Everyone's heard of Provence, but few have cycled its quiet countryside roads and explored its many medieval village. You'll get the chance to do just that—effortlessly, on an e-bike. In this 17-day itinerary, which leads from Grignan to Aix-en-Provence in the south, you'll ride pleasant, off-the-beaten-path roads through two nature parks and experience the Provence way of life as you visit the landscapes that inspired the famous French painter Cezanne.

Highlights

  • Savor the Provençal flavors of local olive oil, Picodon, and thyme
  • Explore Sault, the land of endless lavender fields
  • See Roussillon’s famous ochre cliffs
  • Spend a day in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse & see the springs
  • Explore history & architecture in Avignon

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris Paris
Day 2 Paris to Montelimar, Bike Pick-Up, & Route to Grignan Grignan
Day 3 Free Day in Grignan, the Gem of Drôme Provençale Grignan
Day 4 E-Bike from Grignan to Vaucluse-la-Romaine Vaison la Romaine
Day 5 Free Day in Vaison-la-Romaine Vaison la Romaine
Day 6 E-Bike from Vaison to Sault & Mount Ventoux Sault
Day 7 Free Day in Sault, the Land of Lavender Sault
Day 8 E-Bike from Sault to Roussillon & the Luberon Roussillon
Day 9 Free Day in Roussillon & Outstanding Ochre Roussillon
Day 10 E-Bike from Roussillon to Fontaine de Vaucluse Fontaine de Vaucluse
Day 11 Free Day in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the World of Waters Fontaine de Vaucluse
Day 12 E-bike from Fontaine de Vaucluse to Avignon Avignon
Day 13 Full Day in Avignon, City of the Popes Avignon
Day 14 Avignon to Aix-en-Provence & Private City Tour Aix en Provence
Day 15 E-Bike Tour Along Cezanne's Route Aix en Provence
Day 16 Free Day in Aix en Provence Aix en Provence
Day 17 Au Revoir, France  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paris

Welcome to Paris!
Welcome to Paris!

Welcome to Paris, the City of Lights! This elegant capital boasts centuries of history, art, fashion and, of course, romance. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel by private car. 

Paris is alive with activity day and night. It's the perfect city to indulge in a little shopping, with department stores like Lafayette and Printemps housing some of the best local designers around, and small boutique shops filled with unique high-quality wares. 

Colorful streets and historic monuments invite visitors to stroll downtown, while narrow streets and cozy coffee shops create a romantic atmosphere. For art lovers, spending time at Paris' smaller museums is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as the city has one of the most impressive art collections in the world. Alternatively, lazing around in the parks or at a sidewalk cafe on a sunny day is equally blissful. 

Settle in and explore the streets near your accommodation. Enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif along the Rives de Seine while you enjoy the sunset. Take in the city views of the Pont Neuf, the tip of Île de la Cité, and the Pont des Arts as you watch the people and boats going by. After drinks, make your way to a local French restaurant for a three-course dinner next to your hotel.

Day 2: Paris to Montelimar, Bike Pick-Up, & Route to Grignan

Summer sunset in Provence
Summer sunset in Provence

After a full day in Paris, take the 3-hour train ride to the South of France. Arrive in Montelimar and meet your e-bike specialist, who will go over the details of your trip (including how to operate the bikes) before sending you on your way. 

Today is your first day of traveling by bike. Hit the road heading south through the heart of the Drôme Provençale en route to the hilltop village of Grignan. Your ride today is a beautiful introduction to Provence, with a route of 29 miles (46 km) taking you alongside rolling hills and hilltop villages. 

Arrive in Grignan in the late afternoon, then enjoy a lazy evening by the pool or with a leisurely stroll through town. The region is famous for its summertime lavender production, which turns whole hillsides into carpets of purple flowers. 

Enjoy dinner at a cozy restaurant with a typical Provence flair. There's no shortage of South French flavors here—olive oil, lamb, Picodon (provencal cheese), thyme, rosemary, and more make for a mouthwatering meal.

Day 3: Free Day in Grignan, the Gem of Drôme Provençale

Mont Ventoux
Mont Ventoux

Spend a peaceful day exploring the hilltop village of Grignan on your own today. The town sits in the Rhône Valley, at the so-called "Gate of Provence." 

