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Bike Tours - Provence

Belo Horizonte
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Bike Tours - Provence

I'm looking for a trip of 6-7 days in Provence. I will travel with a friend and we both workout regularly. My partner really wants to climb Mont Ventoux. Is it possible to a person with a regular phisycal activity try to climb it, even taking more time?

My budget is U$ 2500 each person. I researched for self-guided tours and found Discover France, Diverse Directions and Duvine, as the most commented agencies and also a guided tour with French Cycling Holidays.

Does anyone tried these agencies lately?

Are the hotels on Discover France Provence Luberon Tour interesting, as I saw a lot of comments about other agencies with hotels not that clean as they should be?

1. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

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Belo Horizonte
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2. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

Thanks for your advise.

Glen Ellyn, Illinois
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3. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

Which company did you use and did you like it? I am planing a trip in Provence.

Kansas City, MO
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4. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

Delightful Bike-Barge in Provence

During September 5 through September 15 we visited Provence and traveled by barge and bicycle through that beautiful part of southern France. We had arranged the trip through International Bicycle Tours and decided to arrive a couple of days early to kill the jet-lag and see some of Marseille. It's a good tactic. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express across the street from the train station, a handy location and good starting point for walking about. We also took a bus tour which included Notre Dame du Garde, the church on the hill overlooking everything. Marvelous view. A trip to the harbor and a huge (cheap) meal at Le Souk were also high points.

On the date our tour was to start we met the group at the Marseille airport, we fresh and they battered from the overnight flight, and boarded a bus for the ride to Avignon and our barge, the Estrello. Our guide, Hans Wilmer, met us at the airport and put us on the bus. He also provided an interesting commentary on Provence generally and our bus route specifically which was enjoyed by those who remained awake. On arrival in Avignon we boarded the barge, received our rooms and were welcomed by Kobi, the owner, and staff Nell, Peter and a cook and captain whose names I never got the entire week. We were fitted to our bikes (furnished, but we had to bring our own helmets) after which we were turned loose to wander through the walled old city of Avignon, a marvelous experience. We also saw the bridge of French-class-song fame (Sur le pont, d'Avignon...), only to find that it now is half a bridge, ending in mid river. Oh, well.

Biking started the next day with a ride to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, named for the "New Palace of the Pope" but now known for wine of the same name. The palace itself is a bit of a disappointment, being a ruin, but the ride was quite nice. Then back toward Avignon to see the Palace of the Popes (I assume the "old" one).

Through the combination of barging and biking we saw Vallabregues, St-Rey-de-Provence, Glanum, Tarascon, Arles, Gallician, St-Gilles and Aigues-Mortes. Along the way we walked through the actual water trough on the scarily high aqueduct named Pont du Garde and looked through the asylum where Vincent van Gogh roomed after his ear came off.

Life on the trip is leisurely, without the packing and unpacking of a tour involving hotels, the staff on the barge were delightful and the food and accommodations were perfect. The staterooms on the barge are small, but each has its own private bath and shower. Well, the bath is the shower and one must shield the toilet paper holder while bathing. It was a perfectly fine trip.

Biking was easy to easy-moderate with no days over forty miles and a break about every half hour. The pace was a comfortable 10 to 12 miles per hour which was fine by me (a cargo shorts biker) but might have cramped the style of a Spandex biker. We had some of those folks, but no one complained. The group was sixteen strong and entirely affable. Everyone rolled with whatever came up so that the drama count was zero. An important note is that the tour planners routed the biking parts of the trip North-to-South to thwart the dreaded Mistral, a wind in southern France which comes from the North and will cause the biker to drop three gears if it blows on the front instead of the back of the bike. Remember this about a bicycle vacation: whatever the truth may be, the participant thinks he/she is exercising and is therefore morally justified in eating thousands of calories of delicious French cooking. That, in itself, is worth the trip.

The bike-barge portion cost around $1,900 per person without airfare. Breakfast and dinner were aboard the barge and lunch was on our own, generally in small towns among friendly and helpful French folks.

Provence
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5. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

If you prefer to do it on your own, there are plenty of cycling map of the Vaucluse region and you can rent bike easily and hire guide as easily. Mont Ventoux is a difficult one, slope only all the way up but you can rent an electric bike that will help you in your effort...

California
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6. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

what was the name of your bike tour company please....thanks....

Bay Area
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7. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

The absolute BEST bike tours in Provencethat we've done, (and we've done it two years in a row now) is "memoires de provence" which does GPS biking. No Maps, Neil (the proprietor) teaches you how to read the GPS and once you see that it's like using any GPS in a car it's fantastic!! If you want Mt. Ventoux we did it two days ago and it was delightful. GO FOR IT!! (And your budget can be met!)

Edited: 21 June 2013, 20:22
Vancouver
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8. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

I am planning a trip through Randonnee Tours - self guided through Provence. Has anyone else used them and have some feedback?

9. Re: Bike Tours - Provence

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