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Postcards of Provence

From Papal Avignon to Roman Arles
 
Your self-guided cycling holiday explores the heart of Provence, steeped in history: take in the papal palace of Avignon, Van Gogh's St-Rémy-de-Provence, and the Roman city of Arles. Your luggage is transferred ahead as you cycle through vines, orchards, and the rice paddies of the Camargue.
Postcards of Provence. 6 nights
Postcards of Provence. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday in Provence

Roman monuments such as Arles’ amphitheatre, scenery that inspired Van Gogh, Avignon’s papal palace, olive-oil mills, medieval villages ... you’ll find all these and more on the east side of the mighty Rhône as it nears the Mediterranean at the end of its long journey across Switzerland and south-east France.

In fact, few of our cycling itineraries can promise such a wide variety of cultural interest as this holiday. It takes you on a journey southward – with the warm prevailing winds to your back – to reveal quintessential Provençal landscapes of olive groves and sunflower fields framed by the dramatic hills of the Alpilles, ending in the Rhône’s luxuriant delta, a unique area known as the Camargue.
You begin in Avignon, home of the 14th-century popes, with its famous bridge and Gothic palace, from where you cycle through farmland and sleepy villages to the town of St Rémy-de-Provence. Van Gogh spent the last chapter of his life here, furiously capturing on canvas the olive groves and vines that nestle beneath the jagged Alpilles; you can visit the monastery-turned-asylum where he painted masterpieces such as Starry Night.

Quiet country roads continue southbound, past ancient farmhouses, to vibrant Arles, a wonderful juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern, where you stay right by the imposing 2,000-year-old amphitheatre.

From Arles, a final bike ride into the Camargue Regional Park reveals a very different landscape, where flamingos and egrets fly lazily overhead while gardians (cowboys) ride the region’s famed white horses to herd their black bulls across the patchwork of grassy waterways, reed beds, rice paddies and lagoons.
 
 
Image courtesy of Paul Kirkwood (© PK)
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    The lavender blooms in late June/early July.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 10 12 15 18 22 26 30 29 25 20 14 11
    mm 60 64 55 53 52 38 22 47 71 114 67 62
  • Arrival in Avignon
    Night 1: at Cloître St Louis (the first of 2 nights here).
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Circular route from Avignon: 13.5km, ascent/descent 60m
    Cross the mighty Rhône to Île de la Barthelasse, an island in the river that is a similar size to Avignon itself. A trail set right beside the banks of the Rhône offers the best views of the city and its famed bridge, today spanning only partway across the water. The island’s quiet lanes pass between fruit orchards and vineyards, while a casual riverside restaurant makes a good place to stop for refreshments.
    Avignon's St Bénezet bridge
    Circular route from Avignon: 13.5km
  • Avignon to St-Rémy: 27km, ascent 100m/descent 70m
    Leaving Avignon, you cross the River Durance and head southwards, passing myriad fruit orchards, and old farmhouses with long rows of cypress trees. You cycle through a couple of sleepy villages before reaching St-Rémy and Hotel le Gounod, your base for two nights. 
    En route to St-Rémy
    Avignon to St-Rémy: 27km
  • Circular route from St-Rémy: 29km, ascent/descent 130m
    We suggest that you cycle eastwards, at the foot of the jagged Alpilles range, amid scenery that inspired Van Gogh during the time he spent here towards the end of his life. Olive mills and wineries dot the landscape, and there’s the chance for a wine-tasting if you wish. Your target is the medieval village of Eygalières, which perches on a hilltop; it’s worth parking your bike and climbing to the crest for 360-degree views over the plain and the Alpilles. There is a handful of restaurants for lunch, or if you are visiting on a Friday, you could buy a picnic from the market. When you are ready to leave, you return to St-Rémy along a different route, passing farms and apple orchards.
    Countryside surrounding St-Rémy
    Circular route from St-Rémy: 29km
  • St-Rémy to Arles: 27km, ascent 70m/descent 100m
    Today you follow the Alpilles range westwards, perhaps pausing to learn about (and taste!) the region's coveted olive oils at the Moulin du Calanquet (pay locally; closed Sunday). At the westernmost point of the Alpilles you can visit a 12th-century chapel with an ornate façade, before turning due south, on forgotten lanes lined with vines and the first of the rice paddies. In Arles, you circumnavigate the impressive Roman amphitheatre on your bike to reach the Calendal, where you spend your final two nights.
    Autumnal vineyards
    St-Rémy to Arles: 27km
  • Circular route from Arles: 40.5km, ascent/descent 60m
    South of Arles, between two branches of the Rhône, the Camargue Delta begins. Thousands of flamingos, herons and egrets inhabit this vast, sun-drenched but often windy marshland with its salt-rich soils and small ranches on which white horses and black bulls are reared. We recommend that you follow the network of tiny roads as far as the shores of the extensive Vaccarès marsh, a great spot for birdwatching, before making your way back to Arles.
    The wetlands of the Camargue
    Circular route from Arles: 40.5km
 

Accommodation

Your three hotels have been hand-picked for their superb locations and friendly service.

Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer an alternative hotel, as shown below. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you.

