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From Marseille to Montpellier — France's south coast by bike

From Marseille to Montpellier — France's south coast by bike

Bike Touring Collection by Hannah

4-7

days

3-5 h

/ day

208 mi

4,600 ft

4,425 ft

Camargue is where white horses graze on the left and pink flamingos stand in shallow waters on the right. It’s about pedalling against the strong Mistral northerly, or being blown along at a brisk 30 kph with it at your back. The extensive marshland in the middle of Provence in the south of France lies in the largest river delta in Western Europe and discovering this region by bike is pure bliss. Along narrow paths, Provence bewitches with its scents, as thyme grows right by the wayside.

In this Collection, I’ve divided the route between the vibrant port cities of Marseille and Montpellier into seven stages that vary from 30 to 80 kilometres (18–50 mi). As a result, you can undertake the adventure with only a moderate level of fitness and plenty of breaks to enjoy the sights. Overall, the route is mostly flat with little in the way of altitude gain. The trail takes you offroad on rougher tracks with fantastic panoramas. Due to its mixed surface, touring bikes or gravel bikes are best. This Collection is great for families and makes for a wonderful cycling holiday on the French Mediterranean coast. If you’re ambitious, you can easily combine stages and finish faster.

Between the two cities is the Camargue nature reserve, unique in its atmosphere and biodiversity. On your way, you’ll come across picturesque fishing villages, deserted natural sandy beaches, shimmering pink salt lakes and countless native flamingos in the wild. The stages end in pretty coastal towns like Martigues, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer or Sète.

In the high season, it’s advisable to contact accommodation well in advance. The route is very well developed for tourism: there are numerous campsites, holiday flats and hotels. A wonderful option for accommodation is the Warmshowers cycling community, a network of cycling enthusiasts who offer overnight stays in their homes. Staying with locals gives you a completely different perspective on the places you visit and you can make great acquaintances.

The starting point of Marseille is easy to reach by train from across Europe. You can take your bike with you and enjoy a low-emission and sustainable holiday. At sncf-connect.com/en-en you can find out about routes and prices for French trains. If you travel from Germany, book the route to Paris with a German travel agent and the route from Paris to Marseille with a French travel agent, you will get a much better deal. It also pays to book early. There are numerous connections from Montpellier to Germany via Paris as well.

On The Map

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Von Marseille nach Montpellier

202 mi

4,150 ft

4,025 ft

Last updated: July 30, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Marseille to Martigues — the Camargue by bike

    Difficult
    04:41
    35.5 mi
    7.6 mph
    1,875 ft
    1,925 ft
    Ferry
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Your trip begins in the port city of Marseille, with a mild climate a worthwhile travel destination all year round. I recommend you plan some time to explore the city before heading for your first destination: Martigues.

    

    The first stage of 58 kilometers takes you along the Côte Bleue, the blue coast

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  • Intermediate
    03:51
    35.8 mi
    9.3 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You will encounter surrealistic salt lakes, Etruscan walls, a Celtic-Ligurian oppidum and stranded dreams of life on your stage today. If you can't imagine anything by that, so much the better. The journey of discovery can begin.

    

    After about ten kilometers you will reach the Étangs, calm salt waters with

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  • Intermediate
    02:52
    25.7 mi
    9.0 mph
    100 ft
    125 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Today the path leads you through the breathtaking landscape of the Camargue. Far away from traffic, extraordinary flora and fauna, deserted beaches, salt flowers and loads of flamingos await you on your journey through the nature reserve. Your destination for today is Saint-Maries-De-La-Mer, located

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  • Intermediate
    02:00
    21.6 mi
    10.8 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Let yourself be carried away into the world of the Etangs on small paths through the hinterland. The stage of only 35 kilometers gives you enough time to explore the exciting landscapes. If you prefer to cycle through, you can also connect this stage to the previous or the next.

    

    Your path leads you through

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  • Easy
    01:57
    18.9 mi
    9.7 mph
    175 ft
    150 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today there are 30 relaxed kilometers on the program, lined with flamingos, pine trees, the sea and a natural sandy beach. On top of that there are wonderful bike paths. If you're motivated, it's best to add the next stage right away.

    

    On the first section you drive along the Etangs and can see enough

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  • Intermediate
    02:21
    21.9 mi
    9.4 mph
    325 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Palavas-les-Flots it is only a stone's throw to Montpellier. But why should you miss the great route to Sète, the Venice of Languedoc, when the path is known to be the destination.

    

    The ride begins on a beautiful and well-developed cycle path along the Etang du Méjean and Etang de l'Arnel with a view

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  • Difficult
    05:09
    48.7 mi
    9.5 mph
    1,225 ft
    1,075 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Today is your last stage to Montpellier. Because it was so beautiful, you can look forward to a lap of honor around the Etang de Thau. And if you like delicacies, there is a delicious snack fresh from the Etang halfway on the sporty tour of 80 kilometers.

    

    Once out of Sète, a dreamlike, ten kilometer long

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    208 mi
  • Duration
    22:51 h
  • Elevation
    4,600 ft4,425 ft

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