Avignon to Cassis
France Bike Tours
Cycle In France, a bikers paradise!
This gorgeous bike tour in France takes you to Cassis, a little fishing harbor huddled against the coast with multicolored boats slowly bobbing up and down on the water, colorful houses tightly squeezed together and a beautiful beach lapped by gentle waves. On the way, you will pass Cap Canaille with a beautiful 399m cliff overlooking the village and Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Ste Baume Mountain and a small ridge that hides in its midst, now a landmark of the Christian world. Many Popes went there to pray, another forty kings made the pilgrimage and the legend even says that Mary Magdalene lived there.
Continue cycling in Provence, you will reach Aix's winding old streets, stumbling upon a multitude of fresh fountains and the beautiful façades of aristocratic buildings. Many artists come here to perform during the Lyrical Festival. Cezanne himself found the inspiration for some of his best paintings whilst staying in Aix - for example he painted the “Mont St Victoire”, which stands majestically at the city gates.
On a bicycle, you can make the journey at your own pace, hear the cicadas singing in the trees, breathing in the familiar Provencal scents: thyme, rosemary, and conifers. This Provence bike tour will take you to the very end of the road where Mediterranean Sea awaits.
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This Provence bike tour is considered a moderate to difficult, self-guided hotel tour. Daily cycling distances range from 19 to 44 mi. (30 to 70 km), over some flat, rolling, and very hilly terrain. Some ascents can be up to 750 m. Routes take place on good, asphalted bike paths and country roads with as little traffic as possible. However, on day 6 there is about 20 km of cycling on a busy road.
Where You’ll Stay
Option A: 5 nights in 2 star hotels - 1 with swimming pool (2 nights by the sea), 1 night in 3 star hotel, and 1 night in 4 star hotel De Charme.
Option B: 2 nights in 4 star hotel, 5 nights in 3 star hotels (2 nights w/ pool & 2 nights w/ pool and by the sea).
- Accommodations for 7 nights
- Breakfast buffets
- Luggage transfer
- Detailed route descriptions (one set per room)
- 24-speed hybrid bicycle
- Helmet rental (must be reserved in advance)
What’s Not Included
- Individual arrival to Avignon
- Remaining meals
- Bicycle protection
- Trip insurance
Day 1: Arrival in Avignon
Day 2: Avignon - Maussane les Alpîlles, 32 mi. (50 km)
Day 3: Maussane les Alpîlles - Aix, 45 mi. (72 km)
Day 4: Aix, day of rest or roundtrip, 47 mi. (75 km)
Day 5: Aix - Maximin la Sainte Baune, 30 mi. (47 km)
Day 6: Maximin la Sainte Baune - Cassis, 38 or 44 mi. (60 to 70 km)
Day 7: Cassis, day of rest or roundtrip, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 8: Departure
Distances are approximate.
DAY 1: Arrival in Avignon
Your France bike tour begins with arrival in Avignon. Check in to your hotel and enjoy some free time in Avignon. A meeting with our representative will take place in the evening.
DAY 2: Avignon - Maussane les Alpîlles, 32 mi. (50 km), altitude 421 m.
Today's Provence cycling route will take you south via a network of quiet little country roads! You will ride in the middle of orchards and fields of cultivated fruit and vegetables, here and there crossing a little village nestled around its church. Finally, you will reach the Alpilles! They are a picturesque range of limestone hills - only 493m high at their peak – with scenes that are reminiscent of Greece. You will be lead there by one of its prettiest routes, discovering superb view points along the way.
Enjoy a night in the foothills.
DAY 3: Maussane les Alpîlles - Aix, 45 mi. (72 km), altitude 611 m.
This morning you will head in the direction of Aix on peaceful lanes lined with olive trees. In the 1900's, with the availability of these trees and their oil, a family had the idea of using it to make soap… in their back garden! The family business still perpetuates the tradition and you will be able to learn more about the making of the famous “Savon de Marseille” along the way. Once you reach the gates of Aix, take a delicious break to taste the unforgettable local delicacy: the “Calisson”!
DAY 4: Aix, day of rest or roundtrip, 47 mi. (75 km), altitude +/-1132 m.
Rest day in Aix en Provence. It is a beautiful city scattered with old town houses, streaming fountains, grand avenues and charming little squares. The heart of the old town is cris-crossed with lively pedestrian streets full of little boutiques, cafes, restaurants – a true maze where it is pleasant to get lost. Unless, of course, you’d prefer to visit Cezanne’s old workshop or even discover the Cathedral and the St Sauveur Cloister!
Cycling option: reasonable level of fitness required! A 65 km loop in very hilly country (difference in height : approximately 750m) that will take you round the Sainte Victoire Mountain, via the (private) Chateau de Vauvernargues, where Pablo Picasso lived and is now buried.
DAY 5: Aix - Maximin la Sainte Baune, 30 mi. (47 km), altitude +/- 680 m.
Leave the beautiful Aix behind on the “route Cezanne”, as it is known since the painter often set his easel up along it, and it will take you to the foothills of the Montagne Sainte Victoire. The scenery is magnificent and will reveal to you the light and colors that the artist craved for: the striking contrasts between the dazzling white of the limestone cliffs, the sandy red loam, the green of the pine trees and the blue sky. Towards the end of the day, you will reach Maximin la Sainte Baume and its Basilica, the biggest gothic building in the southeast of France. It was built in the exact place where Mary Magdelene’s relic was found and is recognized as the third shrine of the Christian world, after Jerusalem and Saint Peter’s of Rome.
DAY 6: Maximin la Sainte Baune - Cassis, 38 or 44 mi. (60 to 70 km)
This Provence bike tour continues in the countryside as described in Marcel Pagnol’s novels Le Château de ma mère and La Gloire de mon père. His books rendered Provence famous because of the way he sang the praises of the Provencal culture, describing the landscapes that meant so much to him. Of course, time has changed them but the route will lead you through quiet side roads with gorgeous views. At the end of the day, after a 6 km descent, you will finally glimpse Cassis and the sea!
2 options : for both options, there are approximately 20 km of roads with more traffic.
1 – Via the plains. Approximately 60 km gentle rolling hills (including 2 descents, one of them 10 km).
2 – Via the Ste Baume Mountain. Reasonable level of fitness required! Approximately 70 km (with 2 descents, one of them 16 breathtaking kilometers), difference in height : approximately 650m.
DAY 7: Cassis, day of rest or roundtrip, 19 mi. (20 km), altitude +/- 690 m.
Rest day in Cassis. Enjoy relaxing around in the heart of the village, go swimming, touring in a sea kayak or hiking on the Cap Canaille ridge track or in the rugged rocky Calanques. But the “must-do” of the day is the discovery of the sumptuous views of the Calanques from the sea: clear water, white limestone cliffs plunging into the sea, & miniature fjords. Around here, everything is spectacular and wild. Boat trips (from 45 minutes to 2 hours) will allow you to enjoy this unforgettable experience. (These activities are not included in the price of the holiday). In the evening our representative will come from Avignon to retrieve all equipments.
Cycling option: reasonable fitness level required! A 30 km loop (difference in height : approximately 394m with a 15% ascent) that will take you up the Cap Canaille to a breathtaking view point!
DAY 8: Departure
This France bike tour will end following breakfast. Departure from Cassis or extend your cycle tour in France!