Whichever hotel you stay at in Avignon and Arles, we recommend an extra night so that you can explore on foot (we provide notes for a self-guided walking trail in both cases) and visit the various places of interest without the need to rush.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 6 nights: 14 April 2022 - 30 June 2022 & 01 September 2022 - 31 October 2022

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    14 - 30 Apr 2022 £940 £465
    1 May - 24 Jun 2022 £995 £500
    1 - 30 Sep 2022 £995 £500
    1 - 25 Oct 2022 £940 £465
    3rd & 4th person discount -£55
    Single traveller supplement £55

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Electric bikes available: add £75 per person

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    6 nights: 14 April 2022 - 30 June 2022 & 01 September 2022 - 31 October 2022

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    14 - 30 Apr 2022 £1245 £465
    1 May - 24 Jun 2022 £1330 £500
    1 - 30 Sep 2022 £1330 £500
    1 - 25 Oct 2022 £1245 £465
    3rd & 4th person discount -£55
    Single traveller supplement £55

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Electric bikes available: add £75 per person

    Included travel: out UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–Avignon TGV–Avignon Centre (TGV/regional rail), approx duration 7h20 & walk to hotel (0h04); home walk or own taxi to station (1km), Arles–Avignon TGV–Paris (regional rail/TGV), Paris–UK (Eurostar), approx duration 10h.
    > More about 'by rail' prices
    > The 'rail experience': what to expect

    If you book your holiday less than 10 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the same services at a supplement.

    6 nights: 14 April 2022 - 30 June 2022 & 01 September 2022 - 31 October 2022

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    14 - 30 Apr 2022 £1045 £465
    1 May - 24 Jun 2022 £1120 £500
    1 - 30 Sep 2022 £1120 £500
    1 - 25 Oct 2022 £1045 £465
    3rd & 4th person discount -£130
    Single traveller supplement £155

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus a return Channel crossing between Folkestone and Calais with Eurotunnel for your party and one car.

    > More information about travelling self-drive

    Electric bikes available: add £75 per person

    A supplement of £65 per car per single journey applies for outbound travel on 1-2, 8-9, 14-15 & 29-30 April, as well as for inbound travel on 9-10, 16-18 & 23-24 April. A supplement of £42 per car per single journey applies for outbound travel on 27-28 May; 2-3 Jun; 15-16, 22-23 & 29-30 Jul; 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 & 26-27 Aug; and 21-22 Oct, as well as for inbound travel on 2 May; 4-5 Jun; 30-31 Jul; 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 & 27-29 Aug; 3-4 Sep; and 29-30 Oct.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Cloître Saint-Louis, Avignon
    'Exclusive': 14 Apr - 30 Jun 2022 £10
    'Exclusive': 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2022 £10
    Hotel le Gounod, St-Rémy
    'Charme': 14 Apr - 30 Jun 2022 £35
    'Charme': 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2022 £35
    'Comfort': 14 Apr - 30 Jun 2022 £20
    'Comfort': 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2022 £20
    Le Calendal, Arles
    Larger: 14 Apr - 30 Jun 2022 £25
    Larger: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2022 £25

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Except in Arles, prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike. If you are upgrading to an e-bike, add a further £14pp per day.
    Cloître Saint-Louis, Avignon (B&B) Double room Single room
    14 Apr - 30 Apr 2022 £88 £148
    01 May - 30 Jun 2022 £100 £175
    01 Sep - 24 Sep 2022 £100 £175
    25 Sep - 15 Oct 2022 £88 £148
    16 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £72 £117
    Hotel le Gounod, St-Rémy (B&B) Double room Single room
    14 Apr - 30 Jun 2022 £105 £195
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2022 £105 £195
    Le Calendal, Arles (B&B) Double room Single room
    14 Apr - 30 Jun 2022 £82 £150
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2022 £82 £150
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Nîmes, Montpellier or Marseille

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Birmingham - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Marseille easyJet 
    Bristol - Montpellier easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Marseille Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Montpellier (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Montpellier (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Marseille easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Humberside - Marseille (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Marseille easyJet 
    Gatwick - Montpellier easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Marseille British Airways 
    Heathrow - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Montpellier easyJet 
    Luton - Nîmes Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Marseille Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Marseille Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Marseille Ryanair 
    Manchester - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Manchester - Montpellier(via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Newcastle - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Southampton - Montpellier (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above except those operated by Ryanair. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Nîmes

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Nîmes Centre to Avignon (0h35), walk (0h05) or taxi (0h05, pay locally) Avignon station to hotel £12 1830
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    walk (0h15) or taxi (0h10, pay locally) hotel to Arles station, rail Arles to Nîmes Centre (0h25) £10 1200

    Connecting travel options - flying via Montpellier

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Montpellier St Roch to Avignon (1h15), walk (0h05) or taxi (0h05, pay locally) Avignon station to hotel £20 1800
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    walk (0h15) or taxi (0h10, pay locally) hotel to Arles station, rail Arles to Montpellier St Roch (1h05) £18 1100

    Connecting travel options - flying via Marseille

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Marseille Vitrolles to Avignon (1h), walk (0h05) or taxi (0h05, pay locally) Avignon station to hotel £20 2000
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    walk (0h10) or taxi (0h15, pay locally) hotel to Arles station, rail Arles to Marseille Vitrolles (0h40) £14 1030
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 1 dinner
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • high-quality bicycle
 
Reviews

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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • If your holiday plans go awry because of Coronavirus, rest assured that we’ll do right by you. Since the start of the pandemic, our flexible booking policy and prompt issuing of refunds to customers who prefer not to defer their holiday have earned us high praise in the national press.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – cycling holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety, not least proving your vaccination status or taking a test in order to travel.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
    Entry requirements for non-UK destinations & for re-entering the UK >
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a hybrid bike with 27 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; panniers/saddlebags; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock.
  • While we would always recommend that you take your own well-fitting helmet, they can be provided free of charge by the supplier. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hire a helmet.
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes, which remain the principal means of navigation).
  • You are responsible for damage to or loss of the rental bike while it is hired to you. Always be careful to lock it up, ideally to an immovable object, and remove all easy-to-steal accessories whenever you leave it unattended.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines (but not, currently, with Ryanair). As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to take out a policy with our recommended provider (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.

    At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them, regardless of what is happening in the European political sphere.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 5/23/2022 4:29:44 PM