Aix-en-Provence – Arles

The day started out with rocky backcountry roads riding in the lowest gears, I had no traction at all and was flinging rocks left and right. After a couple of hours I arrived at a ridge above the Étang de Berre, I had a somewhat romantic expectation towards one of the largest lagoons in Europe, and it was beautiful from above. On closer inspection, Marseille’s airport is built partly on reclaimed land in the lagoon, while the area around Rognac is mostly heavy industries. The smell was very unpleasant, there were semis everywhere. Not so romantic.

Red water on the shore of Étang de Berre
Looking south over the ridge near Étang de Berre

Accidentally, I got to Le Pont Flavien near Saint Chamas. It’s astonishing to push my bike over such a beautiful bridge, built over 2000 years ago.

Le Pont Flavien. Roman bridge with a portal on either side. The portal further away is showing through the opening of the nearer.

Going further inland towards Arles the country turned just plain flat in the Rhône Valley, and I was able to pick up the pace. I got super-bored riding along a highway and took a big detour to ride alongside the Rhône Canal. I made a quick stop at an old bridge that’s only not torn down because Vincent van Gogh once painted a few pictures of it. After cycling through the gorgeous old town of Arles and going around the Roman arena, I got to my accommodation and met a nice Dutch couple passing through from Spain on their way back home.

My bike in front of Pont Van-Gogh near Arles, a double-beam drawbridge
Looking down a street in old town Arles
Roman-built Amphitheater in Arles
Map of ride from Aix-en-Provence to Arles
Check out this ride on Strava

Watch a reel on Instagram