Provence, France

Iconic and Diverse Landscapes

Provence, France

Iconic and Diverse Landscapes

Provence, France

Iconic and Diverse Landscapes

Provence, France

Iconic and Diverse Landscapes

Provence, France

Iconic and Diverse Landscapes

Provence, France

Iconic and Diverse Landscapes

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Highlights

    • Custom itineraries and uniquely personal service
    • Medieval villages, abbeys, and castles
    • Vibrant and fragrant lavender fields from June through August
    • Deep limestone gorges such as the Gorges de la Nesque
    • And of course, exceptional food and wines including Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Seasons

Spring, Summer, and Fall

Starting / Ending City

Avignon or Marseille

Tour Length

3 to 14 days

Trip Types

◊ Self-Guided
With our Self-Guided tours an expert local guide takes care of your transfers, route briefing, luggage moves, and planned transfers. They are also available should you need mechanical assistance, help with a dinner reservation, or general questions. You have a GPS unit, maps, and a detailed guidebook to help you select your route, choose where you eat, and, generally, explore the area.

◊ Guided Group
Our Guided tours allow your group to explore a destination with an expert local guide with a dedicated support vehicle. You will also have GPS units, maps and a detailed guidebook to help learn about both the major sights and the hidden gems. Your guide takes care of both you and all the logistics – from route advice to bottle washing.

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Private Provence, France Cycling Tours

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    Where do you want to stay?

    Budget

    Two Star Silverton Inn Suites

    Simple B&Bs and more modest hotels but all well-kept with en suite facilities

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    Classic

    Four Star accommodation

    Smaller hotels or luxurious B&Bs with very personal service often including wine tasting

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    Luxury

    Luxury accommodation

    Some of the nicest full-service hotels in the area. Typically include a pool and a good restaurant

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    Sample Itinerary

    Provence France Cover Photo

    Provence is a region littered with abbeys, castles and Roman ruins. Village life is agrarian and slow-paced with outstanding food and wine at its center. Every turn along the quiet lanes reveals a fresh vista: vineyards, olive groves, deep gorges, and fields of lavender. No wonder Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, and Matisse all found inspiration here.
    Provence is a delight to explore for all levels of rider: avid riders will relish climbing the slopes of Mont Ventoux while more leisurely folk will savor riding between villages with their open-air markets.

    TOUR LENGTH

    6 Days / 5 Nights

    ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

    Budget  

    Classic  

    Luxury  

    START & END

    Avignon

    SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS

    • Private transfer from Avignon with bike set up and full route briefing at the start of your tour
    • Bilingual guides delivering superior service
    • Handpicked accommodations with breakfast
    • On-call roadside assistance and guide available via phone
    • Luggage moved between lodgings and optional participant transfers along the routes
    • GPS units, maps, directions and a comprehensive guidebook

    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    • Alternative start/end locations in Marseilles or Marseilles Airport
    • Cooking classes
    • Wine tours
    • Customize your route

    BIKE AVAILABILITY

    DAY-BY-DAY FLOW

    Day 1: Avignon to Vaison-la-Romaine

    Day 2: Vaison-la-Romaine to Bédoin

    Day 3: Bédoin Loop Day

    Day 4: Bédoin to Gordes

    Day 5: Gordes Loop Day

    Day 6: Gordes Loop Day

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    Day One - Avignon to Vaison-la-Romaine

    The Intermediate ride starts with a van transfer to Châteauneuf-du-Pape; a charming village at the center of one of the world’s greatest wine growing regions. From here you ride through the Rhône Valley past famous wineries to the market town of Orange with its Roman ruins; the Roman theater and the triumphal arch are UNESCO World Heritage sites. After visiting Orange, you return to rolling countryside that is carpeted with vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône. The quiet lanes link a series of pretty, unspoiled villages and the whole region is peppered with great wineries.

    Leisure riders will be transferred to Orange or a little further along the route described above.

    Challenge riders will start west of Avignon at the stunning Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct. From there, they will ride through the twisting lanes of the Malmont Forest before joining the regular route at Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This detour adds 25 miles and doubles the amount of climbing.

