The cycling is fabulous, on quiet roads through lush countryside, with options for both relaxed hedonists and eager explorers. From St. Remy-de-Provence, you will ride to the hilltop fort of Les Baux, influenced by troubadours through the ages. From there, you will head towards the hills of the Luberon, declared a natural park because of its profound beauty. Medieval villages perched on hilltops look down on farms and vineyards interlaced with roads so well suited to quiet cycling that many of them have petite cyclists on the road signs! You will explore one quiet, stone village after another, stopping at sunny street side cafes, resting at little fountains, watching farmers tend their lines of vines, tasting wine and honey, and resting in tranquil and splendid hotels. you will cross the Luberon Plateau toward your splendid hotel near the foot of Mont Ventoux.
You may be inspired to climb, on a road painted with encouragement to the world’s greatest athletes. You may choose, instead, to hike up a footpath or take a lift to the top and be inspired by a 24km descent! You will visit the best-preserved theatre of the Roman Empire in Orange. Nearby, the headiest of the Rhine wines can be tasted at Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This trip’s colors, scents, and tastes enhance the sunshine magnificently, filling each day with the sensual pleasure that makes French exploring so rewarding.
Day 1: 40km/25 miles
Meet your guides in Avignon at 09:00 for a short transfer past Le Pont d’Avignon to begin cycling in nearby Boulbon. Ride through the Barbentane Forest to the hilltop ruin of Les Baux to explore this medieval courting ground and explore its many artisans’ boutiques. After lunch, descend from the hilltop in time to explore St. Remy by foot later in the afternoon. Includes: (L), (D). (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Château de Roussan, Saint-Rémy de Provence
Day 2: 60km/36 miles
You will cycle through Les Alpilles on your way to Cavaillon. After crossing La Durance, you will make your way along the cycle route to Ménerbes, on the North slopes of the Luberon, seeing your first “perched village” at Oppède le Vieux. You will finish at one of the most famous and photographed villages in Provence, where your swimming pool and exquisite dinner will complement a walk around this medieval enclave. Includes: (B), (L).
Hotel Les Bories; or
Le Mas des Romarins, Gordes
Day 3: 95km/55 miles with shorter options
Today’s loop ride is a fabulous exploration of some of Provence’s extraordinary sights. First, you will stop in Roussillon, painted in the red, orange, and yellow hues of ochre, mined in the nearby hills. Optional hike through the forests to visit the monks in their secluded valley at Abbaie de Senanque. En route to Menerbes, you will pass through perched villages and gorgeous countryside. Menerbes was made famous in Peter Mayle’s books “Toujours Provence” and “A Year in Provence”. You will also pass through Lacoste, with its castle ruins, and Bonnieux, where you can enjoy views from the church at the top of the village before returning to Gordes for dinner. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 4: 70km/42 miles
Cross the Luberon this morning, to ride from Lourmarin – one of the prettiest villages in France - along the very quiet Route des Chateaux through Cucuron and La Tour d’Aigues, then across the Durance River and through the village of Jouques to your restored chateau near Aix-en-Provence. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Chateau de Meyrargues, Meyrargues
Day 5: 68km/43 miles
A tranquil ride through Cezanne country to Picasso’s castle in Vauvenargues, followed by ride through Pourrieres and Puyloubier, and along the south side of Montagne Ste.Victoire to Aix-en-Provence, where your comfortable inn awaits your pleasure. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Hotel Cezanne, Aix-en-Provence
Day 6: 4-5 hour hike
This morning you will hike to the top of Mont Ste. Victoire, to admire the view from la Croix de Provence. There is a small monastery at the top of the mountain, and on a clear day you can see right over Marseille to the Mediterranean Sea. After descending again, you will enjoy some exploration of downtown Aix en Provence, and an afternoon coffee beneath the plane trees on the sunny side of la Cours Mirabeau. Once you are back in Aix, you will say farewell to your guides and have the evening to explore this vibrant city on your own. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 7: Departure day. There is a direct TGV (high speed train) to Paris (3 ½ hours). Includes: (B).
2015 Dates: May 10-16; Jun 14-20; Sep 13-19; Oct 4-10.
2016 Dates: May 8-14; Jun 12-18; Sep 11-17; Oct 2-8. Add your own dates.
Self-Guided Dates: You choose! We confirm within 48 hours.
Start: Avignon, 09:00; or Boulbon, 10:00 day one. TGV train from Paris CDG airport is a direct connection.
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Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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