From the Pyrénées to the Alps : The Mediterranean by bike
Set off on the 850 km of the French section of EuroVelo 8: the Mediterranean by bike. You can easily reach this route by public transport (bus or train) and head off from the city of your choice!
Step 1From Perthus to Narbonne
Le Perthus is the official starting point of your route. You can reach the border town easily from Le Boulou by following a marked route to the Fort de Bellegarde. This detour is worth a look!
To join the EuroVelo 8 route, take the road which goes through Les Cluses. Admire the view of the Albères massif on your right, then go down to the sea, following the greenway as far as Argelès. On the way, admire the olive groves and vines that abound in the Parc Naturel de la Narbonnaise. When you arrive in Narbonne, the Palais des Archevêques is a wonderful cultural break.
Step 2From Narbonne to Sète
From Narbonne, continue along the Canal du Midi, which is the junction between the ViaRhôna and the Canal des Deux Mers by bike. After a loop to the remarkable Hameau du Somail, arrive at the nine locks of Fonséranes in Béziers. The route is currently being worked on – choose a mountain bike or a hybrid and be careful, for there might not be signs. On the way to the sea, meander as far as the Étang de Thau and its oyster beds. When you arrive in Sète, wander through the town’s little streets and relax on its surrounding beaches.
Step 3From Sète to Cavaillon
From Sète, ride between lagoons and beaches on a section that is shared with the ViaRhôna. Visit the cathedral in Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone and La Grande Motte. Cross the Parc Naturel de Camargue and the mediaeval cities of Aigues-Mortes and Saint-Gilles. The loop around the Étang du Vaccarès lets you detour to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. After Beaucaire, go to the fortress of Tarascon, and enter the Parc Naturel des Alpilles. Pass through Les Baux-de-Provence and pedal along the greenway as far as Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Be careful, since the route is no longer marked. Finally, arrive in Cavaillon where you can enjoy their famous juicy melons.
Step 4From Cavaillon to Draguignan
From Cavaillon, ride as far as Robion where you will join the Calavon greenway. This part of the route, at the heart of the Parc Naturel du Luberon, is ideal for families! You will pass in front of the Saint-Julien Bridge and the Prieuré de Carluc. From Apt, explore the Colorado Provençal via the Sentier des Ocres (Ochre Trail) by bike. From Céreste to Manosque, via Forcalquier, travel through the Alpes de Haute-Provence as far as the edge of the Verdon. To get to the Haut-Var, we advise you to take the train from the Manosque station to Meyrargues, where you will cross the Pays d’Aix. On the road, you can explore many castles and hilltop villages, the wine-growing estates located along La Vigne à Vélo, and the Cascade de Sillans, which is surely one of the most remarkable natural sites in this stage.
Step 5From Draguignan to Menton
From the hilltop villages of the Haut-Var to the seashore, you will travel through mountains and valleys in the Pays de Fayence. Enjoy the magnificent viewpoints and works of art such as the Viaduc du Rayol from the former railway. At Peymeinade, take the Route des Balcons d’Azur to reach Grasse, the capital of perfume. Then, slowly leave the hinterland behind to reach the Côte d’Azur.
Between Cannes and Nice, the bike path is ideal for cycling families. From the port to the Croisette of Cannes, you can admire the Lérins islands, and then head for Antibes and its fortified walls. Ride along the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice then continue with a fine ascent from Villefranche to Menton. Here, the French part of EuroVelo 8 ends since it continues into Italy!