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Adventure Trips

Bicycling -- Numerous companies in the U.S. and the U.K. run cycling tours in France. California-based Backroads (www.backroads.com) organizes tours of Provence and include stays in everything from Relais & Châteaux hotels to campgrounds. Trek Travel (www.trektravel.com) runs luxury cycling tours of Provence that can include Mont Ventoux if you're up to it. U.K.-based Cycling for Softies (www.cycling-for-softies.co.uk) does what its name implies and offers gentler cycling holidays. Euro-Bike & Walking Tours (www.eurobike.com) offers relatively moderate bike tours of Provence, including the area around Avignon and St-Rémy-de-Provence. Belle France (www.bellefrance.co.uk) offers a variety of tours ranging from cycling along the Canal du Midi to walking holidays along the Collioure coast.

Many of the local tourist offices are able to provide addresses, maps, and contacts for whatever a cyclist might need. In many cases, bikes can be rented within railway stations. Many hotels are able to help the cyclist too; look out for the ACCUEIL VELO sign. For general advice on biking in France, contact the Fédération Française de Cyclotourisme (www.ffct.org) or Freewheeling France (www.freewheelingfrance.com).

Fishing -- The Mediterranean provides a variety of fishing methods. You can line fish from the rocks along the coast or from small boats. Local fishermen often take visitors along when fishing in the sea for tuna. The rivers provide sea trout, speckled trout, and silver eel, and the sandy shores of the Camargue offer tiny shellfish. For more information on regulations and access to fishing areas, contact the Fédération Française des Pêcheurs en Mer (www.ffpm-national.com).

Golf -- The area around Bouches-du-Rhône has many fine golf courses, with seven 18-hole courses, five 9-hole courses, and several practice courses in the Provence area. One excellent 18-hole course is Golf de Marseille la Salette (www.opengolfclub.com).

Europe's largest golf travel company, Golf Breaks (www.golfbreaks.com) offers golfing holidays all over Provence and Languedoc, including the Four Seasons Terre Blanche and Dolce Frégate resorts. Golf International, Inc. (www.golfinternational.com) offers trips based in the historic hilltop village of Mougins, a 10-minute drive from Cannes. For more information on the options available, contact the Fédération Française de Golf (www.ffgolf.org).

Hiking -- The Bouches-du-Rhône area is a walker's heaven, whether you enjoy a leisurely stroll or a strenuous long-distance hike or even mountain climbing. Walking challenges include the wetlands of the Camargue, the semi-arid desert of La Crau, and the mountainous hills to the wild rocky inlets of the Calanques. Long-distance hiking paths, called Sentiers de Grandes Randonnées (GRs), join the area's major places of interest. GR6 starts in Tarascon, runs along the foot of the Luberon, and crosses the Alpilles. GR9 goes down the Luberon, passes Mont Ste-Victoire, and ends in Ste-Baume. GR98 is an alternative path linking Ste-Baume with the Calanques and ends in Marseille. GR51 links Marseille and Arles via La Crau. GR99A links GR9 to the highlands of the Var département. Spring and autumn are the best for hiking; many of the paths are closed in summer because of forest fires. Be sure to check with the département before you begin your walk.

Adventure Center (www.adventurecenter.com) offers hiking trips in the Luberon and the Alpilles as well as the Pyrénées. 

Horseback Riding -- One of the best ways to see the wildlife, salt swamps, and marshlands of the Camargue or the hills of the Alpilles and Mont Ste-Victoire is on horseback. For more information, contact Manade Saliérène (www.manadesalierene.com) or the Association Camarguaise de Tourisme Equestre (Camargue Equestrian Tourism Association; www.parc-camargue.fr). Equitours (www.ridingtours.com) can arrange cross-country treks through Provence and the Camargue regions.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.