Provence Cycling Holiday

  • 4.9
    (4 reviews)
  • Category

    Cycle Touring
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Moderate
  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Avignon / Isle sur la Sorgue
  • Distance

    157 miles/253 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeGastronomicWine Lovers
  • Accommodation

    Simple to Superior
  • Tour code

    058-102CFR
Price From £735

Overview

A classic cycling holiday through the wonderfully diverse landscapes of Provence. Cycle from historic Avignon through the cypress dotted plains of Saint Remy to the delightful, perched villages of the Luberon. This is a wonderful cycling tour through some of Provence’s most celebrated scenery.

This 7 night cycling holiday unveils classic Provence, leading you along quiet lanes and back-roads, past cypress groves, fruit orchards and lavender fields to charming medieval villages perched on rocky outcrops. You’ll stay in some wonderful little towns and villages along the way  and because you’ll be spending two nights at each, it’s easy to build in a rest day or shortened ride if the mood grabs you. The sun-drenched landscape is incredibly fertile and the town markets and restaurants provide plenty of opportunities to sample the exquisite local produce.

Vineyards - Provence - France - 058

En-route in Provence

In St. Remy pedal through the scenery that inspired Vincent Van Gogh to paint some of his most revered masterpieces and venture into the low Alpilles mountains to visit Les Baux de Provence, one of France’s most beautiful villages.

Cross the Durance River into the Luberon and enjoy two nights in the magnificent hill-top village of Oppede Le Vieux. A circular ride leads you into the surrounding countryside to discover a succession of magical, perched villages such as Bonnieux, Lacoste and Menerbes.

You then Cycle north, first  to the unique, Ochre village of Rousillon with it’s brightly painted stone houses and then on to Gordes, surely one of the Luberon’s most picturesque towns, before arriving in Isle sur la Sorgue, a charming medieval town guarded by the Sorgue River. A final ride explores the Pays de Sorgue before delivering you to Venasque, surely one of the most beautiful villages in Provence.

The daily rides range between 39 and 56 kms following quiet lanes and roads. The terrain is rolling countryside and many of the villages are located on rocky outcrops necessitating short climbs to reach them. E-bikes are available and worth considering if you are concerned about the amount of climbing on this tour.

Itinerary & Map

The daily rides range between 39 and 56 kms following quiet lanes and roads. The terrain is rolling countryside and many of the villages are located on rocky outcrops necessitating short climbs to reach them. E-bikes are available and worth considering if you are concerned about the amount of climbing on this tour

View larger map

Day 1: Arrive Avignon

Avignon

Avignon

On arrival in Avignon make your way to your hotel. After check-in you are free to relax or explore this charming old fortified city. Time permitting we suggest a visit to the fabulous Papal Palace and the famous bridge, immortalised in the well-known song. In the evening a stroll through the cobbled streets will unveil a great choice of restaurants and bars.

Day 2: Avignon – Saint Remy de Provence, 22 miles/35 kms

Fountain - Provence - France - 058

Thirsty work

Your first day’s cycle ride leads you south out of Avignon and across the Durance River. You then follow a network of quiet, narrow lanes through orchards and cypress groves to the quaint, medieval town of Barbentane. The 12th century church in the heart of the village boasts a rather lovely bell tower and is well worth a visit. You then climb up the pine-clad La Montagnette – literally “Little mountain – from where you can enjoy expansive views across the Rhone Valley. Stop to admire the monastery of St Michel de Frigolet which was built over eight centuries before coasting down to the plain once more and cycling through the charming villages of Graveson and Maillane. Your cycling day finishes in the artists town of Saint-Remy-de-Provence where Vincent Van Gogh spent the last year of his life.

Market days in Saint Remy de Provence: Wed & Sat

Day 3: Circular ride to Les Baux de Provence, 29 miles/46 kms

Cycling Les Baux - Provence - France - 058You’ll spend a second night in St Remy this evening so in theory you could  have a day off from cycling if you wanted and just relax in this atmospheric little town. Presuming you’re up for another ride however the route leads you south, past Maison de Sante Paul de Mausole, the rest home where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life. During his time here the great artist completed no less than 143 oil paintings, including some of his best known works like , “Starry Night”, “The Irises” and “Wheat Field with Cypress” – the field depicted in the latter still exists today and can be seen adjacent to the property.

Winding lanes lead you up into the pine forests of the Alpilles Mountains via the picturesque village of Fontvieille to Les Baux de Provence, a gorgeous village perched on a rocky outcrop. Les Baux is regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in France and you’ll love exploring this atmospheric little place. You then return to Saint Remy via a different route for a second night in this quaint little town.

