Cycle Tour Along the Rhône to Provence
Between Alps and Massif Central from Lyon to Orange
Lyon – Montélimar – Orange
- Historic town center of Lyons
- Roman architecture in Vienne
- Montélimar and Orange
- Daily routes ●●●○○
- Altitude profile ●●○○○
km / day avg.
The Rhône is France's river with the most water! And it will be your constant companion on this cycle tour. Start your holiday with a wander through the cobble-stoned streets of Lyon, capital of the Rhône-Alps region. On the way, you'll keep seeing traces of the Romans, for example in Vienne, which used to be the biggest Roman theatre in Gaul. Try a glass of wine – the famous Hermitage wine! In Valence you go through the northern gate to Provence before arriving at your destination – the UNESCO town of Orange.
- Booking Code
- Start / Destination
Lyon / Orange
8 days, 7 nights
approx. 320/ 340 km
Daily routes ●●●○○
between 30 and 70 km, Ø 55 km
Altitude profile ●●○○○
Day 1: Individual arrival in Lyon
The historic quarter of Lyon was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. There's a lot to discover on a tour of the town. Wend your way through the Traboules in the historic quarter. The Traboules are narrow passageways through hallways in houses, up and down staircases and through roofed courtyards. In former times, silk manufacturers used them to transport their products through the city and keep them dry at the same time. Wander over the Place Bellecour, France's third largest marketplace and visit the impressive Basilica Notre Dame de Fourvière with its four towers. In the evening, enjoy the exquisite meals here – and revel in this splendid start to your bike tour.
Day 2: Lyon – Serrières, approx. 70 km or approx. 50 km plus train ride
After only a few kilometres, where Rhône and Saône merge, you reach the "Musée des Confluences" - the museum is a hub for scientific questions. This futuristic building made of glass, cement and stainless steel exhibits two dinosaur skeletons, complete to almost 80%. Due to the high volume of traffic in Lyons, we recommend a short train ride to Givors. You then follow the curves and bends of the Rhône to soon arrive in Vienne. Numerous Roman ruins, such as the biggest Roman theatre in Gaul are witness today of the importance of this town during the Roman Imperial Period. Soon after you leave the town, you'll see the Côtes du Rhône vineyards rising up to the left and right of your route. The wines from this region primarily include Cuvées but also blends of different grapes. Cycling through shady riverside woods, you soon arrive in today's destination Serrières.
Day 3: Serrières – Valence, approx. 60 km
Today, your route continues to follow the course of the Rhône river. Internationally-known wines are also produced here in the area around Tournon-sur-Rhône. Take a break in this charming old town and enjoy a glass of Hermitage. The grape of this famous wine grows opposite the town on the other side of the Rhône. On the way to Valence, the capital of the Drôme Département, you'll see the Massif Central and the Alps getting closer to the river! This town is considered the northern gate to the Provence. In the middle of this historic town centre is Saint Apollinaire Cathedral, the town's most important building. Spend the evening in one of the many restaurants here or in a bar in the town centre.
Day 4: Valence – Montélimar, approx. 65 km
You cycle at a leisurely pace through lush countryside; at the side of the road you'll see peach, apple and even kiwi trees. Up from the cycle path are many castles – although most of them are ruins now. But they will carry you off into Medieval times as you watch over the valley from the high castles towers, defending the old walls against your enemies. You go through the small town of Loriol-sur-Drôme amidst beautiful countryside where Drôme and Rhône merge. Soon after, you reach Montélimar. This inviting little town with its pedestrian precinct and small market places is known above all for the nougat produced here. Go for a walk for a change to try some of this sweet delicacy, to the impressive Château des Adhémar. The Roman residential castle was built in the 12th century and served as a prison from the 15th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
Day 5: Circular tour Montélimar, approx. 50 km
Montélimar is not just known for its nougat, it is also the gate to the Drôme Provençale. This is the region, which forms the border between Dauphiné and the Provence, you explore today on a circular tour. Old settlements with Roman churches cling to the sides of the hills like eagles' nests and are considered to be among the prettiest villages in France. The climate in Drôme Provençale is already Mediterranean. The fragrance of lavender, thyme and rosemary is in the air. You will be accompanied by the chirping of crickets and the clang of bells from local herds of goats and sheep. Back in Montélimar in the evening you'll realize: you've arrived in the south of France!
Day 6: Montélimar – Bourg-Saint-Andéol, approx. 30 km
You'll have plenty of time on today's route to enjoy the scenery. The first highlight is the former diocesan town of Viviers. From the 12th century cathedral you have breath-taking views of the Rhône valley. Thanks to the many bridges you have frequent opportunities to cross the river. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the riverside woods along the way to Bourg-Saint-Andéol. Wander through the little streets of this busy town and admire the decorated facades, steps and panelling of the picturesque houses which date back to the 16th-18th centuries.
Day 7: Bourg-Saint-Andéol – Orange, approx. 50 km
Today, the countryside is back in focus. You'll see everything from bright yellow fields of sunflowers to apple and peach orchards and fields of tomatoes and basil. One particularly impressive sight on this section is the bridge in the small town of Pont St. Esprit. The 25 arches in the 600-year-old bridge elegantly span a length of 900 metres over the Rhône. You'll soon have reached the end of your bike tour. The town of Orange is well known for its Roman theatre and triumphal arch – both were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1981. We can recommend a short walk to Colline Saint-Eutrope hill. On the way up you'll pass the ruins of an old castle. When you're at the top you have a wonderful view down over the town, the Rhône and the surrounding countryside.
Day 8: Individual departure
After breakfast your cycle tour along the Rhône comes to an end. If you haven't had enough of the area, we are happy to extend your stay.