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France Bike & River Cruise: Lyon to Nice

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Unpack once, then explore France starting in Burgundy and finishing in Provence on an all-inclusive European river cruise, enhanced by scenic and easy cycling, guided tours, and more.

Guided Bike & Boat

  • Daily Mileage: 4 - 36|
  • Biking: 1 - 4 hr|
Activity Easy
Easy
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

11-day Air Package

$5,995

8-day Bike Tour Only

$4,995

Per person, double occupancy

France Bike & River Cruise: Lyon to Nice

The Saône and Rhône rivers of France and their vineyard-laden banks beg to be explored by bicycle. To help you uncover every last bend along these scenic waterways, we invite you on a luxury river cruise that’s equal parts bicycling vacation. From the culinary capital of Lyon to historic Avignon and the artistic haven of Arles on this France bike and boat adventure, you’ll enjoy lavish amenities aboard a finely appointed river ship, disembarking each day to cycle into the heart of Burgundy and Provence. Join walking tours of medieval riverside treasures and cultural centers. Follow the scenic Via Rhône bike trail as the river flows alongside you. And pause to tour an olive oil farm, sample wines at fertile vineyards, and savor a French picnic alongside the magnificent Pont du Gard.

What to Expect

On Shore: This tour offers easy riverside terrain, with a few climbs to reach riverside towns. Riding is primarily on bike paths of both pavement and packed gravel, with some road riding through both urban and rural areas. Our VBT support shuttle is available every day at designated points for those who would like assistance. Onboard Ship: Our group of up to 24 VBT guests will be part of a larger group on board our 132-passenger river cruise ship. Every day will include your choice of exclusive VBT activities as well as opportunities to join other activities that are offered by the ship. VBT activities may overlap with those offered by the ship. While in port our ship may be docked adjacent to other ships. This means we may walk through other ships while boarding or disembarking, and some views may be obstructed while in port.

  • Daily Mileage: 4 - 36|
  • Biking: 1 - 4 hr|
  • Group Size: 24
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Admire the magnificent vistas of France’s most renowned wine regions by river and by bicycle.
  • Enjoy the best of both worlds: an all-inclusive river ship cruise and a VBT Bicycling Vacation.
  • Ride among the lush, fertile vineyards of Burgundy and Provence, pausing at your leisure for wine tastings and tours.
  • Savor a delicious picnic lunch before learning the history of the magnificent Pont du Gard at the renowned Roman aqueduct and UNESCO World Heritage site’s museum.
  • Walk the cobbled and historic streets of Lyon and Avignon as a local guide brings them alive with history and lore.
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Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Apr67º/45º

May74º/51º

Jun82º/58º

Jul87º/61º

Aug87º/60º

Sep78º/57º

Oct68º/49º

Average
Precipitation:

Apr0.1 in

May2.5 in

Jun1.7 in

Jul1.3 in

Aug1.8 in

Sep2.6 in

Oct3.3 in

Air Package

Tour Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Airport car service for arrival and departure Check
One night in Paris and one night in Nice in conveniently located hotels with daily breakfast Check
7 nights aboard a deluxe river ship Check Check
21 meals: 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners Check Check

Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike) 4

Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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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

Thu, Apr 28 to Sun, May 8 - 2022

Show Itinerary:


All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Air Packages, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

Start off your first day in Paris right by having a VBT representative greet you at the airport. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your hotel. From your centrally located hotel, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris

After an included breakfast meet your VBT representative in the hotel lobby at 8:45 a.m. to travel to Gare du Lyon train station (approximately 25 minutes). Your high-speed train whisks you in exactly two hours to Lyon, where you meet your VBT trip leader at the train station. After a short shuttle ride, you arrive at the dock in Lyon at approximately 12:30 p.m. and board your Emerald Waterways ship.

The ship will be docked at Quai Claude Bernard, between the bridges Pont Gallieni and Pont de l’Université, along the left bank of the Rhône River. As the exact location of the ship may change, please call upon your arrival in Lyon for directions.

