Cycling in the Gorges de la Nesque

Mont Ventoux Cycling Weekend

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Traveller ratings
4.9 / 5 from 13 reviews >
Trip code: 
MSV
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Short Breaks
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
Min age:
18
Group size:
6–16

Climb one of the Tour de France's most iconic mountains

Standing at 1912m, Mont Ventoux is known as the 'Giant of Provence', a mass of bare limestone rock that dominates the region and can be seen from miles around. The region boasts some fabulous cycling and the climb has become famously associated with the Tour de France, featuring 14 times since 1951. After a couple of excellent warm up rides we will tackle the climb from Bedoin, passing the Tommy Simpson memorial along the way. This is the most famous and toughest route and a must-do summit for any Tour aficionado. 

A number of changes are being made to this product for travel after January 1st 2018. This tour will now climb Ventoux twice via the two most popular ascents (Bedoin & Malaucene), to read the updated itinerary please view the 2018 tour page here

Highlights

  • A fantastic compact cycling trip around some of the best roads in France
  • Climb the Tour de France's most famous mountain by the two most iconic routes 
  • Beautiful scenery and Provencal culture

Key information

  • 3 days cycling (including 2 half day rides) with partial vehicle support (limited seats)
  • 100% tarmac roads 
  • Climbs are long and steady (average 7%)
  • Group normally 7 to 16, plus leader in support vehicle. Min age 16 yrs
  • 3 nights in a charming family-run hotel

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities 
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Local bike hire (available on request)
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

3

Pace:

Approximately 4-6 hours cycling per day

Terrain:

100% tarmac roads with high mountain passes 

Day by day breakdown
Day 138.0km/23.0miles
Day 287.0km/54.0miles
Day 3105.0km/65.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Sault at the foot of Ventoux; short warm up ride through the Provencal countryside.

    Start Sault, right at the foot of Mont Ventoux. After time to check bikes and make any final adjustments, we will head out for a short warm up ride south west from Sault through the Provencal countryside around Monieux. That evening there will be a welcome meeting with your leader and the opportunity to discuss the route in more detail.

    Cycle approx. 38km with 520m ascent
    Comfortable hotel

  • Day 2

    Ride to Montbrun, then climb the Col de Macuegne (1068m) for views of Mont Ventoux. After an easier climb we then tackle the Col de l'Homme Mort (1213m)

    For our first full day of cycling we'll take a lovely quiet route from Sault to Montbrun, before climbing the Col de Macuegne (1068m / 9.5km long / average 5%). Although far less famous than Ventoux, this is one of the 'must do' climbs of the area as it enjoys spectacular views over Mont Ventoux. After an easier 4.5km climb, we'll join the Col de l'Homme Mort (1213m) before a speedy descent overlooking at the Plateau d'Albion. Returning to Sault we pass the Provencal villages of Banon and Simiane La Rotonde, perched high above the surrounding lavender fields.

    Cycle approx. 87km with 1170m ascent
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Ride through the magnificent Gorges de la Nesque to Bedoin and climb Mont Ventoux (1912m) by the most famous Tour de France route.

    We can't ignore the 'Giant of Provence' any longer, so today we head to the iconic Mont Ventoux. Our ride starts on a great road that winds itself through the magnificent Gorges de la Nesque. This is a lovely ride in its own right, but only the start of today's excitement. Arriving in Bedoin we start the climb of Mont Ventoux (1912m) by the most famous and difficult Tour de France route. It is certainly a challenge as the road climbs for 21.5km at an average of 7.5% to the summit. The final 5km are tough with pitches as steep as 10.7 %, you'll have earnt a celebratory drink by the top! A scenic 30km descent takes us back to Sault, probably for another celebratory drink.

    Cycle approx. 105km with 2060m ascent
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Trip ends in Sault.

    Free morning to go for a short ride around Sault before the trip ends here.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

UK passport holders do not need visas for this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassies.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts are included.

If you are a vegetarian please advise us when you book. Lunches and dinners are not included, giving you the flexibility to select your own diet. We suggest that you bring with you your favourite snacks as the choice of energy bars available locally is fairly limited.

Weather

At the time of year that we run trips here, the weather is often glorious and sunny, but given its height and the surrounding terrain, there can often be a micro-climate on Mont Ventoux. As the name might suggest (venteux means windy in French), it can get windy at the summit so you should be prepared for this. Maximum temperatures can be up to 30ºC, but this will vary with altitude. If we are riding through low cloud it can get very chilly on the descents, but these should be short spells only. There is of course the possibility of wet weather so you should also come prepared for this.

