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Ref CN03

Backroad cycling FranceRIDING THE DROME RIVER VALLEY A backroad cycling tour in the Drôme Provençale

Water is a major feature in this tour which follows the Drôme River as it winds its way between the plateau of the Vercors and the small mountains of the Diois. A delicious mix of the Alps and Provence… We ride through quiet valleys full of orchards, vineyards and sunflower fields, and through rolling hills of boxwood, pine and lavender. Imposing mountains and cliffs loom overhead, in an alpine decor of beech and spruce forests. Crystal clear rivers and streams abound, offering plenty of opportunities to stop for a swim. We cross numerous sleepy hamlets and villages full of traditional stone-built houses and pretty squares and fountains. Small, shaded café terraces offer us a welcome break from riding… The Diois is a major wine producing area (famous for the Clairette de Die), and we pass plenty of "caves" offering wine tasting opportunities...

Guided tour: from 885€ - Details Duration : 7 days | Level :
+33 458 140 435 A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.
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Highlights

  • Home of the founder of France Bike Trips
  • A little-known cycling paradise!
  • An area that remains relatively undiscovered, retaining its charm
  • A delicious mix of the Alps and Provence
  • Plenty of swimming opportunities in crystal clear rivers

Description

Comments

  • Special offers for private groups. Please ask us for a quotation.

Day 1: Luc-en-Diois – Le Claps – Saut de la Drôme - Les Grangiers 

Itinerary start: Rendezvous with the organisation team is on day 1 at 1pm at Luc-en-Diois SNCF railway station.

On request we can book the following night's accommodation for you in Die.

From the train station in Luc-en-Diois, we begin our tour by heading to a local Diois curiosity: "Le Claps". A gigantic rock chaos, result of a huge rock slide during the 15th century, blocking the passage of the Drôme River for over 300 years! The result was the formation of two lakes, the “Grand lac” (upstream) and the “Petit lac” (downstream). Only a small lake remains to this day. The rock slide also caused the formation of a waterfall, the "Saut de la Drôme” which we take the time to visit. Our route then takes us through the site where the “Grand lac” once stood, and on to the village of Beaumont-en-Diois, tucked away in a small valley dominated by the surrounding cliffs. We then return to the Claps, and a final climb to join our gite, whose owner also rears goats and produces "picodon" (a local cheese made with goat's milk). Our gite also offers superb views of the Claps.

Distance covered: approx. 25 km 

Elevation gain: approx. 350 m.

Day 2: Les Grangiers – Luc-en-Diois – Cirque d'Archiane - Châtillon-en-Diois

We begin the day with a descent to the foot of the Claps, then on to the broad Drôme Valley. On a mix of quiet roads and forest tracks, we make our way through fields of walnut trees and pine forests, discovering several typical sleepy Diois villages along the way. We see our first vineyards, used for the most part in the making of the local speciality: the Clairette de Die. We reach the pretty, medieval village of Châtillon-en-Diois where we take the time to discover the labyrinth of lanes and alleys, known locally as “viols”. A charming village square with a circular fountain, plane trees, church bell tower and a cafe terrace offers us the perfect place for a well-deserved drink. The nearby Bez River offers some great opportunities for a post-ride swim…

The fittest riders can embark on an out-and-back ride to the nearby Cirque d'Archiane. Impressive cliffs in a horseshoe shape dominate the hamlet of Archiane, where Ulysse (a local character) serves drinks at his refreshment bar… An easy ride takes us back to Chatillon where we settle into our lodgings for two nights.

Distance traveled: approx. 45 km 

Positive Elevation: approx. 600m.  

Day 3: Châtillon-en-Diois – Gorges des Gats – Grimone - Châtillon-en-Diois

Today's ride is a loop that begins and ends in Châtillon-en-Diois. We begin the day by pedalling through the Gorges des Gats, following the River Bez, an affluent of the Drôme. The narrow gorge with its steep sided cliffs is a highlight of the tour. As we follow the river, a succession of bathing spots entices us to stop for a swim. After around 10 kilometres, the valley splits: we make an out and back journey to the Sucettes de Borne, curious vertical blades of limestone rock, that we reach by way of a quiet lane, following a brook up a narrow valley. We pass through the sleepy hamlet of Borne, where the road ends, turning into a track. After this loop, we gain some altitude on a wide track that leads us to a pretty view of the village of Grimone. Yet another charming, remote village with its period houses set in a dramatic decor. The mountain of Toussière and its abrupt cliff face loom over the valley. Optional halt at the "Bar du Colombier", a superb example of local period architecture. A great descent on a mountain road takes us through a series of short tunnels cut into the rock. Numerous swimming spots offer the chance for a welcome dip as we make our way back through the Gorges des Gats towards Châtillon.

