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Cévennes & Ardèche (Southern France)

Road Cycling Holidays in the Massif Central

  • Explore this remote and beautiful part of France, experiencing cliff-hugging roads, open moorland, and ancient forests
  • Cycle through the spectacular gorges of the Jonte, Tarn, and Ardèche
  • Summit the Tour de France stage ending of Mont Aigoual
  • Comfortable and friendly hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists
  • Route options daily so you decide how much or how little you want to cycle
  • Excellent support from two customised support vans and two expert, proactive and fun guides, focused on making your holiday the very best it can be
  • Transfers included from/to Marseille airport with numerous, good value flight options

Days on the bike

6 days

This was my 6th Marmot trip, each one has been fantastic, but this one was the best of the lot. The Cevennes & Ardeche are beautiful regions of France, the routes were excellent, and the people made a great holiday even better. Thank you again Marmot you smashed it !!

Introduction

This flexible-pace French road cycling tour has been carefully crafted so you can explore the very best cycling on offer in this beautiful and remote corner of the south of France. We run this cycling itinerary in Spring and Autumn when the weather is ideal for cycling. Quiet, well-surfaced roads, spectacular and varied scenery, and historic villages are the hallmarks of this mountainous region. During this tour, you will encounter deep gorges, open moorland, meandering rivers, vineyards, limestone plateaus, and ancient forests – the scenery is a delight. The views are far-reaching and dramatic, and the sense of achievement as you summit the climbs is incredible.

This is a Marmot Classic style holiday, so it’s perfect for mixed-ability pairs or groups of friends. You’ll have two or three route options daily so it’s entirely up to you how much (or how little) you choose to ride each day. Those on the Classic route can expect to cycle an average of 79km per day with approx.1,270m of ascent, so it is one of our gentler tours. The optional extra climbs or loops on the Challenge route clock up an average of up to 123km per day with 2,100m of ascent, for those wanting to push themselves further.

Regardless of which route you choose each day, this week is most definitely a holiday! Our two Marmot guides with customised support vehicles are there to offer you incomparable support on the road, to help you achieve your goals, and to have an unforgettable cycling experience!

It is important to us that you book the correct road cycling holiday for you, so please download and read the Trip Notes for all you need to know about how this holiday works: food, accommodation, travel and so on…

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Departure Dates & Prices

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
May
21st May - 28th May
£1490.00
Single Room Sup. £340.00
Sep
15th Sep - 22nd Sep
£1520.00
Single Room Sup. £340.00

We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts off the basic trip cost (not including extras such as single rooms or bike hire):

  • Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of the start of your holiday for our 5% early bookers discount
  • Get a group of 10+ people together for a 7.5% group discount and, as the group organiser, receive a £150 voucher for your next holiday
  • Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards

Please note that there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday.

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Arrival day

We offer included airport transfers (a journey of 2hrs) at scheduled times during the day from Marseille airport (MRS) to our start hotel near the pretty market town of Anduze.

Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights)  can be found in our Trip Notes.

Check-in, assemble bikes and share a hearty meal in preparation for the adventure ahead! Those of you on early flights may want to head out on your bikes, explore the town or go for a swim.

Day 1: Anduze to Meyrueis via the Corniche des Cévennes

We begin our journey on the road appropriately named the “Corniche des Cévennes”. It snakes its way along a ridge linking picturesque ancient villages nestled between the forests of chestnuts & Mediterranean oaks. Rather than being one climb, it undulates over a series of cols to the high point of the Col de Solpérière (1010m). En route, there are several spectacular views of our “playground” for the rest of the week.

After climbing the best part of 50km, we enjoy a descent into the Tarnon valley, which we follow up to the Col de Perjuret (1030m) on the southern edge of the limestone plateau of the Causse Méjéan. Our destination is the picture-perfect village of Meyrueis, where we stay for 2 nights.

As always on a Marmot Tours Classic Cols holiday, there are options and those wanting a bit more can extend the ride by heading up to the Causse Méjéan (987m) and looping back via the Gorges de La Jonte.

Classic route: 87km with 1670m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 122km with 2100m ascent [ride profile]

Day 2: Ride from Meyrueis up Mont Aigoual

Today is all about Mont Aigoual (1567m). When the sky is clear, it is possible to see Mt Ventoux, the Pyrenees and even Mt Blanc way off in the Alps. Six roads climb to the weather station and cafe on the summit and today we try to experience as many of them as possible!

