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France Bike & Boat / Provence
2018 Tour Dates: Saturday Departures, April 14th to October 13th

Please book early! These trips fill quickly.

You can do this tour as either a Guided Tour and ride with the group and a leader, or as a Self-Guided Tour and ride at your own pace with a map and detailed route book.

2018 Price Per Person In Standard Season: €1140 Euros / double occupancy (Apr 15 – Jul 21)

High Season Supplement: €200 Euros per person (Sept 1 – Oct 13)

Single Supplement: €300 Euros

Guided or Self Guided Option: The price remains the same for both options. This tour offers the chance to choose if pedaling alone (taking advantage of a very detailed route description) or with the whole group, following the tour leader. When booking the tour you need to specify which option is chosen (i.e. if Guided or Self guided).

Bike Rental: €85 Euros/hybrid bike, €195 Euros/Electric bike, €15 Euros/helmet

Price Includes:

  • 7 overnights
  • full board (breakfast, dinner and a self-made packed lunch)
  • sheets and towels
  • detailed route description, maps and info-pack
  • tour leader on bike
  • harbor charges
  • coffee and tea on board
  • wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-pape
Price does not include:

International flights, beverages on board, museums and everything which is not mentioned above.

Extra Hotel Nights: (prices are approximate & dependent on availability)
2/3* Hotels in Avignon: Double room: €65 per person/per night. Single room: €100 per person/per night. Breakfast included.
2/3* Hotels in Aigues-Mortes: Double room: €65 per person/per night. Single room: €100 per person/per night. Breakfast included.

“We got home from France on Tuesday and had a great time on the barge/bike trip! It completely exceeded my expectations. I went into it concerned about food allergies and whether we’d booked something that was physically beyond us. It turned out fine on all counts.”~ Dan B. 9Bike & Boat Tour of Provence, France

Tour Difficulty

This is considered an easy tour and is totally in the lowlands during the three stages in Camargue. While the stages north of Arles present some rolling terrain. There is just one longer hill towards Baux de Provence. Most of the route is on bike paths and low traffic roads in rural and city areas. Short stretches are on unpaved roads. If some day you decide not to cycle, please be aware that between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. it is not possible to stay in the boat to enable staff to perform their duties quietly on board and respect their rest periods. If the boat is moving to a new destination, you are welcome to stay on the boat.

  • Difficulty: Relatively Flat
  • Road Conditions: Smooth & Paved
  • Recommended Bike: Hybrid

Tour Highlights

  • See medieval fortress of Aigues Mortes
  • Rhone Valley
  • Van Gogh’s Provence
  • Traditional French cuisine
  • Roman France of Pont du Gard
  • Wines of Chateauneuf du Pape

Tour Overview

On our Provence Bike & Boat Tour, your accommodation is a very comfortable live-aboard Barge. This France bike tour offers the chance to choose if pedaling alone (taking advantage of a very detailed route description) or with the whole group, following the tour leader. When booking the tour you need to specify which option is chosen (i.e. if Guided or Self guided). Daily you can look forward to typical dishes of the simple traditional French cuisine with local influences.

A wonderful tour through the wild Camargue nature with its bulls and horses: from the medieval fortress of Aigues Mortes to Saintes Maries de la Mer and then gradually by boat towards Arles. After that you visit the most typical Provence landscape, including the Rhone Valley, Van Gogh’s Provence, the Roman France of Pont du Gard and finally toast with the precious wines of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Tour Map

Day 1 - Avignon

Individual arrival at 6 p.m. and boarding in Avignon. Your mooring place is in Quai de la Ligne next to the famous Pont St. Bénezet.

Day 2 - Avignon Tour (40 km)

Navigate up to Avignon, the city of popes, and then cycle in the direction of Châteauneuf-du- Pape, following roads with low levels of traffic surrounded by vine- yards. In Châteauneuf- du-Pape you can enjoy a tasting of the very famous provencal wine. After that you will cross the Rhone. You will cross the Rhone through Roquemaure and return to Villeneuve by following the course of the river.

Day 3 - Avignon–Aramon (40 km)

In the morning navigation till the town of Aramon, where you will start pedaling. The stage today will bring you to the best preserved Roman aqueduct in Europe: Pont du Gard, a very spectacular work. Overnight in Aramon with a beautiful view over the Mont Ventoux.