Your cabin may not be ready for you until 3:00 p.m. However, you are welcome to enjoy lunch on board, served between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., relax in the ship’s common areas, stretch your legs, or explore town.

At 2:30 p.m., meet your trip leaders and fellow travelers on board for introductions and a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride on local bike paths along the Rhône. Later, enjoy dinner on board. The ship sails for Chalon-sur-Saône this evening.

Today’s Ride Choice

Afternoon: Lyon Warm-up Loop – 7 km (4 miles)

What to Expect: The ride from our ship is on local, paved bike paths in Lyon. Get acquainted with your route notes, Ride with GPS, your bicycle, and the locals. Check your brakes and play with shifting your full range of gears.

Cumulative Distance Range: 7 km (4 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After cruising north along the picturesque Saône River, dock at Chalon-sur-Saône, where the river meets the Canal du Centre. You are in the heart of Burgundy, where more than 4,500 family-run wineries produce world-renowned wines in the Côtes de Beaune. Disembark to ride a scenic bike route among the most famous vineyards in the world, passing vast expanses of arbor-laid grapes and fine wineries. Coast through charming wine-making villages that lend Burgundy its distinctive character, from Puligny-Montrachet to Pommard, and produce some of the finest Grand Cru vintages. You pause in Mersault for photos and perhaps a glass of wine.

After lunch you shuttle to Beaune, the center of Burgundy wine production and home to the Hospices of Beaune. This finely preserved sample of 15th-century Burgundian architecture is renowned for its polychrome roof and its annual wine auction. Alternately, you may cycle here instead of shuttling, following a ten-mile segment of the celebrated Route de Grand Crus past stunning landscapes and vineyards with ample opportunities to pause along the way for wine tastings.

This evening on board, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner as you sail back to Lyon.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Chalon-sur-Saône to Lunch in Puligny-Montrachet – 34 km (21 miles)
Afternoon: Lunch to Beaune – 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: Cycle on a beautiful paved path along the Canal du Centre to Santenay. Then, continue on a bike route through the vineyards of the Côtes de Beaune, passing world-famous villages such as Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault and Pommard. Board the shuttle to Beaune after lunch. If you prefer, our longer cycling option leads you through vineyards on the prestigious Route des Grand Crus, with wine-tasting opportunities all the way to Beaune.

Cumulative Distance Range: 50 km (31 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Arrive back in Lyon this morning as you’re enjoying breakfast on board. Then disembark for a city tour of France’s gastronomic capital renowned for its coq au vin, or chicken with wine, and quenelles de brochet, or mousse of pike. The heart of the 2,000-year-old city lies on a thin peninsula between the Rhône and Saône Rivers. It’s easy to imagine canuts, or silk merchants of old, zigzagging through the maze of old-world streets, cutting through the purpose-built narrow passageways known as traboules. Much of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned as an urban “site of great commercial and strategic significance.” You will also ascend Fourvière Hill, where the splendid Basilique de Notre Dame gazes out over the city. You can also take in some of the city from a cyclist’s perspective, gaining a more intimate view of its riverbanks and Old City on an optional bike loop before lunch.

After lunch on board, head out on the bikes again to the Grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage on the outskirts of Lyon beyond its city gates. This 5,400-acre parkland blankets most of the Rhône’s Miribel-Jonage island, created in the 1800s when the Miribel and Jonage canals were dredged. Today, it is a pleasure park for city dwellers and a wildlife preserve. After time enjoying its flat bike paths through forests and past a lake, you may shuttle or ride back to the ship and enjoy the remainder of the day exploring on your own or relaxing on deck or in the ship’s lounge. After dinner, you sail toward Tournon for another memorable day of riding.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Optional Loop in Lyon – 9 km (5 miles)
Afternoon: Ride to Miribel Jonage with Shuttle – 29 km (18 miles) | From Shuttle pick up to ship – 20 km (13 miles)

What to Expect: The optional morning’s ride loops you through an attractive urban area of Lyon, partly on bike trails along the river. In the afternoon, you ride through an urban area to the outskirts of Lyon and the Grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage, a nature park where bike paths pass lakes and follow small canals. In the nature reserve, some of our bike route follows packed gravel roads. You may return to the ship either by shuttle or by bicycle.

