Home > Bike to the Sea and See Cassis
While larger Mediterranean cities and celebrity hot spots may get lots of hype, the glistening azure coastline and rainbow-hued houses of Cassis are no less eye-popping. This quiet seaside town remains a working fishing port, which makes it all the more appealing to us as the highlight of our tour — we like quiet, character-filled places that haven’t surrendered to time or progress or the pressure of hectic modern lives!
The route to Cassis is truly as blissful as the destination. Imagine riding by a mountain cloaked in holy legend (Sainte Baume), past the sunny yellow buildings of Aix-en-Provence, through scenes captured so beautifully by Cézanne (Mont Saint-Victoire), and Van Gogh during his most productive years (the Alpilles).
Consider this our official warning: many unsuspecting cyclists and would-be artists have come to explore this glorious region and wound up quitting their day jobs, packing up their lives, and buying a fixer-upper farmhouse or seaside cottage. After a week of riding here, you may be compelled to follow suit!
For travel and cycling tips to Provence, visit our "Travel and cycling tips" section.
Arrive in Avignon at the time of your choice. After checking in, take advantage of the central location of your hotel to stroll through this magnificent city and discover some of its treasures. If time allows, visit the Palace of the Popes, which also houses temporary exhibits and events, and Pont Saint-Bénézet, the “Pont d’Avignon” featured in a popular song.
Set out southwards through orchards and farmlands, before reaching the awe-inspiring Alpilles mountain range. The Alpilles have been enticing people since Roman times, and the many ancient remnants in this part of Provence are a testament to its longstanding draw. Mouriès and Maussane are two typical communes with warm-weather vegetation and architecture that spans the ages. Provençal-style blue shutters and red-tiled roofs are more modern” additions to the scene.
Olive trees and cicadas?! Yes, no doubt about it, you’re in Provence! Don’t expect to keep to your average speed as you are bound to stop again and again and again for picture taking. Of course, you can spend the day as you wish, and the possibilities are endless! For example, you could choose to visit a Marseille soap-maker today, one whose family business started back in 1900 and hasn’t stopped since. Your ride will then take you to one of Provence’s liveliest and most beautiful cities, Aix-en-Provence. The elegant avenue lined with sunshine-colored homes is straight out of a dream. No need to rush to see ‘everything’ as you’ll be here for two nights
Today is yours to organize the way you want. Whatever your interests are, you’ll have a wide choice of things to do, taste, smell, and explore! Just walking around through the winding side streets and beautiful squares of Aix is a treat. You’re bound to run into one of the colorful neighborhood markets — even those who hate shopping can’t resist perusing. Art lovers can visit Cézanne’s workshop or spend time searching for a ‘masterpiece’ of a scene to capture for your photo album.
Following the “Cézanne road” — so named since the painter could often be found here painting “Sainte-Victoire” mountain — you’ll soon discover the beauty that drew him and many others to this fascinating region. The white of the limestone, the red of the clay, the blue of the sky, and the green of the pines all play off each other, creating a festival of colors for the eyes. Your destination is Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume, a very special place in Christianity — the impressive gothic basilica was built where Mary Magdalene’s relics were found.
If you’ve read Marcel Pagnol’s delectable stories like My Father’s Glory and My Mother's Castle, you’re already familiar with the scenery you’re about to encounter today. Pagnol succeeded in describing what this short description fails to convey — the true spirit of Provence. Stress is a naughty word in this part of France, so let all your worries go as you exhale. A nice downhill ride will bring you at last to Cassis and the Mediterranean Sea.
After 5 days of cycling in Provence, you should be totally relaxed (you followed the instructions on Day 6, right?) — in the right state of mind to experience Cassis! Hiking along the coast, canoeing around the calanques, or taking boat rides are some of the activities you can partake in today. Even after an unforgettable cycling itinerary, this day in Cassis is one that will stand out in your memory.
After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice.
2 night in 3-star properties, 5 nights in 2-star properties (1 night with a swimming pool, 2 nights by the sea)
1 night in a 4-star property, 6 nights in 3-star properties (2 nights with a swimming pool, 2 nights by the sea, 2 nights by the sea & with a swimming pool)