Stride climate

Trip Type : Group Tour
Fortress View of Les Baux-de-Provence, France

Provence, Les Plus Beaux Villages Cycling Tour

Tourissimo
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 4,195 $ 524 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • The opportunity to visit and/or stay in no less than 8 Les Plus Beaux Villages
  • St Remy, birthplace of Nostradamus and the site of the sanatorium where Van Gogh painted his final works
  • History across the ages from the Roman ruins of Glanum to Medieval Castles and Abbeys
  • Sample iconic wines from Chateauneuf du Pape and Côtes du Rhône
  • Take up the challenge of one of the most iconic cycle routes of them all – Mont Ventoux
  • Embrace the elements of the good life that Peter Mayle so articulately depicted in his 1989 book ‘A Year in Provence’!
  • A quintessential Provençal experience: the weekly market. Delight in the sensory overload
  • Ride along the Gorges de la Nesque, one of our favorite cycling routes across all the tours we run

Short Description

We have partnered with the organization that presents the hallowed title of the ‘most beautiful villages of France’ (‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’).


Thus far there are 157 villages spread across 21 regions that can lay claim to this prestigious title and with a number of them – for good reason – situated in the enchanting region of Provence.


Notwithstanding that Provence is Ride and Seek's own back yard – their operations base is here – we were also drawn to running our inaugural ‘most beautiful tour’ here because no other region so firmly embodies the essence of the organization. This prestigious classification is not just based on aesthetics but also embraces a way of life.


We still visit a number of the classic destinations such as St Remy de Provence and the Vaucluse but our itinerary incorporates so much more besides. From Les Baux to Venasque, Les Alpilles to Glanum our tour offers a broader perspective of Provence than the more regular fare.


With a rich Roman heritage we also visit some of the best preserved remnants of this great empire on our journey. Interlacing this are cultural and historical highlights from our more recent past as well as insights into more distant eras. Cycling through landscapes painted by Cezanne and Van Gogh it soon becomes clear why so many of the most distinguished poets and painters chose to make Provence home.


Along the way we will sample some fantastic vintages from the Côtes du Rhône region which complement a cuisine renown both for its flair and freshness. Blessed with an abundance of natural ingredients the Provencal gastronomy provides the final piece of what can only be described as the ultimate bike tour jigsaw.


Our Provence itinerary is one of our Local Plus tours which are designed for the discerning cyclist who wishes to explore a region in depth without too many hotel changes. By their nature these tours provide scope for participants to ride as little or as much as they would like. As such this tour is suitable for non-riders since there are plenty of activities to keep them busy. 


It also provides scope for more experienced riders to push themselves on our extra loops which include the ‘giant’ of Provence – Mont Ventoux. This is optional of course!

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City St Remy de Provence
End City Avignon

Trip Includes

  • Bikes equipped with Garmin GPS (choice Bianchi road carbon, hybrid Bianchi Via Nirone 7); Ebikes (EWheel) for an extra charge of $95. In Provence Lynskey Titanium road bikes will be the standard road bikes.
  • Two professional tour guides throughout the program*
  • All accommodations
  • All breakfasts
  • Lunches and Dinners according to the tour program (usually three lunches are included and all dinners but one)
  • Support vehicle during the tour and luggage transfer
  • Group shuttles at the beginning and at the end of the tour
  • All activities mentioned in the day-by-day description
  • Commemorative t-shirt

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Itinerary

Day 1: St Remy de Provence

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Mas de l’Oulivié

Terrain: Rolling

Ride: 9 mi or 15 km

A gentle but rolling start to the tour as we ride a loop from our home at the Mas de l’Oulivie for the first couple of nights through the Parc naturel régional des Alpilles. This ride is primarily to ensure our bikes are fit and ready for travel but it is a beautiful little circuit. In the afternoon we explore the atmospheric town of St Remy de Provence, previously home to Van Gogh and Nostradamus, and renowned for its art and culture.

Day 2: Les Baux-de-Provence

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Mas de l’Oulivié

Terrain: Hilly

Ride: 24/37 mi or 38/59 km

We head deeper into the Parc naturel régional des Alpilles today on a rolling loop ride that meanders through vineyards and olive groves. With an astonishing array of aromas and colours this arid area is characterized by limestone peaks which give the impression of being taller than they really are – who’s to know the difference between conquering the Alpilles and the Alps! Today we visit the iconic fortified town of Les Baux-de-Provence and give you the option to investigate Roman Glanum. For those of you wanting to cycle more and visit another Roman ruin we offer the opportunity to ride to the Pont du Gard’s younger brother the Pont du Barbegal.

Day 3: Les Baux-de-Provence to Gordes

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Mas des Rosmarins

Terrain: Hilly

Ride: 32/46 mi or 51/73 km

We head east into the Vaucluse region of Provence towards our base for the next couple of days Gordes. After bridging the Durance we head past some of the quieter but best villages of Provence. Oppede le Vieux is one such village whose medieval ghost town is a must wander after lunch. Menerbes is another and offers so much more than just being the setting for the Peter Mayle book. Our destination is Gordes which clings to the side of the Vaucluse plateau. The houses are arranged in tiers around an imposing Renaissance castle and so it is easy to appreciate why the village is considered a jewel of Provence.

