Bicycle Tours In France: Arles Are Best


Try a hotel comparison first. Fly into Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) and check into the Best Western and rest from your flight; then rent a car and drive to the newly remodeled 17th century Hotel de l’Amphitheatre, 5-7, rue Diderot, Arles.

It’s a bit like comparing a recent fast food meal (which probably requires no research) to a French restaurant like the nearby Le Cilantro. Now you’re in France!

This is the French city in which Vincent van Gogh painted 200 of his works between 1888 and 1889. Among these was The Bedroom at Arles.  Rent a bike and tour the lavender fields for views of the exact locations that inspired Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gaugin as well as many others to create world famous art works.

The Lavender Bike Tour

Touring the region between June and September yields the best appreciation of the beautiful cash crop that lavender plants provide. Many activities, tours and other matters of interest to visitors are available.

A bike tour to Avignon and back to Arles or in the area of Avignon is a pretty good way to enjoy the unbelievable colors in this area. The lavender fields cover a large area with over 2000 growers and six different regions.

Another quick trip to Aix-en-Provence is about 45 miles or 90 miles round trip which should take 2 to 3 days of comfortable sight seeing.

This route follows D453 to Miramas. Then switch to D10 and follow it through Istres into Aix. This is the birthplace of artist Paul Cezanne. Some of his work was based on this city.

Not only that this area was once inhabited by the Romans who were drawn here by the mild thermal baths.   You may find that many male inhabitants of the area are named Marius.   This is a legacy from the Romans who sent a great general with the same name to the area in order to fight off Germanic invaders.

Aix-en-Provence is the hub of the province and is also thought to be the most cultural town in the region.

Safety Concerns

Remember that all those flowers attract bees and they are in fact raised for honey in this area. If you have a bee allergy that is severe this tour route may not be the best idea.

Maybe museums are a better choice. If you take this route any way then a medical alert bracelet is fundamental.

Otherwise it still might be a good measure to avoid sugary foods and fruits outside. I personally have nearly swallowed a bee that hid in a soda can.

Feeling it buzz was a weird sensation to say the least. Oddly, it became disoriented and didn’t sting!   I promptly spit it out.

Always pack a few coins or Euros on your person when in France or any other European country.   A few Euros in the pocket can be much easier to get to in order to pay for lunch than digging around in your fanny pack.


  • The Atelier Cezanne was Cezanne’s studio located in Aix-en-Provence.   Here you can see a collection of small objects that have featured prominently in some of Cezanne’s own still-life paintings.
  • Le Pigonnet is a country styled hotel in Aix-en-Provence from which Cezanne painted Ste-Victoire.   Ste-Victoire just happens to be the same mountain Roman General Marius pinned the Germanic invaders against to win the battle.   I wonder how this mountain got its name?
  • The Espace Van Gogh in Arles is the place where the painter was treated for self-inflicted ear lobe removal. Now this is a center used as a memorial to the artist’s life.
  • Notre-Dame-de-la-Major is the cathedral in Arles dedicated to St. George.
  • Les Arenes is the site of Roman amphitheater remains with good view of Arles.
  • Palais des Papes papal court of 1309-1377 in Avignon. Not filled with original furnishings. Does have frescoes by Matteo Giovanetti.
  • The Cathedrale Notre-Dame-des-Doms in Avignon. Rebuilt in 1425 on the site of earlier unstable architectural attempt.

Le Verdun in Aix-en-Provence has a wonderful sunny terrace where sore footed travelers can sit down and people watch.   Light snacks are served throughout the day and you can pick up a book to read from one of the many bookstands in place Verdun

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  1. martin doyle

    we are planning a cycle holiday in france this summer, need to hire some kind of crew cab van to carry passengers and bikes/ luggage in the rear. ne one have ne ideas, or have done this? we based in waterford. have tried a few hire companys but most hire only normal vans. tanx.

  2. Fabio Santonoceto

    I need to rent two hybrid bikes in Arles for a cycling tour of plovence…from 15/06/09 to 26/06/09…can you help me?

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