Your browser does not support the HTML5 video element.
Ride through the heart of Provence, visit hilltop villages, vineyards and discover the landscapes that inspired Vincent Van Gogh. Explore the region's amazing heritage of Roman remains, theatres and arc de triomphes.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins at Marseille Airport (MRS) at 16pm. If you would like to join the airport transfer today, the latest your flight can arrive is 15.30pm. We will travel together as a group by taxi to the historic city of Avignon. In the evening we will enjoy an introductory walk around this wonderful medieval city that still boasts the full circle of remparts, the impressive Papal Palaces and of course the famous Pont d'Avignon.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may have time to wait ahead of our group transfer to Avignon.
If you wish to drive to the start of the trip, please ask us for parking details.
Hotel Ibis (or similar)
Today's cycling route takes us across the majestic Rhone River, allowing us to fully experience the freedom of riding our bicycles. We'll pause for a coffee break before crossing the river once more, treating ourselves to breathtaking panoramic vistas of the internationally acclaimed Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards. As we descend into the village itself, we'll immerse ourselves in its charm and allure. Finally, we'll make our way back to Avignon, following the scenic Via Rhona cycling trail.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 54 kilometres/33.6 miles (Total ascent 221 metres/725 feet)
As we depart from Avignon heading south, our cycling adventure takes us through the picturesque locations of Barbentane and the enchanting Abbey of St Martin de Frigolet. Continuing our journey, we reach St Rémy-de-Provence, a town filled with captivating sites and a rich history. By the time we arrive, it will be lunchtime, providing us with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the charm of this beautiful town. St Rémy-de-Provence proudly showcases a pre-Roman Celtic shrine, remarkable Roman antiques, and holds significance as the birthplace of Nostradamus and the former residence of Vincent Van Gogh. Art and history enthusiasts will be pleased to find numerous optional visits, which will be explained by our Tour Leader. Following a few hours of free time to explore, we begin our return journey, taking advantage of cycle route that later leads us through scenic fruit orchards, ultimately guiding us back to Avignon.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 55 kilometres/34.2 miles (Total ascent 260 metres/853 feet)
Today presents a splendid opportunity to indulge in the myriad of wonders of Avignon at your leisure. You can delve into the rich history by visiting the Papal Palaces, perusing the fascinating museums, or exploring the vibrant covered market halls. The city offers several well-marked walking routes that allow you to uncover its hidden treasures at your own pace. Alternatively, for those seeking a more challenging adventure, there is an option to embark on a longer and more demanding cycling route. Cycle 68 kilometres/42.3 miles with an ascent of 498 meters/1634 feet, leading you to one of the remaining marvels of Roman architecture: the awe-inspiring aqueduct known as the Pont du Gard.
Having spent four nights in Avignon, it's time to venture into a new setting as we make our way to Carpentras. Carpentras holds a unique place in history, as it served as a safe haven for Jewish communities during the 14th and 15th centuries. The presence of the Popes in Avignon granted them the freedom to worship and live in peace after being banished from the Kingdom of France. Among the notable landmarks is the Synagogue, constructed in 1367 and considered one of the oldest in France. Additionally, we have the opportunity to explore the 18th-century Hospital, known as the Hotel Dieu, which houses a well-preserved collection of apothecary jars, decorated walls, and ornate ceilings.
Our planned stop for lunch is the city of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, renowned for its abundance of antique stores and charming eateries. After a break for lunch, we will continue our journey towards Pernes-les-Fontaines, following the recently opened cycle route known as the Via Venaissia. Finally, we will arrive in the historic town of Carpentras.
Our total cycling distance today is from 60 kilometres/37.3 miles.
Hotel du Forum (or similar)
Today offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Carpentras, particularly its renowned market that boasts an array of delights, including the famous truffles during their season (mid-November to mid-March).
For those seeking more cycling, there are 2 options to choose from. The most popular route leads to Gordes, a beautiful village on the banks of the Vaucluse plateau, just beyond the majestic Luberon barrier. Ascending through a picturesque canyon, you'll be rewarded with wonderful views upon reaching this quintessential Provençal gem. A maze of intricate lanes leads up to St Firmin's church and to the massive hulk of a Renaissance château perched on the top of the village.
For the more adventurous and willing to push their limits, an exhilarating alternative awaits: the challenging ascent of Mont Ventoux. This climb offers a thrilling test of endurance. Lightweight road bikes or other suitable bicycles can be rented for the day, and you can discuss the logistics with your Tour Leader during the tour.
Our total cycling distance today is from 61 kilometres/37.9 miles to Gordes (600 meters/1969 feet of ascent), or 80 kilometres49.7 miles for the Ventoux option depending total ascent 1900 metres/6234 feet)
The cycling route today gives us a taste of Provencal life, taking us through the lovely villages and vines at the southern foot of Mont Ventoux, before reaching one of the vineyards. Here we have a guided visit round the production process and taste some of the wines of the domain. After wine tasting we will have a picnic lunch on the terraces of the chateau in the shade of the plane trees, then take a walk through the vines around the chateau. A short ride then takes us to a local lake where there is time to relax on the small beach and maybe enjoy a swim. In the early afternoon we cycle back to our accommodation in Carpentras where we have the opportunity to enjoy the sites that we have missed out on so far
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 41 kilometres/25.5 miles.
Departing Carpentras after breakfast, we drive 1 hour 15 minutes to Marseille Airport (MRS), where we will arrive at about 9am and this is where our trip ends. The earliest your flight can depart is 11am.
Total distance : 274 kilometres
Across France, from April - August, weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant with moderate rainfall; Autumn temperatures are a bit lower and the winter months (though colder) remain mild. The summer months on the Mediterranean Coast in the south tend to be warmer than the rest of France and have less rainfall, and also more mild winters; freezing conditions are nearly unheard of. The mountainous areas of the Alps, Juros and Pyrenees can be quite different. During summer the morning and evening temperatures are considerably cooler and it becomes much colder in winter with heavy snowfall. Western France, along the English Channel, there can be very strong winds and frequent rain during the winter months Nov - Apr. Wine harvesting takes place in late August/early September.
2 Pin Round
Avignon - Papal palaces combination ticket with the Pont d'Avignon €14.50 St Rémy-de-Provence - Ancient Glanum 6th century B.C to 3rd Century A.D ruins €8.00 St Rémy-de-Provence - Monastry of St-Paul-de-Mausole, Van Gogh Visit €7.00
Pack essentially for hot weather. However, you must bring a warm sweater or jacket for cycling on cool days and for wearing during the evenings. In case of rain, waterproofs are essential. Also, a pair of long trousers or tracksuit bottoms are useful for cycling along hedgerow-lined footpaths.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to trips that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike. It does occasionally happen that luggage does not always reach its destination on the same flight as its owner, or possibly it may be damaged in transit. If you are unlucky enough for this to occur, it is important that you file a PIR (Property Irregularity Report) with the airline before leaving the airport. This is essential when you come to make a claim either against the airline or from your travel insurance company.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage. A swim towel would also be useful for day 3.
Comfortable - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
France: Visas are not required by UK, EU, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.