Biking in Provence7 Days & 6 Nights 5 Read 5 reviews
- Experience the best of Provence as you pedal between Avignon and Chateauneuf du Pape
- Explore the rolling Provençal countryside dominated by lavender fields, olive groves and vineyards
- Wander the winding streets of Avignon—a UNESCO-listed city
- Sample local cheeses and fresh cherries in L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue on market day
- Savour the rich red wines of Chateauneuf du Pape synonymous with the region
Slower Adventures | Where walking and cycling meet easy-going exploring, our Slower Adventures are the perfect combination. Most days are filled with picturesque journeys with some free time to dive into the destination and experience the people, local food and culture as you go.
Leisure Cycling | Leisure Cycling
Ideal if you have an interest in:
Accessible by Rail
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 15 Years
Activity Level & Terrain
This trip is graded moderate overall. You should be in good physical fitness to fully enjoy the cycling on this tour. Daily routes vary from 22—41 km (13—25 miles) each day with one optional loop ride from Gordes. The terrain is undulating, but not especially challenging and with no technical descents. Daily ascent varies between 105m and 601m on the toughest day from Gordes to Bedoin. Make sure to take plenty of breaks especially if cycling in the heat of the day and stay hydrated.
If you cycle a few times each month as part of an active lifestyle and enjoy actively seeking new sights, this trip should suit you. E-bikes can also be requested if you would like a little extra boost during your cycling day.
French traffic generally has respect for the "velo" and where there isn’t a cycle lane (or shoulder) you should be given plenty of space, but you should be comfortable sharing the road with vehicles, as the first and final days of riding include short sections on single carriageway roads with faster flowing traffic.
The route is largely not signposted and follows a mixture of quiet country roads, cycle paths, and includes some short stretches on busier roads when there is normally a narrow cycle lane (or shoulder). We provide you with detailed turn-by-turn route notes, GPX tracks and maps in our GPS Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app. Simply download the routes to your phone for offline use and off you go!
Nights in hand-picked accommodations: a selection of guest houses and small hotels. Please note it is not possible to have a swimming pool on each night. When there isn't a restaurant at your accommodation you will have a choice of nearby eateries. We regularly use the listed properties but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are not available. However, they will be of a similar standard.
If you would like to add extra nights to your trip we recommend doing so in Avignon, and L'Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue. If you intend on taking a winery tour from Chateauneuf du Pape we can arrange an extra night's accommodation here also. If an extra touch of luxury will make the trip for you then take a look at Biking Provence In Style.
A continental breakfast will be provided by your accommodation every morning. Usually these are buffet or continental-style, consisting of yoghurt, cereal, breads, pastries, jams and fruit served alongside fresh coffee and tea. Dinners are not included, however some of the accommodations have their own restaurants, where your accommodation doesn't have its own restaurant you'll find there are a few dining options nearby.
Lunches are not included, but on each day you'll find small stores or cafes in which to purchase items for a picnic lunch. Your route notes give advice on where you can eat/pick-up lunch each day.
Wine Tastings & Vineyard Visits
The vineyards around Chateauneuf du Pape are part of the renowned AOC wine producing region of the Cotes du Rhone. On this trip you'll pedal past plenty of vineyards - for flexibility we haven't included any tours so you are free to pick and choose what wineries you'd like to visit. If an introduction is enough, then we recommend a tasting in Chateauneuf du Pape to whet your palate, otherwise it's best to book in advance for tours and tastings.
Solo Cyclists & Single Rooms
This trip is available to solo cyclists, although there is a supplement due to the fact that some of the costs (such as transfers) are not shared. Smaller double rooms are available for a single person on request and a supplement is payable.
- 6 Nights in hand-picked B&B's and small hotels
- 6 Breakfasts
- Luggage transfers
- Taxi transfer on day 7 from Chateauneuf du Pape to Avignon TGV
- Information pack
- Access to route notes, detailed maps, and GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK & US offices
- Travel to / from Avignon
- Bike hire (standard to upgrade options)
- Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
- Personal equipment
- Travel insurance (required)
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
- Bike hire (standard hybrid bike)
- Upgrade to a road bike or e-bike subject to availability
When To Go
You can start on any day of the week from April to October, subject to availability. Peak holiday months in Provence are June, July and August so we suggest contacting us as soon as your plans are finalised if you wish to travel during this time. The lavender, that’s so iconic of region, normally blooms from mid-June until it’s harvested in mid-August.
