Provence –a timeless land of olives and vines drenched in sunshine with fields of lavender and rugged hills where the herbs grow wild. This 7 day tour focusses on the villages and charm of this region, and will take you to the real Provence and beyond.
One of the most desirable regions in France, Provence is home to rolling lavender fields, world class wine, snow-capped peaks in the Alps, and sandy beaches on the Mediterranean. You can ride alongside some of the greats of the Tour de France, while exploring Roman ruins with a glass of premium wine in hand. How good does that sound? If you want to fit the ‘best of Europe’ into one trip, Provence should be your destination.
There are regions within Provence, but the clearest distinction is between the glitzy, resort-filled Côte d’Azur, and the interior. Following the Rhone River Valley from Lyon to the wetland delta of the Nature Park of Camargue along the coast of the Mediterranean will take you through some of France's most beautiful countryside. The old Roman centers of Orange and Arles are great places to spend time exploring; Orange is the best base of operations for tackling the must-ride Mont Ventoux. The interior of Provence is full of sleepy villages, olive groves, orchards, and quiet country roads that make the perfect cycling experience. Try riding through the Gorge de la Nesque to get some superb cycling in a short distance. There is almost too much to see in Provence, and any detour may find you happily lost amongst the hidden splendors of this region.
The Côte d’Azur is one of Europe's premier destinations for good reason. Seaside towns cling to the limestone shores, and millions of sun-seekers dot the pebbly beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. The cycling along the coast can be fantastic, with the relatively quiet roads, varied terrain, and unbelievable backdrop. A little over 200 km (124 mi) separates Marseille and Nice but you will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful stretch of roadways than the French Riviera.
In Provence you are always a few pedal strokes from ruins, rolling orchards, market centers, Alps, and the Mediterranean Sea, making it one of the best cycling destinations in the world. The best time to cycle Provence is usually in the spring or fall. July and August are when most of France takes their vacations, and they come to the Côte d’Azur by the thousands to soak up the sun. This can make booking hotels and navigating the roadways difficult. Provence is also known for its constant wind; it’s good to be prepared with the proper clothing despite it having a mediterranean climate, especially when you find yourself climbing in the Southern Alps.