France - Vivarais to Causses

France - Vivarais to Causses

1st May 2019 - 20th October 2019 (173 days)

This is a moving-on self-led tour from the Vivarais mountains, where the central massif meets the Rhone valley, through the Cévennes and the Causses to the Mediterranean. The tour would normally start and finish near a European Bike Express (Bike Bus) stop, though no transport is included in the package. Variations are available, but the nature of the terrain means that all days involve considerable climbing. There are however numerous sightseeing opportunities. This tour and variations of it are for the experienced self-reliant cyclist. The tour can take place any time between 1 May and 20 October.

  • Holiday Type Self-Led
  • Tour Manager Peter England
  • Grade Challenging
  • Booking Status Places Available
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Board Basis Half Board
  • Travel Arrangements Land Only
  • Road / Off Road Road
  • Holiday Style Moving-on
  • Vehicle Support Carry Own Luggage
  • Holiday Ref 03321


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France - Vivarais to Causses

Day 1

Cycle from Givors through the Mont Pilat Regional Park to Saint-Julien-Molin-Molette. 72km. Stay 1 night.

Day 2

Cycle to Tence through the Haut Vivarais. 85km. Stay 1 night.

Day 3

Cycle to Val-les-Bains through the Mont Mézenc volcanic massif, visiting the Gerbier de Jonc and the source of the Loire. 102km. Stay 1 night.

Day 4

Cycle to Ruoms. Climb the Col de la Croix de Bauzon and the Col de Meyrand. 108km. Stay 1 night.

Day 5

Cycle to Pont-de-Montvert over the Col de la Croix de Berthel in the heart of the Cévennes National Park. 90km. Stay 2 nights.

Day 6

Loop ride from Pont-de-Montvert over the Col de Finiels. 78k.

Day 7

Cycle to le Rozier. Climb the Col de Perjuret and cross the Causse Noir. 88km. Stay 1 night.

Day 8

Cycle to la Canourgue. Cross the Causse de Sauveterre. 64km. Stay 1 night.

Day 9

Cycle to Meyrueis. Re-cross the Causse de Sauveterre and climb the Gorges de la Jonte. 87km. Stay 2 nights.

Day 10

Loop ride from Meyrueis over Mont Aigoual. 63km.

Day 11

Cycle to Cornus over the Causse Noir and the Causse de Larzac. 66km. Stay 1 night.

Day 12

Cycle to Bréau. Visit the Cirque de Navacelles. 65km. Stay 2 nights.

Day 13

Loop ride from Bréau. Climb the Col de l’Asclier. 85km.

Day 14

Cycle to Gignac, following the Hérault Gorges. 70km. Stay 1 night.

Day 15

Cycle over the garrigues to St-Jean-de-Védas to pick up onward transport. 36km.

Distances: Daily average cycling distance is 80km (50 miles), but there will be opportunities to cut corners or take additional loops. Variations on the standard route above are possible in terms of the number of days, daily mileage, and number of nights in the same place.

Accommodation & Meals

You will be staying in 2 or 3-star hotels. Rooms are booked on a half-board basis, sharing two to a room. Single occupancy can be booked for a supplement. Vegetarian meals can be arranged if requested at the time of booking, though choice may be limited.

Vehicle Support

There is no support vehicle provided. Participants are expected to carry their own luggage.

Passports, Visa & Health

EU citizens must hold a passport that is still valid on the date of their return to their home country. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether they require a visa. There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You must also carry your European Health Insurance Card.

Travel Insurance

Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.


The price of £1,000 is for a 14 night holiday (the cost of additional or fewer nights will be added or deducted on a pro-rata basis) and is calculated at a rate of 1.12 Euros to £1 sterling (Based on exchange rates published on on 14 September 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3).

Price Includes

  • 14 nights hotel, sharing room, half-board
  • Detailed route sheets
  • CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs

Price Does Not Include

  • Travel to and from the tour
  • Drinks with evening meals
  • Lunches or refreshments during the day
  • Entry fees at any attractions
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single occupancy supplement (£20 per night, subject to availability)

Payment Schedule

A deposit of £100 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £900 per person to be paid 10 weeks prior to departure.


Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:

Written notice received:

70 days before the start of the tour

Between 69 and 29 days

Between 28 and 14 days

From 13 days before the start of the tour


Cancellation charge:


33% of the total cost

75% of the total cost

100% of the total cost

The Area Covered By The Holiday

From the Rhone Valley south of Lyon you climb into the Lyonnais mountains. Heading south you pass through the Vivarais and the volcanic landscape of the Mont Mézenc massif, climb the Col de la Croix de Bauzon at 1,308 metres and the 1,371 metres Col de Meyrand. In the Cévennes National Park notable climbs are the 1,088 metres Col de la Croix de Berthel and the 1,548 metres Col de Finiels on the boulder strewn slopes of Mont Lozère. Dramatic limestone gorges cut by the Tarn and Jonte rivers through the Causses are then visited. The subsequent ascent of Mont Aigoual at 1,567 metres is the highest point on the tour. The crossing of the Larzac Causse incorporates a visit to the Cirque de Navacelles. The descent to the garrigues overlooking the Mediterranean follows the course of the Herault Gorges. The tour would normally start from Lyon Sud (European Bike Express stop) and end at St Jean de Védas (European Bike Express stop), though no transport is included in the tour.

Rides & Rest Days

An average day on the standard tour is around 80km (50 miles) but there will be opportunities to take short cuts or to do additional loops, and there are rest days. All days involve climbing, sometimes for several miles. Variations are, however, possible, in terms of total days, daily mileage, and number of nights in the same place. You need to discuss with the Tour Manager what you want, who will then put together an individually tailored package at a quoted price. A provisional route will be suggested which you will be asked to approve. A detailed final route sheet will be available as soon as hotel bookings have been confirmed.

Accommodation & Meals

Hotels are chosen carefully and the Tour Manager will tell you if he books you into one that he has not previously used. The accommodation will be predominantly 2-or 3-star standard, with ensuite facilities. The hotels provide soap and towels and very frequently shampoo and a hair dryer. Tours include breakfast and an evening meal of at least three courses. A meal at a set price will have been booked, which might or may not include a choice. If you are unhappy with what you are offered, however, the hotel should provide you with an alternative. You are responsible for any drinks consumed with the evening meal or in the hotel bar. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, or have other dietary requirements, remember to say this on your Booking Form.


You must make your own arrangements for transport to and from the tour. Although the start and end points of the tour are near to the Bike Bus drop-off and pick-up locations, Lyon is well served by other modes of travel.

Weather & Clothing

Remember the terrain is mountainous and unpleasant weather can occur at any time of year, so bring clothing to ensure that you can remain warm and (reasonably) dry. In summer it can also be very warm, even hot, and you should be prepared for this. The use of sun cream is recommended.

Cycles & Equipment

A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB with a bottom gear of 27 inches or less is suitable, but this must be in good working order, especially the brakes. Do not assume that there will always be a cycle shop within a few miles. As you will have to carry all your luggage keep this to a minimum and ensure you have a sturdy carrier. You should have ridden your cycle fully laden before the tour to ensure you are happy with its handling. You should carry sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs and a bike lock. Cycle storage is available at the hotels, but this might not always be under cover. You might wish to bring some waterproof covering in case of rain.

Maps & Guides

You will be provided with detailed route sheets, but you are recommended to carry maps of a scale at least 1/200,000. This could mean in practice Michelin 1:200,000 Regional maps 526 ‘Languedoc Roussillon’ and 523 ‘Rhone-Alpes’. There is, unfortunately, considerable overlap with 526 covering almost all the area and you might prefer to substitute the Michelin 1:150,000 departmental series map 327 ‘Loire-Rhone’ for Regional map 523. Alternatively Michelin Departmental series 1/500 000 maps 327, 330, 331, 338 & 339 cover the area but with considerable overlap. Michelin Travel Guides provide interesting background information.

Travel Insurance & Advice

In addition to travel insurance, EU nationals should carry a European Health Insurance Card, obtainable from This enables you to take advantage of emergency medical services free or at a discount under a reciprocal provision that exists between EU member states. Your travel insurer may refuse to meet the extra costs of medical treatment if you do not carry this card.
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at or on 0845 850 2829.

Other Information

This self-led holiday is available on a variety of dates between 1 May and 20 October. The suggested duration of 14 nights can also be adjusted if required. Please contact the Tour Manager to discuss the options available.