Explore the heart of Provence at your own pace on this 6-day, self-guided bike tour. Begin in Bédoin or Mazan and end in Roussillon or Gargas, enjoying short daily rides to fully experience Provence. Visit some of Provence’s most acclaimed wine-making towns, climb legendary Mont Ventoux, or snake through the Gorges de la Nesque. In between, lodge in medieval villages and enjoy local cuisine.

Highlights

  • Climb legendary Mont Ventoux or snake through the Gorges de la Nesque
  • Explore Provence's legendary wine-making villages and see Senanque Abbey 
  • Ponder quitting your job, moving to Provence and becoming an oil painter

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Avignon Avignon
Day 2 Transfer from Avignon, Loop from Bedoin or Mazan. Bédoin
Day 3 Mazan — Sault via Mont Ventoux or via the Gorges de la Nesque Sault
Day 4 Sault — Fontaine-de-Vaucluse Venasque
Day 5 Fontaine-de-Vaucluse — Roussillon (Opt A) or Gargas (Opt A+) Roussillon
Day 6 Transfer to Avignon and departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Avignon

Avignon on the Rhone River
Avignon on the Rhone River

Welcome to France! Check in to your hotel, then start getting prepared for your ride. Take advantage of your free time to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site city. Architectural landmarks, historical sites, and churches abound. Get a good rest before your week ahead. 

Day 2: Transfer from Avignon, Loop from Bedoin or Mazan.

Bédoin countryside
Bédoin countryside

In the morning transfer to Bédoin where you'll be outfitted with a rental bike. If you have the time and desire, head out for a starting ride around the striking Dentelles de Montmirail, a dramatic mountain range. 

Ride through some of the most noted wine-making villages in Provence, starting with Beaumes-de-Venise. Sample the local Muscat de Beaumes de Venis, one of the world's most renowned wines. Nearby villages of Vacqueyras, Gigondas, and Séguret are some of France's most beautiful. 

As your loop bends around, ride into Vaison-la-Romaine. The area is divided by the Ouvéze River and features a treasure trove of Gallo-Roman ruins and medieval architecture. 

Before reaching Mazan you'll have the option to ride up to the small village of Suzette, a modest ascent that will add 12 miles (20 km) to today's ride. If you arrive late or choose not to add mileage to your route, you can simply ride the 6.2 miles (10 km) from Bédoin to Mazan. 

Day 3: Mazan — Sault via Mont Ventoux or via the Gorges de la Nesque

The small village of Sault
The small village of Sault

via Ventoux: 61 km/38 miles, 2,070 meters/6,791 ft of climbing
via Les Gorges: 42km/26 miles, 1,360 meters/4,462 ft of climbing

Depending on your preference, you will have the option to climb Mont Ventoux, the "Giant of Provence", or opt for an easier route through Gorges de la Nesque. If you choose to climb Mont Ventoux, whose barren 6,273 feet (1,912 meters ) peak and is a favorite with riders, you will follow the path of 15 Tour de France routes. 

The other option, which corkscrews along the Gorges de la Nesque valley floor, is full of picture-perfect stops. Make sure to stop at the Chapelle Saint-Michel, a tiny, 12th-century chapel tucked under an overhanging cliff. Stay the night at Sault, a tiny village that's as historic as it is beautiful, thanks to the surrounding fields of lavender that resemble a Monet painting

Day 4: Sault — Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

Venasque, one of France's most beautiful villages
Venasque, one of France's most beautiful villages

Length: 60 km/38 miles

Climbing: 805 meters/2,640 ft 

Today's ride will allow you to enjoy the best that rural Provence has to offer. Wheel across rolling green hills and through timeless villages surrounded by vineyards and fruit orchards. This romantic landscape is what has caused many other sound-minded people to ponder quitting their jobs, moving to Provence and spending their remaining years standing in sun-drenched fields applying oil paints to canvas—join their ranks. 

Ride through the village of Venasque, designated as one of France's "most beautiful villages". Spend the night in Fontaine-de- Vaucluse, a small village huddled up along the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains. The town is also home to the fifth-largest underground spring in the world. Go see the turquoise-colored waters, which emerge stinkingly from a backdrop of craggy cliffs and draped foliage. 

Day 5: Fontaine-de-Vaucluse — Roussillon (Opt A) or Gargas (Opt A+)

Senanque Abbey and blooming lavender field in Gordes
Senanque Abbey and blooming lavender field in Gordes

 

via Menerbes, Bonnieux: 35 km/29 miles, 700 meters/2,300 ft of climbing
via Gordes, Menerbes, Bonnieux: 52 km/32 miles, 1,030 meters/3,375 ft of climbing

It won't take long for the day's wow-factor to kick in when you ride up the hill into the medieval village of Gordes, which has been called one of France's most beautiful villages. Ancient stone buildings line its narrow cobblestone streets and plazas, which surround the Chateau de Gordes—the village's iconic landmark. The nearby Sénanque Abbey, located downhill from Gordes, is worth visiting as well. 

From here you'll cycle through a series of scenic countryside villages—Menerbes, Lacoste and Bonnieux —before reaching Roussillon, former home of the writer Samuel Beckett.  Stay the night in a hotel in Gargas

Day 6: Transfer to Avignon and departure

Last day in Avignon
Last day in Avignon

Your last day on the road! Head to Avignon for your transfer home. Safe travels!