The exciting Swiss-French project to develop over 600 km of greenways connecting Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean continues to progress. The ambitious project began in 2003 and involves a partnership of the Swiss and French governments, 12 Departments and over 350 local communities and a projected cost of over 20 million Euro. “Via Rhone, Geneva to the Mediterranean” will feature car-free and low traffic (less than 300 cars/day) bike paths stretching from the shores of Lake Geneva through the Rhone River Valley to the marshes of the Camargue on the Mediterranean. The Geneva to the Mediterranean route will provide bicyclists with a safe and peaceful way to explore the coastal areas along the Rhone River complete with route signs and support services along the way.
From the magnificent shores of Lake Geneva to the spa town of Aix les Bains, to the hillsides and vineyards around Lyon and Vienne, to Roman artifacts and towns steeped in history in Provence, this route will quickly become a favorite of bicyclists from around the world. South of Avignon, the route will split, going southwest to the walled, medieval city of Aigues Mortes and on to the seaside resort of Sete, or southeast to Arles with its incredible Roman arena and theatre and Museum of Ancient History to Port St. Louis in the Carmargue. Local routes will be connected to the Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean network, thus providing cyclists with the opportunity to explore specific areas in more detail. Because of the extensive transportation network along the river, bicyclists will be able to choose specific areas of the route to explore, moving along the route either by train or boat.
Numerous new segments were introduced in 2010, and the entire route is projected to be completed in 2012. There is a website that has been set up by the Territoire Rhone, Du Leman a la Mer, La Voie d’eau a Velo, to report news on this project, so check it out for more information. This route is certain to become a Slow Travel Adventures favorite, so stay tuned for more updates as this new bike route progresses. Assuming that the route is finished in 2012, this may be one of my bike trips for the year!