6 days
Duration
Easy to Moderate
Difficulty
France
Location
March-November
Availability

Cycling through the highlights of Provence: the Alpilles & Luberon

Explore Avignon’s medieval cobbled streets and the famous Pope’s Palace

Cycle among the lavender fields of the Luberon and the sunflower fields of Saint Rémy

Enjoy a picnic lunch under the shade of an ancient plane tree near Cavaillon

Admire the ochre stained village and magnificent red cliffs of Roussillon


Self-guided cycling holiday in Provence

Enjoy a cycling adventure through the beautifully diverse landscapes of Provence, from the cypress dotted plains of Saint Rémy, to the vineyards and orchards of the Luberon, which inspired Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence. Discover the classic Provence by bike; medieval villages set atop their rocky perches; the cafés and cobbled streets of Saint Rémy; Van Gogh’s Alpilles landscapes; quiet roads filled with the scent of lavender; Provençal food bursting with the flavours of the sun; markets overflowing with every sort of produce and of course the wonderful local wines! The villages of Provence are famed for their daily markets. We recommend planning your cycling around these, so that you can enjoy delicious picnic lunches of the finest and freshest local produce.

Your cycling adventure begins in the Papal city of Avignon before heading south to Saint Rémy, the beloved second home of artist Vincent Van Gogh. A circuit from St. Rémy takes you south through the Alpilles mountains, which so inspired Van Gogh’s later works. Your journey continues east through a landscape of vineyards and olive groves to Oppede le Vieux. From Oppede le Vieux you cycle through the landscapes made famous by A Year in Provence; charming villages linked by quiet country roads. Finally, you follow the Calavon Valley to the brightly coloured village of Roussillon and finally to the pretty town of l ‘Isle sur la Sorgue, where you can relax and watch the world go by from one of the many riverside cafés.

6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS From €680 per person sharing*

*Discounts available for groups of 4 or more. Please enquire for prices
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo cyclists
*A surcharge of €19 will apply during the summer season

BIKE RENTAL Hybrid Bike

If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. Our touring bikes are top-of-the-line Trek or equivalent. They are equipped with Shimano parts and light aluminium frames, and have a minimum of 21-speed gears. Included with every bike is a helmet, security vest, pump, bike computer, 1 front pannier, 1 water bottle holder, 1 lock per bike, inner tube and repair kit (1 kit per 2 bikes).

E-bike

It is also possible to rent an electric bike. Provence is hilly. And most of the prettiest villages are “hilltop”, meaning you have to climb to get there. Our E-bikes become a wonderful compromise: while still doing exercise – you still have to pedal to get these things going after all – you can access the hilliest and most breathtaking of what Provence has to offer without being a great cyclist. You can also accompany a more athletic spouse or friend on one of our holidays.

With the purchase of the option E-bike we include :

  • a briefing from a specialized mechanic, who will show you how to use and get the most out of your rides. During the briefing a credit card pre-authorization of 800€ will be asked of you as a guarantee.
  • assistance, meaning if you have any problems whatsoever with your E-bike, our mechanic will come and repair it at no charge.

PRICES:

  • Hybrid bike: €130
  • E-bike: €220
ACCOMMODATION All accommodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services.

We choose comfortable 2* hotels or B&Bs. All rooms have private facilities. Breakfast is included each day. The standard hotels of this trip are listed below. In case any hotels are unavailable, we will book one of a similar standard and inform you of the change. You can also book additional nights at any of the hotels along the way.

Accommodation upgrades to 3*/4* hotels are also available at a supplement. Please enquire for details and prices.

AVAILABILITY You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between March 1st and November 15th.
INCLUDED
5 x nights  in **hotels/B&Bs with en-suite bathrooms
5 x breakfasts
Luggage transport between hotels
Detailed route notes with integrated maps
GPX files
Transfer from Isle-sur-la-Sorgue back to Avignon at end of trip
Daily telephone support
NOT INCLUDED
Flights & travel insurance
Lunches or dinners
Trains or ferries
Anything else not mentioned in the Included section
OPTIONAL EXTRAS
Bike rental
Upgrade to ***/**** hotels
Single room supplement
1

Day 1: Arrival in Avignon

Your cycling holiday begins in Avignon, which is 2h45 by TGV from Paris or 1 hour from Marseille Airport.

A medieval town on the banks of the mighty Rhône River, Avignon hides many treasures: The Pope’s palace, the 12th century bridge, the still intact 14th century ramparts and many museums and churches.  We recommend meandering through the labyrinth of cobbled streets, where you will discover cafés in open squares, shaded by plane trees.

Overnight: Avignon

2

Day 2: Avignon > Barbentane > Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Distance: 35 km | Ascent: 250 m | Descent: 200 m

Your first cycling day takes you on a route between the Durance and Rhône Rivers, through a mosaic of orchards and cypress trees. You will cycle into the quaint town of Barbentane before climbing the Montagnette – literally “little mountain”. Here, you will enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding plains, accompanied by the scent of pine needles and aromatic herbs. At the back of the Montagnette lies the monastery of St. Michel de Frigolet, built over eight centuries with architecture ranging from Romanesque to Neo-Gothic.

You will cycle through the charming villages of Graveson and Maillane, before reaching Saint Rémy de Provence, a chic artists’ town where Van Gogh spent the final year of his life.