Make sure you visit the Chateau de Grignan, with architecture that combines medieval and Provençal elements. From the castle, you'll be able to enjoy views of Mont Ventoux, the Montmirail Dentelles, the Rhône River, or even the Baronnies Mountains

Other must-sees include local museums and the abbey, but don't limit yourself to the main sights—hidden gems, like little cafes and small churches, are often located away from the main street. 

For dinner, opt for a quiet meal in a cafe, or go shopping for a picnic spread before enjoying the sunset from a city square. 

Day 4: E-Bike from Grignan to Vaucluse-la-Romaine

Riding through town
Riding through town

Head out from Grignan in the morning for your 36 mile (58 km) ride. You'll follow several small roads away from the main thoroughfare and head into the countryside. Just before arriving at the plateau, you'll cross the "Enclave des Papes," a Vaucluse corner of Drôme County that dates back to the time of the Avignon popes. 

Once you reach the Vinsobres Plateau, the rest of the day's biking will take you through quiet vineyards and endless lavender fields. On the horizon, Mont Ventoux is a distinct landmark. After a few hours, you'll reach the village of Vinsobres, best known for its Côtes-du-Rhône cru. Stop here for a wine tasting at the local Bistrot before continuing on the road. 

Your destination today is Vaison-la-Romaine, known for its Gallo Romans architecture and superb wines. 

Check in with your bike specialist time in Vaison, then enjoy dinner before heading to the hotel for an early night.

Day 5: Free Day in Vaison-la-Romaine

Vaison village
Vaison village

Take it easy today as you explore the medieval village of Vaison-La-Romaine. The town sits at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, surrounded by hilly vineyards and olive orchards. From its Roman ruins to its medieval streets and modern atmosphere, Vaison combines millennia of history. 

Check out Vaison's many archaeologic sites, as well as its four theaters and numerous art galleries. Stroll through the medieval town (called the "high town"), which clings to the steep hill along with the ruins of the 12th-century castle. The walk to the top is well worth the view of the surrounding countryside. 

In the town center, on either side of the main tourist office, sit the ancient sites of Puymin and Villasse. Together, they form France's biggest archaeological dig. It's easy to visit both sites, along with the Theo Desplans Archaeological Museum on the Puymin site, in a few hours this afternoon. 

Other places to see include the Cathedral Notre Dame de Nazareth and its cloisters, the St. Quenin Chapel, the Roman Bridge, and the 9 Damoiselles Garden and its 81 blocks of stones, all carved with poetic glyphs by Serge Boyer.

Day 6: E-Bike from Vaison to Sault & Mount Ventoux

 Montbrun-les-Bains
Montbrun-les-Bains

Head out from Vaisone-la-Romaine in the morning and head south-east towards Sault, a 41 mile (66 km) ride away. You'll spend the day navigating the country roads around Mont Ventoux, known as the "giant" of Provence.

Start the ride off in the Touloutenc Valley to reach the hilltop village of Brantes. Stop here for a picnic lunch with a view, then continue your trip, arriving at Montbrun-Les-Bain in the afternoon. Pause here to soak your tired muscles in the thermal hot springs while enjoying the mountain views. 

End your day with one final push up several mountain passes to reach Sault by dinnertime.

Day 7: Free Day in Sault, the Land of Lavender

Blooming lavender in Provence
Blooming lavender in Provence

Spend the day in Sault enjoying the surrounding landscapes. The area is famous the world over for its lavender fields, and if you visit while they bloom (in June and July) you'll see whole hillsides turn purple. 

This fortified medieval village sits in the hinterland of Provence, between the Drôme Provençale and the French Alps. From here, you can access day hiking and tours to Mont Ventoux, the Gorges de la Nesque, or the Toulourenc Valley. 

Spend some time getting to know the city's historic center and medieval streets. For a walk outside of town, follow the Lavender Road, a 3 mile (5 km) marked trail with informational signs and scenic views. The walk takes about 90 minutes as it winds through the fields. 

For a taste of authentic Sault sweets, head to the Boyer Nougat Factory, the town's gastronomic showpiece. Tours of the factory are free, and visitors can learn about the production and packaging of the white and dark nougat, as well as macaroons and galettes. 

