Cycling holidays in the South of France
Pure relaxation, historic buildings, sun-spoiled wines - where could France possibly be more beautiful? On a cycling holiday in the south of France, you'll be cycling the life of a connoisseur. Well-established cycle paths, a whole host of sights and culinary delights make a cycling holiday between Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Alps to a very special experience.
If you decide to do a cycling holiday in the south of France you'll be spoiled for choice. Pedal through the violet lavender fields of the Provence and just take things as they come. Wander along the traces of the Romans in places such as Orange, Arles and Nîmes. In the Rhône delta, the lowlands of the Camargue await you. White horses and pink flamingos are just as much part of the scenery here as endless miles of sandy beaches. The Mediterranean flair in the air, explore the Canal du Midi to Toulouse, the pink town. From Toulouse you'll feel the fresh wind blowing off the Atlantic. You cycle along the Canal du Garonne until you get to the wine-town of Bordeaux. Bordeaux will surprise you with its historic but also modern flair.
In France's uncrowned culinary capital, Lyon, you'll find it hard to resist the delicacies served in Lyon's "bouchons". These small restaurants serve simple but very fine food. Lots of vegetables and fruit, olives, freshly-caught fish, red-brown Camargue rice and the peach liqueur, Rinquinquin, are all part of the Provence cuisine, rich in contrasts. A typical French meal from the Canal du Midi is a hearty cassoulet. The cuisine gets sweeter in Bordeaux. Canelé - a sponge type of cake with rum and vanilla tastes best when freshly baked.
You can't avoid a good drop of wine on a cycling holiday in the south of France. Thanks to the Romans, internationally-known wines are produced today in the wine-growing regions of Côtes du Rhône, Provence, Languedoc and Bordeaux. À votre santé!
Fancy endless fields of lavender, time-honoured towns and pink flamingos? A cycling holiday through the Provence and Camargue can make that possible. In Orange, where you start your holiday, visit the antique Roman theatre and the famous wine place, Châteauneuf-du-Pape A unique atmosphere awaits you in Avignon. Next to the monumental Papal palace is Pont Saint-Bénézet, known the world over for the nursery rhyme Sur le pont d’Avignon. Even though not many of its bridges are still intact, it is still worth a visit. Before you reach Camargue, have a look at the many antique buildings in Arles and Nîmes. Surrounded by the outlets of the Rhône, experience the flat, lowlands of the Camargue. Discover the flamingos here, the black cattle and white horses, huge salt meadows and the sandy beaches of the dreamlike Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
Along the Rhône, France's most water river, you head south from Lyon to Orange in the Provence. Lyon awaits with many interesting sights and a lively cultural scene. Take a walk through Vieux Lyon, admire the view of the town from Fourvière hill and take a seat in one of Lyon's bouchons. On your way south, you cycle all along the river, through the Côtes du Rhône wine region. As soon as you have gone through Valence, you'll be in the Provence. People with a sweet tough will like Montélimar aka nougat capital. The white nougat, made with almonds, lavender honey and pistachio nuts, is a speciality here.
Follow the Canal du Midi from its mouth into the Mediterranean at Sète back to its beginnings in Toulouse. Lined by poplar trees, pines and cypresses, you cycle along France's most well-known artificial waterway. In Sète, go to a criée, a fish auction and enjoy some sunbathing in Cap d’Agde on its long, long beaches. Far away from the traffic, you cycle to Carcassonne. During a visit to La Cité, the fortified historic quarter, you will feel as if you've been whisked back to the Middle Ages. Impressive! Try the cassoulet that originated close to Castelnaudary: a rustic stew of white beans and meat. Tasty! Stroll around your destination - Toulouse - over the Place du Capitole, visit the Cité de l‘espace and find out why Toulouse is known as the pink city.
From Toulouse you follow the Canal de Garonne to Bordeaux. As a side channel, it functions as an extension of the Canal du Mini, connecting the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. Follow the riverside meadows to Moissac. A visit to the significant Abbaye Saint-Pierre is worthwhile. Cycle through the plum orchards of Agen, passing Marmande, the tomato capital of south-west France. From La Réole your route takes you away from the canal. Take a detour to Saint-Émilion one of France's most beautiful wine villages. Your destination, Bordeaux, is in the region of the same name. The small streets, magnificent architecture and romantic parks tempt you to go exploring. At the end of your holiday, treat yourself to a glass of wine from Bordeaux on the long waterside promenade of the Garonne. Or maybe two glasses?