It all started with a bridge.

Le Pont du Rochemaure broken

Rochemaure Bridge Door

Rochemaure Bridge Door

One beautiful summer day in Provence, my wife ventured out behind the patisserie in the sleepy little village of Rochemaure to head  down and take in the vista of the “le pont suspendu” and the old channel of the Rhone River that  winds past this medieval river town.  Le Pont de Rochemaure is a suspended bridge that was built in 1859, providing an important connection across the river to the town of Montelimar.

This summer day, seated on the mountain bike, a pass over the old Rhone River channel would not be denied.  The bridge is beautifully rebuilt and what a view!  It is used only for bikers and pedestrians who want to get to the other side, to get to the Via Rhona.

New Bridge

New Bridge

What is the Via Rhona?  It’s only the greatest bike trail known to mankind.  An ambitious project.  It is a reconstruction of an ancient road along the Rhone river and has been used by successive civilizations for 2,000 years; now a recreational bike trail that connects Geneva Switzerland to the Mediterranean Sea.

Via Rhona Valence Trail

Via Rhona Valance-Avignon

A few pumps of the pedals across Le Pont du Rochemaure and one can pick up the trail that connects to the Valence-Avignon section of the Via Rhona.  This section of the trail will take you either north toward Valance, or south towards Avignon through what would be considered a fairly wild, meandering portion of the Rhone River.  The route south is quite splendid as riders soar through fields, past orchards and enjoy the spectacular views of the valley hills on the Provence-Ardeche border.  There are several opportunities to jump off the Via Rhona to get into towns like Montelimar, Viviers or Chateauneuf du Rhone on the other side of Le Pont du Viviers.

Viviers Marina

Viviers Marina

So the next time your holiday plans take you to the quaint region of Drome Provencale, find that perfect holiday rental home or gites, get hold of some bikes and hit the Via Rhona for an excellent day trip or overnight stay in one of the historic villages along the Rhone.

Ciao for now!

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