Starting down at 700m, we follow the river Jonte to its source via the Col de Perjuret (1030m). The scenery and flora are ever-changing as we move from limestone to granite and steadily gain altitude. The forest gives way to open moorland for the final push to the summit.

Here we descend to the Col de la Serreyrède (1299m), where you have to decide whether to return to Meyrueis via the Col de Montjardin (1005m) or head south over the Col du Minier (1264m) and back to the Col de la Serreyrède via the spectacular, quiet and narrow Mandagout climb.

Classic route: 57km with 1030m ascent [ride profile]
Harder route: 95km with 1580m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 108km with 2400m ascent [ride profile]

 

Day 3: Meyrueis to Florac via the gorges of the Jonte & Tarn

The Parc naturel régional des Grands Causses exhibits limestone scenery at its best. The high, slightly arid plateaus are scarred by deep canyons, forged by turbulent rivers that meander their way below the sheer cliffs. Despite the geographical challenges, roads have been hewn out of the rocks to link the remote communities, and today we reap the benefits.

Today is less about climbing and more about the WOW factor. We start by following the river Jonte deeper into the gorge to Le Rozier, where it joins the river Tarn. Here you can start to climb up the Gorges du Tarn to Sainte-Enimie, or descend further to Millau (famous for the impressive viaduct) and climb back to Le Rozier over the Causse Noir – La Cade (836m)

Our destination is Florac, the capital of the Cévennes, which is undoubtedly worth an explore. If you feel that there has not been enough climbing today, then nipping back up to the Causse Méjéan and the Col de Pierre Plate (1016m) is another option.

Classic route: 84km with 640m ascent [ride profile]
Harder route: 97km with 1100m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 129km with 1370m ascent [ride profile]

 

Day 4: Florac to Les Vans via Mont Lozère

Climbing is back on the agenda today, as we continue up the river Tarn to the pretty village of Le Pont-de-Montvert. Here things get a bit more severe as you climb up through the ‘broom’ scrub moorland (with its glorious yellow bloom in May/June), to the bleak Col de Finiels (1541m) in the heart of Mont Lozère. Your effort is rewarded with another big view and a sweeping descent, past a ski station, to Le Bleymard.

A small climb over the Col de Tribes (1131m) takes you down to Villefort, which is dominated by a reservoir that is bisected by a railway viaduct! From here a small climb over the Col du Mas de l’Ayre (946m) takes you into the Ardèche and the large touristic town of Les Vans, where we spend two nights.

The optional extra today takes you back over Mont Lozère via the Col du Pré de la Dame (1474m) for some more spectacular views.

Classic route: 96km with 1540m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 139km with 2700m ascent [ride profile]

 

Day 5: Ride from Les Vans into the Ardèche

If the weather is good, then there are plenty of non-cycling activities to be enjoyed within walking distance of the hotel.

However, you are at the southern gateway to the Ardèche, a landscape of ridges and valleys, dotted with remote villages, so, not surprisingly, there is some excellent cycling to be done. We have opted for a spectacular route up a very narrow road that follows the river Borne to La Bastide-Puylaurent and back via St-Laurent-les-Bains and the Col du Chap del Bosc (1169m). This ride is genuinely remote!

Those wanting a bit more can venture further into the Massif de Prataubérat before rejoining the classic route at the Col de La Croix Blanche (890m).

Classic route: 87km with 1700m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 136km with 2500m ascent [ride profile]

 

Day 6: Les Vans to Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche via the Gorges de l'Ardèche

Thought by many to be the most spectacular canyon in France, the Gorges de l’Ardèche certainly makes for an impressive grand finale! (Verdon Gorge is the other contender, where we also offer cycling holidays.)

The first 35km of our ride through rural France ‘at its best’ takes us to the entrance of the canyon at the Vallon-Pont-d’Arc.

The canyon road starts at the same level as the river, and you get a great view of the iconic rock arch. It soon climbs up onto the plateau and meanders its way along the top of the precipitous cliffs. It is well worth detouring slightly at the viewpoints to look down at the groups of canoeists way below.

A wonderful descent takes us to the picturesque town of Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche where we stay the night. Here you can opt to hang up your bike and enjoy an afternoon swim in the river or head off on an undulating ride to explore the Cèze valley.

Classic route: 75km with 1100m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 116km with 1600m ascent [ride profile]

 

Day 7: Departure day

All good things must come to an end. We offer transfers back to Marseille airport (MRS) in the morning (1hr 30min transfer).