Luxury itinerary day-by-day
1. Day one
We will meet you at Marseille airport or Avignon station and transfer you to your hotel in Avignon where you can check in any time from 2pm. Spend the day exploring this wonderful medieval town on the banks of the Rhône river, which is home to the Pope’s palace, a 12th century bridge, 14th century ramparts, and many museums and churches. The town also hosts a covered market every morning except Mondays.
2. Day two
Avignon to Saint Rémy de Provence
Today we meet you after breakfast to run through your itinerary and fit you to your bicycle. Then you are off on your bike, pedalling through orchards and along sleepy lanes lined with cypress trees until you reach the quaint town of Barbentane. From here, make your way up the “montagnette” – literally “little mountain” – which affords magnificent views of Provence's plains as well as being home to the monastery of St. Michel de Frigolet, a real gem for architecture fans. Continue on through the charming villages of Graveson and Maillane before reaching Saint Rémy de Provence, an artist's mecca where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life. Tonight you stay in an old music-hall and cinema which has been converted into a 4 star hotel, with a swimming pool and a gourmet restaurant.
21 miles (35 km)
3. Day three
Circular ride from Saint Rémy de Provence
Set off on a circular route from your hotel in Saint Rémy, stopping first at St. Etienne-du-Grès, and the Romanesque chapel of Saint Gabriel. From here, you ride alongside the imposing silhouette of the Alpilles mountains, among olive groves and almond trees. After lunch in Fontvieille, you can visit the elegant Château d’Estoublon estate and sample their olive oils and fine wines. Hop back on your bike and ride onwards into the heart of the Alpilles until you reach Les Baux de Provence, a village built atop a vertiginous rocky spur, hailed as “one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France”. Cycle back to St Rémy de Provence at your leisure.
17 miles (28 km)
4. Day four
Saint Rémy de Provence to Arles
After breakfast, climb into the saddle once again and bike southward to Arles. Today you will get your first glimpse of the famed Camargue region – vast flatlands covered in rice fields, wild white horses and birds soaring overhead. Enroute, enjoy a stop in Maussane or Le Paradou to explore and relax over lunch. Tonight you stay in a 4 star hotel, housed in a former Carmelite convent and recently renovated by the fashion designer Christian Lacroix. Ideally located in the very center of Arles, head out and explore the town or relax by the hotel's swimming pool and floral gardens.
31 miles (50 km)
5. Day five
Arles to Le Sambuc
Today you head out across the Rhône River and enter the heart of the Camargue's landscape of wheat fields, rice paddies, orchards and vineyards, stretching as far as the eye can see. En route, there's the opportunity to stop off for a spot of wine tasting at the Domaine de Valériole estate, between the hamlets of Gageron and Villeneuve. Continuing along your route, you'll also glimpse the bull and horse farms that line the huge marshlands of the Vaccarès. Dinner is included tonight at your accommodation, a stunningly renovated traditional Provencal 17th century farmhouse with a swimming pool, which is still a working horse and bull farm today.
20 miles (33 km)
6. Day six
Le Sambuc to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Be sure to pick up your picnic lunch from the guesthouse before heading out for your final day of cycling. The route winds its way through a vast expanse of lagoons, rice paddies and marshlands for some time until you join a path along the sea wall, where you might be lucky enough to catch sight of one of the thousands of flamingos that nest in the region. Soon you'll spot the bell tower of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on the horizon. This charming town of white-washed homes is known for its gypsy spirit - the story goes that its patron saint Sara arrived here upon a raft 2000 years ago from Palestine, and her remains lie in the ancient church that dwarfs the rest of the town. Your accommodation for the night is a charming 4 star hotel nearby with a swimming pool.
21 miles (35 km)
7. Day seven
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to Arles
Spend the morning exploring Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer at your leisure (perhaps visiting the local market if it happens to be a Friday). After lunch, we will transfer you and your luggage either to Arles for the train or to Marseille for the airport at a time that suits you.
flamingoes, egrets, and herons fill the skies