Cumulative Distance Range: 58 km (36 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Begin today with a short walk in the charming little town of Tournon, nestled between the river and vineyard-laden slopes that produce some of the region’s finest wines. As you explore, an ancient castle oversees your progress from high upon a promontory. Later, you ride along the Rhône towards Valence, following the renowned Via Rhône bike trail. When complete, this remarkable pathway will take cyclists from Geneva, Switzerland, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, passing spectacular riverscapes, pretty villages in the typical style of southern France and expansive vineyards along the way.

Your destination is Valence, known as “the doorway to the South of France” and one of the country’s official French Towns and Lands of Art and History. You will soon see why as you coast past elegant mansard-roof architecture, lovely gardens and the pretty Place des Clercs. After lunch at a local restaurant, there’ll be time to explore its atmospheric Old Town and see the 11th-century Romanesque Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral, founded in 1095. You may shuttle or ride back to the ship. Later, enjoy a wine tasting of local vintages on board, following another delicious, thoughtfully prepared meal. This evening, you sail towards Viviers.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Tournon to Valence – 22 km (14 miles)
Afternoon: Valence to Tournon – 21 km (13 miles)

What to Expect: After a short walk in Tournon, this morning’s ride follows easy bike trails along the river, partly on packed gravel bike paths past highly scenic vistas. After having lunch and exploring the sights of Valence by bike for a couple hours, you return to the ship via your choice of shuttle or bicycle. The riding route back to our mooring partly follows a main road that you share with cars.

Cumulative Distance Range: 43 km (27 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Disembark for a guided visit of Viviers, one of the more unique towns on the Rhône. Settled by Romans, the small village was forced to erect walls when conflicts of the ensuing centuries arrived. The Renaissance period was kinder and more peaceful; the stunning Maison des Chevaliers still stands as a testament to that creative era. A stroll through Viviers’ cobbled streets is a journey back in time. After lunch onboard the ship, you return to the scenic bike paths of the Via Rhône.

Today’s ride leads you past some of the Rhône’s religious treasures, tracing lovely greenways and quiet roads along the way. Cathedrals, chapels, grand clerical residences and the Iles des Dames islands mark your route. Once you coast into Bourg-Saint-Andéol, home to handsome patrician houses, you shuttle to St. Etienne des Sorts to meet your ship, which has sailed here during your ride. Avid riders may choose to cycle to the ship instead. Surrounded by scenic mountains, this was a center of industry in the late 1800s, when workmen quarried nearby hills, felled poplar trees and hauled them to the Rhône, where they were loaded onto boats known as sapines for transport to Avignon. Still today, the best bargemen on the river hail from St. Etienne des Sorts. Upon arrival, you embark your ship and savor dinner this evening as you sail to Avignon.

Today’s Ride Choices

Afternoon: Viviers to Bourg-Saint-Andéol with Shuttle to St. Etienne-des-Sorts – 33 km (20 miles) | Bourg-Saint-Andéol to ship – 11 km (7 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride follows the easy, flat path along the Rhône River on dedicated bike trails. You pass various villages marked by cathedrals and chapels and ride along quiet branches of the river, traversing the Iles des Dames islands. The short option offers a shuttle from the small town of Bourg-Saint-Andéol to the ship. The longer option leads you directly to the ship, docked in St. Etienne des Sorts.

Cumulative Distance Range: 44 km (27 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You dock early this morning in Avignon, the legendary City of Popes where the papacy was centered for 70 years in the 14th century. After breakfast on board, set out on a walking tour of this magnificent and historic city. Marvel at the mighty Palais des Papes, the Papal Palace, one of the great architectural wonders of France. View the adjacent historic Pont St. Bènèzet reaching out into the river; only four of its original 22 arches remain. Then step through Avignon’s gates to explore this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, its medieval walls enclosing a rich repository of architecture that spans the ages. There’ll be free time here before lunch on board.

