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Hilltop Villages of Provence Cycling

7 days
from
$2,749 NZD
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Cycling
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
C06PL
Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Private Group Adventures
Activity:
Self-Guided Cycling
Ages:
8+

Provence is a place whose natural light and landscapes have served as inspiration to such iconic figures as Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso and Dumas (not to mention Peter Mayle!), and this 6 night holiday has been designed to give you a taste of the famous hilltop villages which dot its breath-taking, lavender-scented Luberon region.

On this six night holiday you'll discover the beauty of Provence - a region where refinement and tradition blend beautifully, and whose natural light and landscapes have served as inspiration to the likes of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso and Dumas, not to mention Peter Mayle! You'll look out over a patchwork blanket of fields, olive groves, vineyards and, in the south east, apple orchards which cover the floor between the mountains on either side. While the vineyards here may not be as well-known as those of the Rhone, Burgundy and Bordeaux, some superb wines are produced here - so be sure to stop off for a tasting or two.

Highlights

  • A lavender-scented patchwork of sun drenched vineyards, olive groves and apple orchards
  • Mediaeval perched villages: Gordes and Bonnieux, with spectacular views across the Luberon
  • Quiet country lanes and cycle paths; beautiful Provencal countryside and sleepy hamlets
  • Great lunch options; chateaux and wine estates all too happy to provide tastings
  • A variety of hotels, each with a swimming pool

Key information

  • 6 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of  and  hotels
  • 5 Days Cycling (Including two optional rides)
  • GPS route directions and maps 
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 
  • Countries visited: France

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 2 evening meals
  • GPS route directions and maps 
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement
  • Any Solo traveller supplements (where only one person is travelling on a departure date)
  • Flights from Heathrow to Marseille with British Airways, including onward rail and station transfers
  • Other flights, including regional departures, Business/club/first class fares on request and First class rail
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
  • City break add-ons in Marseille and Nice
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for private group trips:
0800 643 997
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.

5 (Including 2 optional rides)

Days of Cycling
Pace:

 

Terrain:

The cycling is mostly on plains or gentle foothills and we have used the quietest possible lanes to link the towns and villages. There are only occasional (unavoidable) short stretches on major roads. One or two parts of the countryside are fairly hilly, so take your time on the steeper climbs and admire the wonderful long-distance views.

Day by day breakdown
Day 2 50.0km/32.0miles
Day 3 24.0km/15.0miles
Day 4 49.0km/31.0miles
Day 5 26.0km/16.5miles
Day 6 38.0km/24.0miles

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

Pernes-Les-Fontaines
to
Pernes-Les-Fontaines
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Pernes-Les-Fontaines

    Arrive at your 3 star hotel, just north of the town of Pernes-les-Fontaines. There's plenty of time to relax and explore the hotel grounds before dinner. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage, Breakfast with dinner in a local restaurant)

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Pernes-Les-Fontaines to Roussillon

    Pass by Pernes-les-Fontaines before setting off alongside the Canal de Carpentras and on through the beautiful scenery of the Vaucluse down to the popular town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The old town here is entirely surrounded by the clear waters of the River Sorgue. There are lots of lunch options in the town, or you could stop a little further on in the pretty village of Fontaine-de- Vaucluse. In the afternoon you climb to enjoy your first spectacular views of the Luberon before descending past vineyards, olive groves and windmills, and on to the ochre-painted village of Roussillon; this is the starting point of the Ochre Trail and your home for the next two nights. (Staying at Hotel Les Sables D'Ocres, Breakfast only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    At Roussillon (Optional)

    Explore Roussillon, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, to discover its ochre-red rocks and stone buildings before you head out to nearby Joucas. After some gentle freewheeling, make the climb up to the famous mediaeval perched village of Gordes, which offers one of the best possible views of the Luberon. Explore the village and its castle and maybe take a trip up to the picture-perfect Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque (taxi required - payable locally), before heading back to Roussillon through the lavender-scented countryside. (Staying at Hotel Les Sables D'Ocres, Breakfast only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Roussillon to Maubec

    After breakfast, set out along the Ochre Trail to the village of Gargas where you have the opportunity to visit the Ochre Mines of Bruoux. Then head south along country lanes where a mixture of climbs and freewheeling takes you through some of the most beautiful villages in Provence. First there's Bonnieux, from where the nearby Chateau la Connorgue (made famous by Ridley Scott's A Good Year) can be visited for tastings. Then it's on to Lacoste to explore the ruined castle, once a mighty fortification and now a spectacular viewpoint. From here you'll freewheel down before another short climb to Menerbes, made famous by the books of Peter Mayle, and a great place to stop for lunch. The last leg takes you to Maubec where your hotel awaits. (Staying at La Bastide du Bois Breant. Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Maubec (optional)