Just outside the village, you'll find several traditional distilleries which offer demonstrations and guided tours. Options include the Aroma’plantes Distillery, the Vallon des Lavandes Distillery, the Lavender Farm, the GAEC Champelle, and the Loge aux Lavandes

After visiting the distilleries, make your way to Savonnerie en Provence Soap Works, where traditionally-made soaps and cosmetic products are produced from local essential oils. You can even try your hand at making your own soap and cosmetics during a workshop.

Day 8: E-Bike from Sault to Roussillon & the Luberon

Vineyards in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region
Vineyards in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region

Head south again today as you travel through the Val de Sault on your 40-mile (65 km) bike ride. Travel down the plateau, arriving in Luberon near Aix-en-Provence. Here you'll find no shortage of markets, artist galleries, and village festivals. If your legs need a break, visit the flower market and the Provençal food market to find plenty of local specialties such as macarons, calissons, goat’s cheeses, olive oil, honey, and local wines. 

Reach the village of Roussillon in the afternoon. Check in to your accommodation, then head to dinner in town.

Day 9: Free Day in Roussillon & Outstanding Ochre

Red ochre in Roussillon, Provence
Red ochre in Roussillon, Provence

Spend the day exploring the village of Roussillon, which sits in the middle of one of Europe's biggest ochre deposits. Follow the Ochre Path or visit the Conservatory of Ochre and Applied Pigments, which is located in an old ochre processing factory. You can also explore the town on the Art Trail, which leads you on a historical and cultural tour of Roussillon. 

The landscape has inspired countless artists, and there's plenty of art galleries, exhibitions, craft workshops, and jewelers in town.  Enjoy all this and more as you walk from the lower town to the summit of the Castrum (the town's castle,) where you can enjoy a picnic as you take in the panoramic views.

Day 10: E-Bike from Roussillon to Fontaine de Vaucluse

Village of Bonnieux
Village of Bonnieux

Continue your exploration of Provence's small towns and country roads today on your 36-mile (58 km) cycle. Along the way, you'll pass by more medieval villages, such as Bonnieux and Ménerbes. This region is truly the old Provence, and the stone walls and cobbled streets of these towns represent a culture and history that dates back to antiquity. 

After lunch, head to Gordes. This is arguably the most beautiful of all the hilltop villages in the Luberon. Its fortified castle dominates the skyline of Gordes, and from its winding, cobbled streets, you can look out to wide views over the valley and surrounding hills.

Your destination tonight is Fontaine de Vaucluse, a village that's famous for its spring (the biggest in France and 5th-biggest in the world.) In the evening, explore the town and eat dinner to the sound of rushing water.

Day 11: Free Day in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the World of Waters

Kayaking on the Sorgue
Kayaking on the Sorgue

You'll spend today in the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, famed for its powerful natural springs. The town is a popular destination with travelers, and there's plenty of places to eat and shop. To avoid the crowds, get an early start in the morning. 

The path to the spring source starts on the northern edge of the Place de la Colonne. Along the first part of this walk, you'll find the majority of the tourist amenities: cafes, ice cream vendors, and souvenir shops. After a while, however, the path quiets down, and you can enjoy the tranquility of the water as it flows through the gorge. 

Back in town, the village gardens and riverbanks are an excellent place for an afternoon stroll. Fill your day exploring medieval ruins and historical monuments, and shopping for traditional local crafts—glass, crystal, stationery, sweets, jewelry, and pottery.

Day 12: E-bike from Fontaine de Vaucluse to Avignon

Dawn at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Dawn at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Today is another biking day, with 30 miles (48 km) between you and your destination. From Fontaine, ride to l’Isle Sur la Sorgue—a typical Provence town with a great Sunday-morning market. 

From here, continue riding along the Durance River, passing by the village of Caumont sur Durance. In the afternoon, you'll reach the Rhone River and follow it to Avignon—the City of Popes. 

Drop off your bikes at your accommodation, then head out for dinner. This concludes the biking portion of your trip.

Day 13: Full Day in Avignon, City of the Popes

Pont d'Avignon (St. Benezet Bridge)
Pont d'Avignon (St. Benezet Bridge)

You'll have the day to explore this medieval city that housed the Pope in the 14th century. While here you can visit the soaring Palais des Papes—the largest Gothic palace in history and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A tour of the palace, which includes the private papal apartments with their frescoes, is a must. Pont Saint-Bénézet medieval bridge, which is the subject of the famous song Sur le Pont d’Avignon, is also worth a visit. 

