Discover romantic Provence at a pace that allows you to absorb the atmosphere and take in the magnificent scenery. Our cycle tour tour visits the most attractive towns that Provence has to offer, where the local produce can be sampled and the local life observed. Our tranquil route steers us away from the traffic and through sleepy towns and villages that inspired Van Gogh. Take time to explore the Roman history that remains. Speed is definitely not on the agenda as your guide will lead you to your charming accommodation with plenty of time to relax before the evening gourmet meal accompanied by fine local wine.
This varied region has just about every type of terrain imaginable for a varied cycling tour in France; rocky and rugged mountains of the Alpilles, the Luberon and Mont Ventoux to the East; marshlands of the Camargue in the South and fertile plains of the Rhône Valley in the West.
Inhabited since prehistoric times, Provence was once part of the ancient Narbonensis and the Ligurians, and then the Celts, were amongst its early inhabitants. In 600 BC, Phoenician sailors founded a Greek colony, which they named Massalia, the now modern port of Marseilles, and were responsible for introducing the grapevine and the olive to the area. In the 2nd century BC, the area occupied by the Romans, eventually became a province of the Roman Empire; this would account for the vast amount of Roman antiquities found and preserved to this day, and visited on your French cycle tour.
The “cooking of the sun” is the name often given to Provençal cooking; the intense sun-ripened flavours of the olives, tomatoes, garlic and herbs found in all the well-known dishes of the region. Provence also supplies the rest of Europe with its fantastic array of fruit and vegetables, which includes melons, apples, artichokes, figs, peaches, cherries, tomatoes, courgettes and grapes. Other local products include the sought after “black diamond” truffles, which are often sold in truffle fairs during the winter months and can exchange hands for extortionate prices. Originally cooked as peasants’ meals many of the dishes have an evolved appreciation worldwide like the daube from Avignon; a beef or lamb stew with carrots and olives, or bouillabaisse the famous fish dish from Marseille.
The wine of the region that our Provence cycle tour covers, one of the most diverse in France, is Côtes du Rhône. The associated appellations account for 14% of French wine production; over 75% of this is red wine. The climate is ideal for winemaking, being consistently hotter and sunnier than other wine producing regions in the country. The main grapes for the red Côtes du Rhône are Grenache, Syrah and Carignan and for the white the Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Grenache Blanc grapes. The region is the home for several well-known wines including the full-bodied reds of Côte Rôtie in the North, Châteauneuf de Pape in the South and the exquisite whites of Condrieu and Château Grillet.
Wow, can’t remember the best bits because they were all best bits. Our trip to Europe was finished off by this awesome tour of Provence. Great organisation, beautiful hotels, fantastic food and a little bit of wine! This team are highly recommended if you want to enjoy the cycling with nothing else to worry about.
-Peter & Donna – Michigan, USA
The whole experience from finding the easily useable web-site in the first place to our arrival at our last hotel on route was a well organised, trouble free affair. The attention to detail was very much appreciated and all we had to worry about every day was pedalling. Julie and myself had such a wonderful time and it was like having a second honeymoon…….but on bikes! If you appreciate outstanding scenery, enjoy the outdoor life, enjoy delicious food, like the odd glass of wine and want everything done for you then this is the tour for you. The historical knowledge of Germain was mind-blowing! Well done, see you again soon.
-Mike & Julie – Hamilton, New Zealand
What a journey! Great web-site, helpful pre-holiday organisation and advice, very interesting arrival packs, splendid food, magnificent wine, stunning scenery, fun company and truly gorgeous hotels. What more could one ask for? Oh, brilliant bikes and such helpful guides. What would we have done without you! We hope to be back with friends once we’ve told them what a fantastic holiday this is.
-Bruce & Maggie – Hertford, UK
Once again, our trip was absolutely spectacular, everything we expected and yet nothing like we thought it would be. The scenery was amazing and the company simply delightful. For my first trip to Europe it was indeed a memorable one.
-Kathie & Larry – Vancouver, Canada