Day 4 - Aramon-Vallabrègues (35 km)

You start your day sailing to Vallabrègues, pretty Provençal village on the banks of the Rhône. Along country roads you will arrive to Barbentane with its castle at the confluence of the Rhone and Durance rivers. You will cycle to the magnificent Abbey of Saint Michel de Frigulet and afterwards down to the medieval village of Boulbon. Overnight in Vallabrègues.

Day 5 - Vallabreguès–Arles (60 km)

This stage brings you to Saint Remy de Provence, birthplace of Nostradamus. This village is also famous for having hosted Van Gogh in the days of his mental illness. In the end you move onto the Alpilles, with Les-Baux-de-Provence, a village lodged in the rock itself. A landscape of limestone cliffs and olive trees accompanies your journey.

Day 6 - Arles–Aigues Mortes (25 km)

Today the whole morning is dedicated to visit Arles, the ancient capital of Gaul with beautiful Roman ruins. You will also have the opportunity to be welcomed by a professional guide, who will accompany you around the jewels of the town. After lunch you reach the lock of Saint Gilles and from there you will sail to Aigues Mortes for the overnight stay.

Day 7 - Aigues Mortes, round tour (55 km)

Going through small country lanes of Camargue between canals, lagoons and small villages, you will reach in the afternoon the charming fishermen’s village, Le Grau-du-Roi. Possibility of a refreshing dip on the beach.

Day 8 - Aigues Mortes

After breakfast, depart the barge and end of tour services.

Boat Capacity

  • 20 guests max
  • 39 m x 5,2 m
  • 10 double cabins (one with a double bed and nine with twin beds) of 7/8 m2
  • Each cabin is air conditioned and has got en- suite facilities
  • Bed size: 1,90/2 m x 0,75/0,80 m
  • The Living Room: The barge has got a very spacious air conditioned living room and bar area with comfortable sofas and arm chairs and a separate dining room, all with large picture windows. This room opens onto the sundeck at the bow with a fixed awning and tables and chairs. The boat’s inviting atmosphere will make you feel immediately comfortable. The large and very comfortable lounge area has large picture windows, plenty of natural light and is decorated in a ‘boaty’ style. French doors give access (no steps) to the inviting sun deck. The dining area, also with large picture windows, has comfortable seating.

Guided vs. Self Guided

This tour offers the chance to choose if pedalling alone (taking advantage of a very detailed route description) or with the whole group, following the tour leader. When booking the tour you need to specify which option is chosen (i.e. if Guided or Self guided).

Bicycles

Different frame sizes of unisex bikes with 27-gears Shimano Deore will be available on board. They are fully equipped with 1 side-bag, 1 water bottle, 1 pad- lock per bike, 1 map holder/front bag (only for Self-Guided) and 1 repair kit per couple (only for Self-Guided). Due to a limited space on board only a few own bikes will be accepted upon request.

Navigation

High and low water issues, as well as logistic obstacles can modify some of the daily stretches or embarkation points. These decisions are taken by the captain. It is envisaged that the boat will sail some of the way during breakfast or the evening meal to make get- ting out of the towns easier or to shorten the stages.

Meals on the boat

  • Breakfast is an international buffet: bread, sliced salami and ham, cheese, butter, marmalade, yogurt, cereals, milk, tea, coffee.
  • Packed lunch: when you’re having breakfast, you’ll also find all that’s necessary to make yourself a packed lunch (bread, sliced salami and ham, cheese)
  • Dinner: You can enjoy typical dishes of the simple traditional French cuisine with local influences. Dinner consists of a starter, a main course, and dessert. On the table there will always be bread and water.
  • Drinks: in the dinner service is always included water in carafe. In the afternoon, when you come back from your trip, all guests will receive a snack, cake and coffee or tea. All other drinks are not included and have to be payed separately (beer, soft drinks, sparkling water, wine, strong drinks).
  • Breakfast: from 08.00 am until 08.45 am.
  • Dinner: at 7.00 pm.

Weather

This journey will cover two French regions: Provence – Alpes – Côte d’Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon. Generally you will find fresh and mild temperatures in spring and autumn with low probability of rain, while in summer (July-August) the climate is definitely hotter and dry.

Electricity

In every cabin you will find normal European sockets. The French electrical net is 220V – 50Hz and you will find the same on the barge when the current generator is on.

Getting to the arrival in Avignon and departing Aigues Mortes at the end of the tour

From Paris, Montpellier or Marseille, there are trains to Avignon. At the end of the tour, there is a train station in Aigues Mortes with train access to cities in France.