MSV

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Drop Bars.

Activity Level: 6 (Challenging/Tough).

3 days cycling, average 102km per day (64 miles), average elevation gain of 1800m per day

Partial vehicle support (with limited seats).

The riding on this trip can be accomplished by any fit cyclist, but it is as much a state of mind as your fitness that will see you up and over the cols. The secret to making it up the mountains is to spin away at a steady pace and stop whenever you feel tired. We cover the same routes as the Tour de France but this trip is definitely not a race!

The roads are good quality - they just aren't flat! Although the gradients do not get much steeper than 10%, they can be long. Daily distances are realistic, and there are plenty of opportunities for stronger riders to add more kilometers if they wish.

On all our drop bar trips the guide does not cycle with the group but leads from the support vehicle. This enables them to carry any spare parts, snacks and drinks whilst also being able to filter through the group on long climbs and react quicker in the case of an emergency.

Please note: Exodus drop bar cycling holidays are not run in a training camp style, all our daily rides are group rides and we aim to cycle as a group wherever possible. The days are broken up with food and coffee stops so it is likely that we will be outside for the majority of the day (sometimes between 9am – 5pm). It is common for the group to split on the longer climbs, please keep in mind that if you are looking to push yourself on the climbs you might have a wait at the top for other members of the group, however the support vehicle will be there to offer warm clothes and snacks.

Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Forget feeling lethargic on your travels – cycling is one of the easiest ways to blend cultural and active expl

  • Reviewed September 2017
    Rupert Livingstone

    Ventoux, Ventoux - so good I had to do the trip again

    I did the trip in 2016 and got my nutrition wrong so walked the last 2k to the summit. I just had to go back to do it properly this year. I was not disappointed as going back made the trip even more enjoyable. The cycling is fantastic and finally cycling all the way to the summit was an emotional and satisfying experience. The trip is changing slightly for 2018 and my only dilemma is whether to go back again to attempt another route. This is a great short break, properly getting away from it all, enjoying some wonderful climbs and descents and basically just enjoying being able to focus solely on cycling.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Personally, being successful in cycling to the summit - a big monkey off my back. As a trip, the beauty of the countryside, the camaraderie of the group and the sheer bliss of cycling provided the inspiration. The descent to Sault is a joy, as is the Gorges de Nesque.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was simply superb. Without him, the trip would not have been as successful. At no point were there any qualms or concerns as Yves managed to cover off any issues before they arose - even diverting to get bananas when the Sault supermarche decided not to open on time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are reading the review then you are probably serious about the trip so I would use the cliché - just book it. It is a fantastic trip and the satisfaction of reaching the summit more than offsets the pain of the forest. The best advice is the obvious advice. Do some training, get yourself fit, ensure that you have tackled some hills or done some consistent resistance training on a turbo and get your nutrition right. Other than that, enjoy what will be a fantastic and memorable weekend of cycling.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Robert Lawton

    Mount Ventoux

    A fantastic well organised trip that was both friendly and professional made special by our guide Thierry.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We cycled in beautiful weather on quiet roads through some stunning countryside - topped off by achieving the ascent of My Ventoux - the descent wasn't bad either!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic - friendly, well informed, patient & professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take this trip and enjoy the scenery, food & cycling
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Dylan Bexley

    Mont Ventoux weekender

    I did this trip with Exodus back in October 2016 and have had it on my to-do list to leave a review ever since so am sorry it has taken so long! To be clear I won this trip, along with 7 others, as part of competition that Exodus were running. That said I do not believe the quality and service would have been any different if I had paid for the trip privately - in short both were top notch.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having been on a numerous cycling holidays to Europe (all self delivered) I can safely say this was the best by far. The location is truly inspirational given the history and views. The routes the team had planned were fantastic and the base location in Sault is ideal. The Gorge de la Nesque to Bedoin route, before you take on Ventoux, is superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Leadership was spot on. Our group had varying degree's of fitness and the leader would always provide clear instructing on turning and meeting points and was always on hand to accept additional clothing or hand out snacks and drinks. He chose some great lunch locations and would arrange a DIY baguette picnic with plenty of fruit and drinks which was perfect.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mont Ventoux is not to be taken lightly but is a real accomplishment whether you are going for a Strava time or just looking to conquer it. Virtually all of our group felt quite emotional after summiting which is maybe due to the history and the landscape.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great short break that I would absolutely recommend. The scenery in the area is lovely and the riding was far better then I imagined it would be. Far more then just Mont Ventoux. The Exodus team were superb from beginning to end.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Eric Farnworth

