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Provence and Luberon

Shortest Day - 46 km / 29 miles
Longest Day - 77 km / 48 miles
Total: 8 days total; 6 days' cycling. 348 km / 216 miles

What you can expect

Provence occupies a special place in the heart for all who have visited it. Our route is carefully formulated along the gentlest sections, although there are one or two hills up to the perched villages. However these are well worth it for the excuse to relax and enjoy the view with a coffee or glass of wine. Ever present are the famous vineyards of the Cotes du Rhone, including Chateauneuf du Pape, and the area is also a big producer of olive oil. The climate is excellent and outside of high summer makes for wonderful cycling, also extending the opportunity for cycling early and late in the year. This is a tour well within the grasp of all cyclists. 8 days total / 6 days' cycling with half board including wine in comfortable hotels, one night bed and breakfast only.

More detail

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Day 1: Arrival in Avignon. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant in the ancient walled city centre.

Day 2: Exiting Avignon it is worth stopping to look back at the Papal Palace and famous bridge, with Mont Ventoux in the distance. There follows a section along the river plain before crossing back over the Rhone and into the famous vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape. The village sits on a hill with lovely views and you then follow quiet roads to Courthezon with its ancient citadel. There is then a pretty route through the vineyards of the Cotes de Rhone all the way to Vaison la Romaine, passing many hilltop villages and with only a couple of hills along the way.  (40.7 miles / 65 km).

Day 3: Today is dominated by views of Mont Ventoux, famous for its Tour de France history. We don't climb the mountain on our route but its presence can be felt— although if you want to have a go at it we will arrange it. This is a more undulating day along tiny roads made for cycling. After many small villages we enter the larger town of Carpentras which is a good place for lunch, before continuing on to Pernes les Fontaines where a fantastic old bridge makes an ideal backdrop for a coffee stop. There is a climb up to La Roque sur Pernes; after this it is downhill all the way. (34.8 miles / 55 km). 

Day 4: The day starts with a sharp climb but it is mercifully short - when you reach the sharp left hand bend the work is done. This is followed, after the descent, by a long section which is essentially flat and goes round the side of the Luberon Massif, including a very lovely road through the forest. The villages are once again ancient and most have their defensive walls intact. Your overnight hotel lies Lourmarin, one of the 'Plus Beaux Villages de France' and well worth exploring; this is classic Provence and Peter Mayle recently sold his house here and much of the filming of Jean de Florette took place a couple of miles further up the road. (31 miles / 50 km).

Day 5: Today's route links two of the prettiest villages in France, with another one in the middle! There is a long but gentle climb to start with, which takes you to Bonnieux, an ideal place for coffee with its panoramic views and terraced cafes. After the descent and a section of former railway line it remains flat until the climb into Gordes, perched on its hilltop and surely one of the most spectacular villages in France. There is an option to extend to visit the Abbey of Senanque, which has occupied its tranquil position in a cleft in the Massif since the 13th century; well worth it. A short day but plenty to see and plenty of places to soak up the atmosphere. (29 miles / 46 km).

Day 6: A lovely downhill starts the day with views across the plain to mountains beyond. Before long you reach Manerbes, where Peter Mayle lived whilst he wrote 'A Year in Provence'. This is a lovely village surrounded by vineyards and olive groves; quiet lanes lead on to Oppede le Vieux, similarly pretty. Cavaillon is a larger town with plenty of facilities, and having crossed the river and weaved your way through the outskirts back onto quiet lanes, it is a flat run to St Remy de Provence, a typical Provençale town with pretty centre, and where Van Gogh spent a productive year in the asylum after cutting off his ear. Well worth a visit are the remains of the Roman town of Glanum at Les Antiques, a kilometre up the road from your hotel. (35 miles / 55 km).

Day 7: From St Remy the route follows quiet lanes all the way to Arles, a town of Roman origins with copious remains; an ideal place to linger and have an early and / or lengthy lunch in the shadow of the coliseum. Returning via some of the same quiet lanes the next logical coffee stop would be Boulbon, with a pretty square and castle up on the hill. The only real hill of the day comes after this with a pretty road up through the forest, before the descent back down to the Rhone to cross the river and follow it back to opposite Avignon to re-enter the Papal city. (48 miles / 76 km).

Day 8: Depart for home

Transfers included to / from Avignon airport / rail station

Requested Single Supplement (see our FAQ page): £495

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Current dates for this tour:

Starts:
10.06.17
Ends:
17.06.17
Rating:
Moderate
Price:
£1,495
Starts:
30.09.17
Ends:
07.10.17
Rating:
Moderate
Price:
£1,495

Travel Information

Start: Avignon
Finish: Avignon

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