Overview

Provence: from Aix en Provence to Avignon

A stay in Provence is the ultimate way of life: the scents of lavender and scrubland, the singing of cicadas, sunny cuisine… An atmosphere that you will enjoy every single day during your tour. Visit the abbey of Sénanque, the beautiful villages of the Luberon, the troglodytic habitat in Les Baux-de-Provence, the Pope Palace in Avignon…. and enjoy the show by opening your eyes wide to a nature where the green of the Luberon competes with the ochres of Roussillon and the purple of the lavender fields. On the city side, you will have the choice between Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. The first one will charm you with its palaces, gardens, ramparts, and bell towers. The second one attracts with its narrow streets with golden facades and elaborate fountains, at the foot of the Ste-Victoire mountain painted by Cézanne. You can also take this opportunity to discover Marseille, a city full of surprises, from its creeks to its lively Old Port.

Included

Map

Provence

Itinerary

Day 1

Pick up at Marseille airport or Aix en Provence TGV and transfer to your hotel in Aix en Provence

Option possible: Add extra nights in Marseille and Cassis area before the tour

Tour presentation & bike set up at your hotel

Night in Aix en Provence

Included meal: Dinner

Day 2

Free day to explore Aix en Provence

Aix-en-Provence, it is the story of a small town whose beauty travels around the world. Its location, its ancient origins and its way of life make it a city of the South. But its aristocratic urban planning, its private mansions and its baroque style have often earned the city its honey colour to be compared, proportionally speaking, to Rome or Paris.

City of water, city of art…. Aix-en-Provence composes without false notes on this double identity: murmur of its refreshing fountains, singing of its old stones celebrating the splendours of the past, symphony of its markets and its animated café terraces, aura of its Festival d’art lyrique. Proud of its exceptional heritage, Aix, which cultivates all forms of art and knowledge and where the refined art of living immediately seduces, also composes with the new clothes of a city in mutation.

Night in Aix en Provence

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 3

Lourmarin – Gordes

49 km / D+ 730 m

This morning we will have a short transfer to Lourmarin, a beautiful Provencal village ideally located at the south entrance of the Luberon Valley. From here, we will penetrate this world famous valley and explore Bonnieux, the Mines du Bruoux and Roussillon on our way to the hilltop village of Gordes.

With its narrow streets, sometimes staircases, its intertwined houses brushed with ochre, competing in colour and harmony, its galleries where artists and potters exhibit their creations, the village of Roussillon is a constant delight, especially at dusk when the rays of the sun shine on the facades.

Classified as one of the “most beautiful villages in France”, Gordes, perched on its cliff, dominates the valleys of Imergue and Calavon, facing the Luberon. The village offers to the sun its calades (cobbled streets lined with gutters with two rows of stones) where it is nice to get lost and its dry stone houses which line up to the buttresses of the castle.

Night in Gordes

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 4

Gordes – Fontaine de Vaucluse – Senanque Abbey – Gordes

46 km / D+ 980 m or 58 km / D+ 1020 m

From Gordes, we will ride towards Fontaine de Vaucluse, where in winter or spring, when the water level reaches the fig trees attached to the rock face and the emerald green Sorgue river flows over the slope in a tumultuous mass, foam and vapours splash onto the rocks: this show alone is enough to justify a visit to the village.

Placed on the edge of its rock, Venasque dominates the valley of the Nesque. But its charm is not reduced to a site. With its small squares decorated with fountains and charming residences, with a remarkable architectural unity, it also deserves to be classified among the “most beautiful villages in France”.

Before returning to Gordes, we will take a break at Sénanque Abbey. A magnificent illustration of Cistercian art, the monastery, founded in 1148, has retained its original form. The medieval parts are built in beautiful stone apparatus of the country with finely cut joints. Austerity inspires the artistic conceptions of the order: the buildings are stripped of any ornamentation, which would divert the monks from the essential.

Night in Gordes

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 5

Gordes – Saint Remy de Provence

49 km / D+ 290 m

From the Luberon we will head towards Saint-Rémy de Provence, in the heart of the Alpilles, which smells of Provence: café terraces caressed by the sun, a network of alleys leading to squares decorated with fountains, an intoxicating market… not to mention the Roman ruins, nestled at the foot of the limestone hills, witnesses of a rich past. This painting does not fail to seduce the artists who settle here in great numbers, following in the footsteps of Van Gogh and the composer Charles Gounod.

Night in Saint Remy de Provence

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 6

Saint-Rémy – Les Baux de Provence – Saint-Remy

45 km / D+ 530 m

Perched on its eagle’s nest, this wonderful fortified village gives itself impregnable airs. Explore its narrow cobbled streets and the remains of the castle and enjoy the charm of this corner of paradise as you listen to the old stones serenely recount their past glory. Les Baux is also home to the monumental Carrières de Lumières, which host multimedia shows that are unique in the world. Each year a great new show is presented presenting the greatest names in the history of art.

Night in Saint Remy

Included meal: Breakfast

Day 7

Saint Remy de Provence – Avignon

41 km / D+ 220 m

Avignon is full of history and full of life. Capital of the Vaucluse and Côtes du Rhône, city of the popes, city of art and culture, theatre, cinema, museums, department stores and small shops, Avignon is a small town that has all the characteristics of a big one. From medieval houses and alleys to Renaissance mansions, through all its beautiful and old squares and a diverse gastronomy, ranging from family, good and cheap to the greatest starred chefs.

The historic centre of the city, the Popes’ Palace, the Episcopal Complex and the Saint Benezet Bridge are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The formidable Popes’ Palace is the city’s emblem and a monumental witness to Avignon’s importance in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. Built from 1335, mainly by two builder popes, the austere Benedict XII and his successor, the much less ascetic Clement VI, the palace will become the largest Gothic building in all of Europe. The visit, which includes the private apartments with their fabulous frescos, is one of Avignon’s highlights.

Night in Avignon

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 8

Free day to explore Avignon and its surroundings

This morning we take you to a special place. Wonder of antiquity, the magnificent Pont du Gard, built in the 1st century in a superb setting, still bears witness to the 50 km of aqueduct that carried the water collected near the springs of Uzès to Nîmes. A strange lightness emerges from the structure, which is nevertheless built in colossal blocks of 6 to 8 tons hoisted to a height of more than 40 m on three floors of arcades set back from each other. Green hills, green waters of the Gardon in which the old golden stones were placed contribute to the charm of this incredible place.

Fancy a wine tasting ? Why not extending our pleasure in Chateauneuf du Pape. The popes of Avignon contributed to the development of the Châteauneuf vineyard, which was renowned in the mid-18th century. Today, the 60 or so estates cultivate 3,200 hectares of vines. From the papal fortress, superb view over the Rhône valley, Roquemaure, Avignon with the Palais des Papes standing out against the backdrop of the Alpilles; you can also see the Luberon, the Ventoux, the dentelles de Montmirail….

Night in Avignon

Included meal: Breakfast

Day 9

Drop off at Marseille airport or Avignon TGV

Option possible : add extra nights in Avignon and challenge yourself up to the Mont Ventoux or in Marseille and Cassis area after the tour

Included meal: Breakfast