    Mont Ventoux Cycling Weekend

    A four day trip. Day 1 - flight, transfer to hotel, bike fit, dinner. Day 2 - a glorious 87km ride with as much descent as ascent. Day 3 - Mont Ventoux Day!! 105km, total ascents 2060m. We all made it! Celebratory dinner at hotel. Day 4 - gentler ride (still 75km, 1000m ascent), transfer to Marseille airport for evening flight home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We all made it to the summit of Ventoux without seeing the inside of the support vehicle, and without walking a single metre. Some cycled to the top without a stop (and in very impressive times). Some found it gruelling and stopped many times (and at the cafe half way up) to gather breath before re-starting. It didn't matter which category you fell into, it was a challenge to everyone and we each celebrated the achievement of the others as well as our own.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very French, very charming. Helpful, experienced, professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Perhaps drink a little too much alcohol in the evening to deal with those nerves!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As to the cycling, it was superb. Of course it's a challenging trip, but as we stayed in the same hotel throughout, the total daily descent was the same as the aggregate climb for the day. The descents were glorious, on good tarmac with little traffic. I whooped with joie de vivre! (Well, it was France.) As to everything else, don't forget that the scenery in Provence is stunning - wooded mountains, dramatic hillsides, ancient churches, fortified towns, lavender fields, village squares with pavement cafes and colour-washed buildings. Good hotel, excellent (and plentiful) food.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Susannah Pink

    Cycling up the beast of Mont Ventoux

    Thank you to Exodus for a truly fantastic trip. Climbing Mont Ventoux is of course the highlight of this trip but there is so much more! Every day you are cycling beautifully planned routes, climbing and descending in stunning Alpine scenery, through rocky gorges and pretty Provence villages, past vineyards and lavender fields. The road surfaces are really smooth, traffic minimal and courteous. The food was delicious and accommodation excellent. It was my first trip to the Alps and will not be my last! Climbing Mont Ventoux was just thrilling, you certainly need to be fit, but not at pro cyclist level to get up the big hill-determination plays a massive part too. Believe you can do it and you will-I did and without stopping!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing Ventoux was the most amazing and inspirational experience that I won't ever forget-as you cycle up through the forest you see all the famous rider names from the Tour written on the road, as you reach the barren white rocks, you see the famous red and white tower getting gradually closer, then near the top you pass Tom Simpsons memorial (I stopped to pay my respects on the way back down). I was really emotional as I reached the top! The group camaraderie was really amazing, a lovely bunch, one of our group, having cycled his way in record time to the summit of Ventoux, then cycled back down just to keep me company up the final 6km-that was pretty inspirational! Descending through Gorge de la Nesque was amazing too-its the most stunning scenery-you start really high and the road gradually winds down through the gorge. Every day the views were inspirational, a feast for the eyes.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent. Actually I can't praise Andy, Dave and Thierry from Exodus highly enough! They could not have done more to look after everyone in the group, whatever level cyclist they were. Support, encouragement, bike maintenance, superb routes, planning-they were all just excellent. Thierry also provided delicious picnics en route and was always there in the support vehicle at key points at road junctions so you knew where to go. He knew the best coffee stops and pointed out things of interest along the way such as old churches so you could enjoy a bit of local history too!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice is to book this trip! It's a truly incredible and memorable experience. One of the best trips I have done, you get such a massive sense of achievement! I loved it so much I am thinking of doing it all over again! -Don't be frightened to take your own bike, I took my own (a light carbon bike with compact chainset) and it was just perfect for getting me up Ventoux, but you can also borrow a bike out there if required; everyone who borrowed bikes was really pleased with their quality. -You don't need to know anything about bike maintenance either, the Exodus crew are highly knowledgable on anything mechanical which was reassuring. -Take plenty of warm layers-arm warmers, leg warmers, gilet, windproof and waterproof jackets, long gloves, toe warmers, buff-it's freezing on the descents and at the top of Ventoux and the support vehicle carries everything for you, so you can take any layers off before the climbs. It can be quite hot in the valley and several degrees lower at the top of Ventoux. -Take your own energy drink, bars and gels (take lots) there is nowhere to buy anything like that locally!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd like to thank Exodus for a superbly planned trip, I highly recommend it. If you are thinking about booking....do it! Make sure you are fit then go and have the experience of a lifetime!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Craig McKee

