From the historic ramparts of old Aigues Mortes, we enjoy leisurely cycling across the legendary Camargue, via the Pont de Langlois and Uzès to UNESCO-listed Avignon on the banks of the mighty Rhône.
Imagine immersing yourself in the magical Provençal landscape of expansive Camargue, home to iconic white Camarguais horses, flamingos and fields of golden sunflowers. Now the dream is about to come true as you explore one of France’s most romantic, enchanting corners.
Imagine idyllic days on quiet roads and byways, visiting ancient abbeys, exploring the Camargue’s captivating landscape, and discovering beautifully preserved Roman architecture before celebrating a wonderful holiday on Avignon’s Pont Saint-Bénézet – the famous Pont d’Avignon.
Is this for real? Of course it is, and for nine unforgettable days, Provence will be your world on the road to Avignon…
Our long-awaited Provençal sojourn begins with arrival at Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon or Marseilles Airport, followed by minibus, taxi or train transfer to our welcoming base hotel in the heart of Aigues Mortes.
After breakfast, with the anticipation of a wonderful week mounting, we personally equip you with your bicycle, ready for the adventures ahead – it’s the secret to ensuring a perfect fit for everyone. The day’s then yours to explore Aigues Mortes – with its fascinating medieval town and port and wonderful surrounding countryside. The heart of this historic Provençal town is wonderful. But for extra perspective, let’s follow the arrow-straight Canal Saint-Louis to the fishing village of Le Grau-Du-Roi. Shall we visit its well-reviewed Seaquarium, packed with over 200 species of sea life including sharks and rays? Or perhaps we’ll enjoy a very lazy day on the beach at stylish La Grand-Motte. The choice, as ever, is yours.
Do you remember Anne Gaulthier (Annouk Aimée), her on-screen husband (Pierre Barouh) and friends riding those white Camargue horses through the Camargue’s marshes in 1967’s classic Palme d’Or-winning movie, Un Homme et Une Femme?
Today, albeit in a different kind of saddle, we’ll explore that same iconic landscape, the ‘Wild West’ of southern France. Along the way, don’t miss the UNESCO-listed Abbey of Saint-Gilles en route to our next hotel in romantic Arles. Today’s destination is the city that inspired so much of Vincent Van Gogh’s best-known work, including The Langlois Bridge at Arles, Snowy Landscape with Arles in the Background, and Farmhouses in a Wheat Field Near Arles.
With the impressions of the Camargue still filling our imaginations, we contrast its rural idyll with the historic urbanity of this former Roman provincial capital. From the renowned Arles Amphitheatre (les Arènes d’Arles) to the Alyscamps (Elysian Fields), the famous Pont de Langlois and scenic river views from the Thermes de Constantin, the alleys and canal-side walkways of Arles lead to myriad ways to happily fill the day. Then there are the cafés and restaurants for which Arles is renowned – not least the exquisite eateries on Place du Paul Domer and the sinuous side streets around Place de la République. Make sure to visit the Place du Forum where you’ll discover Van Gogh’s ‘Yellow Café’ too. And when exploring’s over for another day, look forward to dining again in true Provençale style – apparently, the Camargue lamb stew (Gardiane d’agneau) is to die for…
After our sojourn in historic Arles, we hit the road again for more adventures on the way to Collias and, in due course, Avignon in Vaucluse. We could be in the office, or catching up with housework at home, but we’re not. Instead, as our trusty bicycles carry us through the Provençale countryside, we’re looking forward to seeing the stunning fifteenth-century riverside Château de Tarascon. And later, the fabled Pont du Gard over – hence the name – the River Gardon. It’s been yet another ‘wow!’ day packed with the rich experiences and unforgettable impressions. Tonight, we’ll relive these over supper in our comfortable hotel.
After another delicious Provençale breakfast, we’re exploring again. If we didn’t visit the three-tiered Roman Pont du Gard aqueduct yesterday, now’s the time to visit. Alternatively, how about leisurely exploration of Collias, a fascinating riverside village at the foot of the Gorges du Gardon. It’s a delightful village that owes its origin to the Ancient Greeks. It’s also renowned for its silk-making tradition and famous picholine olives. From our base in Collias, heading in the opposite direction to the Pont du Gard brings us to Uzès in about an hour. Got a sweet tooth? Fancy an en route ‘sugar fix’ stop at the Haribo Candy Museum? If you weren’t doing so before visiting, you’ll be singing ‘Haribo macht Kinder froh; und Erwachsene ebenso’ for the rest of the day. We’ve warned you!
