Bike and Barge cruise Provence 2021
A brand new bike and boat tour in France featuring Lyon and the Provence! Your floating accommodation, the deluxe MS Provence, will cruise the Rhône river, from Lyon to Arles or reverse.
During this cycling holiday you will ride much of your itinerary on the Via Rhona, the Rhône Cycle Route, which follows the course of the mighty Rhône all the way down to its delta on the French Mediterranean coast.
Lyon, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers is the third largest city in France. Its history goes back to the times of the Romans but was inhabited even before that by Celtic tribes. Here you begin or end your tour and you will find the historical and cultural essence of the region, known for its wine and cuisine. You will cycle a rolling landscape, dotted with imposing castles, ancient monasteries, and pass through delightful Provençal villages, vineyards, and fields of sunflowers and lavender that were so dear to the painter Vincent van Gogh.
The route from day to day Lyon to Arles
- Saturday Lyon, embarkation.
- Sunday Lyon –Vienne – Andance –Tournon-sur-Rhone, 42 km
- Monday Tournon – Valence – Le Pouzin, 33/73 km
- Tuesday Le Pouzin – Viviers, 42 km
- Wednesday Viviers – Roquemaure – Avignon, 40 km
- Thursday Avignon – Tarascon/Arles, 50/58 km
- Friday Tarascon/Arles – Arles. 21/50 km
- Saturday: Arles, debarkation before 10 AM
1 km = 0.62 miles / All distances are approximate. The above planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.
Day 1 Saturday: Arles embarkation
You are expected to arrive on our barge on Saturday the latest at 5 PM. When you arrive on board the ship, you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Time to meet the crew and your fellow travelers for this week.
Day 2 Sunday: Arles – Tarascon/Arles, 21/50 km
Get ready for incredible scenery, tastes, and fragrances! For those who want to start easy with this trip, or stay a bit more in Arles to explore all the cozy corners Van Gogh once painted, we have prepared an nice short route of only 21 kilometers.
If you want to spend your first day cycling and see some unique nature, the option is to have an interesting ride into to Camargue, the river delta of the Rhône. Here you will find salt marches and century old traces of human population. You might even see the famous Camargue wild horses.
Day 3 Monday: Arles/Tarascon – Avignon, 50/58 km
Many choices today on the ride to the ancient city of Popes, Avignon. The longer and easier route takes you on a relaxed ride along the river on the Via Rhôna. The shorter but more strenuous route is a breathtaking stage, which brings you to the Alpilles, with the perched villages of Les-Baux-de-Provence and Saint Rémy de Provence. A landscape of limestone cliffs and olive trees will accompany the trip. For the very keen cyclists we have the option of a long ride inland (more than 70 km) that brings you to the best preserved Roman aqueduct in Europe: Pont du Gard.
Day 4 Tuesday: Avignon – Viviers, 40 km
You start the day with a ride on an almost completely flat bike path along the river. From here you gradually climb into the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. You might want to purchase a bottle of wine of the same name to take home! Once you pass the hilly landscape around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you are rewarded with a ride down to the river and to the village of Roquemaure. Here the bikes will be put on board for the cruise to Viviers.
Day 5 Wednesday: Viviers – Le Pouzin, 42 km
The first part of the ride takes you to the city of Montélimar, the city of nougat. From here you ride to Rochemaure where you will be crossing a memorable rope bridge. Though built by Marc Seguin in 1858, the architect was inspired by the castle ramparts. This bridge can be seen as a symbolic passing from old to new, from history to the future. Later in the day the tour brings you past the medieval abbey of Cruas. At the end of the day you will be parking your bike again on the boat for a leisurely cruise to the village of Le Pouzin.
Day 6 Thursday: Le Pouzin – Tournon-sur-Rhône, 33/58 km
On the short route today you have a nice ride featuring the typical small villages of the Ardèche, historic sites, and the green meadows of a nature reserve towards Valence. In this city with its colorful markets and its historic “Quartiers” you will meet the barge.
The long route takes you inland tot the Drôme region and the ancient city of Crest with its imposing defense tower that overlooks both the river and the city.
From the mooring site in Valence the captain and his crew end the day with a sailing diner to bring you to Tournon-sur-Rhône.
Day 7 Friday: Tournon-sur-Rhône – Lyon, 42 km
We start with an easy cruise from Tournon to Andance. From the mooring place here we start the bike ride through the green landscape of the Ardèche countryside. The landscape slowly changes into that of vineyards, as you enter the land of the Côte Rôtie. The vineyards are unique because of the steep slopes facing the river and their stone walls. Later on you bike into the nature reservation Île au Beurre, where you can enjoy the peace and quietness of nature before entering the very nice town of Vienne where the barge is moored. During dinner, the ship will navigate to our final destination, Lyon.
Day 8 Saturday: Lyon, end of tour after breakfast
Disembarkation before 10 AM.
- All nights on board (incl. bedding, towels, soap)
- Breakfast and 4 course dinner on board
- Lunch packages when on the road
- Coffee and tea on board
- City walks
- Free WiFi
- Route information for self-guided option
- Support vehicle
- Ferry fares on the route
- GPS tracks (on request)
- Guided tour option for short and long routes (see below)
- Bicycle rent (see below)
- Bicycle insurance Hybrid bike (optional) € 20,- per bicycle
- Bicycle insurance E-bike (optional) € 40,- per bicycle
- Entrance fees to museums.
- Personal insurance
- Drinks on board
- Guided option, tour guide cycles with the group, max. 20 cyclists per group (short distances/long distances):€ 150,-
- Rental bike incl. bike helmet: € 95,- (Hybrid bike with 24 gears, pannier bags, lock, water bottle)
- Rental E-bike incl. bike helmet: € 180,- (with 21 gears)
If you have special meal requirements (vegetarian meals, or if you are on a diet), we ask you to mention this when booking. In case of gluten free/Celiac/vegan diet there is an additional charge of € 50,- per week.
Dutch Barge Cruises reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.