cs / en
cs / en
PROVENCE
France

PROVENCE

  • 5 days
  • couples
  • spring, summer, fall

When you say Provence, probably the first thing that comes to mind is lavender. But consider exploring this region in spring or autumn, otherwise you will often be crowded by other tourists. We went on this trip in late March, and it was great. Five days of packed programme await you. You will get to know the beautiful ancient villages and towns, take a peek into the local nature and taste the local gastronomy. If you're craving the scent and colour of lavender, you'll have to travel here in late June and early July, but be prepared to be in the company of many other travellers everywhere at all times. In contrast, in the off-season you can explore all the parts and corners of the region mostly on your own, only ocassionally running into tourists.

4.8 / 5 User reviews
5
Day

Camargue National Park

Transfer to Camargue National Park. Bike ride among the flocks of flamingos. Visit the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Transfer to the airport.

For the last day it is important to have a plane ticket for the latest possible time. A visit to the Camargue Natural Park awaits you. In the morning, get to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer as early as possible (route). Leave your car in the car park and rent a bike at The Bike Saintois. Rent bikes for half a day – that means 4 hours. They have both classic and electric bikes. Please note you can't pay by card, cash only. The ride is without any elevation gain, but if you're not in shape, feel free to opt for an electric bike so that you can ride a bit further. The rental company will also recommend a route, it's probably best to go on this route for such a short time. With stops it will take you 4 hours. You can't buy anything along the way, so take water with you. You'll ride between the sea, wetlands, and floodplains, and see lots of water birds, and most importantly flamingos! We were here at the end of March and there were no mosquitoes yet, but I imagine it can be annoying here during the summer. Still, it's a good idea to wear sunglasses/glasses on the bike, there were quite a few other flying insects.

Have a late lunch when you get back. L'Atelier is a great restaurant. They have imaginative decorations; really good food and the service was absolutely perfect!

Afterwards, you can explore the small town centre, be sure to go to the church of the Sanctuaire des Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – Notre Dame de la Mer. Or go and relax on the beach.

The drive to the airport from here takes about 1.5 hours (route). If you still have time, you can stop at the Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau, but you won't see much more than on the bike ride. You need at least 1 hour to visit. We stopped in the town of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône to see the salinas Salt Pan Observation mound. But honestly it wasn't quite worth the detour.

TIP – if you missed the sightseeing in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille on the first day, you could change your itinerary for today. If you like horses, don't miss the camargue horse ride. The Promenade à cheval Chez Elise has very good reviews. 

What will you visit?

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Morning

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

A small town on the shore of the sea, shrouded in legends and the tales of Mary and Sarah. Before you come here, do a little research into the legend or theories of what happened. Otherwise, the place is an ideal starting point for exploring Camargue Park. There's also a great bike rental service. The most visited place is the church of the Sanctuaire des Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – Notre Dame de la Mer, where the tower has a beautiful view and there is a statue of the Black Sarah. It is a place of pilgrimage for all Roma. At the end of May there is a regular Roma pilgrimage (24-25 May).

Parc naturel régional de Camargue

The Camargue is a region in the Rhone Delta where the coast meets the sea. The river here forms a fairly wide delta. It is a paradise for water birds. Perhaps the most exotic are the flamingos. The white horses of the Camargue are to be found here. You'll also see the odd black cattle – the original Gaelic breed. The park is ideal for easy cycling. There are also plenty of bike hire facilities. A great starting point for exploring the park is the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

The Bike Saintois

Big bike rental. They also have electric bikes. We rented a normal men's trek bike and an e-bike – both were in perfect condition. We also got a tire repair kit and basic tools. They advised us which route to take. They keep your passport or other ID as collateral. The downside is that they don't accept credit card payments.

300-499
4-8 hours
  • 19 Av. de la République, 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Francie
    43.4516261N, 4.4288686E
  • limited
  • +33490977456
  • W
  • yes
  • P
    yes

Short trip on bikes

A route for a shorter bike trip. We rented bikes for 4 hours. With breaks for flamingo photos, walks on the beach, coffee, and a glass of wine at the last café on the way out of town, it took us almost exactly 4 hours. The route is 39 km round trip, zero elevation gain. Difficulty level: very easy.

3-4 hours
Afternoon

L'Atelier

Very good restaurant with great decorations. Great grilled beef, good burgers, and absolutely fantastic desserts! Service was the best we had during our stay in France.

1-1,5 hours
  • 3 Av. de la République, 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Francie
    43.4510644N, 4.4290378E
  • limited
  • +33490978127
  • W
  • unknown
  • P
    no

Sanctuaire des Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – Notre Dame de la Mer

A fortified church from the 9th century, which is the destination of the annual Roma pilgrimage (always on 24 and 25 May). The reason for this is the statue of the Black Sarah, which can be found in the crypt of the church. She is always dressed in brightly coloured clothes. Climb the tower too, the view is very good.

1-100
0,5-0,75 hours

Marseille Provence Airport

Airport about 30 km from Marseille. There are two terminals – they are close to each other, so it's only about 3 minutes on foot from one to the other. Car rental is in front of Terminal 1.

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