What better way to explore the heart of Provence than on a bike? From bustling Avignon and the Palais des Papes, you will cross lush orchards and wine estates including the famous Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and Beaumes de Venise. Your route offers you breathtaking views of the Dentelles de Montmirail and the majestic Mont Ventoux. A network of quiet roads with little traffic takes you from village to village as you discover the local architecture and cultural heritage. Further south, you reach the white rocks of the Parc des Alpilles before heading towards the medieval perched city of Les Baux de Provence, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. To finish the week, you gently descend to the ancient city of Arles, whose historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The routes are gentle and accessible for beginners, and each day provides an opportunity for additional cycling, so the tour is suitable for intermediates as well.
- Riding on quiet back roads through vineyards, orchards and olive groves, with the Dentelles de Montmirail and the Mont Ventoux as a backdrop
- The towns and villages of Provence, with their exceptional cultural, historical and architectural heritage
- Discovering the famous vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise
- Crossing the Parc Naturel des Alpilles and Les Baux-de-Provence
Day 1: Avignon – Châteauneuf du Pape – Orange
The trip starts at 10 am at Avignon SNCF railway station. Upon request we can book the previous night’s accommodation for you in Avignon.
You know you’re in Provence as soon as you arrive in the magnificent city of Avignon. Christian capital during the Middle Ages, Avignon has retained an exceptional heritage from its past, a large part of which is listed by UNESCO: the Palais des Papes, the Pont d’Avignon, but also the Place des Palais with the baroque facade of the Hôtel des Monnaies, the Petit Palais museum and the Doms cathedral. You visit the ramparts, from the garden of the Doms to the Pont d’Avignon, before heading north on quiet back roads, following the Rhône upstream. The village of Châteauneuf du Pape, with its vineyards and prestigious wines offer an almost obligatory stop. You then reach Orange, Roman city and gateway to Provence, it has many historic buildings, including the famous Théâtre Antique and Arc de Triomphe, which you can take the time to visit in the late afternoon.
- Cycling for the day: approx. 40 km; altitude gain: approx. 200 m
- Accommodation: Hotel Le Glacier or similar
Day 2: Orange – Vaison-la-Romaine
The two possible options leave on different routes today. Option 1 heads northeast to the foot of the famous Dentelles de Montmirail, winding its way through the vineyards of Vacqueyras and Gigondas, and the picturesque villages of Violès and Sablet. The highlight of the day is the medieval village of Séguret, with its cobbled streets, its posterns, its picturesque houses and the ruins of the feudal castle, which offers magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. From Séguret, a quiet road winds its way through the hills to reach your overnight stop in Vaison-la-Romaine.
The second option leaves Séguret and the Dentelles vineyards for the following day and heads off on a completely different route. First of all Piolenc, the garlic capital, a few pedal strokes from Orange. You then ride along the foot of the wooded hills of Uchaux, before heading northeast across the Plan de Dieu vineyards towards Cairanne. Perched on a hilltop, the old village offers breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail and the Mont Ventoux, as well as the Aygues and Ouvèze valleys, next section of your route, following in the footsteps of the Templars. Ranked amongst the Most Beautiful Detours of France, “La Cité des Voconces” is home to a rich heritage, hiding numerous treasures.
- Cycling for the day (option 1): approx. 30 km; altitude gain: approx. 250 m
Cycling for the day (option 2): approx. 50 km; altitude gain: approx. 450 m
- Accommodation: Hotel Burrhus or similar
Day 3: Vaison-la-Romaine – Mormoiron
The option 1 route continues the tour of the Dentelles de Montmirail by the east, taking the road to Malaucène. The route is a bit hilly but, but this is compensated by the scenery between the Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles which is magnificent. Heading back down to the plains, you cross Le Barroux with its emblematic castle, its oil mill and its aqueduct.
The option 2 route circumvents the Dentelles to the west, passing through Séguret, then Gigondas and Vacqueyras, and finally Beaumes de Venise… villages with evocative names in the world of wine. With the Dentelles in the background, your ride through numerous vineyards, and several pretty stone villages. The two routes meet once again at Caromb, before criss-crossing the terraced landscapes typical of the Ventoux area. You reach the village of Mormoiron, your stopover for the night, where the Salettes lake awaits you for a relaxing post-ride swim.
- Cycling for the day (option 1): 35 km; altitude gain: approx. 350 m
Cycling for the day (option 2): approx. 45 km; altitude gain: approx. 550 m
- Accommodation: Local hotel or guesthouse
Day 4: Mormoiron – Isle sur Sorgue
This morning you cross the agricultural Comtat plain. Early in the day you discover the small village of Mazan, with its many chapels and its 64 early Christian sarcophagi. The two possible routes then separate just before Venasque. Option 1 leads to the historic Pernes-les-Fontaines, a magnificent medieval village with 40 fountains. Nearby Velleron offers the opportunity to discover one of the most renowned agricultural markets in the Vaucluse. The option 2 route also has some great surprises in store. After Mazan, the itinerary joins the perched villages of the Monts de Vaucluse: Venasque, listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, Le Beaucet and its fortified castle, and the old village of Roque-sur-Pernes and its “calades” (pebble arrangements). The climb is a bit tough, but worth the effort because of the superb panoramic views of the Ventoux and the surrounding countryside. A great descent awaits you, joining the various sites of the Sorgue: Saumane de Vaucluse and the castle of the famous Marquis de Sade, and the enchanting Fontaine de Vaucluse, source of the Sorgue. The day’s route ends at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, nicknamed the “Venise comtadine” with its canals.