Market day in Fontvieille: Mon & Fri

Day 4: Saint Remy de Provence – Eygalieres – Oppede, 25 miles/40 kms

Vineyard - Provence - France - 058

Provencale countryside

The route heads eastwards today and after only a few kilometers the perched village of Eygalieres comes into view, It might seem early for a stop but its worth it as this beguiling litle place has retained much of its authentic provencale charm, Small stone houses with pastel coloured shutters stand shoulder to shoulder along the narrow streets and the pleasant street cafes look all too inviting. The route then descend to the plains once more, leading you through a patchwork of orchards, olive groves and cypress trees. You cross the Durance River and shortly afterwards arrive in Cavaillon, a lively, bustling town with plenty of restaurants, cafes, artisan boulangeries and grocers selling local produce. This is the perfect place to stop for lunch before enjoying a leisurely afternoon ride through the Luberon countryside to Oppede, a glorious little hilltop village that will be your home for the next two nights.

Market day in Eygalieres: Fri

Day 5: Circular ride to Bonnieux, Lacoste and Menerbes, 23 miles/37 kms

Lacoste - Luberon - Provence - France*

Lacoste

You’re staying in Oppede again tonight so you can curtail the day’s ride or even have a day off if you like. We’d recommend you don’t though as you’ll miss visiting some of the Luberon’s most charming villages. If you’ve read Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence” then today’s ride will bring the pages to life as this is the region described in his bestselling book. Quiet country lanes lead you from one beautiful hilltop village to another. Along the way you pass ancient sheperd huts, cherry orchards and truffle oak plantations. In Bonnieux take time to explore the town’s tiny squares and ascend its winding streets to the church that overlooks the town and surrounding countryside. Lacoste, another delightful village, is perched on a hill, looking across the valley at Bonnieux. The ruined Chateau Lacoste above the village was once the home of the notorious Marquis de Sade but is now owned by the fashion designer Pierre Cardin. Cycle on back towards Oppede making one final stop in Menerbes, a beautiful village of old stone houses that seem to float above a sea of vineyards and orchards. The village wine and truffle museum is highly recommended and a delight for the senses.

Market day in Memerbes: Thurs
Market day in Bonnieux: Fri
Market day in Oppede le Vieux: Sat

Day 6: Oppede – Roussillon – Gordes – Isle sur la Sorgue, 35 miles/56 kms

Gordes - Provence - France*

Gordes

Today the route leads you to the northern side of the Calavon valley. After a wonderful ride through gently rolling, rural countryside, the village of Rousillon comes into view. This photogenic village is perched on the world’s largest ochre deposit and its houses are all painted varying hues of yellow orange and red. The bright buildings sandwiched between an azure blue sky and a verdant tree clad hillside make quite a sight. Just a few kilometrs further west you arrive in Gordes, one of the jewels in the Luberon’s crown and often mentioned in lists of France’s most beautiful villages. Ascend the winding, spiralling streets past the lovely old stone houses to the fortified castle at the top. Sit in the shaded square and drink in the atmosphere along with some light refreshment perhaps? Leave Gordes and cycle through a pine and cedar forest to L’Isle sur la Sorgue. So named because it is completely encircled by the Sorgue River, this beautiful old town will be your home for the next two nights. Check in to you hotel and then take stroll through the winding, medieval streets of the old town and along the river bank.

Market day in Rousillon: Tues
Market day in Gordes: Tues
Market day in Isle sue la Sorgue: Wed & Sun

Day 7: Circular ride to Pernes les Fontaines and Venasque, 24 miles/39 kms

Isle sur la sorgue - Provence - France - 058Your final day in the saddle leads you north along pleasant backroads lined with cypress trees and ancient farmhouses. The pretty village of Pernes les Fontaines lives up to its name with no less than 40 fountains dotted about its narrow streets. From here the route leads you through the Monts de Vaucluse region, past a succession of gorgeous little villages all perched on bluffs overlooking the surrounding provencale countryside. The medieval village of Venasque is sure to be a highlight of the day even though the climb up to it will get the blood pumping. At the end of the day a pleasant descent through pine forests back to Isle sur la Sorgue brings your cycling adventure in Provence to an end. Celebrate your achievement with a meal in one of the town’s many fine restaurants.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast it’s time to head for home or your next adventure. Regular trains connect the town to Avignon and Marseille.

