Cycling holiday in Provence
Description of Cycling holiday in Provence
Ah, what could be more blissful than pedalling past the linear grape vines, through the pine forests and underneath the ancient aqueducts of Provence?
From the sun-kissed wine estates of Chateauneuf du Pape and the tow paths of the Canal d'Arles along the Rhone, to the laid back lifestyles of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres and Les Baux-de-Provence, this cycling holiday opens up the idylls from where to soak up the good life in southern France.
The cycling pace is always conversational with Orange, Saint Remy and Arles offering little in the way of undulations unless you’re looking for them, of course.
Stroll over cobbled streets, taste the luscious red wines of Avignon and soak up the Mediterranean sea breeze at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, whatever you do, don’t pass up this perfect week of pedalling in Provence.
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PlanetA core part of our company's commitment to responsible travel is to actively avoid (and discourage people from visiting) any establishment that participates in or condones the exploitation of animals. On this trip you'll visit Arles, where traditional bullfighting occurs at the famed Arles arena. Although non-fatal (the aim is to remove the objects placed between the bull's horns) we strongly recommend not attending given the stress it causes the animals.
On cycling trips, it is easy to use plastic excessively, especially in hot climates or during the summer months. Rather than use single-use plastic bottles we refill our water bottles from a large water drum kept on our support vehicle. We also encourage people to snack on fresh, seasonal fruits rather than processed fruits in plastic wrappers. As well as keeping a large water drum on our support vehicle we also take advantage of the French tradition of having a drinking water fountain in each village and refill our water bottles directly from the source.
Our greatest contribution to minimising our transportation's impact on the environment is to travel by bike, avoiding the use of any energy or fuel. When we do use a vehicle we are committed to providing local experiences and as part of this philosophy during this trip we use local forms of transport wherever possible. Where we use private transport we stick to the small back roads which minimises the impact on locals using the main roads for daily routines. Where we do use a support vehicle, we will always ensure that it is an appropriate size to suit the cyclists it supports – no using a 16-seater minivan if we only have five people travelling.
On this trip we have joined up with a local Europe-based supplier who shares our commitment to responsible business, from waste and water management to ensuring we are leaving as minimal a foot (or rather tyre) print as possible. We ensure they are educated on all aspects of responsible business, and supported in making any changes they need to improve in this regard.
PeopleAn important part of travel is mixing with the locals and experiencing “real life” in your destination. On this trip, along with staying in locally-owned hotels/guesthouses, we visit small cafes and restaurants and buy locally produced crafts and locally grown fresh produce. This gives locals the opportunity to earn money directly and our travellers the chance to interact with local people in their everyday environment.
We also use only European cycling guides and support staff, as well as local guides in many destinations.
We source local activities which we believe are sustainable to the economy in that they allow the flow of income from visitors to be distributed to a greater audience, rather than remain concentrated with tourism providers. This could be as simple as spending time in a local café, to cooking classes in a local home and shopping at small local stores. On this trip you have the opportunity to enjoy a walk across the famed Pont du Gard, where entry fees go directly towards the bridge's preservation. You’ll also visit the stunning Les Baux-de-Provence where old limestone quarries have been transformed into a cultural lightshow and enjoy an optional wine tasting at the world renowned Chateauneuf-du-Pape vineyards.
The role of females in cycling has often been that of support staff. To help combat this we try and ensure as many of our cycling trips as possible have a head female cycling guide.
All aspects of this trip (on the ground) are operated by Europeans (most of whom live locally) including all our cycling guides, support vehicle drivers, local site guides, and accommodation providers. We provide our cycling leaders with a formal 4-day cycling training course so that they are up to speed with the needs of our travellers as well as building their skills.
Locals know where the best food, souvenirs, local crafts and entertainment can be found. This trip is operated by local Europeans and we ensure any shopping opportunities, from the larger centres like Avignon and Arles to the tiny villages we stop off at, offer authentic experiences that showcase the Provence's rich and unique culture and crafts.
Food and wine is often a highlight in Provence and we offer a variety of opportunities to sample the full range. From the renowned red and white wines of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region (we recommend the Grenache noir) to delicious Daube (Provençal beef stew) in Orange, or the ever-popular vegetarian ratatouille in Arles. If you're out shopping keep an eye out for the locally produced Marseille de Savon soap or queue up with the locals for jars of fresh jams and tapenade.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles for Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40 ft shipping containers that Bicycles for Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence.
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