- Cycling for the day (option 1): approx. 35 km; altitude gain: negligible
Cycling for the day (option 2): approx. 40 km; altitude gain: approx. 450 m
- Accommodation: Local hotel or guesthouse
Day 5: Isle sur Sorgue – St Rémy de Provence
You leave the Sorgue country behind and join the Petit Luberon and the village of Robion. Nested between the Alpes de Haute Provence and the Plaine de Vaucluse, between the Calavon Valley to the north and the Durance to the south, is the imposing Luberon range. You can spend a whole week discovering the Luberon by bike, but this time you’ll you will have the chance to enjoy its capital, Cavaillon, with its delicious melons and a stroll through its picturesque streets and alleys. Back on the bikes once again you head west to reach the Alpilles, the last range of hills before the plains of the Camargue. Saint Rémy de Provence, to the north of the Alpilles range is another of the region’s must-see towns. Built on one of the oldest archaeological sites in Europe, in a setting of lush green, scented valleys, it’s easy to fall under its charm. Its many old houses have been restored with taste and its pretty streets offer the perfect setting for a late afternoon stroll.
- Cycling for the day: approx. 45 km; altitude gain: negligible
- Accommodation: Hotel Canto Cigalo
Day 6: St Rémy de Provence – Arles / Departure or Overnight Stay
Home of the writer Alphonse Daudet and a favourite painting destination of Van Gogh, the Alpilles offer the perfect end to this Provençal bike tour. You cycle through some magnificent Provençal scenery of “garrigue”, pine and oak forests, along shaded tracks and small back roads leading to some beautiful local bastides (country houses). The village of Les Baux-de-Provence offers another superb stop, with its exceptional architectural and historical heritage. The range offers great views of the surrounding olive groves, and further south, the Camargue. The Alpilles, Camargue and Crau areas make up what is known as the “Golden Triangle of Biodiversity”, a paradise for birdwatchers and nature lovers. Gateway to this beautiful region and the final point of your stay is the city of Arles. A few gentle pedal strokes lead you to the Arènes, an important venue for bullfighting, but above all an imposing and charismatic emblem of the town’s glorious past.
Our services end at Arles SNCF railway station at around 3:30pm. Upon request we can book the following night’s accommodation for you in Arles. In order to return to Avignon we strongly recommend the direct TER train service (journey time approx. 20 mins, bicycles accepted free of charge).
- Distance covered: approx. 30 km; altitude gain: approx. 200 m
On this cycling holiday, you will be staying in comfortable 2-star hotels and guesthouses. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
*Hotels and guesthouses are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates it will be replaced with a hotel of equal value and quality level
Five breakfasts are included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops or you can pre-order a packed lunch at your hotel. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel. A half-board supplement (5 dinners) is bookable upon request.
Up-to-date FCO travel advice on France is available here. Detailed travel information, tips and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.
Most convenient arrival/departure point is Marseille airport.
Airport transfers are available on request.
We strongly recommend protecting the cost of your trip and other non-refundable travel expenses with travel insurance. Our Signature Travel Insurance allows you to insure all of your expenses. While a Signature Travel Insurance policy can be purchased at any time, purchasing a policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit gives you the widest range of policy options, including a Cancel for Any Reason coverage. For complete peace of mind, we also recommend enrolling with Global Rescue, the worldwide leader in field rescue, evacuation and security extraction services.
Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate
This holiday is appropriate for both beginner and intermediate cyclists in good physical shape. The daily distances vary between 25 km and 50 km, with a minimum altitude gain; you can optionally extend most rides. The route goes mostly on secondary country roads, with limited traffic and scenic surroundings (read more about difficulty grades). It is also possible to rent an electric bike, so this way the tour would accessible to everybody.
In case you would like to rent a bike from us, we can offer you high-quality hybrid or e-bikes in excellent condition with appropriate gearing and equipment for the trip. All bicycles (whatever the model) are equipped with a bike lock, a helmet, a puncture repair kit, and a pump. In many cases, at least one rear pannier as well as a bar bag are included. Sample pictures below, note that the exact models might be different depending on the availability, but the standard will be the same.
You will receive an email 2 weeks before departure, containing all the information necessary for your upcoming tour, including the following navigation tools:
- Dedicated smartphone app on which you can download the full tour itinerary, view tour maps and route profiles, access the list of booked accommodation and services, useful contacts, etc.
- Detailed Road Book (in digital version only) containing full colour maps with highlighted routes, step-by-step route description, and route profiles
- GPS tracks compatible with all GPS devices/apps
When to Go
This trip is available from mid-April until the early October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season.
- 5 nights in guesthouses and 2* or 3* hotels, in double rooms with en-suite facilities
- 5 breakfasts
- Daily baggage transfers
- Navigation app for smartphones, a detailed road book including maps (digital format) and GPS track
- 24/7 phone assistance in case of any emergencies
- Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable (the trip is not available for solo travellers)
- Bike rental (standard or e-bike)
- Half-board supplement (5 dinners)
Other Trip-Related Costs
- Entrance fees for attractions and museums
- Lunches and dinners not mentioned as ‘included’
- International flights
- Arrival transportation to the starting point
- Drinks at the accommodations
- Additional travel related to changes in the programme due to bad weather
- All personal expenses
- Everything not explicitly mentioned as ‘Included’
Extensions and Optional Extras
- Extra nights before the tour, along the way and at the end of the tour can be booked on request
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