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Provence: The Alpilles

Favorite

Soft sunlight, beautiful countryside, a savory herb-infused cuisine, renowned wines, and an easygoing ambiance—no wonder Provence has been a magnet for travelers since Roman times.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 11 - 41|
  • Biking: 2 - 5 hr|
  • Group Size: 22
4.9 out of 5 stars.
Activity Easy/Moderate
Easy / Moderate
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

Bike Vacation + Air Package

$4,495

Bike Vacation Only

$3,395

(per person, double occupancy)

Provence: The Alpilles

Soft sunlight, beautiful countryside, a savory herb-infused cuisine, renowned wines, and an easygoing ambiance—no wonder Provence has been a magnet for travelers since Roman times. And no wonder it is still sought out today. Following the Rhône from Aix-en-Provence to Avignon, you’ll admire stunning views of the Alpilles mountains, experience the artistic inspiration of Vincent van Gogh, walk a Roman aqueduct and explore the medieval “City of the Popes.” You’ll also encounter the Provence of today during a home-cooked meal, a visit to a wine estate and a walk with a local historian.

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills. Our VBT support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance with the hills. Suitable for novice cyclists and ideal for experienced cyclists.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 11 - 41|
  • Biking: 2 - 5 hr|
  • Group Size: 22
Activity Easy/Moderate Easy / Moderate
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Bus Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Admire stunning views of Arles, the Camargue and the Alpilles from the village of Les Baux.
  • Enter the world and landscapes of Vincent Van Gogh in the company of a local historian.
  • Savor true Provençal cuisine prepared by a noted pastry chef in her home.
  • Cycle a pristine countryside of olive groves, green valleys, vineyards and timeless villages, flanked by the soaring Alpilles.
  • Visit the Abbaye St. Michel de Frigolet, a monastery dating to the 12th century.
  • Ponder the genius of the ancient Romans as you stroll across the Pont du Gard aqueduct, an architectural masterpiece.
  • Sample local vintages in the famous wine town of Lirac.
  • Hear your footsteps clatter on the cobbled streets of Avignon during a guided tour of this “City of the Popes.”

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Apr67º/45º

May74º/51º

Jun82º/58º

Jul87º/61º

Aug87º/60º

Sep78º/57º

Oct68º/49º

Average
Precipitation:

Apr2.1 in

May2.5 in

Jun1.7 in

Jul1.3 in

Aug1.8 in

Sep2.6 in

Oct3.3 in

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Aix-en-Provence and one night in Paris in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
6 nights in 4-star French hotels Check Check
11 meals: 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Step-Through Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Mon, May 27 to Wed, Jun 5 - 2019

Show Itinerary:

Depart from home for France. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at Marseilles (MRS) Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps the representative identify you.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van to your Aix-en-Provence hotel (approximately 45 minutes, depending upon traffic). Important: If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the Marseilles Airport, please proceed to the Information Desk in your arrival terminal (either A or B) and call 04 42 93 01 44 (number from within France). Outside of France, call +33 442 93 01 44.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Aix-en-Provence. Use the rest of the day to relax or begin exploring the city. Dinner is on your own.

Hotel: Hotel Aquabella

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT representative in the hotel lobby at 11:00 a.m. and transfer by bus to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (approximately 1 hour).

Your inviting hotel here has magnificent views over the Alpilles Mountains. You have free time to stroll into town for lunch on your own and relax on the hotel grounds as you settle in. Please note that rooms may not be ready until 3:00 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., meet your VBT Trip Leaders for a short introduction, followed by a safety and bike-fitting session and warm-up ride. Tonight, attend a welcome wine reception and dinner.

Hotel: Hotel de l’Image
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 7.5 miles (12.1 km)

Breathtaking scenery and excellent cycling await you after breakfast as you roll into the heart of the Alpilles to Les Baux-de-Provence. Stop at some interesting sites along the way, such as the ancient fortress of Les Baux, which sits on an 800-foot (243.8-meter) rocky plateau.

The beautiful village of Les Baux with views of the Alpilles. As you walk through, pause at the architectural accomplishments of its church, château, town hall, hospital, chapels, houses, and doorways.

Have lunch on your own here. Then, cycle toward Saint-Rémy-de-Provence through the gentle countryside that inspired Van Gogh to create more than 150 paintings.

Later, meet up with your Trip Leaders and walk to meet local historian Mathilde Duvillier by the Saint-Paul Asylum, where Vincent Van Gogh admitted himself. Madame Duvillier will guide your small group to many of the places pictured in the artist’s works during his time here, enabling you to relate the scenes directly to them. You’ll also venture inside the sanitarium to see the carefully reproduced layout and furnishings of Van Gogh’s room.

