Day 1: Arrival in Avignon
Upon arrival, you’ll be ushered to your hotel located in the center of Avignon. After getting settled, you’ll meet with our representative and go over your bike tour in step-by-step detail. At night you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore this ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Architectural landmarks abound, highlighted by the Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Domsd’Avignon, one of France’s 85 designated national monuments.
Day 2: Transfer from Avignon to Bedoin/Mazan/Crillon.
Loop from Bedoin/Mazan/Crillon-le-Brave around the wine-making area of “Les Dentelles de Montmirail.”Either 92 km (57 miles) or 77 km (48 miles)
Your wine-toasting skills will come into play during today’s loop which begins and ends in Bedoin. The ride wheels through some of the most noted wine-villages in Provence, France, starting with Beaumes-de-Venise. Scenically nestled at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail (a vertebrae of jaggedly dramatic mountains), 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 Bedoin you’ll have the option ride up to the tiny village of Suzette (1,080 meters/3,540 feet), a modest ascent that, if you so choose, will add 17 kilometers (10 miles) to the day’s ride.
Day 3: Bedoin/Mazan/Crillon to Sault (two options: via Ventoux - approx. 60km or 37 miles; or via the Gorges de la Nesque – approx. 42 km or 26 miles).
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 (50 km/ 31 miles) 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 14 times since 1951. The second option (40 km/25 miles), which corkscrews along the floor of the Gorges de la Nesque, averages, by our account, 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.
Day 4: Sault to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (60 km/ 37 miles).
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.
Day 5: Fontaine-de-Vaucluse to Gargas via Gordes (51 km/32 miles).
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 one of France’s “most beautiful villages,” which once served as home for writer Samuel Beckett. At night you’ll be able to download all of today’s photos onto Facebook from your hotel in Gargas.
NOTE: We can offer a shorter ride (40 km/25 miles), bypassing Gordes, but still catching Ménerbes, Lacoste and Bonnieux.
Day 6: Transfer to Avignon. We’ll usher you to Avignon for your departure of choice.
Pricing: 1,175 euros per person sharing a room. Single supplement is 610 euros.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring