Total tour distance: 227 miles
Daily tour distance: 28 miles
Difficulty: 50 / 100
Experience an epic eleven day tour through the very best of Provence, that southeastern part of France that extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River, southerly to the glistening Mediterranean Sea, and easterly to the beautiful area known as the Luberon. We wander cobbled streets, explore the narrow alleys immortalized by Van Gogh and Cezanne, linger in cheerful sidewalk cafes, explore ancient ducal palaces, and visit vibrant market squares, ancient fortresses, Roman ruins, Renaissance palaces, and charming chateaux. We ride through beautiful rural countryside enjoying gently rolling hills filled with poppies, wildflowers, and groves of silver-leafed olive trees, pass tiny villages perched high on limestone cliffs, and explore bucolic hidden valleys. We glide by canoe under the gargantuan Pont du Gard, ride the beautiful white horses of Camargues on the beaches of St Marie de la Mer, and take full advantage of the beautiful tranquil charm of this magical region.
The French are of course famous for their love and mastery of all things culinary, and Provence offers a bounty of local produce, fish, cheese, meats olive oil and wine. The cuisine is a celebration of the warm, dry Mediterranean climate, and our superb meals will often include fresh goat cheese, honey, freshly baked breads, olives (and exquisite olive oils), garlic, grapes, peaches, apricots, strawberries, cherries, and the famous melons of Cavaillon. The nearby sea provides an abundant supply of all varieties of fish, which the locals often season with fennel and then grill over the wood of grapevines. Of course, all of this bounty needs to be savored with wine, and you have all the fabulous wines of France to choose from, including the world’s finest dry rosé and such local favorites as Châteauneuf du Pape, Beaumes de Venise, Cotes du Ventoux and some excellent local cabernet and chardonnay.
Day 1 is arrival day. Days 2, 3, 4 and 10 are rated 'Easier'. Days 5 and 6 are rated 'Easier to Intermediate', Days 7 and 9 are rated 'Intermediate'. Day 8 is an Exploration Day and Day 11 is departure day.