Home > Upper Provence, Ventoux, and Luberon
This six-day, self-guided bike tour allows you to explore the heart of Provence at your own pace. Beginning in Bédoin or Mazan and ending in Roussillon or Gargas, this bicycle tour features relatively short daily rides, allowing you to fully experience Provence rather than just see it as you pass by.
Highlights include visits to some of Provence’s most acclaimed wine-making towns — Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise — stops in several of France’s “most beautiful villages — Séguret, Gordes, Roussillon — and options to climb legendary Mont Ventoux, or snake through the Gorges de la Nesque. In between, you’ll lodge in timeless villages and enjoy local cuisine.
One needs a fairly good fitness level to fully enjoy this extraordinary trip: Although challenging Ventoux can be skipped, some sections involve some climbing.
This trip starts any Sunday from April through October. It can be organized on any other day of the week, except for Saturdays, for an extra fee of 85 euros per person.
For a lavender-themed tour, we recommend our Cycling through Lavender.
Customized bike tours in this area can be organized for groups of 6 and more.
For travel and cycling tips to Provence, visit our "Travel and cycling tips" section.
Upon check-in at your hotel, you’ll be given your whole kit of information. We recommend taking advantage of your free time to explore this ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Architectural landmarks abound, highlighted by the Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms d’Avignon, one of France’s 85 designated national monuments.
Our taxi partner will transfer you to Bédoin where you´ll be outfitted with your rental bike. If you have the time and inclination, you may ride a loop around the fabulous Dentelles de Montmirail (a vertebrae of dramatically jagged mountains). Your toast-giving skills may come into play during today’s loop. You’ll wheel through some of the most noted wine-making villages in Provence, starting with Beaumes-de-Venise. From a scenic spot at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, this old-world village is home to Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, one of the planet’s most applauded wines. Vacqueyras is next, followed by Gigondas and then Séguret, which lives up to its hype as one of France’s “most beautiful villages.”
As your loop begins to bend around, you’ll pedal into Vaison-la-Romaine. Divided by the Ouvéze River, Vaison-la-Romaine’s lower half features a trove of Gallo-Roman ruins, making it one of Europe’s largest archaeological sites, while the upper half, perched atop a knuckle of rock, rates as a monument to medieval architecture. Before reaching Mazan, you’ll have the option to ride up to the tiny village of Suzette (1,080 m/3,540 ft), a modest ascent that, if you so choose, will add 20 km (12 miles) to the day’s ride. If you arrive too late or don’t feel like doing the loop, you have the option of riding the 10 km from Bédoin to Mazan.
Depending on preference, you’ll have the option to climb Mont Ventoux, the “Giant of Provence,” or a more leg-friendly route through Gorges de la Nesque. The first option allows you to climb Mont Ventoux, which touches the sky at 1,912 meters (6,273 feet). This barren peak enjoys all-star status with riders, having appeared in the Tour de France 15 times since 1951.
The second option, which corkscrews along the floor of the Gorges de la Nesque, averages, by our count, 11 picture-stops per mile (14 if you visit the Chapelle Saint-Michel, a tiny, 12th-century chapel tucked under an overhanging cliff). You’ll lodge at night in Sault, a tiny village that’s as historic as it is beautiful. Sault’s surrounding fields of purple lavender resemble an unframed Monet painting in 3-D.
Today’s ride allows you to experience Provence at its rural best. You’ll wheel across green, rolling hills and through timeless villages hemmed with vineyards and fruit orchards, the type of decaffeinated setting that causes sound-minded people to ponder quitting their jobs, moving to Provence and spending their remaining years standing in sun-drenched fields applying oil paints to canvas. The village of Venasque, designated as one of France’s “most beautiful villages,” highlights the ride. Fontaine-de- Vaucluse will be your home for the night. Huddled along the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse features the fifth largest underground spring in the world.
Against a backdrop of craggy cliffs and draping foliage, the spring’s emerging turquoise-colored waters are extremely camera-worthy.
It won’t take long for the day’s wow-factor to kick in when you ride into Gordes. Perched atop a hillside, it is one of France’s 144 “most beautiful villages.” Ancient stone buildings line its many narrow cobbled alleyways and arcades, all of which lead to the Chateau de Gordes, the village’s iconic landmark. Nearby Sénanque Abbey, located below Gordes, is worth visiting as well. From here you’ll bicycle through a chain of scenic, hillside villages — Menerbes, Lacoste and Bonnieux — before reaching Roussillon, yet another of France’s “most beautiful villages,” which once served as home for writer Samuel Beckett.
At night, you’ll be able to upload all of the day’s photos to Facebook from your hotel in Gargas.
We’ll usher you to Avignon for your departure of choice.
3 nights in 3-star properties and 2 nights in 2-star properties
1 night in a 5-star hotel, 2 nights in 4-star properties and 2 nights in 3-star properties
NB: Starting on any other weekday — except for Saturdays — is possible for an additional charge of 85 euros per person.