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Impressions of the Camargue

Along the Rhône to the Mediterranean
 
Revealing two distinct landscapes on gentle, flexible cycling routes, this self-guided holiday with luggage transfers takes in Arles and numerous Roman monuments. As you cycle from hotel to hotel, keep your eyes peeled for a wealth of wildlife, from beavers to flamingos.
Impressions of the Camargue. 6 nights
Impressions of the Camargue. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday in Provence & the Camargue

Roman monuments such as Arles’ amphitheatre, scenery that inspired Van Gogh, Avignon’s papal palace, Romany traditions, flamingos ... you’ll find all these and more either 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 holidays can promise such a wide variety of cultural interest as this cycle ride, which takes you through quintessential Provençal landscapes of olive groves and sunflower fields framed by the dramatic hills of the Alpilles, and into the Rhône’s luxuriant delta, the largest in western Europe.
Known as the Camargue, it is a wetland area of untamed beauty that is home to thousands of birds, including iconic pink flamingos, as well as gardians  (cowboys) who ride the region’s famed white horses as they herd their black bulls across the patchwork of grassy waterways, reed beds, lagoons, tamarisk trees and expanses of sea lavender that stretches as far as the eye can see. Our short, gentle and flexible routes allow you ample time to appreciate it all – as well as the excellent cuisine featuring succulent lamb from the Crau Plain, a wide range of fish and seafood, and fruity Costières de Nîmes wines.
 
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 Tarascon
    Night 1: at Hotel de Provence (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Choice of cycling or sightseeing from Tarascon

    Circular route from Tarascon: 42km
    Our suggested route leads eastwards from Tarascon past fields and orchards to picturesque and historic St-Rémy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh painted Starry Night and other masterpieces while receiving treatment at the nearby psychiatric hospital. Just beyond the town is the Roman settlement of Glanum, one of France’s most important archaeological sites. From here, you return to Tarascon along the base of the Alpilles (‘Little Alps’).

    Explore Tarascon or Avignon
    Tarascon is a workaday town of green-shuttered houses on the banks of the Rhône, guarded by a forbidding-looking 15th-century castle which now houses a museum of contemporary art. If you'd like to explore further afield, you could take the train (pay locally) to the walled city of Avignon, taking your time to marvel at the elaborate papal palace (the largest Gothic palace in the world) and strolling onto Pont St-Bénézet, the famous bridge which juts out into, but does not fully span, the mighty Rhône.
    Countryside on the circular route from Tarascon
  • Tarascon to Arles: 29km; longer option: 39km
    The route to Arles, on the edge of the Camargue, is another ride full of cultural interest. You head south-east to Fontvieille, a charming, unspoiled village with a pretty church, and continue past the windmill which inspired Alphonse Daudet’s Letters from my Windmill. Even if you don’t want to visit the museum devoted to the novelist, it is worth pausing here to take in the views back towards Tarascon and southwards towards the Camargue. Just beyond the windmill are the remains of a Roman aqueduct that stands unceremoniously in a field by the roadside. From here, you can make an out-and-back detour to imposing Montmajour Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery which dominates the skyline and which you will have glimpsed at various points earlier in the day. Continue to Arles across the edge of the Crau, the plain which is grazed by thousands of sheep reared for their delicious meat, before reaching the city, where you spend two nights at the Hotel du Musée.
    A one-time Roman aqueduct
    En route to Arles
  • Choice of sightseeing or cycling from Arles

    Walking tour of Arles
    Arles is a fascinating town, and we highly recommend our self-guided walking tour which gives you a good sense of its rich history. Highlights include the vast amphitheatre and other Roman monuments; the cathedral with its elaborately sculpted doorway; the opulent town hall inspired by Versailles; and one or two of the buildings which Van Gogh painted during his time in the town.

    Circular route from Arles: 46km
    If you would prefer another day in the saddle, we suggest a circuit to the west of the town. On the outward leg you cycle past vineyards of the Costières de Nîmes appellation with opportunities to stop for a tasting on your way to St Gilles, while the return leg leads alongside rice fields on the edge of the Petite Camargue.
    Arles' Roman theatre
  • Arles to Saintes-Maries: 40km
    Today’s cycle ride to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a coastal town with a strong Romany heritage and a Romanesque church which you can see from several kilometres away, marks a stark change in scenery: you are now in the flat wetlands of the Camargue, famous for its black bulls and ubiquitous white horses ridden by gardians  (cowboys). Distance-wise, this is the longest ride, but the terrain is flat, making for easy cycling, the last leg of which is on a traffic-free trail alongside a lagoon. Be sure to take binoculars, as the Rhône’s delta is home to all manner of waders, including herons, egrets and flamingos. You might even spot a beaver. Your destination is Les Arnelles, just outside the town.
    Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
  • Choice of sightseeing or cycling from Saintes-Maries

    Explore Saintes-Maries
    For a lazy day, you could wander around Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the morning and climb the church tower to enjoy the far-reaching views from beneath its iconic bell gable, before spending the afternoon by Les Arnelles’ beautiful pool. 