    Ride across the vinecarpeted countryside of the Côtes du Rhône to the spectacular town of Vaison-la-Romaine

    Côtes du Rhône to Vaison-la-Romaine France cycling tour segment

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 900 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 1,400 feet

    Challenge
    55 miles with 3,000 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Vaison-la-Romaine

    Vaison-la-Romaine is really two cities. North of the river is the lively modern town that includes several Roman ruins. South of the river – perched on a hill – is the medieval town complete with 12th-century castle. Separating the two sides is a deep gorge – crossed by a sturdy Roman bridge.

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    Day Two - Vaison-la-Romaine to Bédoin

    Twisting backroads is today’s theme as you ride along tiny lanes between picture-postcard villages. The terrain varies constantly as you ride past rolling vineyards, through wooded forests, alongside rivers, and across a plateau with sweeping views down the valleys to the Rhône plane. There are several charming villages to stop at for lunch – each with excellent restaurants.

    The Intermediate ride takes a large arc via Dentelles de Montmirail – a jagged chain of limestone mountains famous for their scenery and vineyards. Caromb is a particularly pretty town for lunch on this ride.

    The Leisure ride takes a more direct route via the attractive market town of Malaucène.

    The Challenge ride takes you around the flanks of the mighty Mont Ventoux via Sault. This ride adds 20 miles and a lot of extra climbing. There is also the option to ride via the summit of Mont Ventoux: climbing over 5,000 feet in under 15 miles.

    Ride along tiny lanes between the picture-postcard villages of the Dentelles de Montmirail

    Vaison-la-Romaine to Bedoin France cycling tour segment

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 3,000 feet

    Challenge
    50 miles with 5,000 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Bédoin

    In summer, Bédoin buzzes with cyclists and walkers many of whom are intent on climbing the mighty Mont Ventoux that dominates the horizon. The atmosphere is relaxed with numerous cafés and restaurants spilling out into the tree-shaded streets.

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    Day Three - Bédoin Loops

    The highlight of today’s Intermediate ride is the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque. The road through this sheer-walled valley sits high above the River Nesque and affords breathtaking views as you twist though a series of tight turns and tunnels. The excellent Restaurant Les Lavandes in Monieux makes for a perfect lunch stop.

    Leisure riders do a shorter loop via the village of Flassan and onto Villes-sur-Auzon for lunch. From there you return to Bédoin along very quiet little country lanes.

    The first Challenge option is a direct assault up Mont Ventoux. Expect to climb over 5,000 feet in less than 14 miles. A direct return to Bédoin is 14 miles of pure descent.

    The second option for a Challenge ride follows the Challenge route described above but returns to Bédoin via Sault (a great place for lunch) and the stunning Gorges de la Nesque. This adds 20 miles and another 1,800 feet of climbing to the direct route.

    In the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque the road sits high above the river as it twist though a series of tight turns and tunnels

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 900 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    40 miles with 3,800 feet

    Challenge
    30 miles with 5,000 feet

    55 miles with 7,100 feet

     

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Bédoin

    In summer, Bédoin buzzes with cyclists and walkers many of whom are intent on climbing the mighty Mont Ventoux that dominates the horizon.  The atmosphere is relaxed with numerous cafés and restaurants spilling out into the tree-shaded streets.

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    Day Four - Bédoin to Gordes

    The Intermediate ride passes through rolling vineyards until it reaches Venasque: a medieval village that clings to a rocky outcrop. Here you can lunch at one of the great restaurants and stroll among the stalls at the daily market.

    After Venasque you climb up a gorge that is carved deep into the craggy limestone before emerging 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. A short ride from the abbey takes you to another iconic Provençal view: the dramatic setting of the village of Gordes.

    The Leisure ride joins the above route at Venasque.

    For a Challenge ride, you head west from Bédoin to the mountain town of Sault. From Sault, you climb past lavender fields up to the Plateau de Vaucluse. You have views of both Mont Ventoux to the north and the Luberon to the south. You descend from the plateau through a network of narrow gorges before a final push up to the dramatically-sited hilltop town of Gordes.

    A day packed with sights: vineyards, a medieval village atop a rock, narrow gorges, and a 12th-century abbey

    Bedoin to Gordes France cycling tour segment

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    10 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing

    Leisure/Intermediate
    20 miles with 1,900 feet

    Challenge
    45 miles with 3,800 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Gordes

    Gordes is a stunningly beautiful town standing on the edge of the Vaucluse Plateau. Its houses of white and gray stone rise up in a spiral around the rock where the village is set. At the very top is the church and the castle which face out onto the hills of the Luberon.

