Day 1: Arrival in Condrieu (optional 19 miles/30 km)
After checking-in at your hotel in Condrieu, take some time to relax surrounded by the stunning landscape. Leaning against the Natural Park of Pilat, the steep slopes sheltering the prestigious vineyards of Côtes Rôties and Condrieu dominate the river from their terraces.
Optional: After receiving your bikes, you will have the option to enjoy an out and back cycle tour from your hotel. Immerse yourself in the Gallo-Roman history and enjoy a beautiful cycle path between Condrieu and Vienne. Take some time to visit the archaeological sites of Saint-Romain-en-Gal: one of the largest ensembles devoted to the Gallo-Roman civilization in France on 7 hectares. It’s one of the most extensive Roman residential areas discovered in France! Vienne is a city of Art and History; you will be spoiled for choices: Augustus and Livie Temple, the Pyramid and also the archaeological garden of Cybèle.
The antique theatre (40 and 50 years after JC), takes the form of a hill and is used as a scene during the summer Jazz festival. On the return trip, you will pass by the great Tour des Valois (1343); the only remain of the Ste Colombre-les-Vienne fortifications. You will continue on the cycle path to the Nature Reserve of the Beurre Island before returning to Condrieu.
Day 2: Condrieu – Tain l’Hermitage (35 miles/56 km)
Start your ride by leaving Condrieu, home of the grape variety of Viognier which goes back to the time of Probus, a Roman Emperor. The bike path runs along the right bank of the Rhone and leads you to the dam on the Rhone of St Pierre de Boeuf. The trail then crosses the nature reserve of the island of the Platière between 2 arms of the Rhone, until the Sablons. You will follow the left bank of the Rhône until St Vallier before reaching the right bank and keep it until Tournon. The town is separated from Tain l'Hermitage by the bridge of Europe that you will take to cycle along the river until Tain. In the evening, you will have a great view over the castle of Tournon. Tain l'Hermitage is a famous wine stage, well known for its classified wines that are found in terraces, on both sides of the Rhone.
Day 3: Tain l’Hermitage – le Pouzin (37 miles/60 km)
You cycle along the Rhône on a nature path for about 8 miles until you reach Pont de l’Isère. The Isère River, which takes its source at the pass of Iseran in Savoy, flows lazily into the Rhône. You cross the Isère on a metal bridge dedicated to bicycles and cycle along the right bank to the city of Valence. There is no difficulty during the crossing, the way is very well marked and the route well protected from the traffic. Once you pass the city center of Valence and its famous Amoureux de Peynet kiosk, you will cross the river at the exit of the town. You will pass the villages of Charmes and Beauchastel, a nice place that overlooks the Rhône. Continue to Voulte Pouzin, the gateway to the Ardèche. Continue cycling about 5 miles/8 km until you reach your overnight destination of Le Pouzin.
Day 4: Le Pouzin – Pierrelatte (37 miles/60 km)
Today you will continue riding along the Rhône passing through the villages of Cruas and Rochemaure, dominated by the remains of its castle. Then you will cross a Himalayan footbridge of 340 m long, an exceptional work of art achieved for Via Rhôna. You will cycle along an arm of the Rhône, on a splendid nature way leading you to the bridge of Viviers. The route continues along the Rhône, then passes the Cité du Barrage and continues until Bourg St-Andéol. You will again cross over the Rhône and continue cycling 2 miles/3 km to Pierrelatte.
Day 5: Pierelatte – Pont St Esprit – Avignon (39 miles/62 km)
The route continues its descent to the south, along small low-traffic roads and on shared paths to the surroundings of Pont St Esprit. You will reach this place by the famous medieval bridge of Pont St Esprit over the Rhône (920m long, 26 arches were built to support the bridge). Pont St Esprit is the oldest bridge over the Rhône that is still being used. Originally a necessary crossing point over the Rhône between Provence and Languedoc.
Once you arrive in the lovely town of Pont St Esprit, take some time to visit one of the many religious or civil sites like the Priory of St Pierre, Saturnin church and the knight’s house. You continue along the quays and across the countryside, filled with the Rhône valley orchards. The stage continues to the south of Marcoule, before crossing the Rhône again on a cycle path that leads to Caderousse. The village and its winding little streets are surrounded by a seawall of 10 ft/3 m high built in 1856. Make sure to visit the belfry of Saint-Michel church with its triangular shape six bells, as well as the common house and its iron belfry, finely chiseled.
The route continues to Roquemaure and the island of Barthelasse by 2 successive bridges, separated by the Popes Island. On the western side, you can see Villeneuve les Avignon and the tower of Philippe Le Bel, standing like an observation post on the Rhône. At its foot, some barges give this serene landscape a touch of life. You will leave the island by the Pont du Royaume bridge and you reach Avignon.
Day 6: Departure from Avignon
Your tour ends after breakfast. Departure or extension in Avignon.