Weather and ClimateJuly and August are the hottest months, with little to no rainfall, and temperatures frequently rise to well over 30 degrees Celcius. The months before and after are sunny and a little cooler, which could be preferable when cycling. Always make sure to stay hydrated, take plenty of water, and wear sunscreen and a sunhat.
Getting to the Start
The trip begins and ends in Avignon—easily accessible from Marseille and Lyon airports via train and shuttle bus in under 2 hours. Alternatively, if you are combining the trip with a visit to Paris, or it’s simply easier to get a direct flight to Paris, it’s a 4 hour train journey (with changes) to Avignon. Marseille and Lyon are well connected across Europe with direct flights, but if you’re flying from further afield we recommend taking an internal flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport or taking the train.
The trip includes a private taxi transfer from Chateauneuf du Pape to Avignon TGV train station for ease on your onward travel day. This transfer can be amended to anytime before noon to suit your travel plans.
Your bags will be transferred between your accommodations as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
The trip includes a private taxi transfer from Chateauneuf du Pape to Avignon TGV train station for ease on your onward travel day. This transfer can be amended to anytime in the morning to suit your travel plans.
The reviews for this trip, up until December 2019, are based on a previous similar itinerary. Since then we have relaunched the trip with improvements to accommodations and pedalled the route to make this trip even better!
Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to bring with you to Provence. You’ll need to wear a helmet, bringing your own is always more comfortable than hiring one. We also recommend a rechargeable battery pack and a light weight handlebar mount for navigation.
High quality Trek 7.3, 27 speed hybrid bikes are available for hire. All bikes are equipped with a pannier, handlebar bag, trip computer and spare inner tube along with a pump. If you prefer the riding posture of a road bike to a hybrid you can choose to upgrade to a Canondale Synapse 105 (22 speed). Alternatively, for a little extra help on the hills request to upgrade to a Scott E-Sub (9 speed) e-bike. Please note that e-bikes are subject to availability.
If you’d like to hire a bike please let us know your height, and the frame size you currently ride. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about the hire bike. Alternatively, if you plan to bring your own bike please ensure it is thoroughly serviced, and is an appropriate hybrid bike for this trip.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
If you cycle a few times each month as part of an active lifestyle and enjoy actively seeking new sights, this trip should suit you. E-bikes can be requested if you would like a little extra boost during your cycling day.
The lavender, that’s so iconic of region, normally blooms from mid-June until it’s harvested in mid-August.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Avignon
Travel to Avignon, easily reachable from Marseille and Lyon airports by train and shuttle bus in under 2 hours. If possible, we recommend arriving with plenty of time to explore this charming city! With a walled medieval centre, towered over by the magnificent Papal Palace, and the unique 11th century Pont d’Avignon (or bridge of Saint-Bénézet) that was never completed, the city is the perfect place to wile away an afternoon.
Our local partner will meet you for a fitting this evening or tomorrow morning if you are hiring bikes.
A family-run guest house near the heart of Avignon’s old town. This restored townhouse with five spacious, and beautifully decorated, rooms is a wonderful place to recuperate after your journey. In the morning enjoy a continental breakfast in the glass-rooved terrace and sample some of Violette’s home-baked bread or cake alongside your fresh tea or coffee.
Located in an 18th century building, opposite the Palais des Papes, this charming 3* hotel has preserved its authentic and historic character. There are 28 rooms equipped with air-conditioning, TV, telephone, hairdryer, toiletries, and WiFi.
Leave cosmopolitan Avignon behind and begin your journey into the Provençal countryside. First, pedal through the suburbs of Avignon on cycle paths and quiet roads to reach the village of Le Thor dominated by its 12th century Romanesque Notre-Dame-du-Lac church. From here, it’s possible to take an optional detour to visit the Grottes de Thouzon cave system and marvel at how nature has sculpted the underground limestone.
After rolling into L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue, renowned for its antique markets, why not indulge in a refreshing sorbet while dipping a toe in the Sorgue River? Spend the afternoon wandering between the antique shops, boutiques and eateries lining the town’s winding streets.
Approximate Ascent: 106m / Descent: 75m
La Prevote is located in the old town of L’Isle sur la Sorgue. The River Sorgue runs through this former 17th century convent and immediately slows your pace for the week head.
This hotel establishment in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is open all year round and offers many 3-star services: warm bar, comfortable rooms, tasty breakfast, swimming pool with panoramic view, meeting room and many more. other.
Located in the heart of town this hotel combines both elegance and refinement. As you cross the threshold you will immediately appreciate its personalized service, lovingly decorated public spaces and beautiful rooms.