You'll also have time to explore the city's squares and the medieval bridge along the Rhone River. Head to Place de l'Horlog, the city's historic heart, to see the City Hall, the 15th-century belfry, the theater, and the still-functioning Belle Époque style carousel. During the 1st century BCE, the plaza was used as Avenio's (then-Avignon) forum by the Romans. It's a great place to sit at a cafe and spend the afternoon people watching and enjoying various street performers. 

For dinner, head to the city's well-preserved historic center to enjoy a meal at a local restaurant.

Day 14: Avignon to Aix-en-Provence & Private City Tour

Quiet day in Aix
Quiet day in Aix

In the morning, transfer to Aix-en Provence, a 2-hour train ride to the southeast. Today you'll uncover the rich heritage, art, and culture that defines the famous city of Aix-en-Provence. On a two-hour walking tour, you'll stroll a labyrinth of narrow streets, passing historic sites and places of interest.

You’ll visit the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, a Romanesque/Gothic church built on the site of an ancient Greek temple to Apollo. You'll also see the town hall (known locally as the Hotel de Ville), which dates to the 14th century and sits on a charming old plaza. The tour includes a walk along the Cours Mirabeau, a busy thoroughfare lined with trees and abounding with markets and cafés—perfect for people watching. You'll even see some ruins dating back to the days of the Roman Empire. 

After the walking tour, you'll have time to explore the city on your own. For dinner, enjoy dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. 

Day 15: E-Bike Tour Along Cezanne's Route

Mount Sainte-Victoire in Provence
Mount Sainte-Victoire in Provence

Spend the morning exploring the countryside around Aix on a 3-hour e-bike tour. You'll follow the Cézanne Route from Aix-en-Provence to Sainte-Victoire via Le Tholonet as you ride in the footsteps of the great artist and experience the landscapes that inspired him.

With an average speed of about nine mph (15 km/h), you'll be able to cruise effortlessly through many of the region's landscapes. 

Along the way, stop in ancient chapels, visit small villages, and (in June and July) see the famed lavender fields. Return to Aix for a free afternoon.

Head to the Pavillon Vendôme with its French-style gardens. In addition to a beautiful collection of portraits and furnishings, the museum displays contemporary and modern art exhibitions. Alternately, tour the Vasarely Foundation, founded by the master of geometric abstract and inventor of visual art whose dream was to reconcile modern art with architecture and urbanism.

Day 16: Free Day in Aix en Provence

A sunny day in Aix

Today is free time to explore the small city of Aix en Provence. Pick from the following options to make the most of your time in the capital of Provence:

  • Take a walk on the famous Cours Mirabeau, with its archway of sycamores shading sidewalk cafes and terraces
  • Every day of the year, it's possible to stock up regional specialties in the city's markets. The larger markets happen three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings - Place des Prêcheurs, Place de la Madeleine and in the Encagnane and Jas de Bouffan neighborhoods), as well as the flower markets (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday across from the Town Hall).
  • Visit Cezanne's studio and garden where he painted some of his greatest masterpieces
  • Spend some time visiting the Caumont Art Centre, a cultural institution devoted to the Fine Arts. It's located in the former Hôtel de Caumont Mansion, a remarkable 17th-century building
  • Visit the Granet Museum, which displays more than 12,000 works and masterpieces of 17th to 21st-century paintings from the French School, 10 paintings by Cézanne, a sculpture gallery, and rooms devoted to archaeology and the Celtic-Ligurian civilization
  • Discover the Archbishops' Palace, adjoining to the St. Sauveur Cathedral, the former palace of the archbishops of Aix en Provence. It houses the Tapestry Museum on an upper floor (and during the month of July, the principal events of the Festival of Song)
  • Enter the Pavillon Vendôme with its magnificent French-style gardens. In addition to a beautiful collection of portraits and furnishings, the museum displays contemporary and modern art exhibitions

Day 17: Au Revoir, France

French Riviera by night
French Riviera by night

After breakfast, take a private car or train transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. A bientôt!


Map

Map of Discover Provence by E-Bike: Grignan, Roussillon, Avignon, Aix, & More - 17 Days
Map of Discover Provence by E-Bike: Grignan, Roussillon, Avignon, Aix, & More - 17 Days