France Bike Tour: Lyon to the Mediterranean Sea

As of today, Adam and I have officially been on vacation for three weeks. It’s the longest Adam hasn’t worked since high school and me since we moved to Alaska.

But back to our big adventure so far.

From Lyon, we took a train to Vienne and started biking the ViaRhona route south. We had originally planned to skip the Rhone, but the VR website made the trail and scenery look so enticing! We had a decent time on our first leg and biked ~50 miles to the town of Valence.

At camp, we met a lovely bike tourer from Switzerland. She and her family had 6 weeks to tour the Rhone, biking in from Geneva through Lyon and south. Bless them – they did it was two kids. Celia was her name and she was lovely to talk to.

About 20 miles into the next day, we got into the still developed but much less scenic ViaRhona route. So, we said forget it, hopped a train and headed south to Avignon.

I should be clear – there is no ‘hopping’ on trains with four fully loaded panniers per bike. It’s a workout each time, naturally our trains are never on the track closest to the depot. Stairs, lifts, on/off the trains… It’s a maneuver each time. You should see the stares we(I) get, carrying our bikes up and down flights of stairs.

Anyway – Avignon is cool. There is a ton of medieval history here – 9 popes, ramparts, a neat old bridge and a castle or fort built by John the Good. We toured the Palais du Papes – a mini Vatican in Avignon. 

After one night, it was another train south to Sète. We are officially on the Mediterranean! We beelined to the sea and swam. The water is so warm and turquoise and we are camping close enough to hear it on the breakers at times.  

And, because the universe has a sense of humor – today it thundered, poured rain and we even had lightening. Adam & I biked to Sète to see the lighthouse and as soon as we locked our bikes…Drip, drip… And the sky opened up on us. We spent over an hour in a small restaurant, waiting for a break in the clouds to pedal home.      


Southbound on the ViaRhona
Along the Rhone
Palais du Papes
Palais du Papes
Looking at Avignon. The gilded figure is the Palais du Papes. Check out the ramparts!
“Our Daily Bread” – pastries in Avignon!
First stop on the Med
Sunset walk on the beach

3 thoughts on “France Bike Tour: Lyon to the Mediterranean Sea

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