Our cycling tour focuses on riding the gorgeous Vaucluse which affords us ample opportunity to soak in all of the elements that make Provence so precious to so many. This 6-night journey is carefully hand-designed to balance unforgettable riding with memorable cultural and culinary experiences in the area.
CYCLING TOUR IN PROVENCE
TOUR DATES AND PRICES
Minimum of 8 participants, maximum of 14, with a maximum guide-to-guest ratio of 1 to 8
DATES (7 days)
June 6-12, 2020 | September 19-25, 2020 | May 31-June 6, 2021 | August 30-September 5, 2021
For more info, other dates and availability please contact us.
Per person in double occupancy from $3,890 to $4,290 in 2020 and from $3,990 to $4,390 in 2021
(this tour will feature 4-star hotels, chateaux, chambres & tables d’hôtes. Tour price will vary depending on group size)
Single Supplement: $690
In addition, we pledge to donate more than 1% of your trip price to food literacy and environmental non profit organizations
- Discover three UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: Natural Park of Luberon, the Gorges de la Nesque and the Mont Ventoux (optional loop on day 5)
- Tastings of regional foods and visits to local wine and olive oil makers
- Savor the local traditional cuisine featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients and learn more about local recipes
- Enjoy some of the best wines of Provence such as Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre and more!
- Relax in unique, elegant 4-star hotels, chateaux and maisons & tables d’hôtes
- Delve into history, traditions and culture in this unique area of south of France
- Exhilarating rides in some of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France
If you prefer to arrive the day before please let us know and we will help you organize your pre night at the same hotel used on tour, and early transfer from Avignon TGV train station at additional price. Avignon is easy to reach via high speed train either from Paris, Lyon and Nice airports. This is recommended just to allow you more time to settle in and get ready for the tour.
Cycling Route Info on day 1: Main Route: 24mi/1200ft of elevation gain | Extra loop adds: 10mi/500ft or more!
Cycling Route Info on day 2: Main Route 32mi/1700ft | Extra loop adds: 11mi/200ft or more!
Fly into Paris, Lyon or Nice Airport and catch a high-speed train to Avignon TGV train station. Then catch our 30-mins group transfer to our accommodation for the next two nights in Saint Remy de Provence. Check in and relax before meeting your guide for a light lunch and introduction to the tour.
We begin in Saint-Rémy, a village of the Bouches-du-Rhône department (district) of Région Sud. (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the official name of Région Sud, has six departments. Our tour takes us into two: Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse.) Saint-Rémy flaunts all the charms of the Provençal way of life: Shady boulevards flanked by century-old plane trees; narrow lanes opening into charming town squares with their cheerful fountains; cozy cafés and art galleries.
Over our two days in Saint-Rémy, we fan out into the countryside to bask in the magnificent views of the Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles. The Alpilles are an extension of the much larger Luberon range, which we will see later on. Though not as tall as their neighbors, the Alpilles nonetheless impress—their limestone peaks rising abruptly out of the Rhône Valley and the pancake-flat plain of Crau.
We stop in Les Baux, a village perched atop a rocky outcrop, which boasts the superlative designation of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. This is an association founded in early 80’s to promote tourism in well-kept and culturally-rich villages in the country; currently there are 159 villages listed and we visit five of them on our tour. Les Baux’s centerpiece is a ruined castle overlooking the southern plains. In Provençal, a bauç is a rocky spur, and the name Les Baux references its physical location. (In addition, the mineral bauxite gets its name from Les Baux, where it was mined in local quarries, no longer in use.) The mistral wind shoots violently over Les Baux from the north and northwest, especially in winter and spring. Also along our route, we visit olive oil and wine makers to taste and learn about local grapes such as Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan. Back in Saint-Rémy, we explore the village with the help of a local guide and discover, among other things, the places that Vincent Van Gogh adored to paint.
Cycling Route Info on day 3: Main Route: 37mi/2000ft | Extra loop adds: 8mi/900ft or more!
Cycling Route Info on day 4: Main Route: 37mi/2800ft | Extra loop adds: 8mi/650ft or more!
Our third day sees us out of Saint-Rémy and heading east, across the Durance River, which doubles as the natural border between Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse. Now in the Vaucluse department, we ride into the fabled National Park of Luberon to reach the area of Gordes, our base for the next two nights in a maison et table d’hôtes (traditional inn) where we enjoy a cooking demo before dinner. (An extra loop today carries you to the exquisite Abbaye de Sénanque, among the most-photographed spots in Provence, from the side and set behind fields of lavender.)