As we set off from Collias, maybe passing the Pont du Gard one more time, Provence prepares to deliver one of its renowned highlights by the end of the day’s ride. Avignon awaits, but first there’s more leisurely cycling along the majestic Rhône and into the city’s UNESCO-listed historic heart – where highlights including the Palais des Papes, Avignon cathedral and that famous bridge beckon us on. If yesterday was for singing Haribo’s ‘earworm’ slogan, today is about humming ‘Sur le Pont d'Avignon’ as we pedal happily down the Boulevard du Rhône in the sunshine. Can Provençal time be any more joyful?
Are those the bells of the Palais des Papes that wake us for our full day exploring Avignon on two wheels or on foot? After breakfast, we’re adventuring again, exploring as many of the city’s highlights as we can fit into our last full day in Provence. The choices, as ever, are yours. We could start with the ramparts, gardens and impressive city vistas of the emblematic Palais des Papes, arguably one of Europe’s most impressive Gothic edifices. Then, how about heading down to the river and the Pont Saint-Bénézet – perhaps followed by a break for coffee and delicious freshly-made crêpes.
Later, after the afternoon’s exploration, as the sun sets and evening casts its cloak gently over the city, savour another Rhôneside stroll. Then, perhaps somewhere cosy off the Place de l’Horloge, relax over one more mouth-watering Provençal supper and a bottle or two of delicious Côtes du Rhône wine. There’s probably nowhere better to enjoy Drôme wines than here in Avignon, Provence’s ‘sweetheart town’. The same goes for quintessential Provençale dishes, reflecting the fusion of delicious local vegetables with Mediterranean seafood and the ever-present Spanish cultural influence. Bon appétit! And as we wine and dine in avignounen style, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the adventures we’ve shared since arriving at Aigues Mortes nine days ago.
Today we bid Avignon and Provence a fond ‘au revoir’ and transfer direct to Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon or Marseilles Airport by train or minibus.
Welcome to our exquisite base in Aigues Mortes, a former 18th century merchant’s home on the central Rue De La Republique. Make no mistake, this is a prime location for exploring Aigues Mortes and enjoying everything it offers – indeed, we’re right inside the ancient city fortifications.
Stunning interior design with a strong – occasionally quirky –artistic vibe complements inviting banquettes, cosy leather club chairs, comfy beds and the perfect combination of classic style and contemporary comforts in air-conditioned rooms with en suite bathroom. They’re reached by climbing a beautiful staircase, just another example of the character permeating this charming property.
Don’t miss the shaded courtyard garden perfumed by typically-Provençal hibiscus and bougainvilleas around a refreshing fountain and pool. It’s the perfect haven of peace for us to return to after a hot day exploring Aigues Mortes and its inviting surrounds.
Later, we could enjoy a delicious supper, romantic ambience and a bottle of wine from our hotel’s extensive wine cellar. Or we can head into town to satisfy cravings for delicious Provençale cuisine elsewhere on Aigues Mortes’ café and restaurant scene around Place Saint Louis and Église Notre-Dame des Sablons.
We’re here, we’ve arrived in the town that Vincent Van Gogh called home for over a year after arriving in 1888. Like us, he came to the south of France to seek refreshment from the bustle and pressures of day-to-day life.
Our pied-à-terre in Arles comes in the form of stylish Grand Hôtel Nord-Pinus; it’s set on the same central Place du Forum as the restaurant depicted in Vincent’s ‘The Terrace at Night’. As well as being right in the heart of Van Gogh’s world, we’re near the renowned arenas of Arles and the Cloister of Saint-Trophime. Whether we explore on bicycles or on foot, a better location is hard to imagine.
