Skip to Main Content

France Bike & River Cruise: Lyon to Nice

Favorite

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|
  • Group Size: 24
Activity Easy
Easy
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

11-day Bike Vacation + Air Package

$5,995

8-day Bike Vacation 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

This tour offers easy terrain throughout the trip and is ideal for beginning cyclists. There are longer options with slight hills for the more experienced cyclists.

  • 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.
  • Explore France from Burgundy to Provence, yet unpack your gear and your bags only once.
  • 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.

Climate Information

Temperatures

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

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Paris and one night in Nice in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
7 nights aboard a deluxe river ship Check Check
21 meals: 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

View All >

Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

See More >

Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

See More >

Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

See More >

Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

See More >

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 29 to Sun, May 9 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

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

Upon arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) 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. Please 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 our Paris hotel (approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic). If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the CDG Airport, please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15 15 25 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615 15 15 25. Your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 p.m. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Please note: For early morning arrivals in Paris, the hotel may charge an early check-in fee if your room is ready. This fee will be at your expense if you decide to check-in early.
VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations for what to see and do in Paris. Enjoy the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the City of Light on your own.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris

At 8:45 a.m., meet your VBT representative in the hotel lobby to transfer 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.

Emerald Liberté, Phone: +33 7 85 54 42 30 or +33 7 85 54 42 31, Email: [email protected]

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.

Please note regarding WiFi on board the ship: Due to the nature of the ship movements, Internet access is not always available. If stable Internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: There is limited WiFi on board. If you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone, VBT recommends that you download your VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to arrival on the ship. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. As always, VBT also provides our traditional printed maps and route notes during the tour.

Please note regarding ‘Discover More’ tours: Emerald Waterways offers three optional tours during your cruise at an additional cost. Your VBT trip leaders will be able to answer questions about scheduling and can connect you with Emerald staff onboard to make bookings. We recommend that you book as soon as practical once onboard, as the tours are capacity restricted.

Visit to Perouges
When: Day 3 (Lyon), 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Includes: Coach transfer, local guide
Note: Passengers doing this tour will not be able to participate in the VBT ride
Price: EUR 39.00 per person

Grignan with castle visit
When: Day 5 (Viviers), 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Includes: Coach transfer, local guide
Note: Passengers doing this tour will not be able to participate in the VBT ride
Price: EUR 63.00 per person

Excursion to Les Baux de Provence
When: Day 7 (Arles), 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Includes: Coach transfer, local guide
Note: Passengers doing this tour will not be able to participate in VBT ride
Price: EUR 52.00 per person

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 7 km (4 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 50 km (31 miles)
Morning
Chalon-sur-Saône to Lunch in Puligny-Montrachet: 34 km (21 miles)
Afternoon
From 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 van 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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 58 km (36 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 43 km (27 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 44 km (27 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 28 km (18 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 56 km (35 miles)
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.

After breakfast, say goodbye to your ship crew and trip leaders and join the group transfer by private motorcoach at 9:00 a.m. to your hotel in Nice (approximately 3 hours, with a rest stop). Upon arrival, enjoy a treat of cake and coffee followed by a short orientation walk to get you better acquainted with this popular French destination. After checking in, enjoy free time for independent exploration. Please note that your room may not be ready upon your arrival, in which case the hotel will store your luggage. 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

After breakfast*, transfer to Nice airport (20 minutes, depending on traffic) for your departing flight. Please ensure 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.

**Please note: VBT recommends checking your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” 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.

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

Sat, May 1 to Sat, May 8 - 2021

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.

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.

Emerald Liberté, Phone: +33 7 85 54 42 30 or +33 7 85 54 42 31, Email: [email protected]

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.

Please note regarding WiFi on board the ship: Due to the nature of the ship movements, Internet access is not always available. If stable Internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: There is limited WiFi on board. If you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone, VBT recommends that you download your VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to arrival on the ship. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. As always, VBT also provides our traditional printed maps and route notes during the tour.

Please note regarding ‘Discover More’ tours: Emerald Waterways offers three optional tours during your cruise at an additional cost. Your VBT trip leaders will be able to answer questions about scheduling and can connect you with Emerald staff onboard to make bookings. We recommend that you book as soon as practical once onboard, as the tours are capacity restricted.

Visit to Perouges
When: Day 3 (Lyon), 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Includes: Coach transfer, local guide
Note: Passengers doing this tour will not be able to participate in the VBT ride
Price: EUR 39.00 per person

Grignan with castle visit
When: Day 5 (Viviers), 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Includes: Coach transfer, local guide
Note: Passengers doing this tour will not be able to participate in the VBT ride
Price: EUR 63.00 per person

Excursion to Les Baux de Provence
When: Day 7 (Arles), 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Includes: Coach transfer, local guide
Note: Passengers doing this tour will not be able to participate in VBT ride
Price: EUR 52.00 per person

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 7 km (4 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 50 km (31 miles)
Morning
Chalon-sur-Saône to Lunch in Puligny-Montrachet: 34 km (21 miles)
Afternoon
From 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 van 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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 58 km (36 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 43 km (27 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 44 km (27 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 28 km (18 miles)
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.

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.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Liberté
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 56 km (35 miles)
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.