Highlights of our routes for the next two days include the villages of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, known for its waterwheels, and Fontaine de Vaucluse. In Occitan, Fontaine de Vaucluse is simply called Vauclusa, from the Latin vallis clausa or “closed valley”. The fourteenth-century poet Petrarch lived here for a time, until the death of his son, and there is a museum celebrating his life in the area. We also dedicate an entire day to a loop within the National Park of Luberon, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve consisting of two mountain chains (the Luberon and the Vaucluse) and contiguous to the Mont Ventoux Biosphere Reserve just to its north. While in the park, we stop in Roussillion and Menerbes, two of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Here, we visit a winery focused on the vintages of Luberon and taste with a local sommelier. On June departures, we are also able to enjoy some local black summer truffles found in this area.
Cycling Route Info on day 5: Main Route: 25mi/2000ft | Extra loop 1 adds: 12mi/700ft and extra loop 2 to Mont Ventoux adds: 41mi/5900ft (recommended only to expert cyclists)
Cycling Route Info on day 6: Main Route: 27mi/3200ft | Extra loop adds: 19mi/400ft
On our fifth day, we ride on to Mazan via the perched village of Venasque, another one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. We reach Mazan, our base for the next two days, in time for lunch, thus allowing energized riders to pedal on in the afternoon while others may choose to relax in town or at our hotel, once a residence of the infamous Marquis de Sade! Optional afternoon rides on our fifth day include a loop to the charming village of Mormoiron and another to spectacular Mont Ventoux in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. (We recommend the Mont Ventoux ride only to expert cyclists or those up for a major challenge. This is a world-famous climb, regularly featured on the Tour de France).
For our last day, we ride along the dramatic Gorges de la Nesque (anothr UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) with its breathtaking open views. Our lunch stop includes a visit to a lavender ferme (farm in English) to learn about this celebrated crop. Lavender is used to repel insects, heal bites and burns, and to soothe headaches. Some also use it to treat acne. As the essential oil in lavender has antiseptic properties, it was used in hospitals during World War I. And, of course, there is aromatherapy: Lavendar is put in the bath, in drawers and closets to freshen things up, and under the pillow to aid with relaxation and promote sleep. Upon our return to Mazan, we enjoy a celebratory final dinner together at our hotel.
Absorbed into France over five hundred years ago, Provence manages still, somehow, to hold fast to its pre-French roots. The cultural and linguistic flavors here are unlike other parts of the country. We designed this 6-night tour to balance unforgettable riding with memorable cultural and culinary experiences. This is your vacation, your time in Provence, so let us know how you prefer to travel! À bientôt! (See you soon!)
After breakfast catch our 40-mins group transfer to Avignon TGV train station from where you can connect to Paris, Nice and Lyon airports. If you have more time consider to extend your stay in the area. Bon voyage (“Safe travels” in French) and à bientôt! (see you soon!)
- 6 nights of accommodation in 4-star hotels, chateaux, maisons and tables d’hôtes (traditional inns)
- 6 breakfasts and 2 lunches
- 5 dinners with a 3-course menu (for June departures at least one including black truffles)
- Exploration of Saint-Remy de Provence, Mazan, Vaucluse and other quaint Provençal villages
- Discover five of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: Les Baux, Roussillon, Gordes, Venasque and Menerbes
- 1 visit and tasting to a winery and olive oil producer near St. Remy
- Exhilarating rides in the must-see places of Provence including three UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: Natural Park of Luberon, Gorges de la Nesque and Mont Ventoux (optional loop on day 5)
- 1 visit to a lavender farm and 1 guided visit to Van Gogh’s famous painting locations
- 1 cooking demo in a maison et table d’hôtes
- 1 wine tasting and visit to a local winemaker in Luberon area
- Bike rental (see more info here) and Garmin Touring Edge unit (if you have one, bring yours and we’ll upload the routes onto your unit)
- Comfortable transportation and assistance by 9-seat van for all travel on tour as cited in the itinerary
- Refreshments, snacks, fruits and other local delicacies during our rides
- 2 bilingual, professional Tour Leaders
- Group transfers from/to Avignon TGV train station
- Local taxes and gratuities for luggage porters and restaurant servers during tour
- 4 lunches and 1 dinner on your own
- Alcoholic beverages at group dinners (including wine and spirits)
- Round-trip airfare and expenses to/from the tour
- E-bike, upon request and availability, with $100-200 surcharge depending on the type (see more info here)
- Trip cancellation, baggage loss or travel delay insurance (this optional coverage is highly recommended and is not provided by Food.Stories.Travel.)
- Gratuities for your Tour Leader