    Out-and-back route to Phare Gacholle: 26km (13km each way)
    For a final day in the saddle, we recommend a ride that takes you along the Digue à la Mer to the Phare Gacholle – with the option of detouring to Etang du Fangassier – which is home to up to 10,000 breeding pairs of pink flamingos – or beyond to fascinating Salin de Griaud, a salt-producing village surrounded by salt pans. As you ride along the grassy, traffic-free dykes, you can gaze across the patchwork of blue and green to the Mediterranean, the end point of the Rhône’s – and your – fascinating journey.
    The Camargue
 

Accommodation

You stay in two unpretentious town-centre hotels and a stylish country retreat, all of which offer a warm welcome.
 

Options to extend or shorten 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.
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  • 6 nights: 01 April - 01 July 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 13 April £970 £340
    14 April - 23 May £998 £340
    24 May - 25 June £1030 £350
    1 - 30 September £1030 £350
    1 - 25 October £998 £340
    3rd & 4th person discount -£65
    Single traveller supplement £65

    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 £50 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: 01 April - 01 July 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 13 April £1248 £340
    14 April - 23 May £1280 £340
    24 May - 25 June £1320 £350
    1 - 30 September £1320 £350
    1 - 25 October £1280 £340
    3rd & 4th person discount -£105
    Single traveller supplement £105

    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 £50 per person
    Included travel: out UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–Avignon (TGV), approx duration 7h out/home, connecting SNCF bus (0h45) & transfer (out walk 0h05 & home taxi 1h).

    If you book your holiday less than 3 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 sames services at a supplement.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel du Musée
    Superior: 01 Apr - 01 Jul 2019 £8
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £8

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

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike. If you are upgrading to an e-bike, add a further £8pp per day.
    Hotel du Musée (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 01 Jul 2019 £78 £117
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £78 £117
    Les Arnelles (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 18 Apr 2019 £194 £287
    19 Apr - 11 May 2019 £206 £299
    12 May - 28 May 2019 £194 £287
    29 May - 09 Jun 2019 £206 £299
    10 Jun - 28 Jun 2019 £194 £287
    29 Jun - 01 Jul 2019 £210 £303
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £194 £287
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Nîmes, Marseille, Montpellier

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. 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 
    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 - Marseille easyJet 
    Luton - Montpellier easyJet 
    Luton - Nîmes Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Marseille Ryanair 
    Stansted - Nîmes Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Marseille easyJet,  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,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. 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. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). 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.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Marseille

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Marseille Vitrolles airport to Tarascon (0h50), walk Tarascon to hotel (0h05) £18 1700
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Arles (1h), rail Arles to Marseille Vitrolles airport (0h50) £64 1300

    Connecting travel options - flying via Montpellier

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Montpellier to Tarascon (0h55h), walk Tarascon to hotel (0h05) £17 1730
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Montpellier airport (1h) £70 flexible

    Connecting travel - flying via Nîmes

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Nîmes to Tarascon (0h25), walk Tarascon to hotel (0h05) £8 1800
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Nîmes airport (0h50) £65 flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 2 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a hybrid bike with 18 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; panniers/saddlebags; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock. Electric bikes are available as an upgrade (see price panel), subject to availability, and must be requested at the time of booking.
  • No. We recommend that you bring your own.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • You do need to make sure you’re covered, because it’s you who is responsible for any damage to or loss of the bike during the holiday. You should always lock it (preferably to an immovable object) and remove any easy-to-steal accessories when leaving it unattended. The travel insurance policy that we offer covers you for loss and damage (provided you’ve locked or stored it appropriately). If you are arranging your own insurance, but it doesn’t cover bikes, we can provide bike-only cover for £19 per person. More details >
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. 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. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted 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.
  • 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 buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • 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 travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). 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 can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • 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.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 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 : 7/18/2019 4:49:28 PM