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    Day Five - Gordes Loop (A)

    The Intermediate ride heads south to the forests and rural farms of the Petit Luberon – an area made famous by Peter Mayle in his memoir A Year in Provence. Four outstanding hilltop villages punctuate the route: Ménerbes, Lacoste, Bonnieux, and Roussillon. Each is a maze of terraced switchbacks with stunning views at every bend. In the afternoon light, Roussillon is particularly striking, sitting as it does atop ochre rocks.

    The Challenge ride departs from the above route at Bonnieux and heads into the Luberon Mountains. As the name would suggest, there is plenty of climbing on this detour. Villages on this route include Lourmarin (where Peter Mayle now lives) as well as a string of more isolated hamlets that served as film locations for Manon des Sources and Jean de Florette. This is stunningly beautiful mountain riding.

    The Leisure ride is a shorter loop that visits the charming hamlet of Goult before arcing east to the ochre town of Roussillon – the latter makes for a perfect lunch stop.

    The forests and rural farms of the Petit Luberon: an area made famous by Peter Mayle in his memoir A Year in Provence

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 2,500 feet

    Challenge
    75 miles with 6,750 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Gordes

    Gordes is a stunningly beautiful town standing on the edge of the Vaucluse Plateau. Its houses of white and gray stone rise up in a spiral around the rock where the village is set. At the very top is the church and the castle which face out onto the hills of the Luberon.

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    Day Six - Gordes Loop (B) - Last Day

    You could spend several contented days in and around Gordes. The town itself is worth taking time to explore and, for a rest from the bike, there is a forested hike to the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque.

    Today’s Intermediate route heads west to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The town is known as the Venice of Provence – complete with numerous canals. There are also 300 antique dealers in this ancient town. After L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue you head back east up a U-shaped valley to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. A half-mile walk from the town will take you to the source of the River Sorgue: Europe’s most powerful spring where water gushes spectacularly from a fissure in the rocks.

    Challenge riders continue north from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to the delightfully sleepy town of Pernes-les-Fontaines complete with ramparts, towers and covered market. You then ride back via the lavender-carpeted Plateau de Vaucluse.

    Leisure riders enjoy an in-and-out ride to the spectacular Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.

    Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is Europe’s most powerful spring where water gushes spectacularly from a fissure in the rocks

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    20 miles with 1,700 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    25 miles with 1,900 feet

    Challenge

    40 miles with 3,300 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    None

    As this is the last day of your tour, there is no overnight accommodation unless explicitly requested on booking.

    Vaison-la-Romaine:

    Les Tilleuls d’Elisée
    Despite being close to the center of town, this charming B&B is set among large gardens that back onto the town’s cathedral. The stone property dates back to the 19th century and the five rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. Breakfast is served in the gardens.

    Bédoin:

    Hôtel La Garance
    This hotel is a small, country hotel – efficiently run with a warm welcome. Set among vineyards and cherry orchards, the property is in a small hamlet two miles outside of Bédoin with exceptional views of Mont Ventoux. Rooms are modest but clean. The relaxing gardens with a small pool are a bonus after a day’s riding.

    Gordes:

    Le Mas des Romarins
    On the edge of Gordes, this cozy, 12-room hotel has lovely views back towards the village. The stone building dates from the 19th-century and has been nicely renovated. The grounds are terraced gardens with a small pool. Rooms are on the small side but comfortable. The hotel has a good restaurant.

    France budget hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in our Budget category are typically simpler B&Bs and more modest inns or hotels. However, all the properties are well-kept with en suite facilities.

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

    Tips & Notes
    Hôtel La Garance is in a hamlet 1.5 miles outside of Bédoin but there are two restaurants within walking distance.

    Vaison-la-Romaine:

    Hôtel Burrhus
    Located on the vibrant town square, this hotel has two distinct characters. From the outside you see venerable stucco walls with blue shutters. On the inside everything is simple and modern – with numerous artworks and sculptures. Rooms are also simple and contemporary. The property has a nice outdoor terrace for breakfast or drinks.

    Bédoin:

    Hôtel La Garance
    This hotel is a small, country hotel – efficiently run with a warm welcome. Set among vineyards and cherry orchards, the property is in a small hamlet two miles outside of Bédoin with exceptional views of Mont Ventoux. Rooms are modest but clean. The relaxing gardens with a small pool are a bonus after a day’s riding.