Look forward to beautifully decorated rooms where colour and light are carefully deployed for soft, nostalgic ambience. Now add modern comforts that we look forward to after a day on the road: air-conditioning; flat-screen TV; en suite bathroom; and free Wi-Fi. We’re all set to join native Arlesians as we savour the city where Van Gogh worked and socialised with artistic luminaries such as Paul Gauguin and expatriate American, Dodge MacKnight.
After another day’s adventures, enjoy drinks in the hotel bar before venturing into central Arles again to sample the city’s rich selection of cafés and restaurants. As with most of the main sightseeing attractions in central Arles, they’re within easy walking or cycling distance.
Welcome to lovely Collias on Provence’s meandering Gardon River. In the heart of town, on the Grand Rue, a few kilometres from the famous Pont du Gard aqueduct, we reach the Hostellerie le Castellas. From its comfortable, stylishly appointed rooms to an inviting restaurant, restoring spa and wellness centre and wisteria-bedecked sun terrace, we’re in for another Provençale treat.
It’s time to relax at the end of today’s ride through Provence’s sun-kissed heart. Your comfortable room welcomes with features such as an en suite bathroom, air-conditioning and safety deposit box. And of course the free Wi-Fi that’s so useful when planning tomorrow’s activities or catching up on news from home.
That spa wellness centre sounds great doesn’t it. After a dip in the pool, how about some pampering with a hammam session, time in the hot tub or a full body massage. Sounds good doesn’t it! We could stay all evening but it’s nearly time for a candlelit supper on the terrace. Can you smell the irresistible aromas of delicious regional cuisine being prepared? And then there’s the wine; perhaps we could do some wine tasting too.
Tomorrow, after a refreshing night’s sleep, what could be nicer than starting another day’s two-wheeled exploration with the delicious breakfast buffet? Then, after visiting the charming local bakery for mouth-watering snacks to go, we’ll hit the road again for more adventures. Admit it, we could get used to this relaxed Provençal life.
Tonight we’re at Avignon’s Hôtel de l'Horloge, a character-packed 19th-century building, with wrought-iron balcony balustrades, overlooking Place de l’Horloge. That’s the clock square in the centre of this historic, UNESCO-celebrated city.
We dismount, check in and settle into our comfortable room and quickly appreciate the antique furnishings that complement the comforts needed for restorative rest after our ride. The rooms are soundproofed and air-conditioned. Some even have terraces and views of the nearby Palais des Papes. Along with the famous ‘Pont d’Avignon’ it’s possibly the city’s most famous visitor destination.
They’re not distant views of the palace either. That’s because, with front doors opening onto Avignon’s main square, our hotel is in the heart of Avignon’s fantastic café, restaurant and sightseeing scene. What’s more, we’re only a short stroll away from the city’s Office de Tourisme on Cours Jean Jaurès too. Trust Oro Tours to find us one of the best locations in town. As one reviewer says: ‘Nothing is more than a 10–15 minute walk’. C’est parfait!
In the morning, by the way, make sure to enjoy the Hôtel de l'Horloge’s buffet breakfast – complete with ‘notre coin bio’ ('our bio corner') – on the airy veranda. According to the hotel website it’s ‘the best breakfast in Avignon’! Then, from the cathedral to engaging Les Halles Market, head out to make the most of the city’s delights.
|June 6, 14, 22||£1,255|
|Sep 5, 13, 21||£1,255|
|June 6, 14, 22||£845|
|Sep 5, 13, 21||£845|
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room without flights and transfers.
Triple room: £10 per third person per night.
Infants under 2 years: Sharing bed with parents FREE. Additional expenses e.g. food or cots, to be paid direct to the hotelier.
Children under 12 years: £15 off per night.
Single room: £50 per night.
E-Bike: £20 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
Tandem: £15 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
£250 per person
Our experts shall be only too pleased to research the most convenient and best value flights for you and, to arrange your airport transfers. Please call on 01584 877596 for an individual quotation, which will be sent to you by email. On acceptance of our quotation, we shall be pleased to book all arrangements for you.
Holidays booked together with a flight are protected by The Travel Trust Association’s ATOL (number: 10300).
Flights and transfers are charged at cost, plus a £20 per person booking fee to cover service and ATOL fees.
If you wish to extend your holiday, with perhaps a short stay in a nearby city of interest, please call our experts on 01584 877596 for help and guidance.
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