This afternoon, enjoy a short ride across the river to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, which once served as a resort of the French cardinals who resided at Avignon. You pass over the island Ile de Piot to reach the river’s opposite bank. Quiet, scenic roads with minimal traffic lead to one of the oldest operating olive oil mills in Provence, founded in 1358. Enjoy a tour with your host to witness the production of one of the region’s most prized products; perhaps you’ll purchase some so you can take a taste of France home with you! You have free time here before returning to the ship by shuttle or bicycle. This evening, savor an authentic Provençal dinner, prepared and hosted by a local chef who we have invited on board.

Today’s Ride Choices

Afternoon: Avignon to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon with Shuttle to ship – 14 km (9 miles) | Villeneuve-lès-Avignon to ship – 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: Ride across the Rhône River to Ile de Piot, a tranquil island, then continue to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon on the opposite bank. We ride on quiet roads with very limited traffic. After a tour at an olive oil mill, and free time in town, the optional ride back will follow a slightly different route.

Cumulative Distance Range: 28 km (18 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m., say goodbye to your ship crew and trip leaders and travel with the group by private motorcoach to your hotel in Nice (approximately 3 hours, with a rest stop). Please note that your room may not be ready upon your arrival, in which case the hotel will store your luggage. Enjoy a treat of cake and coffee in the lobby or have a short walk and grab a delicious lunch, while you might wait for your room being prepared. After checking in, enjoy free time for independent exploration. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight in one of the city’s many fine restaurants. VBT provides you with city information that includes recommendations about what to see and do in Nice.

Accommodation: Best Western Plus Hotel Massena, Nice
Included Meals: Breakfast

Shuttle to the outskirts of Arles this morning to begin the day’s ride to the spectacularly preserved Pont de Gard. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct once transported water 31 miles from Nimes. Your route follows quiet, paved country roads and leads you through the fertile farmlands that provide Provence with its rich bounty. For a shorter ride, you may stay on the shuttle until reaching Beaucaire and pick up an old, renovated rail trail instead.

Your trip leaders have prepared a savory picnic lunch to enjoy by the river, with a magnificent view of the aqueduct. After, there’ll be time to visit the enlightening museum, where you can learn how this towering structure was built without mortar. Stroll the pathways of the park around the site, or take an optional loop ride from the museum. Later, shuttle back to the ship and join the Captain’s Cocktail and Farewell Dinner.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Arles to Beaucaire – 22 km (14 miles) | Beaucaire to Pont du Gard – 21 km (13 miles)
Afternoon: Optional Loop around Pont du Gard – 13 km (8 miles)

What to Expect: Following a short shuttle, you begin riding in the outskirts of Arles. The route follows paved, quiet country roads along flat terrain. As you are riding through open fields, you might experience some wind. For a shorter option, you can shuttle to Beaucaire, from where you continue on a beautifully renovated bike path along the rails of an old train line. As you approach Pont du Gard, you experience a slight incline. The afternoon ride is a short loop that incorporates some smaller hills. After, return to the ship via a 45-minute shuttle.

Cumulative Distance Range: 56 km (35 miles)
Accommodation: Best Western Plus Hotel Massena
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation to the Nice airport will be provided (an approximately 20 minute drive, depending on traffic) for your departing flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

France Bike & River Cruise: Lyon to Nice 7

Download PDF Itinerary:

Air Package (PDF) Tour Only (PDF)

Sat, Apr 30 to Sat, May 7 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

You are responsible for making your own way to Lyon, France, to meet your trip leaders and fellow travelers. Please note that you cannot embark before 12:30 p.m. as the ship is being prepared for you. If you fly to Lyon Airport, the flight arrival must be no later than 4:30 p.m., as the ship leaves Lyon at 7:00 p.m.

The ship will be docked at Quai Claude Bernard, between the bridges Pont Gallieni and Pont de l’Université, along the left bank of the Rhône River. As the exact location of the ship may change, please call upon your arrival in Lyon for directions.

