Camargue means having white horses grazing on the left and pink flamingos wading through shallow waters on the right. Camargue also means pushing towards the strong Mistral north wind, or, being blown forward at a speed of 30 kilometres per hour. The extensive swamp landscape in the middle of the Provence in the south of France lies in the largest river delta of Western Europe. Discovering this region by bike is (mostly) pure relaxation. On narrow paths, the Provence enchants with its scents, as the thyme grows here directly on the wayside.
In this Collection, we have divided the route between the vibrant ports of Marseille and Montpellier into seven stages, varying from 30 to 80 kilometres. The journey is therefore also possible with less physical fitness and more breaks for enjoyment. All in all, the route is very flat and without much elevation. The route often leads off-road, offering fantastic panorama. The trip also suitable for families and makes for a great cycling holiday on the French Mediterranean coast. As an ambitious cyclist, you can do more in one day by doing two or more stages at once.
The Camargue Nature Reserve, unique in its atmosphere and biodiversity, stretches between the two cities. On your journey, you will encounter picturesque fishing villages, deserted natural sand beaches, shimmering pink salt lakes and countless native flamingos in the wild. The stages end in pretty coastal towns such as Martigues, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer or Sète.
In the high season, it is advisable to arrange accommodation early but there are numerous campsites, apartments and hotels on the route, which is very well developed for tourism. Another exciting option, often a bit off the beaten track, is checking out warmshowers.org, a community of cyclists offering free accommodation to fellow tourers. Staying overnight with locals gives you a completely different view of the places you visit.
Both the starting point Marseille and the endpoint Montpellier, are easy to reach by train from central Europe, often via Paris. And taking your bikes with you is generally no problem. At en.oui.sncf/en you can find all the info about the French railways.
The journey begins in the hip port city of Marseille, which is a worthwhile destination all year round with a mild climate. We recommend that you allow some time to explore the city before you reach the first destination: Martigues.Our first stage of 58 kilometers takes you along the Côte Bleue, the blue coast, out of the big city and offers you great views, picturesque fishing villages, hidden coves, sandy beaches and sea breezes.Let's start with a farewell tour around the old port in Marseille, past the Cathédrale de la Major and continue along the coast. Now you cross the former fishing village of L'Estaque, which has not attracted numerous famous painters for no reason. We recommend you take a break and enjoy the picturesque surroundings. For now it goes up the mountain, through the communities of Le Rove and Ensuès-la-Redonne, so you can enjoy an even better view.
Surrealistic salt lakes, Etruscan walls, a Celtic-Ligurian oppidum and stranded life dreams will meet you on your stage today. If you can not imagine anything like that, so much the better. On today's track you will hardly make any altitude difference. So you can take one or the other longer stopover and explore the impressive surroundings. The voyage of discovery to the fifth century BC can begin.After about ten kilometers you will arrive between the Étangs, quiet salt waters with an amazing geography. Here the road ends and it continues on trails and trails. The next stops are no less exciting. In the middle of the Forêt de Castillon, two archaeological sites await you.Then you continue to your destination Port-Saint-Louis-Du-Rhône, a tranquil harbor town. At this remote location, there are two exceptional destinations that will complete your tour today.
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From Palavas-les-Flots it is only a stone's throw to Montpellier. But why would you want to miss the great route to Sète, the Venice of the Languedoc, if the route is known to be the destination.Let's start the ride on a beautiful and well-maintained bike path along the Etang du Méjean and Etang de l'Arnel with a view of the flamingos that are strong through the water. Then it's on a small path past the nature reserve de l'Estragnol.You cross the villages of Mireval and Vic-la-Gardiole, where a small stopover to procure provisions. Because then you drive through the pretty grove Bois des Aresquiers, which invites you to a picnic.Would you prefer to stay in the shade of the fir trees, or do you miss the sound of the sea? Alternatively, instead of turning right into the forest, you can continue straight ahead and take the great bike path along the coast.