Overnight: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (market on Wednesdays and Saturdays).

3

Day 3: Saint-Rémy > Fontvieille > Les Baux > Saint-Rémy

Distance: 42 km | Ascent: 400 m | Descent: 400 m

Leaving St. Rémy you can visit Saint Paul de Mausole, the converted monastery where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life and created some of his best work. Adjacent to the monastery is Glanum, a Roman archaeological site. Its massive limestone ruins a are testament to over 2000 years of history.

Your route continues along the winding roads of the Alpilles mountains amid a landscape of pine trees and wildflowers until you reach Les Baux de Provence. Les Baux is listed among the most beautiful villages in France, a town perched vertiginously atop a rocky crag, crowned by the ruins of its feudal castle. Take your time to explore Les Baux before returning to St. Rémy.

Overnight: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (market on Wednesdays and Saturdays).

4

Day 4: Saint-Rémy > Eygalieres > Oppède le Vieux

Distance: 41 km | Ascent: 300 m | Descent: 200 m

Today you cross the Alpilles massif to reach the Luberon, but your first stop is the lost village of Eygalières. Surrounded by vast olive groves, its beautiful stone houses seeming to climb up the hill to the castle ruins. Your ride continues through farmlands and orchards until you cross the Durance river to reach the lively town of Cavaillon. Bursting with restaurants and cafés, grocers selling locally grown fruit and vegetables and quaint boulangeries, it is the perfect place to pick up a picnic lunch. We also know a secret spot just outside town, shaded by a centuries old plane tree which is perfect for an idyllic picnic!

Your destination today is Oppède le Vieux; a magnificent little hilltop village, built high on a rocky outcrop and surrounded by lush vegetation. The village was once the hiding place for a commune of artists fleeing the occupying German army during WWII.

Overnight: Oppède le Vieux (market on Saturdays).

5

Day 5: Oppède > Ménerbes > Bonnieux > Oppède

Distance: 37 km | Ascent: 700 m | Descent: 700 m

Today you will cycle through the landscapes of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence., where hilltop villages are connected by small country roads lined with 500 year-old shepherd’s huts, cherry orchards, and truffle oak plantations.

On reaching the village of Bonnieux, you can pause to explore its tiny squares; pass through the limestone archway and up the cobbled steps to the 12th century church crowning the village, hidden in the shade of a giant cedar tree.

Your next stop is the town of Ménerbes, with its impressive stone homes sitting vertiginously above a ledge, and its quaint streets and cafés. In the centre of town is the wine and truffle museum, a delight for all the senses!

There is a town market in Ménerbes every Thursday and in Bonnieux every Friday.

Overnight: Oppède le Vieux (market on Saturdays).

6

Day 6: Oppède > Roussillon > Gordes > Isle sur la Sorgue

Distance: 55 km | Ascent: 800 m | Descent: 900 m

Your cycle through Provence continues along the northern side of the Calavon valley to the beautiful and distinctive village of Roussillon. Situated in the heart of one of the biggest ochre deposits in the world, Roussillon is famous for its magnificent red cliffs and ochre quarries. The houses in the village are painted in every hue of yellow, orange, and red, a rainbow with ochre pigment. The colour appears even more vibrant in the ever-present Provençal sun. Just six kilometres further on is the dramatic hilltop village of Gordes, its noble grey stone homes winding up in dizzying circles to the renaissance castle that crowns the village.

There is a market in Roussillon every Thursday and in Gordes every Tuesday.

Leaving Gordes, you cycle on above the valley, through landscapes of pine and cedar forests. Your ride ends with a gradual descent to l’Isle sur la Sorgue; a veritable island of a village, completely encircled by the clear green waters of the Sorgue river. Take the time to explore the antique shops that line the quays, or relax and watch the world go by at one of the many cafés that line the waterfront.

You can leave your bikes at the hotel in Isle and pick up your luggage. You will be picked up and transferred back to Avignon (centre or train station). Your trip comes to an end in Avignon city centre or at Avignon train station. There is also the option of adding a night in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and doing an additional cycle among the back roads, cherry orchards and muscat vineyards of the Monts de Vaucluse. Please enquire for info.

Getting to Avignon

  The closest airport is Marseilles-Provence Airport.
From Marseilles Provence Airport you can take a train into Avignon (1 hour). Alternately you can fly into Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport. From there, you can take a train south to Avignon (a journey of around 3 hours).

For train information please visit the SNCF website.

Cycling holiday in Provence
The medieval Pont d'Avignon
Riverside picnic, Avignon
Palais des Papes, Avignon
Cycling in the Alpilles
The Abbaye du Frigolet in the Alpilles
Provence lavender field
Roman remains at Glanum archaological site, St. Remy de Provence
Cycling with a view to Les Baux de Provence
Les Baux de Provence
Luberon town square
Cycling among the pretty villages of Provence
The monastery of Saint Pauld de Mausole, where Van Gogh spent his final year
Eygalieres, Alpilles
Chapel in Eygalieres
Provence vineyard
The pretty hilltop village of Bonnieux
Crossing a medieval bridge in the Luberon
Typical Luberon landscape of vineyards and lavender
Gordes
The ochre cliffs of Roussillon
Roussillon
l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

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