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Guided Cycling Through Lavender
Cyclomundo offers guided and self-guided cycling trips in Provence Guided trip: Upon request for groups of 6 or more riders
6 nights/7 days
Daily mileage: From 37 km (23 miles) to 64 km (40 miles)
Trip starts from Forcalquier and ends in Gréoux-Les-Bains
Level: 3 (Moderate)
Price will be on request per person sharing a double room (Group of min. 6 persons)

Guided Cycling Through Lavender — On request for 2017

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On this cycling tour, you will ride through a magnificent part of Provence.
 
You will be riding along the Lake of Sainte-Croix
 
Village on the Lake
 
At times, it feels like you are riding through lavender
 

Embrace the wonderful colors and perfume-like scents of Provence’s favorite fragrant bloom on a tour through the region’s favorite lavender fields. Our itinerary is a celebration of lavender in all its forms, whether cultivated by locals or growing wild in the fields, in soaps and oils or even in edible treats.

Located between the Alps and Provence, our Lavender Route highlights both regions. With an exceptional Provençal climate, it is very typical for the region to receive about 300 days of sun per year. The true draw of this region, however, is the unmistakable and calming aroma of endless lavender fields combined with pure Alpine-fresh mountain air — an invigorating aroma for an active holiday with a relaxing edge.

Riding through contrasting landscapes, you’ll pass the Gorges of Verdon (France’s “Grand Canyon”), climb to the hilltop village of Valensole and its spectacular lavender-covered plateau, and meander through hills and valleys bordering the Luberon. You’ll visit places steeped in history and tradition, such as Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (famous for its FaÏence pottery), the medieval citadel of Manosque, as well as the spa towns of Digne-les-Bains and Gréoux-les-Bains. (Bains, if you couldn’t tell, means “baths” — as in thermal baths!)

This is an extraordinary supported tour that’s best enjoyed by those who bike regularly. The terrain involves some hills and climbs, but the payoff is more than worth it. Once immersed in this charming landscape, you will have no difficulty understanding why Alain Ducasse and fellow prestigious chefs have found their culinary inspiration in this region. It’s hard not to be captivated by the variety of local produce and specialties: truffles, olive oil, honey, rosemary, thyme, and, of course, lavender.

This trip is the only one that truly focuses on lavender. If you would like to do this trip without the assistance of a guide, you may consider doing our self-guided version of the Cycling Through Lavender tour. We do have other bike trips that will take you through other lavender-growing areas... but you won't see (and smell) as much lavender. To view which tours do, just check out our blog.

 
Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Aix-en-Provence. Transfer to Forcalquier

We’ll meet you at the TGV station and transfer you to your first accommodation in Forcalquier. Your hotel is located less than two miles from the center of town in a peaceful country setting. Before dinner in town, take some time to visit the citadel and its renowned open-air market, depending on your arrival day. Forcalquier is a charming introduction to the Provençal way of living… something you’ll get used to very quickly!
Day 2: Forcalquier loop (64 km/40 miles, 964 meters/3,163 ft of climbing)

Enjoy a soothing ride through nature in a quiet, off-the-beaten-path section of Provence. Little villages such as Sigonce, Montlau, and Cruis are tucked away from the modern world, surrounded by farmland and gentle mountain slopes. The larger commune of Saint-Étienne-les-Orgues is home to a café-lined square that makes for a great stopping place; the aroma of lavender from the surrounding fields catches on the wind. Riding on, you’ll encounter intriguing rock formations and other natural wonders. The retainer lake of La Laye is a result of the man-made dam, though you might think it another one of nature’s wonders at first glance! Soon you’ll be back in Forcalquier.
Day 3: Forcalquier — Digne-les-Bains (61 km/38 miles, 941 meters/3,087 ft of climbing)

You’ll start out at the foot of the Montagne de Lure, another fine example of Upper Provence’s rocky landscapes. As soon as you kick off, you’ll find yourself treated to superb views of Sainte-Victoire Mountain to the southwest, along with the Plateau de Valensole.

