We will pick you up at your arrival airport or train station and transport you and your bike to the picturesque town of Beaumes de Venise, the starting point of your tour. No riding today: Take the time to settle in and wander around the charming village.
Beaumes de Venise has been recognized as a “Site Remarquable du Goût” in France and is famed for its Muscat, a sweet dessert wine. You can walk in for a tasting of the local Muscat and other regional wines at several Domaine shops in the village.
At the foot of the village are olive groves, the oil produced from which can be purchased at the mill. There are many quaint streets with galleries, shops and cafes to explore.
No formal cycling today.
Your first ride of the tour winds through the scenic foothills of Mont Ventoux. The area abounds with hidden valleys, hilltop hamlets and quiet back roads which give the area a unique feel and make it a ride not to be missed.
The terrain is rolling, but there are many picturesque towns to stop for a break to rest your legs, refuel and take in the scenery.
Extend your ride to Chateauneuf-du-Pape and take in a tasting in this world renowned wine appellation.
Distance: 30-35km, Climbing 600m
Beaumes-de-Venise to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Today you will cycle on from Beaumes-de-Venise to the town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue which (ironically) is often referred to as “la Venise Comtadine”. Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is nestled by the river of the same name and is laced with canals making it one of the most unique and attractive towns in the region.
The ride today is relatively flat, meandering through the vineyards and villages of the Vaucluse. If you are feeling ambitious, you can add an optional loop to Crillon-le-Brave. Built on hilltop for defensive purposes, Crillon-le-Brave is a very small town, with only one paved road running through the middle, but with lovingly restored 14th century buildings and stunning views over the gorge.
The town of Mazan is a good place to stop for lunch and to stretch your legs. You will follow the river Sorgue for the last part of the route into Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Known for its many antique markets and art galleries, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a superb destination in which to treat yourself to a bit of post ride luxury – a fine meal and perhaps an artistic souvenir of your trip.
Distance: 40-45km, Climbing 375m
Abbaye de Seneque and Gordes
Today’s route will take you along the edge of the Parc Luberon past the Abbaye of Sénanque and the pretty hilltop town of Gordes before heading back to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Today’s route is also one of the more challenging rides of your holiday with a sustained (but beautiful) climb into Gordes.
Enclosed in a valley and surrounded by lavender fields, the impressive romanesque Abbey of Sénanque remains one of the purest examples of early Cistercian architecture. It is still inhabited by an active community of Cistercian monks. Guided visits are offered several times a day.
Gordes is one of the most famous villages in Provence, located in the foothills of the Monts of Vaucluse overlooking the Parc Luberon. With an imposing 10th century chateau dominating the village, it is recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its white stone buildings jut up from the sharp cliffs of the mountain and the labyrthinth of “calades” or narrow cobblestone streets are entirely charming. Gordes would make a good lunch stop as there are an abundance of excellent restaurants to choose from.
Distance: 50-55km, Climbing 850m
Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Bonnieux
Today you will enter the magnificent Parc Luberon. The Parc abounds with lavender fields, hilltop villages (referred to as “les villages perches”) and quiet back roads which make the area such a popular destination for cyclists.
You will cycle through the famous “villages perches” of Menèrbes and Lacoste, before arriving in the town of Bonnieux. At a height of 425m, you will see the church tower long before you arrive in the town of Bonnieux. It dominates this magnificent village as well as the surrounding countryside of orchards and vineyards.
Distance: 30-40km, Climbing: 625m
Bonnieux has some excellent restaurants, complete with charming terraces.
“Ochre cliffs” of the Luberon
On your last full day of cycling you will explore a different aspect of the magnificently diverse Parc Luberon. You will start your ride by crossing over the famous roman Pont Julien (be sure to stop and take a few pictures) before cycling through the red and yellow cliffs of the ancient ochre mines near Roussillon.
Stop for lunch in the town of Apt.
Distance: 30-40km, Climbing 550m
Morning ride and heading home
Depending on the timing of your onward journey, you may have time for a morning ride before you head out. We will transport you to agreed airport or rail station for your onward journey.
Optional Day: Mont Ventoux
Mont Ventoux utterly dominates its surroundings in the heart of Provence. Mont Ventoux is a worthy adversary for any aspiring cyclist and merits its nickname “The Giant of Provence”.
There are 3 possible ascents, with the classic Tour de France route starting in Bedoin. We recommend climbing via Sault and descending via Bedoin. The Sault ascent, is slightly longer and less steep. It is also more picturesque as it starts off amongst the lavender fields for which Provence is famous.
You will pass through the Gorges of Nesque before beginning your climb of Mont Ventoux. You will descend into Bedoin from where you will be transported to your next destination.
Your ride today will be fully supported with a guide and follow-on vehicle.
Distance: 65km, Climbing 1912m
- Bruce will ride with you to help you set the right personal pace for the sustained climbing and provide tips for descending confidently and safely.
- The support vehicle will carry water and snacks as well as mechanical supplies and extra clothing to keep you fuelled and unencumbered for a long day of riding.
- The support vehicle will follow the route stopping at flexibles intervals to allow you to refill water bottles etc.
- If for whatever reason, you decide you do not want to continue with the climb, the support vehicle will take you to the summit.
Ask us about adding a supported ride of Mont Ventoux to your trip.