Dates & Prices

2019 Arrival Dates
Arrivals daily from 01 March to 15 October

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2019 Prices
058-102CFR
Per person
01 Mar
to
30 Apr
01 May
to
30 Sep
01 Oct
to
15 Oct
Simple category
Double/twin £735 £786 £735                
Single* £1166 £1242 £1166                
Solo cyclist £1343 £1419 £1343                
Comfort category
Double/twin £938 £1026 £938                
Single* £1571 £1710 £1571                
Solo cyclist £1748 £1900 £1748                
Superior category
Double/twin £1178 £1229 £1178                
Single* £1888 £1976 £1888                
Solo cyclist £2090 £2192 £2090                
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Deposit per person £175

Price Includes

7 nights accommodation. See practical information
7 x Breakfast
Luggage transfer
Maps & route information
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
E-bike cash deposit €800 deposit on arrival, payable locally

Supplements

Bike with pannier & lock. See practical information (£138)
Bike with pannier & lock, solo cyclist (£170)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£244)
Electric bike with pannier & lock, solo cyclist (£307)

Practical Information

Bikes

Hybrid - 058

Hybrid bike provided on this tour

The standard bike provided on this tour is a lightweight, alloy-framed, hybrid bike with 27 speeds, flat handlebars and a reasonably upright riding position. These bikes are perfect for this route and will suit most customers but if you wish you can upgrade to a carbon road bike. We only advise this option for people who regularly ride a road bike as the riding position is a little more dynamic than the more comfortable hybrid bike.

Bikes come equipped with a helmet, hi-vis vest, pump, odometer, water bottle holder, two panniers per bike and a lock, inner-tube and repair kit per room.

E-bikes are becoming more and more popular and are a good option for anyone slightly concerned about the hills they will encounter on this route. The model offered on this route is state-of-the-art with a battery capable of 90kms and 8 levels of assistance. An €800 deposit will be requested on arrival as a ‘guarantee’ only. This will be returned when you return the bike in good condition.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Simple: Pleasant hotels and guesthouses.

Avignon: Le Boquier
St. Remy de Provence: Le Castellet des Alpilles
Oppede: Belle de Nuit B&B
Isle sur la Sorgue: Hotel Les Nevons

Comfort: Comfortable hotels and guesthouses.

Avignon: Le Cloitre St. Louis
St. Remy de Provence: Le Mas des Carassins
Oppede: Jardin d’Ivana B&B
Isle sur la Sorgue: La Prevote B&B

Superior: Good quality hotels and guesthouses.

Avignon: Au Cœur d’Avignon
St. Remy de Provence: Hotel de l’Image
Cabrieres d’Avignon: La Bastide de Voulonne
Isle sur la Sorgue: Le Grand Hotel Henri

Local taxes
Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. This fee varies and is ever changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night.

Getting There

Fly to Montpellier, Marseille, Lyon or Paris and then catch a train to Avignon. At the end of your holiday regular trains connect Isle sur la Sorgue to Avignon and Marseille.

Research flights from the UK here

Research trains in France here

Gallery

Current rating for this cycling holiday based on 4 reviews 4.9
  • Date - 18/09/2017
  • Name - Anonymous
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - Good knowledge and help answering queries. I would recommend them and use them again myself.
  • Product rating -
    5.0
  • Product comment - We were a large party of mixed gender and ability. Flexitreks recommended ebikes for some members which was the correct thing to do.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the review. We're glad our recommendations helped ensure everyone in your party enjoyed their Provence cycling holiday.
  • Date - 06/10/2016
  • Name - Simon Townsend
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - Allyson was charming and helpful and sorted out what needed to be.
  • Product rating -
    5.0
  • Product comment - Holiday lived up to expectations, although the route notes could do with updating and were confusing in places.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the feedback Simon. That's odd as the route notes are checked before the start of each new season. We'd really appreciate any examples of where the route notes are incorrect so we can investigate and correct them if necessary. Many thanks
  • Date - 03/08/2016
  • Name - Anonymous
  • Service rating -
    4.0
  • Product rating -
    5.0
  • Product comment - clear ordering and invoicing and no 'fluff' trying to sell extras
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the positive feedback, we're glad you enjoyed your cycling holiday in Provence.
  • Date - 04/06/2016
  • Name - Anonymous
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - I was a last minute planner for this trip. Info and billing, answers to questions were all swift and complete. Very responsive.
  • Product rating -
    5.0
  • Product comment - Great bike, beautiful countryside, lots of hill climbs so those croissants in the morning didn't matter. Accommodations fine. B&B hosts at Le Jardin d'Ivana were lovely. Self-guided trip was fine; directions were a bit dodgy in places, but trying to think like the guide-maker and working out the puzzles meant the cycling was never boring.
  • Flexitreks response - Glad we were able to help you with your late-booking and that you enjoyed the trip, including the inclines!