Distance covered: approx. 45 km 

Elevation gain: approx. 500 m 

Day 4: Châtillon-en-Diois – Die – Romeyer and Chamaloc valleys - Die 

Time to discover the vineyards of the Diois, and opportunity to visit one of the Clairette de Die wine cellars (but also the “altitude 640” red wine producer, which owes its name to the relatively high altitude of its vines). After the village of Saint Roman and its pretty stone-built houses, we gain some altitude on a small country lane that winds its way through the vineyards. A superb view of the Drôme Valley opens up gradually as we climb. We reach the ruins of a tower from where we launch into a superb descent that takes us to the edge of the Drôme River. We cross the river and follow a quiet country lane that offers panoramic views of the imposing Glandasse cliffs, emblematic symbol of the Diois, and southern limit of the Vercors Plateau. We then reach Die, “capital” of the Diois. A charming, small town with a labyrinth of quiet streets and lanes to discover. The remaining sections of wall fortifications testify to the town's rich history…
We then head off towards the Glandasse by way of a small valley which narrows little by little before reaching a rock passage, leaving just enough room for the small road and the river to pass between the cliffs. We pass through yet another sleepy village, before climbing to a small col that enables us to join a parallel valley and a gentle descent back down to Die. Night in a hotel and opportunity to discover the small squares and lanes of this pleasant market town. Several swimming spots offer the chance of a refreshing dip in the river below Die.

Distance covered: approx. 50 km 

Elevation gain: approx. 500m. 

Day 5: Die – Marignac – Quint valley –  Aurel 

The route gently gains altitude to join the small hillside village of Marignac-en-Diois. A harmonious mix of vineyards, pine forests and lavender fields with impressive views of the imposing Glandasse cliffs… We then tackle the small Col de Marignac which allows us to join the Vallée de Quint. Numerous farmers have established small scale farms here, offering a dynamic rural atmosphere… We follow the river Sure, as we gently descend the valley from one village to the next, before joining the Drôme once again. We follow the river downstream to the village of Pontaix, with its houses that touch the riverside (opportunity for a swim). We finish the day by winding our way through the vineyards of Barsac and Aurel (optional visit a wine cellar) before joining Espenel. Night in a guest house.

Distance covered: approx. 50 km 

Elevation gain: approx. 700m

Day 6: Aurel – Saillans – Saou 

We start with a gentle ride through the vineyards in order to join the Drôme River. We follow the river for a few kilometres before joining the village of Saillans. Built along the banks of the Drôme, this charming village is well worth a visit and even hosts a silkworm museum. An interesting museum that traces the importance of the activity in the area during the 19th century. We then follow the Drôme through a decor of vineyards, fields and woodland, with impressive views of the Trois Becs cliffs, emblematic mountain of the area. We set our course for the forest of Saoû, with a passage over the small Col de Lauzens to end the day. After crossing the superb forest of Saoû, we arrive in the small village of the same name, with its stone-built houses, its small lanes and its shaded cafe terraces. Impressive limestone cliffs dominate the village. Night in a guest house in or around Saoû.

Distance covered: approx. 45 km 

Elevation gain: approx. 700 m. 

Day 7: Saoû - Autichamps - Crest

We finish our tour by winding our way through the Drômois foothills, several pretty villages (notably the perched village and castle of Autichamp), sunflower and lavender fields, and forests of oak and pine. We reach the medieval city of Crest and its pleasant lanes and alleys. Optional visit of the tower of Crest, whose donjon is the highest in France (52 metres).

Distance covered: approx. 30 km 

Elevation gain: approx. 400 m. 

Itinerary end: The trip ends in Crest at around 3pm.

On request we can book the following night's accommodation for you in Crest or Die. We can also organise transfers back to Die.

There is a train service between Crest and Luc-en-Diois (approx. 55 mins journey time). If you arrive by car, you have 2 choices:

  • Leave your car in Luc-en-Diois at the beginning of your tour, then return to Luc-en-Diois from Crest by train to collect your car at the end of your tour. Trains leave Crest daily at 15:02 and 17:12.
  • Leave your car in Crest on the morning of the first day of your tour, then take the train to Luc-en-Diois. You can then collect your car directly in Crest at the end of your tour. Trains leave Crest daily at 10:58.

Please note: Train times are an indication only and may vary. Please check before travelling.

Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.

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"My France Bike Trips" allows you to:
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A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.


Phone number: +33 458 140 435
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Contact us

A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.

Send the message