We will pick you up at your arrival airport or agreed location and transport you to the picturesque town of Neffies, which will be the home base for your tour. No riding today; take the time to settle in and wander around the charming village.
Enjoy dinner at the Very’Table restaurant in Neffies or Table d’hote at La Belle Vue B&B
We will hold a welcome meeting in the morning to review the itinerary, answer questions and ensure everyone is comfortable on their hire bikes.
No formal cycling today.
Abbaye de Valmagne
Today’s ride will begin by meandering leisurely through the vineyard roads before ascending to the picturesque hilltop village of Aumes. We will stop for a break to take in the view and take a few pictures in the charming central square before continuing on to the Abbaye of Valmagne.
This historic abbey is a designated “Monumente de France” and is definitely worth exploring. It is referred to as the Cathedral of the Vines as it has been associated with wine making for centuries – in fact they still produce wine there today.
Guided tours are offered throughout the day, usually only in French, but with guide cards in other languages. The tour will be followed by a tasting of the Abbey’s bio wines produced on site.
We will have lunch at the Abbey’s excellent restaurant before heading back to Neffies passing through the pretty winemaking towns of Sainte Pargoire, Uclas d’ Herault and Adissan.
You will notice that many of the villages in the region, are constructed on a circular plan. Steeped in over 1000 years of history and winemaking, these traditional “circulade” villages are typical of the Languedoc region. Originating in medieval times, these villages are constructed in concentric circles generally with a church or chateau at the centre. In most cases, at least some vestiges of the protective city walls remain.
Tasting the Wines of Languedoc
Today’s route is dedicated to discovering some of the independent winemakers of Languedoc and of course tasting their wines. We will cycle a pretty loop through the vineyard roads taking in several picturesque towns including Gabian, Margon and Fouzilhon. At Margon we will take the time to explore the gardens of the beautifully restored Chateau Margon.
We will stop at 3 vineyards on route where we will be greeted by the winemakers themselves who will present their stories and their wines. We will sample the wines of the two major appellations of this area: AOP Languedoc & AOP Faugères.
The second tasting of the day will include a tapas style lunch with food and wine pairings.
After lunch, the route will become a bit more challenging as we cycle through the schiste hills of the Faugerès appellation. You will be rewarded for your efforts by some stunning views but also by the opportunity to taste some of these special wines.
All purchases made at any of the vineyards we visit will be collected after the ride and delivered to Bellevue.
PicPoul & Oysters
Today we feature the fresh tastes of the Mediterranean coast. We will sample some of the best oysters produced in France along with a zesty white wine which is grown exclusively in this region.
The production of Picpoul white wine is centered around a few small villages close to the Bassin de Thau, that coincidentally produces much of France’s high class oysters and mussels. Situated on a limestone plateau, the wine is made from a single Piquepoul grape variety and is a light acidic wine, with citrus fruit aromas. It is the perfect accompaniment to seafood.
We will stop for a tasting at a local Picpoul domaine where the winemaker will explain what makes this grape so special and let us sample his wines.
After the domaine visit we will cycle on to Pezenas for a seafood lunch featuring a fresh oyster tasting, paired with Picpoul of course.
Once the capital of ancient Languedoc, Pézena’s medieval town centre is full of history and charm as well as many boutiques and cafes. Take the time after lunch to explore the pedestrian-only historic centre and the ancient Jewish Quarter. Pézenas is a local artistic hub. Pop in to the many artisan workshops and galleries; there are marked routes you can follow.
The garrigue is the name used to refer to the rocky shrubland in the region. There are some lovely routes from Neffies out that meander the ridge passing through the villages of Fos and Vailhan. These routes are hillier than the vineyard routes, but still do not require any long-sustained climbs. The daily climbing is approximately 675m and the views are definitely worth the effort. You will want to stop for a photo break just after Fouzilhon where you can see vistas out as far as the hills of Faugeres.
We will stop for lunch at the L’Auberge du Presbytere in Vailhan famous for their innovative seasonal menus featuring local produce. After our delicious lunch, we will coast back down hill to Neffies at a leisurely pace.
Today you are free to do as you please. Explore some of the nearby villages and historical sites, shop for souvenirs in the local artisan shops of Pezenas, or simply relax by the pool and enjoy a drink on the terrace while perusing the view over the adjacent hills,
No formal cycling today. You are welcome to use your hire bike if you wish to head out for an independent ride.
Cirque de Moureze
Cirque de Moureze is one of the oldest “Grand Sites” of France. The limestone rock has been carved and sculpted by erosion creating unusual rock formations resembling fairy chimneys. You could almost be cycling on Mars. The route is reasonably hilly especially around the Cirque de Moureze, but becomes flatter as you approach Lac Salagou where you will be presented with some absolutely stunning views.
Moureze is a quaint town and a perfect stop for a lunch break. Weather permitting, we will eat outside on the bistro patio with views of the Cirque.
On the way back, we will stop in the hamlet of Villeneuvette. Once a factory town dedicated to weaving tapestries for the Royal Court, it is now a pretty and quiet backwater with a few artisan shops and a café serving cold drinks under the shade of the plantain trees.
There are short nature walks around the village where you can see the ruins of the ancient stone aqueducts which were used to bring water to the workers.
Morning ride to Pezenas and heading home
The highlight of today’s route is the town of Pezenas and its vibrant market. Once the capital of ancient Languedoc, Pézena’s medieval town centre is full of history and charm as well as many boutiques and cafes.
On Saturday, there is an all-day market in the Cours Jean Jaures which is one of the largest and most vibrant in the area. Be aware that the fresh food stalls generally start to close at around noon, but the crafts and other stalls are open into the afternoon.
Take the time to explore the pedestrian-only historic centre and the ancient Jewish Quarter. Pézenas is a local artistic hub. Pop in to the many artisan workshops and galleries; there are marked routes you can follow.
You will be spoiled for choice for lunch with an abundance of quality restaurants from local to gourmet cuisine. Or just feast on the many delicacies from the market.
On the way home, we will stop for a wine tasting at St. Cecile de Parc, one of the local vineyards who are winning awards for their wine.
We will then transport you to the airport or agreed location for your onward journey.