    Take a circular ride past the orchards and meadows to the pretty villages of Lagnes, Robion and the beautiful watermill in Taillades. Or you could take a taxi to Saint-Remy-de-Provence, with its delightful old town, Roman site and monastery. (Staying at La Bastide du Bois Breant. Half Board).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Maubec to Pernes-Les-Fontaines

    This morning you ride through apple country where you'll see orchards aplenty. Following the lanes brings you to the mediaeval town of Le Thor, after which you pass the ruins of the fortified monastery at Thouzon, along with the Grotte de Thouzon; a network of caves carved out by an underground river. Then it's back to Pernes-les-Fontaines where you have time to explore the mediaeval old town and the numerous ancient stone fountains and lavoirs. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage, Breakfast with dinner in local restaurant)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Leave Pernes-Les-Fontaines

    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

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 2 evening meals included

Provençale cuisine is a blend of many influences from the plentiful sea, to neighbour Italy and the early Roman occupation. The soil is rich and the climate is conducive to producing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
Whilst not the most sophisticated of the French cuisines, most dishes use the excellent tasting local fresh produce. Cooking à la Provençale uses local olive oil, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and wild herbs, all ripened by the sun to give an intensity of flavour. You can browse among the colours and smells, and make picnic purchases at the lively local markets.
The proximity of the sea makes fish and seafood an important element of the local cuisine. Regional dishes include the famous bouillabaisse, a rich fish stew served with aioli and rouille; the bourride – a lighter version of the bouillabaisse; pistou soupe (summer vegetable soup with a blend of garlic, basil and olive oil); authentic ratatouille, large colourful salads and delicious courgette flower fritters. Tapenade and anchoïade are savoury dips made with local olives and anchovies; pissaladière is an onion tart with olives and anchovies and is very likely to have come from the Romans.

Weather

Temperatures tend to average around 30°C  during the summer months and fall to an average of 15°C during winter. The infamous Mistral wind can have a great effect on the temperatures, particularly in the western part of Provence. 

July and August are very warm with little to no rainfall. Temperatures tend to climb up to 30°C during the day. At night it cools off considerably, especially on the coast, near a lake or in the mountains. In general, the farther away from the coast the more oppressive the heat becomes during the day. 

The months around the high season are the most pleasant (May, June, September, October) with average temperatures between 22°C and 27°C . October is the most uncertain month of the four, but of course it can also be a splendid month with warm, sunny days and practically no rain.

Is this trip for you?

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 35km ( 22 miles). 
No. of days cycling: 5 (Including one optional ride)
Terrain: The cycling is mostly on plains or gentle foothills and we have used the quietest possible lanes to link the towns and villages. There are only occasional (unavoidable) short stretches on major roads. One or two parts of the countryside are fairly hilly, so take your time on the steeper climbs and admire the wonderful long-distance views.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. 

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies.

Your itinerary has been designed to give you a taste of the picturesque perched villages which pepper Provence's breathtaking, lavender-scented Luberon area. The hilly landscape of the region means the cycling can be challenging at times but for each tough climb you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view. Starting in the mediaeval town of Pernes-les-Fontaines, famous for its numerous ancient stone fountains and lavoirs, you'll enjoy far-reaching views over the Luberon as you make your way to the ochre-red village of Roussillon passing vineyards, chateaux and castles on the way. You then head out along the Ochre Trail and along country lanes to pass through some of the most beautiful villages in Provence - each one offering stirring images along with a history which, in some places, stretches back over a thousand years - before your final stretch takes in sweeping apple orchards, typical French villages, quaint cafes and the fascinating network of caves at Grotte de Thouzon.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for private group trips:
0800 643 997
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.

Accommodation

Hotels

We've hand-picked a lovely selection of hotels for your holiday. The Hotel l'Hermitage in Pernes-les-Fontaines is set in 2 hectares of grounds with a saltwater swimming pool and its own orangery; the Hotel les Sables d'Ocre in Roussillon sits amidst landscaped lawns with a relaxing pool area; while the Bastide du Bois Breant in Maubec is a former farm house, once owned by a duchess and set amid its own woodland in the peaceful south west of the Luberon.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for private group trips:
0800 643 997
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.

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Dates & Prices

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