France:

Provence Bike Tour


Six nights; six days. Bicycling on quiet paved lanes exploring both sides of the Luberon and around the base of Mont Ventoux before climbing to the top by bike or van.

“I still smile every time I think of my Provence trip” - Donna H.









Itinerary


Start: Avignon train station, 09:00; or Boulbon, La Bastide de Boulbon, 10:00 day one. TGV train from Paris CDG airport is a direct connection. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.


Finish: Avignon train station, following breakfast, day seven. Transfers also available to TGV station, where train connections are available directly to CDG airport in Paris (3 ½ hours), or your hotel in Avignon. Please contact us to make arrangements.


Day 1:

Introductions: Boulbon to Saint-Rémy 40km
Meet your guides in Avignon at 09:00 for a short transfer past Le Pont d’Avignon to begin cycling in nearby Boulbon. Ride through the Barbentane Forest to the hilltop ruin of Les Baux to explore this medieval courting ground and its many artisans’ boutiques. After lunch, descend from the hilltop in time to explore St. Remy by foot later in the afternoon. LD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Le Mas des Carrasins, or
Hotel du Soleil & Spa; Saint-Rémy de Provence

Day 2:

Saint-Rémy to Gordes 60km
You will cycle through Les Alpilles on your way to Cavaillon. After crossing La Durance, you will make your way along the cycle route to Ménerbes, on the North slopes of the Luberon, seeing your first “perched village” at Oppède le Vieux. You will finish at one of the most famous and photographed villages in Provence, where your swimming pool and exquisite dinner will complement a walk around this medieval enclave. BLD
Hotel Les Bories, or
Le Mas des Romarins; Gordes

Day 3:

Gordes Loop Ride 95km with shorter options
Today’s loop ride is a fabulous exploration of some of Provence’s extraordinary sights. First, you will stop in Roussillon, painted in the red, orange, and yellow hues of ochre, mined in the nearby hills. En route to Menerbes, you will pass through perched villages and gorgeous countryside. Menerbes was made famous in Peter Mayle’s books “Toujours Provence” and “A Year in Provence." You will also pass through Lacoste, with its castle ruins, and Bonnieux, where you can enjoy views from the church at the top of the village before returning to Gordes for dinner. BL
Same lodging

Day 4:

Gordes to Sault 70km
A big day with several climbs and a spectacular ridge ride. Your first stop is the Abbaie de Senanque, where the monks grow lavender and fill their peaceful valley with melodious chants between work. Mid-morning stop in Venasque to see the ruins there, then on to Gorges de la Nesque for an out of this world ride. Finish near Sault (some trips) or transfer or ride to Crillon Le Brave. BLD
Hostellerie du Val de Sault, Sault

Day 5:

Sault to Bedoin 46km
A loop ride through some of the prettiest villages of France, with tomorrow’s mountain climb in the background. You will visit the wine villages of Beaumes de Venise, Gigondas, Sablet, Seguret, and Vaison-la-Romaine, allowing you to taste and/or buy some of France’s most amazing wines. The ride takes you around and through les Dentelles de Montmirail – a pretty limestone range with abundant hiking trails, and climbing routes if you’re so inclined. Return by bike or van transfer to the remarkable “hotel village” of Crillon le Brave. The exceptionally comfortable hotel includes all the houses at the top of the village, and offers restaurant choices. BL
Hostellerie Crillon le Brave, Bedoin

Day 6:

Bedoin Loop Ride via Mt. Ventoux 60km
Loop ride including Mt. Ventoux. The first half of this ride is an uphill climb (understatement), one of the most famous in the Tour de France. Those who want can take the van to or from the top. The second half is a rapturous descent, to be navigated with caution. The summit is 1909m-6263ft, and it’s usually about 11 degrees Celsius – 20 degrees Fahrenheit - cooler at the top than at the bottom. BLD
Same lodging

Day 7:

Avignon and Farewell
09:00 departure for transfer to Avignon train station, TGV station, or hotel. From the train station in Avignon there are frequent trains to Paris and other destinations throughout France. B



Description



Note about the route:

A simply fantastic ride! 50-80km daily, on quiet paved roads. Expect some hills, as a pleasant alternative to the flatter but busier roads in the river valleys. We pass many vineyards, olive groves, and apiaries.


This is rural France at its finest – a journey in time and beautiful, sun-dappled space, with mesmerizing smells, entrancing scenery, captivating history, unparalleled southern French hospitality, and Provençale tastes combining heaven with earth. The cycling is fabulous, on quiet roads through lush countryside, with options for both relaxed hedonists and eager explorers. From St. Rémy-de-Provence, you will ride to the hilltop fort of Les Baux, influenced by troubadours through the ages. From there, you will head towards the hills of the Luberon, declared a natural park because of its profound beauty. Medieval villages perched on hilltops look down on farms and vineyards interlaced with roads so well suited to quiet cycling that many of them have petite cyclistes on the road signs!

You will explore one quiet, stone village after another, sometimes stopping at sunny street side cafés or resting at little fountains, watching farmers tend their lines of vines, or tasting wine and honey, and sometimes riding on long routes through quiet and beautiful terrain, always resting in tranquil lodges. You will cross the Luberon Plateau toward your splendid hotel near the foot of Mont Ventoux. You may be inspired to climb, on a road painted with encouragement to the world’s greatest athletes. You may choose, instead, to take a lift to the top and be thrilled by a 24 km descent! You can visit the best-preserved theatre of the Roman Empire in Orange. Nearby, the headiest of the Rhône wines can be tasted at Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This trip’s colours, scents, and tastes enhance the sunshine magnificently, filling each day with the sensual pleasure that makes French exploring so rewarding.





Maps & Elevations






Learn more

Avignon is a thriving city and a joy to explore by foot. Try to arrive a day early, and be sure to visit the parc des Rochers des Doms to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the Rhône River Valley beyond. There are many excellent hotel choices in Avignon. Nearby, we recommend La Bastide de Boulbon, where we begin cycling.

In Avignon, the Hotel Cloitre St. Louis is nice. For dining, try "E.A.T." and "Le Gout de Jour".

Around Avignon, the Pont du Gard, Nimes, Arles, and the Camargue are all worthy of a visit.

A little further afield, the Cote d-Azur and Italian Riviera has lots to see and do.





Costs

Guided

US 3995 C 4595

(per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 light picnic lunches choices, 4 dinners, route notes and maps, luggage handling, van and guide support, taxes)

Self-Guided

US 3825 C 4395

(per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, route notes and maps, luggage transfers, taxes)

Single Occupancy

US 1345 C 1545

Bicycle Rental

Hybrid: US 195 C 225
Full Carbon Racing: US 355 C 395

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

X

Custom or Private Tours

Want to go but on different dates?
Want to make a change to the itinerary?
We can adapt for you!



Here are some terms:

Bring your friends. We will run most of these trips for you whenever you want, at the advertised price for a group of four or more on a guided trip, or two if it's self-guided! We reserve the right to make changes if the original inns, etc. are already booked. If you cannot find others, let us advertise the trip for you! Give us a commitment as far in advance as you can. As long as we have the minimum number of guests at the start, the price will be as advertised. The catch is that if it is just two of you and you want a guided trip, you must be willing to pay a 20% premium in the event that others do not join you. The bright side is that, once reserved, you can count on the trip, whether it remains private or becomes a larger group. Ask for changes to the itinerary.

We are very flexible, and given enough time, can create a new itinerary to match your desires.