of people to chat with every day.
Grade and Terrain
This cycle tour is graded easy. Total Length: 300 km, total ascent: 700 m, terrain:
95% asphalt, 5% unpaved.
The riding is totally flat during the three stages in Camargue, while the stages
north of Arles present some ups and downs, which are however quite easy to
overcome. There is just one more demanding climb towards Baux de Provence, but
you will be fully repaid with an extraordinary view. The itinerary is mostly on
secondary roads with light traffic; some short stretches on more busy roads are
however inevitable. There will also be a couple of sections on the boat to make
the trip more enjoyable.
Navigation on Rivers and Canals
High and low water issues, as well as logistic obstacles can modify some of the daily
stretches or embarkation points. These decisions are taken by the captain. It
is envisaged that the boat will sail some of the way during breakfast or the
evening meal to make getting out of the towns easier or to shorten the stages.
Guided or Self-Guided Option
choose to bike either on a self-guided or guided basis at no extra charge. The
detailed directions and maps supplied with your info-pack offer you the option
of either cycling independently or with the rest of the group, following the
Tour Leader. When booking this bike and boat tour, please specify your chosen
option (i.e. Guided or Self-guided).
Meals & Drinks
This trip is operated on a full board basis (breakfast, dinner, a self-made packed lunch
and afternoon snack) with all meals included from dinner on day 1 to breakfast
on day 8.
consists of an international buffet: bread, sliced salami and ham, cheese,
butter, marmalade, yogurt, cereals, milk, tea, coffee.
lunch: during breakfast, you will also find all that is necessary to prepare a
packed lunch (bread, sliced salami and ham, cheese).
snack: after the daily trip you will receive on board a snack/cake/fruit with
coffee/tea. At dinner you can enjoy typical dishes of traditional French
consists of a starter, a main course and a dessert. On the table you will
always find bread and water in jug. All other drinks are not included and have
to be paid separately.
Bikes - included
27-gear Shimano Deore unisex bikes in appropriate frame sizes. They are puncture-proof,
fully serviced and equipped with a trip computer, sidebag, water bottle and
padlock. Additionally, Self-guided cyclists are supplied with a map
holder/front bag (1 per bike) and a repair kit (1 per couple).
your own bike is not recommended due to the difficulty of accessing the start
and end point using public transport with a bike.
bike hire is available at an additional cost. Helmet hire is not included, but
available at a small charge.
Getting to Avignon / from Aiges-Mortes
Both Avignon and Aigues-Mortes are well served by several airports: Montpellier Mediterranée (MPL), Marseille Provence (MRS), Nîmes Garons (FNI), Lyon Saint Exupéry (LYS), Avignon Caumont (AVN).
Avignon is a 2h42 journey from Paris on the TGV train.
We will send you full details of public transport and taxi connections in our pre-departure information pack as soon as your booking is confirmed.
Avignon is easily accessible by car from the A7 Highway from Lyon to Marseille. The pier is accessible by car and free and paid parking is available in Avignon.
There are train connections between Aigues-Mortes and Avignon. The journey takes about two hours and costs 15 Euro. Again full details are provided.
- 7 nights on board either l’Estello or Soleo in twin share or double cabins
- All meals
- On board tour guide
- Information pack, route description and maps
- Bike rental
- Guided tour of Arles
- Entrance to Pont du Gard
- Harbour charges
- Wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Emergency telephone support
- Travel to Avignon / from Aigues-Mortes
- Snacks & Drinks
- Misc Expenses
- Travel insurance
- Bike Helmet
- Helmet hire
- Electric bike hire
- Single cabin supplement(s)
- Additional hotel night(s) pre or post travel
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We strongly advise booking as early as possible. There is limited cabin availability with the boats being quite intimate and holding only 20—22 persons each sailing, coupled with their ever growing popularity. Consequently, popular dates have been known to sell out many months in advance.
How fit do I need to be?
This trip is graded as easy because the route, with just a couple of shorter exceptions, is almost entirely flat. Daily distances are between 25km and 60km so you will need to have a basic level of fitness and we advise some training before the trip. If you would like to opt for a 'rest day' then you are always welcome to stay on board and relax, one of the fantastic features of the 'bike and boat' tours. The cycle tours are either guided, with a Tour Leader taking a group of you cycling daily, or self-guided, however you will receive a map and route notes to ensure you find your way.
What equipment do I need?
You will need comfortable sports shoes, comfortable clothes for cycling, waterproof jacket and trousers, a helmet. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.
Which is the best airport to fly to?
The best option is to fly into Montpellier or Marseille, which connect by train to Avignon and out of Aigues-Mortes by bus and train. There is a TGV train from Paris to Avignon.