Leaving the wild nature behind, you’ll ride through the Durance River valley, where you’ll be exposed to the iconic “Pénitents des Mées.” These naturally occurring structures consist of a row of columnar rocks that stretch two kilometers across and 100 meters tall. Spend as much time as you’d like in the charming village of Les Mées nearby. When you hop back on your bike and cycle along the Bleone River, you’re a quick ride away from your accommodation, located two and a half kilometers outside of the peaceful town of Digne-les-Bains. If time allows, consider a visit to the thermal baths in Digne.
Day 4: Digne-les-Bains — Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (51 km/32 miles, 969 meters/3,179 ft of climbing)

Prepare your legs for a gradual (but gentle!) 7.5% climb to the Plateau de Valensole. The so-called Lavender Plateau, or “Plateau des Lavandes”, is a picturesque and colorful terrain, especially in the summer when the lavender fields are in bloom. From this location you will be rewarded with a 280° view of Provence’s most famous mountains, such as the Sainte-Victoire, Sainte Baume, Mont Ventoux, Montagne de Lure and the Devoluy.

As you cycle down small roads, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by magnificent lavender and sunflower fields. You’ll then cycle through the Roman town of Riez before reaching Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a hilltop village that’s world famous for its faïence, the distinctively hand-painted Provençal earthenware.
Day 5: Rest Day in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie — Optional Loop (61 km/38 miles, 3,018 meters/9,902 ft of climbing)

On this day you’ll have a chance to relax and enjoy the magic of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. At an altitude of 630 meters (2,067 ft.), this medieval town sits at the base of two rocky cliffs. No matter which direction you look, the views are astounding! The so-called “capital of ceramics” has many workshops producing faïence, and nearly 30 shops highlighting local goods. You could spend your day exploring or shopping in town, or… if you prefer to stay on the seat of your bicycle, you may also use the day to ride a short loop.

Our optional loop includes the Gorges of Verdon and fabulous cliff views. The village of La Palud is the start of the “Route des Crêtes” (Crest Road) and it offers many can’t-miss lookout points. One of these viewpoints is an exceptionally beautiful stop among castle ruins at the foot of the Rougon village, which provides a fantastic panorama of “Point Sublime.”
Day 6: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie — Gréoux-les-Bains (Via Plateau de Valensole: 57km/35 miles; Via main road: 37 km/23 miles

Early on today’s route you will cycle up a short, one-mile steep climb (18%). Your efforts will be well rewarded with rides along the shores of vast Lac Sainte Croix. The typically calm waters will paint a beautiful backdrop for your leisurely ride. Proceed on minor roads through quaint villages, such as Allemagne-en-Provence with its 13th-century castle and beautiful fountain.

Let your nose be your guide along a 2-kilometer stretch of lavender fields to a local lavender distillery, Distillerie Angelvin, which you may visit at your leisure. Lavender isn’t the only treat on this leg; your easy ride takes you past a local goat cheese producer — it’s often open to visitors — before coasting down a long slope to the spa town of Gréoux-Les-Bains. “Comfort after effort” is the day’s motto! The ancient Roman town of Gréoux-Les-Bains is a popular destination for its mineral hot springs. Take some time to enjoy the thermal baths, renowned for their therapeutic and beneficial effects.
Day 7: Departure

After breakfast, we'll transfer you to Aix-en-Provence.
Booking & Pricing
Pricing: Upon request for groups of 6 or more riders

The price includes:

  • 6 nights’ accommodation: 1 night in a 4-star hotel and 5 nights in 3-star properties of character
  • Daily breakfast
  • 2 dinners (drinks are not included)
  • Luggage transfers
  • Arrival and departure transfers from/to Aix-en-Provence
  • Marked maps and/or cue sheets and route notes
  • Pre-loaded GPS unit (subject to availability)
  • Chauffeur-driven support vehicle
  • Feed stations: water, energy drinks, snacks, fruit, etc.
  • Assistance if necessary (you will be given our local rep’s mobile number)
  • All tax and service charges

The price does not include:

  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Bicycle rentals. Hybrid bikes are available at the rate of 80 euros per bike. Full carbon road bikes are available at the rate of 190 euros per bike.
For further information or reservations:
Please book online or contact us at your earliest convenience as this trip is subject to hotel availability.
Our e-mail address: info@cyclomundo.com
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