Cycling in Provence usually conjures up thoughts of climbing the Mont Ventoux, riding through lavender fields or biking through stunning hilltop villages. Below, we’ve put together a list of the top bicycle rides through southern France.
As you cycle from Sault to Crillon-le-Brave you experience one of the most beautiful bicycle ride in southern France. Start in Sault and head toward the Mont Ventoux. You bike through lavender fields before reaching the Gorge de La Nesque, the second most important canyon in Provence. Enjoy a 10-mile downhill going through low tunnels. Good news, you won’t encounter larger vehicles. Then, you reach a flat area at the foot of the Mont Ventoux and you ride through endless acres of vineyards before one last climb to the hilltop village of Crillon-le-Brave. Even though you haven’t climbed to the top of the Mont Ventoux, you feel a sense of accomplishment.
You might recognize some of the landscapes around Provence, because you’ve seen paintings from famous artists like Cezanne and Van Gogh. As you start cycling from Crillon-le-Brave and through the countryside, you’re taken away from the ordinary and you explore the artistic side of life. On the way, stop in St. Didier and experience an authentically colourful Provencal market. Then, challenge yourself with a climb to the town of Venasque, one of “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”. Then, you keep climbing for 5-miles before you cycle over rolling hills for another 10-miles. At last, you enjoy a nice downhill into the town of Gordes.
While riding your bicycle through Provence, you are always surprised by the beauty of those hilltop villages. On this bike ride across the Luberon, you ride through the most famous small towns. Head out toward the town of Joucas on a downhill ride through vineyards and lavender fields. Then, you keep cycling through the flat landscape before reaching Roussillon, known for its ochre deposit. Before arriving in Bonnieux, you ride through Goult and along the Pont Julien, a Roman stone arch bridge over the Calavon river. Make sure to take a break in Bonnieux as you still need to ride for 15 miles before you get back to Gordes. You start by climbing up to the village of Lacoste and you should make sure to take the time to visit the ruins of the château du Marquis de Sade. Once in Menerbes, you have 7 miles left but get ready for those last 5 miles uphill.
You start from the Frigolet Abbey, where you begin the day’s ride. From there, you cycle your way toward Saint-Rémy-de-Provence to enjoy the town’s famed market. Always make sure to get there on market day, a unique experience indeed. You may sample some local delicacies from the market or stop at a local bistro for a wonderful lunch. Following a wonderful break in town, get back on your bike and enjoy riding through the flat landscape before a nice 2-mile climb through the forest. You then enjoy a nice downhill to reach the bottom of Les Baux-de-Provence.
You start cycling from Les Baux-de-Provence toward the village of Eygalières. You pass by tastefully restored residences and through olive groves and vineyards. You won’t come across any challenging climb even though you almost have 1’200 ft. in elevation gain to reach the village. On the way back, you take in a breath-taking countryside with majestic pine trees, fragrant olive groves, and the area’s most beautiful vineyards. Then, you go through the village of Maussane-les-Alpilles, surrounded by vast olive plantations and you arrive back in Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”.
As you settle into the French spirit, you learn a slower pace to life. You should definitely enjoy a Pastis or play pétanque with the locals. With its vineyards and local markets, you’ll fall in love with its eclectic world. Cycling through Provence is a biking adventure of a lifetime. Join us today to explore Provence by bike!
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.