Language

You do not need to be able to speak Italian, but it can be lots of fun, and our Italian guide can always help you with the finer points of the language. A small dictionary and some creative sign language are helpful, and many people at airports and hotels speak English.

Money

The currency of France is the Euro. You will need Euros for beverages, shopping, snacks, and tips for the French guide and boat crew. We suggest starting with a minimum of €150 Euros (more if you like to shop and sample the local wine and ice cream).

Tipping

On the tour: we suggest €125 per guest to cover our local guide and various service people at the lodges during the tour. On your own: most restaurants include a service charge, but an additional 5-10% for exceptional service is always appreciated. We suggest a small amount for baggage and taxi service.

Cash & Credit Cards

US CASH: bring only NEW bills with NO tears. You can exchange money at the airport and in major towns. CREDIT CARDS: bring 2 or more Visa or Master Cards in case you have trouble with one. There are ATMs in most of the towns on the tour. To use your Credit Card to get Euros at an ATM, each Credit Card will need a PIN#. Be sure to activate the PIN# and check that it works BEFORE you begin your travels. We also suggest contacting your credit card company prior to your trip to inform them of the countries where you will be traveling and the dates. We do not recommend bringing Travelers Checks because some places do not accept them, exchange rates vary widely and they require a bank to exchange them.

Passport

U.S. citizens must have a current Passport to enter France. Make sure your PASSPORT DOES NOT EXPIRE WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE COMPLETION OF YOUR TOUR. These requirements do vary from country to country, but just to be safe, we recommend going by the 6 month standard, because it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to international travel!

Make copies of your passport: We recommend making 2 photocopies of your passport’s photo page and any other valuable documents you might carry with you on the tour. Travel with one copy stored separately from your passport. Leave the other copy at home with a relative or friend (ideally the same person you gave as your emergency contact). In the event that any of your documents are lost or stolen, this will greatly assist the process of replacement.

Immunizations

For all travelers, we suggest keeping your tetanus immunization up to date (every 10 years), and we suggest a Hepatitis A immunization, too. You can check your state health department, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the online traveler’s data base http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/ for the most current information.

The secret to stress free travel

Simply put, pack light and arrive at the starting point of your trip a day early. Many have told us this was the most important thing they did to get ready for their trip. They felt rested and more acquainted with the customs and pace of life of their new surroundings.

Luggage

We would like to remind you that free space on the boat is limited so bear this in mind when you pack your bags. It is also strongly recommended to use bags instead of suitcases because they are more easy to put away.

Other Boat Info

It is strictly forbidden to smoke in the cabins (and in all common areas). It’s possible to smoke on the deck outside. We thank you in advance for not consuming in public areas (restaurant, bar, outdoor deck) beverages and food not directly purchased on board. – Every cabin has a centralized air conditioning system. It is not possible to modify the temperature of the single cabins but only switch on or switch off the air conditioning. – The portoholes must be always closed in order to avoid the entry of water caused by wave motion – The travel package includes in the middle of the week the cleaning oft he cabins and fresh towels. If you want the towels to be washed, please let them lie on the floor. We ask you kindly not to take the towels off the ship for using it as beach towels – At the check-out you must return the keys to the cabin crew and pay the extra drinks, you can pay only by cash, neither credit cards nor large bills are accepted. – At the end of tour you can leave a tip to the crew if you enjoyed the holiday.

Welcome Meeting

The welcome on board with the guide and the crew will be on Saturday at 6 p.m. It is possible to leave the luggage during the day but the cabins will be available from 6 p.m. After dinner the crew and the tour leader will introduce the tour. On Sunday morning you will get the rental bikes. The guide will always be present during breakfast and dinner and will cycle every day with those who want to enjoy his knowledge. You are free to cycle individually using the road book. Your guide will answer the phone in case of an emergency and also in case of a technical problem with your rented bike. Every evening after dinner the guide will present you the cycling program of the following day.

The success of the journey depends of course on how every one of you respects the timetable of each single day: – day of arrival. At 6.00 pm the welcome on board with the staff and the guide is planned. – day of departure: you will have to leave the boat after breakfast, not later than 09.00 am.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

About Provence

Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River on the west to the Italian border on the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the south.[1] It largely corresponds with the modern administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and includes the départements of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse.

The Romans made the region into the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name. It was ruled by the Counts of Provence from their capital in Aix-en-Provence until 1481, when it became a province of the Kings of France. While it has been part of France for more than five hundred years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, particularly in the interior of the region. ~ Wikipedia

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