After another short walk, you arrive at the home of VBT friend Odile Mifsud, a well-known pastry chef. Here, you’ll enjoy a home-cooked dinner, flavored by the herbs of her native Provence and the rich tradition of her family cuisine.

Hotel: Hotel de l’Image
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 6, 19 or 25 miles (9.4, 31.7 or 41.1 km)

After breakfast, prepare for what may be the most beautiful cycling of the entire week. You’ll ride through pristine Provençal countryside, passing olive groves and the soaring Alpilles. A small chain extending from the Luberon, the Alpilles are not very wide but rise dramatically out of the Rhône Valley. Their foothills are flanked by the Durance and Rhône rivers

As you cycle, you can stop to wander through timeless villages. Perhaps you’ll explore Eygalières and its lovely stone-built homes lining small winding streets. Maybe enjoy a picnic in a cool field, shaded by olive or almond trees. If you’re up for a more ambitious riding day, our longer option offers even more delightful scenery.

Tonight is free for you to stroll Saint-Rémy’s narrow cobblestone streets, browse the enticing shops, and admire the ancient restored houses with their Renaissance façades. Dinner is on your own in one of the local restaurants.

Hotel: Hotel de l’Image
Meals: Breakfast
Daily Options: 11, 22 or 39 miles (19.1, 36 or 64.2 km)

After eating breakfast and choosing picnic items before leaving Saint-Rémy, ride to the Abbaye St. Michel de Frigolet. Enjoy a visit of this revered site set in a pine forest, which dates to at least 1133.

After your visit, you may shuttle or cycle to the Pont du Gard. Whichever you choose, you’ll cross the Rhône River and arrive in the Languedoc region. Built by the Romans in the first century BC (and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985), the Pont du Gard is just one segment of a 31-mile-long (49.9-km) aqueduct built to transport water from a spring in Uzès to the city of Nîmes. Much of the aqueduct has deteriorated over time, but this most impressive span still stands. Consisting of three levels, this bridge appears surprisingly delicate despite the massive stones used in its construction. Park your bike and walk across this stunning architectural achievement. Remarkably, the structure was built entirely without mortar, using stones that weighed up to six tons.

After exploring the Pont du Gard, shuttle to your next hotel in Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Once settled in, you have time to relax, perhaps in the hotel’s pool or shady terrace, before gathering for an authentic Provençal meal at your hotel.

Hotel: Hotel La Magnaneraie
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 12, 32 or 43 miles (19, 51.7 or 68.7 km)

Today’s ride takes you into the Gard district on the right bank of the Rhône River. Your route follows the agricultural plain of the river, planted mainly with apples, melons, pumpkins, asparagus, and market-garden produce. Leaving the river valley, you’ll cycle through typical Provençal landscapes, vineyards, and the charming villages, renowned for their red-wine vineyards for more than 2,000 years. Here, you’ll visit an old château’s farm and enjoy a picnic lunch. You’ll also sample some local wine in the cellar’s tasting room.

En route back to the hotel, cycle through the village of Tavel, famous for its rosé wine.

Tonight is free for you to explore the historic town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon and enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants.

Hotel: Hotel La Magnaneraie
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 12, 22.3 or 40 miles (19.3, 39 or 62 km)

Sleep in this morning, then linger over breakfast before cycling southeast toward Avignon, the fabled “City of the Popes.” Leave your bike inside the city walls and stroll the timeless cobblestone streets. Your small group will meet a local guide for a walking tour of this ancient city. Later, there’ll be time to explore some of the city’s highlights on your own, such as the former papal residence—the immense Palais des Papes (Papal Palace). Now a museum, this Gothic building was fortified with walls up to 18 feet (5.5 meters) thick. Or perhaps you’ll walk the surviving section of the Pont d’Avignon. Built in the 12th century, this bridge originally spanned the Rhône but has suffered frequent collapses from floods. Only four of its original 22 arches remain.

The rest of the day is yours to enjoy. During your free time, you may wish to buy some local pottery or a handmade tablecloth. Try lunch at one of the local bistros, or enjoy a picnic in one of Avignon’s gardens. In the afternoon, cycle or shuttle back to the hotel. Tonight, celebrate with your fellow travelers during a special farewell dinner.

Hotel: Hotel La Magnaneraie
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 8 or 17 miles (132 or 28.1 km)

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, one of your Trip Leaders will transfer you to the Avignon TGV train station, arriving at approximately 9:35 a.m., and continue by TGV high-speed train to Paris at approximately 10:00 a.m., about a three-hour journey. Before you leave them, please verify with your Trip Leaders the time of your transfer from your Paris hotel to the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport tomorrow.

Upon arrival in the “City of Light,” you are met by a VBT representative and transferred to your centrally located hotel. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Paris.

