Take your bike and discover the Via Rhôna! From Lake Geneva in Switzerland to the Mediterranean Sea, follow a route that has been used by successive civilizations for over 2,000 years. Wonderful landscapes, towns, authentic villages, impressive nature, vineyards and delicious gastronomy await you along the way! After visiting Lyon, a gastronomic capital, this week shows you why the Rhône has long been renowned as the route of successive civilizations. Many spots recall the importance of river navigation and trade in times past. Several towns here have Roman roots, while famous vineyards line up along the steep, sunny slopes. Valence classed as city of Art and History for its rich cultural legacy, and finally Orange, the gateway to Provence.
Arrival in the beautiful city of Lyon. Your options for the rest of the day are endless. Walk to the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière for a great view in town, shop, visit a museum, or see the typical Halles de Lyon Market, you can also reward your soul of cyclist with a delicious meal in a "petit bouchon", authentic restaurant in the "French capital of gastronomy"!
After buzzing Lyon, the itinerary leads through the towns of Grigny and Givors, on to St-Romain-enGal. The historic importance of navigation is clearer here than anywhere else along the Rhône. Museums at St-Romain-en-Gal and Vienne give a good picture of the river’s rich history, from classical to contemporary times.
This remarkable cycling day offers a great variety of landscapes. From Vienne, once an ancient capital of Roman Gaul, to the nature reserve of L’île au Beurre, bearing witness to the Rhône’s wild side, via steeply terraced vineyards, including the prestigious Côte-Rôtie, and the first major orchards along the Rhône Valley, this stage will delight those interested in history, nature and gastronomy.
Your itinerary today runs between steep vineyards and dense orchards. Heading south from Lyon, this is the first ViaRhôna stage to enter the rugged Ardèche, a beautiful département (or French county) on the mighty Rhône’s west flank. Here, the tamed river supports orchards, market gardens and vines producing top-class Saint-Joseph wines. Arriving in Tournon-sur-Rhone enjoy a pleasant break laden with Gallo-Roman history.
After a halt at Valence’s southern river port of L'Epervière, your route leads you back onto the western, Ardèche bank of the Rhône. The Ardèche is known for its exceptional caves, archaeological sites, characterful villages, châteaux and nature reserves. Continuing south along ViaRhôna and cycle on the recent Himalayan-style footbridge at Rochemaure is a great experience, built using the pillars of the Vieux Pont, it is an historic bridge over the Rhône. Here you are at the gates of Provence: "Montélimar" where a human presence has existed for more than 50,000 years. Renowned for its nougat, Montélimar is a pleasant town where it is good to stroll in the old city center.
Leaving the beautiful city of Montélimar, cycle beside branches of the Rhône and pass through historic towns: Viviers, with its medieval spirit; Bourg-Saint-Andéol, its treasures including a rare sculpture of a Mithraic deity. Today your short itinerary is packed with heritage treasures, especially religious ones, including cathedrals, chapels and grand clerical residences. Those who love history as well as nature can enjoy their fill.
Today is your last cycling today, and not just anyone. The program of the day: Pedaling through a impressive nature with the scents of Provence and across the charming village of Pont-Saint-Esprit. In the afternoon you reach the beautiful city of Orange. Of the numerous Roman buildings and monuments originally built, you still can see parts of the City Wall, the Arc de Triumph and the Theatre (UNESCO heritage), the stage wall of which the Sun King, Louis XIV, described as the most beautiful wall in his country.
End of your trip after breakfast. We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to visit the history city of Orange.
All accommodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. We choose comfortable 2*/3* hotels or B&Bs where all rooms have private en-suite bathroom and every morning breakfast are included. For more comfort, when it's possible we can upgrade the hotels with 3/4 * category (supplement applied).
Departure any day of the week from 1st May to 31st October
From Paris, you can take the TGV (high speed train) to Lyon (approx. 2h). For time tables and further information look at the website of the SNCF or TER-SNCF.
On the end of your trip you can take a train from Orange. For time tables and further information look at the website of the SNCF or TER-SNCF.
What is included:
What is not included:
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour: