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From the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea – ViaRhôna cycle path

© ViaRhôna

From the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea – ViaRhôna cycle path

Bike Touring Collection by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

15

Tours

48:57 h

501 mi

10,225 ft

The ViaRhôna is a cycle path that follows the course of the River Rhône as it flows from Switzerland across the southeast of France to Montpellier on the Mediterranean. It passes through the mountains and the region of Provence, winding through landscapes that are typical to the South of France and arriving at the beach. Wonderful hospitality, a relaxed way of life and unique French cuisine await you on this adventure.

Whenever possible, you cycle along car-free bike paths or quiet side roads. Aside from a few climbs, mostly at the beginning, the route is relatively flat. In total, you cover 707 or 754 kilometres (439 or 468 miles), depending on which final stage you choose. Along the way, there are countless towns, small and large, where you can stop for a bite to eat or spend the night. Whether you like to camp or prefer a luxury hotel, you’ll find both options here.

The first part of the official route in Saint-Gingolph follows along a national road that is not so attractive. Because of this, this Collection starts slightly differently in the city of Geneva, which is easy to reach. This alternative route is more beautiful and accessible. Geneva is centrally located and convenient if you are arriving by public transport. From the east, you can travel to Geneva by train via Bern, Basel or Zurich. From the west, TGV trains run from Paris or Lyon. If you come by car, you’ll find a large selection of parking spaces in Geneva. However, these are almost all paid. If you’re lucky, you can find cheaper parking in the suburbs along the Rhône.

This route takes you from the Alps to the sea in 14 stages. You explore sparsely populated areas and long stretches of peace and quiet. After seven stages, you reach the city of Lyon, which has excellent transport connections. This gives you the option of splitting your trip into two holidays. After stage 12, you arrive in the city of Arles where you choose between two route variants. You can either ride into the heart of Montpellier or follow the 13b route to Plage Napoléon, a quiet beach in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone close to the mouth of the Rhône. Whichever route you choose, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable journey on the ViaRhôna cycling route.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    02:14
    20.8 mi
    9.3 mph
    1,175 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first day takes you in several sections from the valley of Lake Geneva up to the foot of the "Montagne de Vuache". It always goes uphill a bit, followed by a short drive back into the valley. That would be pretty grueling in the long run, but luckily it's done after three climbs.Geneva city traffic will also accompany …

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  • Intermediate
    01:49
    18.5 mi
    10.2 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,900 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's route takes you along one of the most spectacular landscapes of the ViaRhôna: On the northern flank of the “Montagne de Vuache” you pass the “Le Défilé de l'Ecluse” needle eye and, together with the Rhône, break through the first and highest mountain range in France Jura along their way.It is therefore no coincidence that at the beginning …

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  • Intermediate
    02:01
    21.0 mi
    10.4 mph
    700 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Seyssel, you first walk comfortably along the Rhone until a short but crisp ascent over a main road awaits you at the mouth of the "Fier". There is a hard shoulder marked for cyclists, but it is not even a meter wide and actually only deserves the name cycle path thanks to the signs on the roadside.Alternatively, you …

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  • Intermediate
    02:27
    24.8 mi
    10.1 mph
    825 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After a leisurely start to the day, about seven kilometers behind Belley, you turn for a brief moment into the valley of the "vieux Rhône", which breaks through the Jura again here. As scenic as this section is, you should be careful here and concentrate well on the road despite the overwhelming view. Apart from a steep incline along the …

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  • Intermediate
    03:41
    37.5 mi
    10.2 mph
    950 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today is all about caves and underground passages. So if it is one of those typically hot summer days in France, you will find enough opportunities on this stage to cool off a bit underground.From Groslée, the cycle path surprisingly makes a sweeping arc, away from the Rhône, down to the north of the Isère department. There are many …

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  • Intermediate
    02:41
    27.2 mi
    10.1 mph
    775 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The land is now becoming increasingly flatter and the mountains are also saying goodbye to the horizon. Meanwhile, the Rhone is finally finding its way into the vastness of the valley to which the Upper Rhine Graben also belongs geologically. From now on, it will follow this plain as far as the Mediterranean Sea. For you that means: no more strenuous climbs.

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  • Intermediate
    02:01
    20.3 mi
    10.1 mph
    300 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The seventh stage takes you on the outskirts of the suburbs of Lyon after only a few kilometers into the forest and lake landscape of the “Miribel-Jonage” park. Since today's total route is quite short at just over 30 kilometers, you have enough time to explore this green oasis at the gates of Lyon.Once you have reached Lyon, the …

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  • Intermediate
    03:06
    31.7 mi
    10.2 mph
    625 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second part of your journey from Geneva to the Mediterranean begins in Lyon. If you have already driven the section from Geneva to Lyon on a previous vacation or want to join the route here, Lyon can be reached quickly from Paris or Basel, for example. If you drive the entire route in one go, it is worth taking …

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  • Intermediate
    03:45
    37.6 mi
    10.0 mph
    400 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Condrieu you start further south. The path from here is perfect for touring and in Condrieu you can treat yourself to a pain au chocolat at the Boulangerie Au Plaisir Des Saveurs.The landscape changes, it becomes more mountainous on both sides of the Rhone and on the slopes you can admire the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône …

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  • Difficult
    06:22
    65.1 mi
    10.2 mph
    775 ft
    925 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You come to Tournon-sûr-Rhône through Valence, the capital of the Drône department. Here it is worth pushing your bike a little and taking a look at the historic old town. Past the Fontaine Monumentale to the Esplanade du Champ de Mars, from where you have a wonderful view of the surroundings.The Rhone flows further and further south and the …

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  • Difficult
    05:49
    60.0 mi
    10.3 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This is another long stage, at the end of which the former papal seat of Avignon is waiting for you. First you drive further south and leave Viviers behind you. Let's go to Provence. You have finally arrived in the warm south.The first section of the route takes you past the spectacular cliffs of the Defilé de Donzères and …

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  • Intermediate
    04:02
    43.1 mi
    10.7 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After the many kilometers of the last few days, a shorter tour awaits today with the beautiful destination Arles. It is worthwhile to take a round in Avignon in the morning and watch the hustle and bustle around the Papal Palace.Then it goes out of the city, here the landscape is really flat now. It goes past fields, vines …

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  • Intermediate
    04:15
    44.9 mi
    10.5 mph
    350 ft
    400 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's route takes you directly through the Camargue nature reserve, past flamingos, rice and salt fields. The destination is La Grande-Motte. In the morning it is advisable to take a nice walk through the center of Arles, where Vincent van Gogh also lived. The ViaRhôna now runs along the Canal du Rhône à Sête.In the true, but still very …

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  • Intermediate
    02:57
    32.1 mi
    10.9 mph
    100 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    In Arles, instead of going to the actual destination of the ViaRhôna in busy Montpellier, you can choose to take a different route. You use the variant described here if you alternatively want to go directly from Arles to a beautiful beach to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. If you choose this variant, you cycle from …

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  • Easy
    01:46
    16.3 mi
    9.2 mph
    350 ft
    200 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After many long days, the last stage is more of a short drive. Especially in summer it is worthwhile to just spend a few hours on the beach. A little way out of the city there is enough space in the sand even in midsummer. The tour then takes you directly along the Mediterranean coast to Montpellier. The view over the flat coast is beautiful.

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    15
  • Distance
    501 mi
  • Duration
    48:57 h
  • Elevation
    10,225 ft

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From the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea – ViaRhôna cycle path

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