    Gordes:

    Domaine de l’Enclos
    A beautifully converted farmhouse situated in private grounds on the outskirts of Gordes. Rooms are spacious, comfortable and traditionally furnished. There are pleasant common areas including a pool table. The grounds have sweeping views and a heated swimming pool. The property is a ten-minute walk from the center of Gordes.

    France classic hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in the Classic category are typically smaller hotels or luxurious B&Bs with very personal service sometimes including wine tasting or evening hors d’oeuvres

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

    Tips & Notes
    Hôtel La Garance is in a hamlet 1.5 miles outside of Bédoin but there are two restaurants within walking distance.

    Vaison-la-Romaine:

    Hostellerie le Beffroi
    Situated in the heart of the medieval town, this hotel is located in a series of 15th- and 16th-century houses with rooms tastefully decorated in sympathy with the age of the property. The hotel has a nice pool and outstanding views from the gardens.

    Bédoin:

    La Maison de Crillon
    This boutique hotel sits on the edge of the charming village of Crillon-le-Brave – 2.5 miles outside of Bédoin. Rooms are spacious and individually decorated with private terraces. The pool, bar and terraces have expansive views across the surrounding countryside. There are also some excellent restaurants in the village.

    Gordes:

    Hôtel les Bories & Spa
    This hotel sits in 20 acres of private gardens one mile from the center of Gordes. The stone buildings have been tastefully renovated and the rooms are comfortable, nicely appointed, and most have views across the Luberon. The property includes a 50 square foot pool, a full-service spa, and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

    Bédoin – Upgrade:

    Hôtel Crillon le Brave
    This exclusive Relais & Châteaux property encompasses the major buildings of this village – 2.5 miles from Bédoin – that have been converted into exceptionally comfortable rooms with stunning views of Mont Ventoux. The hotel has a spa, a large swimming pool, and an exceptional restaurant – reservations recommended.

     

    Gordes – Upgrade:

    La Bastide de Gordes
    This boutique, luxury hotel is converted from an ancestral 12th-century castle built on the edge of a cliff in Gordes. The pool and terraces have stunning views over the valley. The interior is decorated with antiques and many of the rooms have private terraces. There is also a chic spa and gourmet restaurant.

     

    France luxury hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in our Luxury category are some of the nicest full-service hotels in the area. They typically include spa facilities and a good restaurant.

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

    Tips & Notes
    A hotel upgrade is available in Bédoin to the Hôtel Crillon le Brave for $310 per room per night. Crillon le Brave is 2.5 miles from Bédoin.

    A hotel upgrade is available in Gordes to the La Bastide de Gordes for $590 per room per night. See description opposite.

    BIKE CHOICES

    Hybrids bikes, a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike

    Hybrids bikes are a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. They have a relaxed riding position and are great for beginners and intermediate riders. A typical model is the Trek 7.3 FX with Shimano components and high-pressure road tires for better cycling efficiency than your typical hybrid.

    Road bikes, a racing style bike with drop handlebars

    Our road bikes are a racing style bike with drop handlebars. The road bikes are faster bikes than the hybrids with less upright riding position. A typical model is the Émonda ALR 5 with aluminum frame, carbon forks, and Shimano 105 components. (NOTE: Some of the smaller roads in Puglia can be a little rough making a hybrid bikes a better choice for some riders.)

    eBikes, designed to give you a little extra assistance when climbing hills

    Our eBikes are designed to give you a little extra assistance when climbing hills. The ride position is very similar to our hybrids. We typically rent Scott E-Sub equipped with a 250W E-drive Bosch motor. If one rider in a couple is stronger than the other, an eBike can be a great choice for the less-strong rider.

    Your Own Bike, if you have a favorite bike, we can help you get it to your destination as well as set it up once it is there

    If you have a favorite bike, we can help you get it to your destination as well as set it up once it is there. Please ask about options for bike shipping and assembly.

    group of cyclists

    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    Receiving & Assembly
    per bike charge to receive bike from shipper, assemble the bike and repack it and deliver it to a shipper at the end of the tour.

    Bike Boxes 
    a per box charge for the extra logistics needed to handle bike boxes during a tour. Note: this fee can be avoided if you leave your box with your start/end hotel.

    Tandem Bike 
    a per bike fee for the extra logistics to handle a tandem bike that is brought by a guest.

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