We’ll let you decide whether what a masterpiece of cycling holidays in Provence this is after you’ve experienced it.
Picture yourself enjoying a wonderful week cycling in France – immersed in the culture, history and breathtaking scenery of a region that’s inspired some of history’s most creative people. It’s a week of lavender fields, sunflowers, sun-kissed vineyards, vibrant colours and historic villages, all experienced under the vibrant cobalt blue skies of south-eastern France...
And then there’s the renowned Provençale cuisine and fine wine to savour as you rub shoulders with the warm people of Provence and fellow adventurers along the way.…
Transfer by minibus, taxi or train to our base hotel in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
After a delicious petit dejeuner, we personally equip you with your choice of bicycle before you set off to explore van Gogh’s artistic playground. And, of course, we make sure it fits perfectly for your forthcoming adventures amid Provence’s lavender meadows, sunflower fields and vineyards.
The day is then yours to explore lovely Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in the heart of the Alpilles. Imagine your excitement on setting out to discover the delights awaiting you down every narrow street and broad plane-tree flanked boulevard. Picture yourself walking – or pedalling lazily – between attractive old houses and historical buildings – including gorgeous Eglise St-Martin with its amazing organ.
All thoughts of the usual day-to-day drift away with your immersion in authentic Provençal life. Savour the ambience that attracted so many artists and writers to the town. Yes, we’re exploring in the footsteps of the Vincent van Gogh, who painted some of his most famous artworks here. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is made for exploring on foot. But if you fancy a gentle introductory bike ride, how about heading south to pedestrianised Baux-de-Provence? This beautiful commune is perched spectacularly atop an imposing craggy outcrop. This is arguably the most dramatic fortress site in Provence. The village is irresistible with its authentic ruins and majestic, fortified Château des Baux overlooking the Camargue and Rhône delta to the south.
Alternatively, visit appealing Mas Blanc des Alpilles, the smallest village in the départment of Bouches du Rhône. Or ride an easy six kilometres east to Eygalières, another quintessentially Provençal hilltop village amid vineyards, olive groves and the verdant valleys of Alpilles. The choice is yours before, tired but oh-so-happy at the end of the day, we return to Rémy to sample the region’s wines and excellent country cooking.
Look forward to today’s easy, dare we say relaxing, ride along quiet rural lanes. We leave Saint-Rémy and cycle through wonderful scenery into the département of Vaucluse. Explore the quiet, winding route and its sleepy villages, then cross the River Vaucluse at lovely Cavaillon. There, the unquestionable ‘kings of the market’ are the plump, juicy, sweet Charentais melons (France’s finest) for which the town is renowned. The fruit market is unmissable – and not just for the melon’s legendary fragrance. So is the hilly green oasis of Chemin St Jacques located between the town and river.
Later, still licking melon juice from your fingers, continue east through through the fertile fruit fields of Le Vas and Les Oupiolles towards Lagnes. Then on to your day’s destination – Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, site of France’s most powerful water spring.
We’re on vacation, so let’s enjoy another leisurely breakfast before our equally unhurried exploration of the village. You’ll soon find your way along Chemin de la Fontaine, beside the crystal-clear Sorgue river, to le gouffre de Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. It’s the source of the translucent blue-green waters that gush from, the foot of precipitous 230m-high limestone cliffs. With a staggering annual flow of 630 million cubic metres, the spring is also the fifth largest of its kind in the world.
Stay awhile and marvel at such natural beauty before remounting your bike. Next, we recommend riding to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The clue to its location and engaging ambience is in the name; this ‘island city’ is dominated by the River Sorgue. And subdivided by sleepy canals and ancient streets that beg to be explored before we pause for coffee, cakes and a glass of Provence’s delicious dry rosé wine. À votre santé!
Or how about – an unforgettable alternative to two wheels and two feet – booking a canoe trip to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, dangling your hand languidly in the emerald waters and letting cares drift away on the current…
Provence has still more delights to share. Today we journey into the heart of Luberon – made famous by Picasso, Chagall and ‘A Year in Provence’. Approximately halfway, we reach Gordes, one of Luberon’s – and France’s – Plus Beaux Villages.
Dominating the southern edge of Haute Vaucluse, Gordes is characterised by its tall, white and grey stone houses. Impressively, they seem to rise from the very rock on which the village is built. Continue uphill and be rewarded with breathtaking views of Luberon from sixteenth-century Château de Gordes. Then ride to the Abbaye Notre Dame de Sénanque, a twelfth-century Cistercian monastery with exquisite gardens and calming ambience. Here, the monks still make honey and delicious liqueurs amid calming lavender aromas. From Gordes the route continues through more lavender fields to our next stop at Roussillon.
Today is another day for relaxation and deep immersion in this ridge-top village nestled between the Monts de Vaucluse and ‘le Petit Luberon’. Explore its ochre-toned alleys on your bike – and admire the rich reds as they contrast with the surrounding pines and vivid blue of the Provençal sky. Or abandon two wheels to stroll in the steps of playwright Samuel Beckett and American Laurence Wylie. In the 1950s, he spent a year here and documented his sojourn in Un Village du Vaucluse.
Roussillon is dominated by its local ochre deposits – at least 17 shades. Do explore nearby Sentier des Ochres too, then savour crêpes or the day’s plat du jour before enjoying the superb north-facing panorama near pretty Eglise Saint-Michel.