Hotel: Hotel Rochester
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast*, transfer to the Paris Charles De Gaulle airport for your return flight**. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

** VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Wed, May 29 to Tue, Jun 4 - 2019

Show Itinerary:

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: Meet at the first hotel in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence by 2:30 p.m. If you arrive by train into Avignon, take a taxi at your own expense (approximately 65 euros and about 30 minutes’ traveling time). If you are in Aix-en-Provence, you may take the VBT coach transfer to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence at no additional expense (approximately 1 hour). Please meet your VBT representative at 11:00 a.m. in the lobby of the Hotel Aquabella in Aix-en-Provence.

Please contact the hotel to advise the staff of any travel delays or changes, and they will pass your message to your VBT Trip Leaders.

Your inviting hotel here has magnificent views over the Alpilles Mountains. You have free time to stroll into town for lunch on your own and relax on the hotel grounds as you settle in. Please note that rooms may not be ready until 3:00 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., meet your VBT Trip Leaders for a short introduction, followed by a safety and bike-fitting session and warm-up ride. Tonight, attend a welcome wine reception and dinner.

Hotel: Hotel de l’Image
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 7.5 miles (12.1 km)

Breathtaking scenery and excellent cycling await you after breakfast as you roll into the heart of the Alpilles to Les Baux-de-Provence. Stop at some interesting sites along the way, such as the ancient fortress of Les Baux, which sits on an 800-foot (243.8-meter) rocky plateau.

The beautiful village of Les Baux with views of the Alpilles. As you walk through, pause at the architectural accomplishments of its church, château, town hall, hospital, chapels, houses, and doorways.

Have lunch on your own here. Then, cycle toward Saint-Rémy-de-Provence through the gentle countryside that inspired Van Gogh to create more than 150 paintings.

Later, meet up with your Trip Leaders and walk to meet local historian Mathilde Duvillier by the Saint-Paul Asylum, where Vincent Van Gogh admitted himself. Madame Duvillier will guide your small group to many of the places pictured in the artist’s works during his time here, enabling you to relate the scenes directly to them. You’ll also venture inside the sanitarium to see the carefully reproduced layout and furnishings of Van Gogh’s room.

After another short walk, you arrive at the home of VBT friend Odile Mifsud, a well-known pastry chef. Here, you’ll enjoy a home-cooked dinner, flavored by the herbs of her native Provence and the rich tradition of her family cuisine.

Hotel: Hotel de l’Image
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 6, 19 or 25 miles (9.4, 31.7 or 41.1 km)

After breakfast, prepare for what may be the most beautiful cycling of the entire week. You’ll ride through pristine Provençal countryside, passing olive groves and the soaring Alpilles. A small chain extending from the Luberon, the Alpilles are not very wide but rise dramatically out of the Rhône Valley. Their foothills are flanked by the Durance and Rhône rivers

As you cycle, you can stop to wander through timeless villages. Perhaps you’ll explore Eygalières and its lovely stone-built homes lining small winding streets. Maybe enjoy a picnic in a cool field, shaded by olive or almond trees. If you’re up for a more ambitious riding day, our longer option offers even more delightful scenery.

Tonight is free for you to stroll Saint-Rémy’s narrow cobblestone streets, browse the enticing shops, and admire the ancient restored houses with their Renaissance façades. Dinner is on your own in one of the local restaurants.

Hotel: Hotel de l’Image
Meals: Breakfast
Daily Options: 11, 22 or 39 miles (19.1, 36 or 64.2 km)

After eating breakfast and choosing picnic items before leaving Saint-Rémy, ride to the Abbaye St. Michel de Frigolet. Enjoy a visit of this revered site set in a pine forest, which dates to at least 1133.

After your visit, you may shuttle or cycle to the Pont du Gard. Whichever you choose, you’ll cross the Rhône River and arrive in the Languedoc region. Built by the Romans in the first century BC (and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985), the Pont du Gard is just one segment of a 31-mile-long (49.9-km) aqueduct built to transport water from a spring in Uzès to the city of Nîmes. Much of the aqueduct has deteriorated over time, but this most impressive span still stands. Consisting of three levels, this bridge appears surprisingly delicate despite the massive stones used in its construction. Park your bike and walk across this stunning architectural achievement. Remarkably, the structure was built entirely without mortar, using stones that weighed up to six tons.

After exploring the Pont du Gard, shuttle to your next hotel in Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Once settled in, you have time to relax, perhaps in the hotel’s pool or shady terrace, before gathering for an authentic Provençal meal at your hotel.

Hotel: Hotel La Magnaneraie
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 12, 32 or 43 miles (19, 51.7 or 68.7 km)

Today’s ride takes you into the Gard district on the right bank of the Rhône River. Your route follows the agricultural plain of the river, planted mainly with apples, melons, pumpkins, asparagus, and market-garden produce. Leaving the river valley, you’ll cycle through typical Provençal landscapes, vineyards, and the charming villages, renowned for their red-wine vineyards for more than 2,000 years. Here, you’ll visit an old château’s farm and enjoy a picnic lunch. You’ll also sample some local wine in the cellar’s tasting room.