Your cabin may not be ready for you until 3:00 p.m. However, you are welcome to enjoy lunch on board, served between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., relax in the ship’s common areas, stretch your legs, or explore town.

At 2:30 p.m., meet your trip leaders and fellow travelers on board for introductions and a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride on local bike paths along the Rhône. Later, enjoy dinner on board. The ship sails for Chalon-sur-Saône this evening.

Today’s Ride Choice

Afternoon: Lyon Warm-up Loop – 7 km (4 miles)

What to Expect: The ride from our ship is on local, paved bike paths in Lyon. Get acquainted with your route notes, Ride with GPS, your bicycle, and the locals. Check your brakes and play with shifting your full range of gears.

Cumulative Distance Range: 7 km (4 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Lunch, Dinner

After cruising north along the picturesque Saône River, dock at Chalon-sur-Saône, where the river meets the Canal du Centre. You are in the heart of Burgundy, where more than 4,500 family-run wineries produce world-renowned wines in the Côtes de Beaune. Disembark to ride a scenic bike route among the most famous vineyards in the world, passing vast expanses of arbor-laid grapes and fine wineries. Coast through charming wine-making villages that lend Burgundy its distinctive character, from Puligny-Montrachet to Pommard, and produce some of the finest Grand Cru vintages. You pause in Mersault for photos and perhaps a glass of wine.

After lunch you shuttle to Beaune, the center of Burgundy wine production and home to the Hospices of Beaune. This finely preserved sample of 15th-century Burgundian architecture is renowned for its polychrome roof and its annual wine auction. Alternately, you may cycle here instead of shuttling, following a ten-mile segment of the celebrated Route de Grand Crus past stunning landscapes and vineyards with ample opportunities to pause along the way for wine tastings.

This evening on board, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner as you sail back to Lyon.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Chalon-sur-Saône to Lunch in Puligny-Montrachet – 34 km (21 miles)
Afternoon: Lunch to Beaune – 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: Cycle on a beautiful paved path along the Canal du Centre to Santenay. Then, continue on a bike route through the vineyards of the Côtes de Beaune, passing world-famous villages such as Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault and Pommard. Board the shuttle to Beaune after lunch. If you prefer, our longer cycling option leads you through vineyards on the prestigious Route des Grand Crus, with wine-tasting opportunities all the way to Beaune.

Cumulative Distance Range: 50 km (31 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Arrive back in Lyon this morning as you’re enjoying breakfast on board. Then disembark for a city tour of France’s gastronomic capital renowned for its coq au vin, or chicken with wine, and quenelles de brochet, or mousse of pike. The heart of the 2,000-year-old city lies on a thin peninsula between the Rhône and Saône Rivers. It’s easy to imagine canuts, or silk merchants of old, zigzagging through the maze of old-world streets, cutting through the purpose-built narrow passageways known as traboules. Much of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned as an urban “site of great commercial and strategic significance.” You will also ascend Fourvière Hill, where the splendid Basilique de Notre Dame gazes out over the city. You can also take in some of the city from a cyclist’s perspective, gaining a more intimate view of its riverbanks and Old City on an optional bike loop before lunch.

After lunch on board, head out on the bikes again to the Grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage on the outskirts of Lyon beyond its city gates. This 5,400-acre parkland blankets most of the Rhône’s Miribel-Jonage island, created in the 1800s when the Miribel and Jonage canals were dredged. Today, it is a pleasure park for city dwellers and a wildlife preserve. After time enjoying its flat bike paths through forests and past a lake, you may shuttle or ride back to the ship and enjoy the remainder of the day exploring on your own or relaxing on deck or in the ship’s lounge. After dinner, you sail toward Tournon for another memorable day of riding.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Optional Loop in Lyon – 9 km (5 miles)
Afternoon: Ride to Miribel Jonage with Shuttle – 29 km (18 miles) | From Shuttle pick up to ship – 20 km (13 miles)

What to Expect: The optional morning’s ride loops you through an attractive urban area of Lyon, partly on bike trails along the river. In the afternoon, you ride through an urban area to the outskirts of Lyon and the Grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage, a nature park where bike paths pass lakes and follow small canals. In the nature reserve, some of our bike route follows packed gravel roads. You may return to the ship either by shuttle or by bicycle.

