Ride through the heart of Provence, visit hilltop villages, vineyards and discover the landscapes that inspired Vincent Van Gogh. Explore the region’s amazing heritage of Roman remains, theatres and arc de triomphes.
Dentelles de Montmirail – Alpine foothills rising up from the edge of the Rhne Valley
Cycle the Luberon – Visit the village of Gordes and its Renaissance Chteau
St-Rmy-de-Provence – Wander the streets of this market town, one time home to Vincent Van Gogh
Day 1 Join trip Marseilles Airport, drive to Carpentras
Our trip begins at Marseille Airport (MRS) at 12pm. If you would like to join the complimentary airport transfer today, the latest your flight can arrive is 11.30am. We will travel together as a group by taxi to the pleasant Provencal town of Carpentras. Steeped in history from the 14th and 15th centuries, there are many delights to discover. This afternoon there will be a full trip briefing and then time for bike fitting, followed by some free time to wander the narrow streets.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may have time to wait ahead of our group transfer to Carpentras.
If you have booked an optional e-bike, you will be required to pay the 250 or £250 cash deposit and sign an agreement of care upon receipt of the bike. If you wish to drive to the start of the trip, please ask us for parking details.
Day 2 Cycle through stunning countryside and vineyards; return to Carpentras
We head out on a circular route today following the route of an old railway line towards Jonquires, through the vineyards to Sguret at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Sguret is an open balcony on the Rhne Valley, sat beneath the medieval castle remains surrounded by vineyards which produce a very respectable Cte du Rhne. Inhabited since prehistoric times and enriched in Gallo-Romano times, today’s village was built in the 10th century and belonged to the Papacy before becoming part of France in 1793. Continuing on our way back towards Carpentras we pass through the villages of Gigondas and then Vacqueras, birthplace of the troubadour poet Raimbaud. Along this section of the ride there are some excellent views of the limestone pinnacles and the opportunity to try some of the best Grenache wines produced in the foothills of the Dentelles.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 59 kilometres (Start height 96m, highest point 281 m. Total ascent 538m)
Day 3 Cycle under southern slopes of Mount Ventoux to vineyard for wine tasting and option lunch
The cycling route today gives us a taste of Provencal life, taking us through the lovely villages at the southern foot of Mont Ventoux, with a stop on the way for morning coffee, before reaching a local farm. Here we have a guided walk around the vineyards and olive groves with optional wine tasting and lunch(25). Having eaten at the farm, there is time to relax and enjoy a dip in their swimming pool. In the late afternoon we cycle back through sleepy villages to our accommodation in Carpentras.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 41 kilometres (Start height 96m, highest point 431 m. Total ascent 430m)
Day 4 Free day or optional circular cycle route via Gordes back to Carpentras
With four nights in Carpentras you may wish to take the opportunity to take a day off from cycling in which case, there are plenty of things to do and see in this historic and attractive town. The town is situated in an area where, in the 14th and 15th centuries, Jewish communities were protected, benefitting from the presence of the Popes in Avignon who granted them the freedom to worship and live peacefully, having been banished from the Kingdom of France. The Synagogue was built in 1367 and is one of the oldest in France. The Hotel Dieu in the town is an 18th century hospital with a well-preserved collection of apothecary jars, decorated walls and ceilings. Antique lovers will enjoy the Rue de Porte Mazan and the town’s glass-covered shopping street. A short train ride away is the city of Avignon and the amazing Palace of the Popes. For those that would prefer to ride, options include the strenuous climb up Mont Ventoux, or riding east of Carpentras to find some of the Luberon’s prettiest villages. Three of them have made it into the list of the ‘Les plus beaux villages’ (most beautiful villages) of France, an association of 144 villages selected on the quality of their architecture, environment and patrimony. This is one place where you can view lavender fields if travelling in July as we continue south-east to arrive at Gordes where there may be time to experience the local street market. On the flanks of the Vaucluse plateau, just across the Luberon barrier, Gordes is a typical Provenal village. A maze of intricate lanes leads up to St Firmin’s church and to the massive hulk of a Renaissance chteau perched on the top of the village (Optional longer rides available).
Our total cycling distance today is from 20 kilometres, up to 80 kilometres (Start height 96m, highest point 585 m. Total ascent 1130m)
Day 5 Cycle the villages between the Plateau de Vauclause and the Montagne du Luberon; ride to Cavaillon
The cycling route takes us southeast through the market gardens of the Vaucluse region following lanes across flat farmland and through the delightful old villages of Pernes-les-Fontaines and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Our route continues south of the Vauclause Plateau, giving the options to climb to the view points in a number of the villages dating from the 12th to 14th century. Our destination for today is Cavaillon, a key focal point in the Luberon, from its 1st century Roman Arch, 12th century Cathedral, Synagogue and Museums. The avenues are tree lined round the old town, offering occasional view up the hill of St Jacques, which dominates the area and offers some great walking.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 61 kilometres (Start height 96m, highest point 265 m. Total ascent 478m)
Day 6 Following the line of the Alpilles Mountains, we arrive in St Rmy-de-Provence, for free time to see the sites; return to Cavaillon
Setting off to cross the river valley, this morning we follow a marked cycle trail through the fruit orchards and villages to arrive in St Rmy-de-Provence by lunch time. This beautiful town was the birthplace of Nostradamus and one time home to Vincent Van Gogh. There are many optional visits here for art and history lovers and your leader will detail all the options. After a few hours of free time, our return route hugs the base of the rocky ridge to return to Cavaillon.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 52 kilometres (Start height 72m, highest point 128 m. Total ascent 277m)
Day 7 Optional circular cycle along the valley of the Durance River
Today’s cycle route crosses the river, passing through Orgon with its 13th century Knights Templar castle. Heading south to Snas, we ride through the fruit orchards, cross the river again and use some traffic free cycle routes which give superb views of the Lubron escarpment. Following the edge of the forest, this route offers views along the Durance Valley before returning to Cavaillon, where there is some free time to explore the sites.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 45 kilometres (Start height 72m, highest point 156 m. Total ascent 221m)
Day 8 Trip ends Marseilles Airport
Departing Cavaillon after breakfast, we drive 1 hour to Marseille Airport (MRS), where we will arrive at about 9am and this is where our trip ends. The earliest your flight can depart is 11am.