Later, as shadows lengthen, we’d recommend the gentle 10km ride south to nearby Bonnieux. It’s a delightful cluster of ancient houses gathered around attractive Eglise Haute – with its prominent tower that dominates the surrounding countryside. The village, considered one of the region’s finest, is built on a plateau above the valley. The views are to die for, especially if you climb the 86 stone steps to the Vieille Eglise.
Let’s pause among the cedar trees and contemplate our good fortune. And look north to Gordes and Roussillon as they imperiously oversee expansive plains of lavender fields and vineyards. And if we still have time before supper, let’s also visit the famous Musée de la Boulangerie on Rue de la République…
Make the most of your day, then head back to Rouissillon. There, over another mouth-watering Provençal supper, look back over a magical week packed with the unforgettable impressions, tastes and smells of authentic Provence.
Today, we bid a fond ‘Au Revoir et à bientôt’ to Provence and our new Provençal friends as we transfer from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence to Avignon, Nîmes or Marseilles airport by train, taxi or minibus.
Red-roofed Provençal buildings under cerulean blue skies; lavender fields and sunflowers by the roadside – and then we arrive in gorgeous St Rémy de Provence to a wonderful welcome from the Hotel Gounod’s team.
Before we set out to exploring, let’s familiarise ourselves with the Gounod’s private courtyard, inviting outdoor pool and sunny terrace – perfect for relaxing after a long day’s travelling or cycle exploring. And in the morning, what a joy it is to savour a long, leisurely breakfast in the dappled sunlight of the terrace-lounge area.
The hotel gets its name from nineteenth-century associations with esteemed French composer, Charles Gounod – he lived here! Maybe we’ll use the hotel’s free Wi-Fi to find a recording of his ‘Mireille’ opera…
The day is still young and the Place de la République, and other attractions of St. Rémy’s historic old town, call… Later, however, when we return, our sublimely decorated room will welcome us back. Each air-conditioned room has the satellite TV, private bathroom with shower, and hairdryer that make the end of another day’s cycling comfortable. They’ve thought of everything – there’s even a safety deposit box for extra peace of mind.
Imagine if your hotel overlooked the meandering crème-de-menthe green of Luberon’s romantic River Sorgue. Picture a wonderful boutique hotel within sight of river rapids and close to the mighty Fontaine-de-Vaucluse spring where the Sorgue springs forth from towering cliffs…
Hotel du Poète awaits you at day’s end in lovely Vaucluse de Fontaine. The location is the clincher, supported by comfortable rooms and suites, an inviting outdoor pool with incomparable mountain views, and a luxurious hot tub.
Your room, uniquely furnished and decorated, with typically Provençal tiles underfoot, is air-conditioned for comfort during your visit – and equipped with flat-screen TV and satellite channels – and free Wi-Fi.
And each day, before you relax in the hotel, discover Fontaine or explore further afield, look forward to a delicious breakfast. Imagine enjoying your petit dejeuner on the sun terrace overlooking the river – tucking into delicious locally-sourced fruits, meats, cheeses and the morning’s fresh-baked croissants and baguettes…
If the Luberon’s call doesn’t draw you far today, the Hotel du Poète’s lovely garden and pool is tranquillity typified. The ever-present rushing river waters complete the idyllic ambience. No wonder the hotel is consistently credited with one of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse’s best locations!
Roussillon’s Le Clos de la Glycine, with its well-rated David Restaurant, enjoys one of Roussillon’s most fabulous locations – close to the town’s amazing sights. What’s more, it offers truly breathtaking panoramas from Roussillon’s ochre cliffs across the valley towards Lioux and Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt.
Look forward to a fabulous Provençal welcome and rooms with equally stunning views over the valley. The ambience epitomises all the atmosphere of this must-visit hilltop town with its galleries, historic Belvédére Mirador, lovely restaurants and narrow lanes past brightly-shuttered houses.
Each welcoming air-conditioned bedroom combines typical Provençal decorations with modern appointments – a private bathroom with bath or shower, a hairdryer, free Wi-Fi and, at risk of repetition, those amazing views…
After drinks in the bar, savour delicious cuisine crafted lovingly from produits de terroir. Best of all, dine on the restaurant’s romantic outdoor terrace. And to finish? Can you resist the sublime Caramélia chocolate dome? Of course not!
Next morning after a refreshing night of sweet Luberon dreams, prepare for the walking or cycling adventures ahead with continental breakfast under the wisteria… Then the road, or just those views, demand your attention…
|May 25, 27||£995|
|Jun 2, 4, 10, 12, 18, 20||£995|
|Sep 1, 3, 9, 11, 17, 19||£995|
|Jun 4, 12, 20||£745|
|Sep 3, 11, 19||£745|
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room without flights and transfers.
Triple room: £10 per third person per night.
Infants under 2 years: Sharing bed with parents FREE. Additional expenses e.g. food or cots, to be paid direct to the hotelier.
Children under 12 years: £15 off per night.
Single room: £50 per night.
E-Bike: £20 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
Tandem: £15 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
£250 per person
Our experts shall be only too pleased to research the most convenient and best value flights for you and, to arrange your airport transfers. Please call on 01584 877596 for an individual quotation, which will be sent to you by email. On acceptance of our quotation, we shall be pleased to book all arrangements for you.
Holidays booked together with a flight are protected by The Travel Trust Association’s ATOL (number: 10300).
Flights and transfers are charged at cost, plus a £20 per person booking fee to cover service and ATOL fees.
If you wish to extend your holiday, with perhaps a short stay in a nearby city of interest, please call our experts on 01584 877596 for help and guidance.
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