Today’s ride winds its way through the vineyard and olive grove dotted countryside between L’Isle Sur La Sorgue and the hilltop village of Gordes. Stop en route in the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse—the site of the largest spring in France and source of the Sorgue River. Enjoy a cool drink on a shady café terrace, walk along the banks of the river and gaze into the emerald waters that spring from the base of the imposing limestone cliffs before hopping back into the saddle and tackling the rolling terrain between Fontaine de Vaucluse and Gordes.
The uphill approach to Gordes is rewarded with unrivalled views onto the village—the buildings of Gordes look almost draped over their hilltop home as they extend down to the valley floor below. So why not spend the afternoon relaxing poolside before sampling the local cuisine?
Approximate Ascent: 448m / Descent: 156m
A boutique style B&B consisting of four houses, in 1.4 hectares of land. Secure access is via a wrought iron gate with videophone. Breakfast is on a south-facing terrace with beautiful views over the Luberon Valley. There is also a relaxation area is in the park, with heated pool, pool house, and sauna.
Dating from the early 19th century, this character property with dry-stone walls is a charming, cosy 3-star hotel and complete with a heated pool in summer, a terraced garden and lovely guest rooms.
From the elevated position of Gordes, take in a loop ride of the Luberon valley. Visit the hilltop villages of Goult and Roussillon, famed in the region for their Thursday farmer’s markets. Wander the narrow streets of Goult and come across the windmill and 12th-century Chateau de Goult. From one must-see Luberon village to another, continue on to Roussillon. The deep reds of Roussillon’s ochre-painted buildings offer a warm welcome to this former ochre mining village and home of Renaissance artists.
If a day of rest is called for, simply skip the loop ride and discover Gordes. Take a relaxing swim, visit the Chateau de Gordes castle, dating from the 10th century, and enjoy a long lunch with views over the Luberon Valley from Gordes’ commanding hilltop location.
Approximate Ascent: 438m / Descent: 437m
Hop back into the saddle for a challenging but rewarding day of pedalling punctuated by regional highlights. Soon after leaving Gordes, you’ll pass the Abbaye Senanque—this 12th-century Cistercian monastery has been home to monks for over 900 years. If you’re travelling during the lavender season, you’ll see why the abbey has become a regional icon—rows upon rows of lavender planted in fields around the stone abbey. After the ascent to Col Des Trois Termes, enjoy descending through a spectacular limestone gorge leading to the lovely hilltop village of Venasque overlooking the vineyards below. Soon you’ll be cruising between vineyards of the Cote de Rhone to arrive in Bedoin—renowned among road cyclists and Tour de France fans for its position at the base of legendary Mont Ventoux.
Approximate Ascent: 601m / Descent: 629m
This small guest house in Bedoin’s historic centre is less than a minute from the street where the Monday market is held. On other day’s of the week village-life is low-paced with the exception of road cyclists returning from their ascents of Mont Ventoux. There are plenty of nearby eateries to choose from.
Located in the countryside with views of Mont Ventoux Hotel Des Pins is complete with a pool, sprawling garden, terrace and a restaurant. There’s also a spa offering massages by appointment.
Leave the hills behind today for a more leisurely ride through towns and villages of vineyard blanketed countryside to reach the wine-connoisseurs mecca of Chateauneuf du Pape. There are plenty of picnic spots and opportunities to lunch along the route as you wind your way across the rich AOC-vine growing plains to reach Chateauneuf du Pape.
After a delicious dinner, accompanied by local wine, why not take an evening stroll up to the chateau viewpoint to watch the sunset over the Provençal hills?
Approximate Ascent: 224m / Descent: 445m
Fully renovated in 2015, the estate has retained its charm and offers a peaceful and enjoyable environment. The rooms are equipped with large beds, an individual bathroom with a walk-in shower, air conditioning, television. WIFI access throughout the building is also available. Each room offers a magnificent view of the vineyard, the swimming pool, the park, and the terrace.
Situated in the heart of Chateauneuf du Pape but in a peaceful corner, La Pergola is a lovely B&B for your final night in wine country. Settle into your room and perhaps sample some wine from Brigitte’s family vineyard. In the morning you’ll enjoy delicious homemade jams at breakfast.
This former 17th century sheepfold is a beautiful building, with thick walls and a typically Provençal character. The hotel has 16 renovated, air-conditioned, comfortable rooms and a restaurant opening onto a shaded terrace by the swimming pool and 30 free parking spaces.
If you have time to discover more of France, why not consider one of our other cycling adventures in France?
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