    Mont Ventoux

    This trip was simply incredible! The Exodus staff were amazing. They accommodated our every need and had thought of and planned for every eventuality. The routes were fabulous and although challenging, did exactly what it said on the tin. If you enjoy riding a bike, this is quite simply a must do trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling up Ventoux trying to soak it all in was just incredible - a must do journey for any cycling fan!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andy and David were fantastic. They had a good working knowledge of the routes and the locality. All our needs were anticipated and taken care of. They were very friendly and very welcome company on the rides.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely - book this trip immediately!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I just want to say a huge thank you to all the Exodus staff that made this trip possible. It was quite simply incredible and something I will bore my friends and family about for years to come!!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Rohan Battison

    Cycling Ventoux

    Possibly one of my most memorable holidays yet! The Exodus team are absolutely amazing, making everyone feel welcome, comfortable and never needing for anything. Andy and Dave - just spot on, not a single negative comment to make from start to finish!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The entire group waiting at the top of Ventoux, cheering and clapping every single rider up - with some even riding back down to ride alongside those who took a little longer to get up. The team work and thoughtfulness of all riders was touching, no one was ever left behind.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    PERFECT!!! He couldn't have been better. Everything was sorted for us, we only had to get ourselves to and from the airport.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a camera of some sort - GoPro or similar to attach to the bars/your helmet - the views are out of this world!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't thank Exodus enough for giving me this trip of a lifetime - riding with Dave, Andy, Ned Boulting and the rest of the competition winners was like a dream :) I had an amazing time and wish it didn't have to come to an end!! I'll be staying in touch with the other riders and can't wait for the pictures and footage to come out.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Izabela Ruprik

    Cycling up the Big Hill

    Our trip was extra special as we were a small selected group being filmed for a documentary so we had TV crew with us as well but the itinerary was the same. I was thinking about doing it for a while so when the opportunity presented itself I decided to wrestle with the famous Mont Ventoux. And it was all it promised to be: stunning region, beautiful weather, picturesque villages and a beast of a climb.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Facing demons over the last 6km of the climb from Chalet Reynard. Everyone was saying to me - once you get to the Chalet you know you have got this but for me that is where the battle started.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thierry was great: knowledgeable, funny and understanding. He really loves what he does.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Layers, layers, layers. Leg warmers and arm warmers are god-sent. The descents are fast and freezing. if your shoes have a lot of mesh, bring the toe covers or whole shoe covers. Big winter gloves, full gloves but not too thick and mittens. Energy drinks and gels - make sure you have some.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In our group we had some really savvy riders who think nothing of 1,000 miles per month, or 500m in a week but then there was me who only rides outside a few times a year - mainly with Exodus holidays. I do get training indoors though as a spin instructor and it was a great help. The climb itself is extremely challenging mentally and I had a few emotional moment as it is relentless.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Rupert Livingstone

    Ventoux 2016

    This was a short, well organised and thoroughly enjoyable trip. The cycling was wonderful, building us up nicely to tackle Ventoux and we enjoyed some glorious scenery along with smooth and quiet roads. This was the first organised cycling trip that I had been on and it was a fantastic introduction. The hire bikes were good quality and the routes superb. The tour leader positioned himself at strategic points along the route to ensure that we followed the correct route and offered tips and advice where necessary such as gravel hot spots. Overall this was a fantastic trip and my only dilemma is whether to do it again next year.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing Ventoux was obviously a highlight as it was why we all booked the trip but the warm up through the Gorges de la Nasque was perhaps the most enjoyable. A smooth winding fast but not too steep descent with fantastic scenery and very few cars. Only a few rocks and goats in the road to look out for!! It is the part of the trip that I keep thinking about to make being sat back behind a desk more bearable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was wonderful. His knowledge of the route ensured that we paced ourselves well and knew where to turn and what hazards to look out for. He ensured that he was parked up where we might miss a turn so that we did not get lost and when we would likely need a refreshment break. He organised evening meals and left us to concentrate on the cycling. Top class chap.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be intimidated - it is tough but achievable. Ensure that you get your nutrition right both before and during each ride. Running out of steam on Ventoux is not pleasant but plenty of carbs the night before and regularly eating whatever treats you prefer in the saddle should see you through.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take plenty of your on bike nutrition. There is not really anywhere to buy locally.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    David Robert Lewis

    Ventoux

    What a great short but extremely satisfying trip - the Ventoux is an absolute monster from the Bedouin route . It was one of the hardest things I have done ! and to that end one of the most satisfying . Go for it but get fit first !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top without stopping .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was great and kept me going on the tough sections.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit

Dates & Prices

Call us on 1 800 267 3347