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 transfers 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

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Pre-Trip Extension - Paris

2 Nights From $395 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $295

  • 2 nights at the Millennium Hotel Paris Opera
  • Daily breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

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

Upon arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) 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. Please 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 our Paris hotel (approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic). If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the CDG Airport, please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15 15 25 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615 15 15 25. Your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 p.m. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Please note: For early morning arrivals in Paris, the hotel may charge an early check-in fee if your room is ready. This fee will be at your expense if you decide to check-in early.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations for what to see and do in Paris. Enjoy the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the City of Light on your own.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris

Today, see for yourself why Paris has inspired poets, lovers, emperors, and artists for centuries. Start with a stroll along the legendary Champs-Élysées, site of the final grueling yards of the Tour de France and the shopping boulevard of the city. Ascend the mammoth Arc de Triomphe if you wish, then follow the world’s most famous street to the Place de la Concorde, punctuated by the Egyptian obelisk, a gift from Egypt in 1829. The Louvre and its world-class art collection is another delightful walk away, through the Jardin des Tuileries, studded with statuary and 17th-century gardens.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris
Included Meals: Breakfast

Take another day to discover Paris on your own. Visit Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides and the adjacent and fascinating Musée de l’Armée military museum. Strike a pose with The Thinker at the Musée Rodin, where the sculptor’s most remarkable works grace an outdoor garden and an indoor gallery. And take a romantic riverside stroll along the lovely Seine. VBT Air Package guests arrive throughout the day.

Accommodation: Hotel Millennium Opera, Paris
Included Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Post-Trip Extension - Nice

2 Nights From $245 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $195

  • 2 nights at the Best Western Plus Hotel Massena Nice
  • City Information
  • Hospitality Desk and City Orientation Tour
  • Airport transfers

Spend more time in Nice, strolling the gracious warrens and fountain-dotted squares of the historic quarter, steeped in old-world elegance. If you wish, journey a little farther afield to Monte Carlo, opulent capital of the tiny principality of Monaco. Here, in the footsteps of glamorous celebrities and royalty, explore the historic lanes of Le Rocher, the medieval Old Town, and be sure to catch the changing of the guard at the Grimaldi Princes’ Palace. See where American actress Grace Kelly, who married Prince Ranieri III in 1956 to become Princess Grace, is entombed. And duck into the extravagant Monte Carlo Casino.

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

Perhaps begin the day with a stroll along the splendid Promenade des Anglais, admiring its gardens and taking in sweeping views of the crystalline blue sea. Shopping opportunities are endless here, too. This is also a great opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea at one of the beaches of regaled French Riviera. And while you’re in town, you’ll want to visit the Musée Matisse to view the largest collection of the artist’s work. If you rent a car to expand your reach, drive the scenic high coastal roads into France, where you can visit the breathtaking hilltop village of Eze or the city of perfumes, Grasse.

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

After breakfast*, transfer to Nice airport (20 minutes, depending on traffic) for your departing flight. Please ensure 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.

**Please note: VBT recommends checking your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” 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.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews There are no reviews available for this tour

Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

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

Single Supplement: From $2,795

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

8 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: From $2,495

Thu, Apr 29 - Sun, May 9, 2021

From
$5,995

Reserve Online

Sat, May 1 - Sat, May 8, 2021

From
$4,995

Reserve Online

Thu, May 27 - Sun, Jun 6, 2021

From
$6,595

Reserve Online

Sat, May 29 - Sat, Jun 5, 2021

From
$5,445

Reserve Online

Thu, Jun 10 - Sun, Jun 20, 2021

From
$6,595

Reserve Online

Sat, Jun 12 - Sat, Jun 19, 2021

From
$5,445

Reserve Online

Thu, Aug 19 - Sun, Aug 29, 2021

From
$6,845

Reserve Online

Sat, Aug 21 - Sat, Aug 28, 2021

From
$5,695

Reserve Online

Thu, Sep 2 - Sun, Sep 12, 2021

From
$6,845

Reserve Online

Sat, Sep 4 - Sat, Sep 11, 2021

From
$5,695

Reserve Online

Thu, Sep 16 - Sun, Sep 26, 2021

From
$6,845

Reserve Online

Sat, Sep 18 - Sat, Sep 25, 2021

From
$5,695

Reserve Online

Thu, Sep 30 - Sun, Oct 10, 2021

From
$6,845

Reserve Online

Sat, Oct 2 - Sat, Oct 9, 2021

From
$5,695

Reserve Online

Thu, Oct 14 - Sun, Oct 24, 2021

From
$5,995

Reserve Online

Sat, Oct 16 - Sat, Oct 23, 2021

From
$4,995

Reserve Online

For more information, call: 800-245-3868

Other Tours You'll Love

View Related Tours

Stories From Europe

View All Stories

Top Waterside Towns in Europe to Write Home About

January 29, 2018

There's nothing as invigorating as sailing on the open sea or cruising down some of Europe’s most historic waterways aboard your own private floating hotel. The breeze in your hair,...

Continue Reading

Biking Friesland — Holland’s Most Unique Province

August 21, 2015

The province of Friesland in northern Holland is unique for both its cultural and geographic characteristics. Bound by the Wadden and North Seas, Freisland consists of a large area of...

Continue Reading

A Day in the Life of a Bike & Barge Vacation with VBT

June 25, 2017

For centuries, the vast network of rivers and canals throughout Europe has been a preferred method of both travel and trade. When you think of iconic cities like Paris, Amsterdam...

Continue Reading

Request a

Free Catalog

Find Your next vacation with Over 200 Pages of tour information

Get Yours Today

Talk to a VBT

Tour Consultant

(800) 245-3868

Mon – Fri 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. ET

Talk to an Expert

Book Online

Reserve Instantly

Find your perfect tour and reserve a spot with our easy online booking.

Find A Tour

0 of 4
Tours Selected