Pedal through history in France
Delve into French history on a Softies holiday, from the beaches of Normandy and the lavender fields of Provence to the majestic châteaux of the Loire.Read more
One of the great joys of bicycle touring is the chance to get a real taste of a region's culture. You can take this literally: with one of our new tours, wine buffs can cycle and sip their way around the prestigious Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy. For art lovers, we've also planned a glorious ride which wends its way through the richly coloured landscape of Provence that inspired Van Gogh.
Both tours are rated 'easy', so you'll have plenty of energy for the many attractions and activities off the saddle. You'll mainly be tackling flat roads running through vine-studded valleys and across river plains. At a recommended length of four or five to seven nights, they're the perfect length for a short break.
Burgundy's Route des Grand Crus
Only the very best Burgundy wines are granted Grand Cru status, and you'll have the chance to sample many of them on our Route des Grand Crus tour. The holiday begins in Morey Saint Denis in the heart of the Côte de Nuits, an area especially famous for pinot noir, before moving down to the walled town of Beaune.
This medieval town is famous for its annual charity wine auction, which takes place each November at the Hospices de Beaune – you'll recognise the building by its distinctive mosaic roof. The town is also home to the Musée du Vin de Bourgogne.
Next, we ride to Aloxe Corton, home to vineyards once owned by Charlemagne. Two of Burgundy's top tier Grand Crus are produced here, so be sure to have a tipple after touring the magnificent Château de Savigny-les-Beaune. We then continue south past wine cellar favourites Pommard, Volnay and Meursault, ending in Rully, your base for the next two days.
The tour ends with an evening in Puligny-Montrachet, in the heart of the Côte d'Or. It's home to the Montrachet vineyard, considered the home of the best white wine in the world. It would be rude not to have a glass or two, wouldn't it?
Starry Nights in Provence
The scenery on our Starry Nights in Provence tour has been immortalised in more than two hundred of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings. The magnificent countryside remains as it was when it inspired his work, and you can take it all in from the comfort of a saddle.
The circular route begins and ends in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh spent a year in an asylum. Here, he painted many of his most famous works, including Starry Night and Self-Portrait. The town's Musée Estrine celebrates the work of the great artist.
You'll find plenty of options to tailor the trip to your speed and needs. On day two, ride to the charming stone village of Eygaliéres, while the hilltop fortress of Baux-de-Provence is an option on day three. Both have unforgettable, sweeping views over the Alpilles. Art lovers should visit the Carrières de Lumières, where paintings are projected on the walls of the old quarry and set to music in a truly immersive experience.
Towards the end of your trip, take bird watching to a new level with flamingo-spotting in the Camargue Nature Reserve, where you'll visit one of its largest lagoons. Its famous wild horses and spectacular scenery might might even inspire you to paint your own masterpiece.
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