Across the Rhône through the Lavender fields of Provence
8 days / 7 nights | Ship: MS Provence
Lyon to Arles (North to South route)
Our new Bike and Barge Tour ViaRhôna is a level 2 bike tour that is situated in the south of France. We let our guests meet with the beautiful countryside of the Rhône valley, but also with cities founded by the Romans more than 2.000 years ago. This part of France is the home to some of the best and most expensive French wines, like there is the Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Day 1: Embarkation at Lyon
You can check into your cabin around 6 p.m., but you can bring your luggage on board starting from 2 p.m. Around 7p.m. the guide and crew welcome you at dinner with an aperitif to start of the tour. After dinner there is time to explain some things about the tour and also the captain will tell you more about life on board.
Day 2: Discover Lyon (Cycling 25 miles / Ship 11 miles)
To start of your bike and barge tour, you will be exploring the green site of Lyon today. This city that received in 1998 the title of UNESCO world heritage is an homage for the fact that this is a city with an cultural heritage that dates back over 2000 years. This city that was once the capital of the Roman province Gallia and later the capital of Burgundy, brings you her history not only in word, but also in view. The second part of your bike trip today takes you to the land between the rivers Saône and Rhône. Where you can find a nice balance between enjoying the parks and the history of this great city. To discover the oldest (cobbled) streets we recommend you to take a stroll into the oldest part of town and park your bike near the riverside. During dinner the captain will be treating you on an evening cruise towards Vienne.
Day 3: Vienne – Andance – Tournon sur Rhône (Cycling 26 miles / Ship 14 miles)
Today we can offer you a big variety of views, tastes and fragrances. Leaving Vienne you immediately bike into the nature reservation Île au Beurre, where you can enjoy the peace and quietness of nature. While the landscape slides along you it changes into a big vineyard, entering the famous home of the Côte Rôtie. Passing the grapes, you will see that the landscape changes again, this time into the green landscape of the Ardèche countryside, where you can find the boat moored in Andance. At dinner time the captain will sail you to Tournon sur Rhône.
Day 4: Tournon sur Rhône – Valence – Pouzin (Cycling 22 miles / Ship 12 miles)
This morning the captain and his crew start the day early to bring you to the city of Valance, where the boat will arrive after breakfast. This city with it’s colourful markets and it’s historic “ Quartiers” is the starting point of your ride along typical small villages of the Ardèche and historic sites to wonder of with your bike into the green meadows of an nature towards Pouzin in the Drôme area.
Day 5: Pouzin – Viviers (Cycling 26 milkes)
Today the tour brings you along the medieval abbey of Cruas and further along you will be crossing a memorable rope bridge in Rochemaure. This bridge can be seen as a symbolic passing from old to new, from history to the further. At the end of the day you will be parking your bike next to the boat and you can enjoy a stroll through the historic village of Viviers.
Day 6: Viviers –Saint-Etienne-des-Sorts – Avignon (Cycling 25 miles / 24 miles)
After a morning sail the bikes will be put a shore at Saint-Etienne- des-Sorts. From here you will bike straight into the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where you can perhaps buy a
tasteful memory of this tour for at home. Once you passed the hilly landscape around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you are rewarded with an almost complete flat last part of the bike path along the river. To soon have a first glance of the panoramic view of Avignon the home of the Popes in the 14th century. In this city you can wonder of in the old streets, enjoy the French way of life on the squares with their terraces and just breath the culture.
Day 7: Avignon – Arles (Cycling 28 miles)
Today you bike from the ancient city of Popes to the home of Van Gogh. Halfway of the cycling tour today you will arrive in Beaucaire, here the Languedoc region and the Provence region meet. To end our day, we recommend to explore Arles and all the cosy corners van Gogh used to paint here…
Day 8: Disembarkation
Today we have to end the tour, the crew and staff will wish you good travelles, wherever you may go. Check out after breakfast, no later than 9a.m.
This bike tour is a level 2 out of 5 bike tour. This means, It cannot be rated as an easy tour, every day you will bike small parts of the tour on semi-paved paths and
asphalted sideroads and some hilly stretches. The tour is more challenging than bike and barge tours in Holland or Belgium.