A wonderful 7-day adventure that highlights the best of what the département of Gard has to offer, and that cyclists of any level are guaranteed to enjoy. Your tour starts and ends in the city of Nîmes, with its coliseum and Roman temple. In between you will ride through the flat Petite Camargue, home to fighting bulls, famous white horses and pink flamingos. After a night at the walled town of Aigues-mortes, a turn north takes you into wine country, where you will roll through many picturesque villages whose livelihoods are centered on the vine. A longer stay near Uzès, the first Duchy of France, will give you a chance to explore the ancient heart of this lively town and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that will take your breath away. All this linked by quiet country roads, carefully chosen by Cycling Languedoc!
AThis ‘Backroads’ self-guided tour is rated ‘Active‘. Most of the riding you will be doing is over flat or rolling terrain. Hills of varying short distances and wind (the Mistral can blow!) are your biggest challenges. You should be used to riding multiple hours on the bike. This tour is suitable for anyone who is in good physical shape and is comfortable on a bike.
Day One: Your first day is spent exploring the historic Roman city of Nîmes and making any last-minute preparations you might need for your week-long adventure. Your bikes will be delivered to your hotel in the evening, so it’s also a good chance to get to know your new ‘friend’! Nîmes is packed with things to see and all are within easy walking distance of your hotel. Not to be missed are Les Arènes, La Maison Carrée and a good, long stroll through the medieval heart of town.
After a hearty breakfast at the Imperator, leave the old town of Nîmes behind and follow in the footsteps of two of Hemingway’s most famous characters – David and Catherine – (from Garden of Eden) who left your hotel and rode with the Mistral at their backs down to Aigues-mortes, just like you! You quickly enter the short hills of the Costières de Nîmes, a wine appellation known for its elegant, well-balanced reds and light, delicate rosés. As you crest the hill you are presented with the vast Petite Camargue to your south. From here till your day’s destination you will be on crêpe-flat roads through this near-uninhabited and beautiful area. This is one of the largest nesting areas of migratory birds in Europe and you will see plenty anytime of year here. On your way down, stop in for a brief visit to St. Gilles, a pilgrimage town that is part of the Camino de Santiago, a 1000 yr old pilgrimage route that is still being used today. The facade of the abbey in the center of town is of particular interest for its Romanesque iconography. Your day finishes as you ride up to the medieval walls of Aigues-mortes, a compact town of immense history. Breakfast included.
Today you leave the Petite Camargue and ride north. Just outside of Aigues-mortes you will pass by the 13th century Tour Carbonnière, an ancient toll gate at the entrance to the walled city you’ve just left behind. Further on you arrive at Ambrussum, a hidden Roman archaeological site with a small, modern museum, the ruins of a Roman bridge (made famous by Gustave Courbet), and an astounding section of Roman road, complete with chariot tracks! Your day ends in the typical village of Vérargues. Breakfast and dinner included.
This morning you push into the lovely Pays de Sommières countryside. Today’s meandering route takes you by a Romanesque chapel, one of the oldest villages in Gard, and one of the prettiest, interspersed by pristine agricultural lands devoted, as is usual in the south, to the vine. Your day finishes just outside Tornac, a tiny village with a rich history, a Romanesque church, a partially-ruined monastery and a dominating chateau – but the real reason we’re here is your charming hotel and restaurant for the evening – Le Ranquet. Your dinner is included tonight, so kick off your cycling shoes and enjoy the peaceful surroundings before an evening of fine dining at the hotel restaurant. Breakfast and dinner included.
Your route today leaves the village and detours slightly north to Anduze, a great place to stop for a coffee and contemplate the adventures that could be had beyond its natural ‘gates’ – two huge cliffs that make Anduze a real gateway to the Cévennes mountains. You then cross the Gardon River and head into some gently rolling countryside, passing by the dramatic hillside village of Vézenobres (climb up it if you dare!). From here you ride east, following a string of pretty Uzège villages, with open views to the rugged hills that separate you from your Day Seven destination – Nîmes. Breakfast included.
Today you get the opportunity to discover the wonderful Uzège area and its main attraction, le Pont du Gard. Adjectives are employed in vain when trying to describe this monumental Roman work of art and engineering, and you will not only get to see it, but ride over it on a bicycle! Today’s loop takes you on little-used farmers roads that lead from pretty village to pretty village to the Pont du Gard. The route then follows local roads till you reach the 14th century Pont St. Nicolas, an atmospheric medieval bridge that brings you over the Gardon River and takes you up the lovely, serpentine road that will deposit you in the center of Nîmes in no time. Breakfast included.
Day Seven: Today is the last day of your tour, but you have no cycling to do. Enjoy your breakfast and see what you missed on your first day in Nîmes last week, then move on to the next part of your European adventure! Breakfast included.
This tour can be shortened by one or two days. Contact us directly to inquire.
Unquestionably the most historic hotel in the area, the Hotel Imperator has welcomed the likes of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner and Jean Cocteau. It’s not just ancient history, though. The Imperator has seen a recent renaissance and is, once again, a center for art and culture in the center of Nîmes. I hope to see you in the Hemingway Bar before your trip begins!
On the Mediterranean Sea and the edge of the Camargue,this 3-star boutique hotel is steps away from the ramparts of the crusader town of Aigues-mortes and right on the serene Canal de Rhône à Sète. You’ll be spoiled for dinner because there are more than 30 restaurants within a 5-min walk of the hotel. Eat well – you’ve got some riding to do tomorrow!
Set in its own private park on the edge of the Cévennes National Park, 4-star Le Ranquet is one of Languedoc’s best kept secrets. Each room has it’s own exclusive entrance and terrace, and all are tastefully designed and charmingly decorated. Relax in your room or by the pool for as long as you like, before taking dinner in Le Ranquet’s fine dining restaurant.
Hostellerie Provençal is a small, stylish 3-star hotel hidden away on a side street right in the middle of the equally-stylish town of Uzès - a town with Roman origins, a long, rich and colorful history (it was the first Duchy in France), a very popular Saturday market. Dine at the hotel’s popular restaurant, La Parenthèse, or choose from the many great eateries in town, just steps from your room.
6 nights accommodation in 3 and 4-star hotels and one charming chambres d’hôtes.
All breakfasts and 2 dinners (drinks not included with dinners).
Bike rental (hybrid). If you bring your own we will deduct this cost from your tour.
Maps and a ‘road book’ of practical information.
A Garmin GPS navigation device for each couple (or individual, if travelling alone)
On-the-ground ‘Emergency’ support
Gratuities for hotel staff.
All baggage transportation between hotels.
Transportation to France.
Hotels before and after your tour.
Personal expenses, such as mini-bar, telephone or souvenir purchases.
Transfer between the airport/train station and your hotel