Provence provides a phenomenal diversity of terrain and landscapes, and with it a breadth of riding for its cyclists. Avid riders will relish climbing the slopes of Mont Ventoux while more leisurely folk will savor the scents, sounds and tastes of the local markets. Provence is a delight to explore for all levels of rider.
Activities off the saddle are plentiful as well, from cooking classes, to wine tasting, and immersive experiences in local history. You’ll have the opportunity to dine in exquisite restaurants and savor all that the Provençal cuisine has to offer, paired with world famous local wines.
The best time to visit Provence, France is late April through early October when the temperatures are pleasantly warm and the risk of rainfall relatively low. In summer, temperatures are rarely stifling as most of the tour area is on higher ground away from the humidity of the coast. Spring and fall are great times to ride but the risk of rain rises as you get into October. We do not recommend cycling here in winter.
Our Provence bike tour focuses on the western inland portion of Provence, with Avignon being close to the center of the tour. To provide you with a flavor of this tour below is a description of one of the days bicycle touring in this region.
Bédoin to Gordes
The regular ride today is relatively short but it packs in a lot so you will, likely, want to take your time.
The ride starts out across rolling vineyards until you reach Venasque: a stunningly beautiful village that clings to a rocky outcrop. The winding streets are little-changed since medieval times. Lunch at one of the great restaurants or graze among the stalls at the daily market.
After Venasque the terrain changes and you enter a gorge that is carved deep into the craggy limestone. Your road twists and turns up this steep-sided canyon until you emerge to stunning views atop the Plateau de Vaucluse.
After a twisting descent, you reach the isolated Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque. Set in a hollow among fields of lavender the abbey is one of the iconic views of Provence. Venture inside to the cloistered interiors to explore this perfectly-preserved 12th century monastery.
A short ride from the monastery takes you to another iconic Provençal view: the dramatic setting of the village of Gordes – where you stay overnight. Gordes is listed as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most Beautiful Villages of France) and it lives up to its billing.
For a longer ride you will head west from Bédoin to the mountain town of Sault before crossing the Plateau de Vaucluse through a network of dramatic gorges. You will see many lavender fields on this extended route.
Provence 7-Day Sampler