We will pick you up at your arrival airport or agreed location and transport you into the picturesque Languedocian countryside for the start of your tour.
After a welcome meeting to review the itinerary, answer questions and ensure everyone is comfortable on their hire bikes, take the time to settle in and wander around the charming village which will be your home base.
No formal cycling today, but depending on your arrival time, the keen cyclists in the group can head out for a quick leg spinner.
Enjoy a Table d’hote dinner prepared fresh by your hosts at your B&B.
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. Stop for a break to enjoy 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 is followed by a tasting of the Abbey’s bio wines produced on site.
You will have lunch at the Abbey’s excellent restaurant before cycling home, 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.
The Mediterranean Coast
Today you will cycle towards the Mediterranean. You will take in some spectacular coastal views, 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.
Your first stop of the day is at a local Picpoul domaine where the winemaker will explain what makes this grape so special and let you sample his wines. Cycle on to the village of Marseillan on the Etang de Thau. Here you will indulge in a fresh sampler platter of the region’s famous oysters, served on the picturesque waterfront and paired with Picpoul of course.
Before the return cycle ride, visit the cellars of the Noilly Prat. This unique aperitif is made from the same Picpoul grape variety and has been produced in the town of Marseillan since 1855.
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. You will cycle a pretty loop through the vineyard roads taking in several picturesque towns including Gabian, Margon and Fouzilhon. At Margon take the time to explore the gardens of the beautifully restored Chateau Margon.
You will stop at 3 vineyards on route where you will be greeted by the winemakers themselves who will present their stories and their wines. You 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 you 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 you visit can be collected after the ride and delivered to your B&B.
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.
Time permitting, you can stop on the way home 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.