En route back to the hotel, cycle through the village of Tavel, famous for its rosé wine.

Tonight is free for you to explore the historic town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon and enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants.

Hotel: Hotel La Magnaneraie
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 12, 22.3 or 40 miles (19.3, 39 or 62 km)

Sleep in this morning, then linger over breakfast before cycling southeast toward Avignon, the fabled “City of the Popes.” Leave your bike inside the city walls and stroll the timeless cobblestone streets. Your small group will meet a local guide for a walking tour of this ancient city. Later, there’ll be time to explore some of the city’s highlights on your own, such as the former papal residence—the immense Palais des Papes (Papal Palace). Now a museum, this Gothic building was fortified with walls up to 18 feet (5.5 meters) thick. Or perhaps you’ll walk the surviving section of the Pont d’Avignon. Built in the 12th century, this bridge originally spanned the Rhône but has suffered frequent collapses from floods. Only four of its original 22 arches remain.

The rest of the day is yours to enjoy. During your free time, you may wish to buy some local pottery or a handmade tablecloth. Try lunch at one of the local bistros, or enjoy a picnic in one of Avignon’s gardens. In the afternoon, cycle or shuttle back to the hotel. Tonight, celebrate with your fellow travelers during a special farewell dinner.

Hotel: Hotel La Magnaneraie
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 8 or 17 miles (132 or 28.1 km)

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: After breakfast, one of your Trip Leaders will transfer you to the Avignon TGV train station, arriving at approximately 9:35 a.m. Your tour ends here. Important: Train departures from the Avignon TGV train station prior to 10:05 a.m. are not recommended. If you depart earlier, you must make transfer arrangements from the last hotel to the train station at your own expense (approximately 35 euros, with a travel time of about 20 minutes).

Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

Pre-Trip Extension - Aix-en-Provence

2 Nights From $295 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Aquabella
  • Daily breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

Depart from home for France. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at Marseilles (MRS) Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps the representative identify you.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van to your Aix-en-Provence hotel (approximately 45 minutes, depending on traffic). Important: If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the Marseilles Airport, please proceed to the Information Desk in your arrival terminal (either A or B) and call 04 42 93 01 44 (number from within France). Outside of France, call +33 442 93 01 44.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations for what to see and do in Aix-en-Provence.

Use the rest of the day to relax or begin exploring the city.

Hotel: Hotel Aquabella

After breakfast, spend the day exploring this intriguing city on your own. As you begin your day, perhaps visit some of the museums, such as the Musée Granet or the Musée des Tapisseries. Aix is known as the “City of a Thousand Fountains,” and you’ll discover why when you stroll to the Old Town along the Cours Mirabeau, where most of them flow and cascade.

Discover the architectural and cultural treasures of Aix-en-Provence simply by walking around this beautiful town. Some of the smallest streets of the ancient Roman town have kept their evocative names, offering a glimpse into the city’s 2,000-year-old past. Dine on typical fare prepared with fragrant herbes de Provence from the hillsides, listen to the soft murmur of ancient fountains, take in the bright colors and flavors in the markets, or linger with locals on crowded café terraces. Or you might venture into the countryside to experience the beauty of Aix landscapes immortalized by Cézanne.

Hotel: Hotel Aquabella
Meals: Breakfast

Take another day to discover Aix-en-Provence.

VBT Air Package guests arrive throughout the day.

Hotel: Hotel Aquabella
Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

Post-Trip Extension - Paris

2 Nights From $445 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Rochester
  • Daily breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

Today, see for yourself why this city has inspired poets, lovers, emperors and artists for centuries. Visit Montmartre and its charming cafés and artists’ colony, along with the Moulin Rouge, made famous by Toulouse-Lautrec in his vivid and colorful artwork. Or venture to the top of Notre Dame for a gargoyle’s view of the city. Make a stop at the Eiffel Tower or one of the magnificent museums, such as the Musée Picasso or the Musée d’Orsay. Take a stroll through the Tuileries Gardens on your way to the Louvre. You can walk to many of the major sights from your centrally located hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Rochester
Meals: Breakfast

Take another day to discover the incomparable treasures of the “City of Light.”

Hotel: Hotel Rochester
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast*, transfer to the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for your flight home**. Please ensure that you are waiting in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

** VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews 178 out of 183 (97%) of reviewers recommend this tour

4.9 out of 5 stars.

Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

10 days, includes round-trip international airfare, airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: $845

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

7 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: $595

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Mon, May 27 - Wed, Jun 5

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Fri, Jun 14 - Sun, Jun 23

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Fri, Jun 21 - Sun, Jun 30

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

Please note: Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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