Cycle the stunning scenery of this lovely region
Enjoy the unique landscape of Provence
Experience local and fresh delights along the way
Explore this heritage-rich area of France
Decide whether to take up the challenge of an optional ride up Mont Ventoux

Cycling France - Tour Upper Provence (Option A)

Duration
6 days
Site savings
$21
From
$1,000 USD

This six-day, self-guided bike tour allows you to explore the heart of Provence at your own pace. Running from/to Avignon but with the cycling beginning in either Bédoin or Mazan and ending in Roussillon or Gargas, this bicycle tour features relatively short daily rides, allowing you to fully experience Provence rather than just see it as you pass by. Provence is a wonderful region to cycle and this tour really does immerse you into the delights of the area.

  • Category
    Cultural & Historical
  • Type
    Self-Guided
  • Duration
    6 days
  • Culture Level
    Familiar
  • Skill Level
    3 - Intermediate
  • Activity Level
    3 - Active
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain
    Mountainous
  • Distance
    123.7 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    31.1 miles
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    6 days
  • Main Destination
    Provence & the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur)
  • Distance
    123.7 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    31.1 miles
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain
    Mountainous

Route Map (click to view larger image)

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1Arrival in Avignon

    Upon check-in at your hotel, you’ll be given your whole kit of information. The tour operator recommends taking advantage of your free time to explore this ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Architectural landmarks abound, highlighted by the Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms d’Avignon, one of France’s 85 designated national monuments.

    • Hotel Central
  2. Day 2Transfer from Avignon to Bedoin (Bike shop) or Mazan (Hotel). Loop from Bedoin or Mazan.

    The tour operator's taxi partner will transfer you to Bédoin where you´ll be outfitted with your rental bike. If you have the time and inclination, you may ride a loop around the fabulous Dentelles de Montmirail (vertebrae of dramatically jagged mountains). Your toast-giving skills may come into play during today’s loop. You’ll wheel through some of the most noted wine-making villages in Provence, starting with Beaumes-de-Venise. From a scenic spot at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, this old-world village is home to Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, one of the planet’s most applauded wines. Vacqueyras is next, followed by Gigondas and then Séguret, which lives up to its hype as one of France’s “most beautiful villages.”

    As your loop begins to bend around, you’ll pedal into Vaison-la-Romaine. Divided by the Ouvéze River, Vaison-la-Romaine’s lower half features a trove of Gallo-Roman ruins, making it one of Europe’s largest archaeological sites, while the upper half, perched atop a knuckle of rock, rates as a monument to medieval architecture. Before reaching Mazan, you’ll have the option to ride up to the tiny village of Suzette (1,080 m/3,540 ft), a modest ascent that, if you so choose, will add 20 km (12 miles) to the day’s ride. If you arrive too late or don’t feel like doing the loop, you have the option of riding the 10 km (6.2mi) from Bédoin to Mazan.

    There are two route options for today:

    Via Dentelles without Suzette
    Mileage: 62 km / 38 miles
    Total Climb: 565 m / 1,854 ft
    Total Descent: 724 m / 2,375 ft

    Via Dentelles with Suzette
    Mileage: 80 km / 50 miles
    Total Climb: 1,060 m / 3,478 ft
    Total Descent: 1,222 m / 4,009 ft




    • 38.5 miles
    • -521.7 ft
      1,853.7 ft
      2,375.3 ft
    • Hotel Le Siècle, Mazan
    • Breakfast
  3. Day 3Mazan - Sault

    Depending on preference, you’ll have the option to climb Mont Ventoux, the “Giant of Provence,” or a more leg-friendly route through Gorges de la Nesque. The first option allows you to climb Mont Ventoux, which touches the sky at 1,912 meters (6,273 feet). This barren peak enjoys all-star status with riders, having appeared in the Tour de France 15 times since 1951. The second option, which corkscrews along the floor of the Gorges de la Nesque, averages, by our count, 11 picture-stops per mile (14 if you visit the Chapelle Saint-Michel, a tiny, 12th-century chapel tucked under an overhanging cliff). You’ll lodge at night in Sault, a tiny village that’s as historic as it is beautiful. Sault’s surrounding fields of purple lavender resemble an unframed Monet painting in 3-D.

    There are two route options for today:

    Via the Gorges de la Nesque
    Mileage: 42 km / 26 miles
    Total Climb: 929 m / 3,048 ft
    Total Descent: 271 m / 889 ft

    Via Mont Ventoux
    Mileage: 61 km / 38 miles
    Total Climb: 2,045 m / 6,715 ft
    Total Descent: 1,460 m / 4,790 ft

    • 26.1 miles
    • 2,158.8 ft
      3,047.9 ft
      889.1 ft
    • Hotel Le Louvre, Sault
    • Breakfast and Dinner
  4. Day 4Sault — Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

    Today’s ride allows you to experience Provence at its rural best. You’ll wheel across green, rolling hills and through timeless villages hemmed with vineyards and fruit orchards, the type of decaffeinated setting that causes sound-minded people to ponder quitting their jobs, moving to Provence and spending their remaining years standing in sun-drenched fields applying oil paints to canvas. The village of Venasque, designated as one of France’s “most beautiful villages,” highlights the ride. Fontaine-de- Vaucluse will be your home for the night. Huddled along the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse features the fifth largest underground spring in the world. Against a backdrop of craggy cliffs and draping foliage, the spring’s emerging turquoise-colored waters are extremely camera-worthy.

    • 37.3 miles
    • -2,349.1 ft
      2,283.5 ft
      4,632.5 ft
    • Hotel du Poète, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
    • Breakfast
  5. Day 5Fontaine-de-Vaucluse — Roussillon

    It won’t take long for the day’s wow-factor to kick in when you ride into Gordes. Perched atop a hillside, it is one of France’s 144 “most beautiful villages.” Ancient stone buildings line its many narrow cobbled alleyways and arcades, all of which lead to the Chateau de Gordes, the village’s iconic landmark. Nearby Sénanque Abbey, located below Gordes, is worth visiting as well. From here you’ll bicycle through a chain of scenic, hillside villages — Menerbes, Lacoste and Bonnieux — before reaching Roussillon, yet another of France’s “most beautiful villages,” which once served as home for writer Samuel Beckett. At night, you’ll be able to upload all of the day’s photos to Facebook from your hotel in Gargas.

    There are two route options for today:

    Via Ménerbes, Bonnieux
    Mileage: 35 km / 22 miles
    Total Climb: 697 m / 2,287 ft
    Total Descent: 511 m / 1,677 ft

    Via Gordes, Ménerbes, Bonnieux
    Mileage: 52 km / 32 miles
    Total Climb: 1,048 m / 3,438 ft
    Total Descent: 870 m / 2,854 ft

    • 21.7 miles
    • 610.2 ft
      2,286.7 ft
      1,676.5 ft
    • Hotel Les Sables d’Ocre, Roussillon
    • Breakfast
  6. Day 6Transfer to Avignon and departure

    You'll be taken to Avignon for your departure of choice.

    • Breakfast