The Via Rhôna is one of France’s most exciting and varied cycling routes, following the Rhône River from Lake Geneva in Switzerland to France’s Mediterranean coast, covering over 815km. This section, cycling Lyon to Orange is an eight day adventure between one of the oldest cities in France and Provence. Cycle to the likes of Saint-Romain-en-Gal’s Roman archaeological site, the ancient hilltop town of Montélimar and through vineyards of the Ardèche. Stay in a mix of small, locally-owned hotels with luggage transfers. E-bikes are also available.
- Rhône Valley
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Day 1: Arrival in Lyon
Welcome to Lyon. Depending on arrival time, spend the day visiting one of France’s oldest cities, with sites including the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière and Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse food market. Alternatively, enjoy a meal in the French capital of gastronomy at one of the bouchons, which serve traditional Lyonnaise cuisine.
- Accommodation: Hôtel le Simplon or similar in Lyon
Day 2: Lyon to Vienne | 34km
Leaving Lyon, the route passes through Grigny, Givors and Saint-Romain-en-Gal. The museums and archaeological sites in Saint-Romain-en-Gal and Vienne offer a glimpse into the river’s rich history and are definitely worth a visit.
If you wish to avoid the busy roads of this section there is the option to take a train to Vienne.
- Cycling for the day: 34km, ↑330m, ↓344m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Ibis Lyon Sud Vienne Saint Louis or similar in Vienne
Day 3: Vienne to Serrières | 33km
Today’s route offers a variety of landscapes, from the Roman town of Vienne, to Île du Beurre (Beaver Island) Nature Reserve. Cycle past steep, terraced vineyards, including the prestigious Côte-Rôtie vineyards as well as some of many orchards that you will spot along the Rhône Valley.
- Cycling for the day: 33km, ↑255m, ↓270m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Schaeffer or similar in Serrières
Day 4: Serrières to Valence | 61km
Heading south, this stage of the Via Rhôna takes you into the Ardèche region, home to a plethora of orchards and vineyards, the latter producing grapes for Saint-Joseph wines. Arriving in Tournon-sur-Rhône enjoy a break and discover the area’s Gallo-Roman history.
- Cycling for the day: 61km, ↑438m, ↓448m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Alpes Cevennes or similar in Guilheran Granges
Day 5: Valence to Montélimar | 71km
From Valence, the route follows the Ardèche River known for its caves, archaeological sites and nature reserves. Continuing south along the Via Rhôna, the route eventually reaches the ancient hilltop town of Montélimar, also famous for its nougat.
- Cycling for the day: 71km, ↑460m, ↓503m
- Accommodation: Hôtel le Printemps or similar in Montélimar
Day 6: Montélimar to Bourg-Saint-Andéol | 30km
Leaving Montélimar, continue along the Rhône through Viviers and Bourg-Saint-Andéol. Today’s route is short, but includes several stops to explore the historical sites of the area, including cathedrals and chapels.
- Cycling for the day: 28.5km, ↑205m, ↓236m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Domaine des Oliviers or similar in Pierrelatte
Day 7: Bourg-Saint-Andéol to Orange | 51km
Today’s route takes you through Pont-Saint-Esprit, before coming to a wonderful finale in Orange. Spend the afternoon exploring Orange’s multiple historical sites, including the Arc de Triomphe d’Orange and the Théâtre Antique d’Orange UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Cycling for the day: 51km, ↑304m, ↓308m
- Accommodation: Hôtel le Glacier or similar in Orange
Day 8: Departure
The tour concludes after breakfast.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of small, locally-owned hotels, B&Bs and traditional guesthouses. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included each morning. When no restaurant location is available en route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or you can pre-order a packed lunch at your hotel. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the local area.
Difficulty and terrain
This tour is rated moderate and is appropriate for cyclists with a good level of experience and fitness. Daily cycling distances are between 30-72km on generally flat terrain with no steep ascents or descents (read more about difficulty grades).
We provide detailed route notes and GPS tracks and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed information on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from April until October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season. Please note, that this tour is unable to start on Thursdays between April-June and September-October.
The best time for cycling is between May and September when the weather is generally good, and the average daily temperatures are 22-24C, going up to 27C in July and August.
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- Flying to Paris: Take the TGV high-speed train to Lyon (2h). For timetables and further information, visit SNCF-Connect.
- Train connections from the UK: Take the Eurostar from London St-Pancras International to Paris (Gard du Nord). Visit SNCF-Connect for more details on schedules and prices on your onward journeys.
- Departure from Orange: From Orange, there are train connections to Paris, Lyon and other destinations. For routes and prices, visit SNCF-Connect.
- 7 nights in private rooms with en-suite facilities
- 7 breakfasts
- Luggage transport on cycling days (one piece per person up to 20kg)
- Tourist city taxes
- Digital tour materials including detailed roadbook with maps, navigation app for smartphones, and GPS tracks (Please note, that the information pack for this tour is digital only and will be emailed to you prior to departure. Physical documents can be provided on-site at an additional fee)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Travel-related changes in the programme due to bad weather
- Entry fees (payable on-site)
- Personal expenses
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights
- Bike rental (hybrid bikes or e-bikes)
- Printed tour materials at first accommodation
- Option to upgrade accommodations (solo traveller supplement for upgrades available on request)
Both hybrid and e-bikes are available to rent on this tour. Both options include helmet rental as standard.
Hybrid bike: SCOTT Sub Cross Men/Women Alloy Frame, 24 speed. Supplied with pannier, handlebar bag, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock.
E-bike: SCOTT E-Sub. Supplied with pannier, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock.
Sample pictures. Please note, that the exact models may differ depending on availability, but the standard will be the same.