Cumulative Distance Range: 58 km (36 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Begin today with a short walk in the charming little town of Tournon, nestled between the river and vineyard-laden slopes that produce some of the region’s finest wines. As you explore, an ancient castle oversees your progress from high upon a promontory. Later, you ride along the Rhône towards Valence, following the renowned Via Rhône bike trail. When complete, this remarkable pathway will take cyclists from Geneva, Switzerland, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, passing spectacular riverscapes, pretty villages in the typical style of southern France and expansive vineyards along the way.

Your destination is Valence, known as “the doorway to the South of France” and one of the country’s official French Towns and Lands of Art and History. You will soon see why as you coast past elegant mansard-roof architecture, lovely gardens and the pretty Place des Clercs. After lunch at a local restaurant, there’ll be time to explore its atmospheric Old Town and see the 11th-century Romanesque Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral, founded in 1095. You may shuttle or ride back to the ship. Later, enjoy a wine tasting of local vintages on board, following another delicious, thoughtfully prepared meal. This evening, you sail towards Viviers.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Tournon to Valence – 22 km (14 miles)
Afternoon: Valence to Tournon – 21 km (13 miles)

What to Expect: After a short walk in Tournon, this morning’s ride follows easy bike trails along the river, partly on packed gravel bike paths past highly scenic vistas. After having lunch and exploring the sights of Valence by bike for a couple hours, you return to the ship via your choice of shuttle or bicycle. The riding route back to our mooring partly follows a main road that you share with cars.

Cumulative Distance Range: 43 km (27 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Disembark for a guided visit of Viviers, one of the more unique towns on the Rhône. Settled by Romans, the small village was forced to erect walls when conflicts of the ensuing centuries arrived. The Renaissance period was kinder and more peaceful; the stunning Maison des Chevaliers still stands as a testament to that creative era. A stroll through Viviers’ cobbled streets is a journey back in time. After lunch onboard the ship, you return to the scenic bike paths of the Via Rhône.

Today’s ride leads you past some of the Rhône’s religious treasures, tracing lovely greenways and quiet roads along the way. Cathedrals, chapels, grand clerical residences and the Iles des Dames islands mark your route. Once you coast into Bourg-Saint-Andéol, home to handsome patrician houses, you shuttle to St. Etienne des Sorts to meet your ship, which has sailed here during your ride. Avid riders may choose to cycle to the ship instead. Surrounded by scenic mountains, this was a center of industry in the late 1800s, when workmen quarried nearby hills, felled poplar trees and hauled them to the Rhône, where they were loaded onto boats known as sapines for transport to Avignon. Still today, the best bargemen on the river hail from St. Etienne des Sorts. Upon arrival, you embark your ship and savor dinner this evening as you sail to Avignon.

Today’s Ride Choices

Afternoon: Viviers to Bourg-Saint-Andéol with Shuttle to St. Etienne-des-Sorts – 33 km (20 miles) | Bourg-Saint-Andéol to ship – 11 km (7 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride follows the easy, flat path along the Rhône River on dedicated bike trails. You pass various villages marked by cathedrals and chapels and ride along quiet branches of the river, traversing the Iles des Dames islands. The short option offers a shuttle from the small town of Bourg-Saint-Andéol to the ship. The longer option leads you directly to the ship, docked in St. Etienne des Sorts.

Cumulative Distance Range: 44 km (27 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You dock early this morning in Avignon, the legendary City of Popes where the papacy was centered for 70 years in the 14th century. After breakfast on board, set out on a walking tour of this magnificent and historic city. Marvel at the mighty Palais des Papes, the Papal Palace, one of the great architectural wonders of France. View the adjacent historic Pont St. Bènèzet reaching out into the river; only four of its original 22 arches remain. Then step through Avignon’s gates to explore this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, its medieval walls enclosing a rich repository of architecture that spans the ages. There’ll be free time here before lunch on board.

