In integrable field theories in two dimensions, the Bethe ansatz can be used to compute exactly the ground state energy in the presence of an external field coupled to a conserved charge. We generalize previous results by Volin and we extract analytic results for the perturbative expansion of this observable, up to very high order, in various asymptotically free theories: the non-linear sigma model and its supersymmetric extension, the Gross--Neveu model, and the principal chiral field. We study the large order behavior of these perturbative series and we give strong evidence that, as expected, it is controlled by renormalons. Our analysis is sensitive to the next-to-leading correction to the asymptotics, which involves the first two coefficients of the beta function. We also show that, in the supersymmetric non-linear sigma model, there is no contribution from the first IR renormalon, in agreement with general arguments.