Day 4: Gordes loop to Roussillon

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Mas des Rosmarins

Terrain: Rolling Hills

Ride: 30/57 mi or 48/92 km

Gordes great location gives us great access to some spectacular riding. Today we enjoy a short loop to the villages of Saint Saturnin-les-Apt and Roussillon. Roussillon is known as the ocre-red village which contrasts fantastically with the deep green pine forests we cycle through on route. The optional extra loop takes us deep into the Provincial hinterland as we head towards more of our local favorites - Viens and Saint Martin de Castillon.

Day 5: Gordes loop to Bonnieux and Lourmarin

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Mas des Rosmarins

Terrain: Hilly

Ride: 32/48 mi or 52/77 km

Once again we find a series of quiet and picturesque routes as we continue our discovery of Provence’s most beautiful villages. We ride first to the village of Lacoste for a coffee and a great view of the surrounding area. From here we climb up to Bonnieux before descending into Lourmarin for lunch under its Chateau. The cycling is again spectacular and the villages we pass through embody the essence of what this part of Provence is all about.

Day 6: Gordes to Mazan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Chateau de Mazan

Terrain: Rolling Hills

Ride: 26/47 mi or 42/75 km

We leave Gordes and head north, cruising past the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senaque on our way to Venasque. After enjoying fantastic countryside riders can choose to head directly north to Mazan or take the longer meander over the Col de Murs. Today’s options are a little shorter considering the optional challenge tomorrow of Mont Ventoux! Tonight we stay in the Chateau Mazan, once home to the Marquis de Sade! Don’t worry he no longer has any involvement in the running of the hotel!

Day 7: Mazan loop to Gorges de la Nesque or Mount Ventoux

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Chateau de Mazan

Terrain: Mountains

Ride:  20/39/43 mi or 32/63/70 km

Our final day on the bike takes us towards the monolith known as Mont Ventoux as we head north towards Bedoin. For the foolhardy and the brave this iconic Tour de France climb is an option. For those of you looking for a more relaxing end to the tour we will skirt around the mountain known to the locals as ‘the Giant of Provence’ and up one of the best cycling roads in France - the Gorges de la Nesque. Here we will picnic overlooking the spectacular ravine before re-joining the hill climbers and returning to our Chateau in Mazan for a final delectable dinner.

Day 8: Avignon

Meals: Breakfast

Terrain: Departure

Ride: None

After a leisurely breakfast, we organize a shuttle to the TGV train station on the outskirts of Avignon from where fast trains can be caught to a number of European cities.

Availability

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Price From $ 4,195
Price Per Day: $ 524 per day
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 600

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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Cancellation Policy:

If you must cancel your reservation, the fees for doing so are as follows.

Days Prior to Departure Cancellation Fees:

91+ will be Admin fee – 250 USD

61-90 - Tour deposit  

31-60 - 50% of tour price

0-30 - 100% of tour price

For reservations canceled with at least 91 days advance notice, we will apply your cancellation penalties to a future reservation, no questions asked. This credit will never expire. No penalties for name changes.

Additional Information:

Climate Data:

In June, temperatures average 13C (56F) low / 26C (79F) max - precipitation probability 13%.

Info about food and wine:

With a strong Italian and Spanish influence the cuisine of Provence has a distinctive flair that sets it apart from more classic French fare. Blessed with an abundance of natural ingredients that flourish in the region, Provence is unsurpassed for the freshness of its produce and variety of its dishes.

For starters you could try a sweet Cavaillon melon or one of the classified goats cheeses of the region accompanied with some fresh figs. Alternatively, you could sample a selection of tapenades on some crispy hot toast or perhaps you’d prefer a simple but exquisite pistou (basil) soup.

Moving on you could stay light with a Nicoise salad or if you’d prefer to sample something richer the regions signature dish bouillabaisse or daube (beef stew) might suit. As an accompaniment, the black diamond – truffle- could add an extra complexity to the mix that is already accented by fragrant herbs and rich olive oils.

And to finish it off the master Chocolatier Joel Durand in St Remy could sate your sweet tooth or perhaps the master Nougatier Boyer of Sault might provide a lighter option. Or just keep it simple with some anis candles or marrons glaces (crystallized chestnuts).

Whatever you choose we are sure that you will be blown away by the freshness and flavours that permeate Provençal cuisine and that’s before we even start talking about the wines to accompany it.

Provence is one of France’s serious fine wine regions, on a par with Bordeaux and Burgundy. The wines from Provence appear under 3 prefixes Coteaux D’Aix en-, Côtes de- and Les Baux de Provence – all of which you will have a chance to sample on this tour. In contrast to the cultured power of Bordeaux and the elegance of Burgundy, Provençal red wines are earthier with an almost rustic flavour. In this respect they are really interesting since quality commercial wine making is balanced by a real sense of identity.

On our tour we will cycle through some of the most prestigious wine areas that this region has to offer with a focus on the Southern Rhone, the small Les Baux appellation and Côtes de Ventoux. Since wine has been produced in the region for over 2600 years there is a large variety of grapes used in production. We look forward to introducing you to the plethora of wines on offer.

Trip ID#:

ProLesTou

Trip Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Pre-night hotel stays and post-tour hotel stays
  • Wine and beer with meals
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone
  • Guide gratuity

Meals Included:

7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 6 Dinners

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