This afternoon, enjoy a short ride across the river to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, which once served as a resort of the French cardinals who resided at Avignon. You pass over the island Ile de Piot to reach the river’s opposite bank. Quiet, scenic roads with minimal traffic lead to one of the oldest operating olive oil mills in Provence, founded in 1358. Enjoy a tour with your host to witness the production of one of the region’s most prized products; perhaps you’ll purchase some so you can take a taste of France home with you! You have free time here before returning to the ship by shuttle or bicycle. This evening, savor an authentic Provençal dinner, prepared and hosted by a local chef who we have invited on board.

Today’s Ride Choices

Afternoon: Avignon to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon with Shuttle to ship – 14 km (9 miles) | Villeneuve-lès-Avignon to ship – 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: Ride across the Rhône River to Ile de Piot, a tranquil island, then continue to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon on the opposite bank. We ride on quiet roads with very limited traffic. After a tour at an olive oil mill, and free time in town, the optional ride back will follow a slightly different route.

Cumulative Distance Range: 28 km (18 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Shuttle to the outskirts of Arles this morning to begin the day’s ride to the spectacularly preserved Pont de Gard. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct once transported water 31 miles from Nimes. Your route follows quiet, paved country roads and leads you through the fertile farmlands that provide Provence with its rich bounty. For a shorter ride, you may stay on the shuttle until reaching Beaucaire and pick up an old, renovated rail trail instead.

Your trip leaders have prepared a savory picnic lunch to enjoy by the river, with a magnificent view of the aqueduct. After, there’ll be time to visit the enlightening museum, where you can learn how this towering structure was built without mortar. Stroll the pathways of the park around the site, or take an optional loop ride from the museum. Later, shuttle back to the ship and join the Captain’s Cocktail and Farewell Dinner.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Arles to Beaucaire – 22 km (14 miles) | Beaucaire to Pont du Gard – 21 km (13 miles)
Afternoon: Optional Loop around Pont du Gard – 13 km (8 miles)

What to Expect: Following a short shuttle, you begin riding in the outskirts of Arles. The route follows paved, quiet country roads along flat terrain. As you are riding through open fields, you might experience some wind. For a shorter option, you can shuttle to Beaucaire, from where you continue on a beautifully renovated bike path along the rails of an old train line. As you approach Pont du Gard, you experience a slight incline. The afternoon ride is a short loop that incorporates some smaller hills. After, return to the ship via a 45-minute shuttle.

Cumulative Distance Range: 56 km (35 miles)
Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, say goodbye to your ship crew and trip leaders as your tour ends. It is important that you disembark ship no later than 9:00 a.m. The Gare d’Arles train station is across the pier, a 3-minute walk. Taxis will be available for transportation to the airport. The closest international airport is Marseille Provence (MRS), by taxi it takes about one hour, and costs approximately 150-190 USD per car.

Included Meals: Breakfast

France Bike & River Cruise: Lyon to Nice 7

Download PDF Itinerary:

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Accommodations

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2022

2022 Pre-Trip Extension - Paris

2 Nights From $395 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $345

  • 2 nights at the Millennium Hotel Paris Opera
  • Airport car service for arrival
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Air Packages, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

Start off your first day in Paris right by having a VBT representative greet you at the airport. a complimentary car service will whisk you to your hotel. From your centrally located hotel, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris
Included Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2022

2022 Post-Trip Extension - Nice

2 Nights From $295 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $245

  • 2 nights at the Best Western Plus Hotel Massena Nice
  • Airport car service for departure
  • Hospitality desk
  • City orientation tour
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Best Western Plus Hotel Massena
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Best Western Plus Hotel Massena
Included Meals: Breakfast

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation to the Nice airport will be provided (an approximately 20 minute drive, depending on traffic) for your departing flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Air Package

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

Single Supplement: From $2,445

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

8 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Thu, Apr 28 - Sun, May 8, 2022

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

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