A cycling holiday in Provence
Fontvieille is a picturesque village in the heart of the Alpilles mountain chain, just a few kilometres from Arles. The villagers lead a gentle life in their old houses built with stone from the local quarries dating back to the XV century, the ancient streets are dotted with old wells and dominating atop the Tarascon plain stands the Daudet mill.
For the French, Fontvieille is something of a literature pilgrimage for this mill inspired the great works of the author Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897) and his manuscript ‘Lettres de mon moulin”. A child of the land, Daudet went to Paris at the start of his career but frequently returned to his homeland. When in Fontvieille, he would stay at the Montauban castle, 10 minutes from the mill, and enjoyed chatting to the miller who provided many anecdotes found in the book.
The mill was built in 1814 and was a working mill up until 1915. Today, the ground floor is a mini museum dedicated to the life of Alphonse Daudet, of which the mill now takes its name. You can admire manuscripts, souvenirs, portraits and illustrations of Daudet, the man who so beautifully captured on paper the rhythm and song of the Provencal tongue.
A self-guided Provence cycling holiday on our “Van Gogh” itinerary
You can enjoy a Provence cycling trip through this peaceful village and head a couple of kilometres out to visit the Barbegal mill, a Roman mill constructed in 3 or 4 BC. This impressive 16 wheel system was powered by water from the nearby aqueduct and is thought to have produced up to 3 tonnes of flour per day!
Our Provence cycling tour takes you from St Rémy de Provence, via Fontvieille and onwards to Les Baux de Provence and Maussane. A great day out in the saddle through the heart of rural Provence, in the Alpilles mountain chain, passing through one medieval perched village to another, surrounded by olive trees, almond, pine and oak trees and wild flowers.