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Ref CN25

Backroad cycling FranceTHE CHARMS OF PROVENCE AND THE LUBERON Discover the charms of the Grand and Petit Luberon on this magnificent Provence bike tour

Beginning in Cavaillon, we head off for a bicycle tour under the emblematic colours of the Luberon, with its ochre soil, fields of lavender, and lush green hillsides. We begin by following the northern edge of the Petit Luberon. The villages and numerous chateaux on our route reflect the rich history of the area, where the local nobility enjoyed several centuries of opulence. The “garrigue”, pine forests, lavender fields, vines and orchards, coupled with the ever-present sound of the cicadas are a constant reminder that were in Provence. The cliffs of Buoux, at the foot of which runs the Aiguebrun, invite us to join the Grand Luberon. Our route then heads north, towards the famous ochre country of Rustrel and Roussillon, with its almost surreal layers of multi-coloured soil. We then move on to the beautiful village of Gordes, perched proudly on a rocky headland. Inspired by the fresh waters that descend from the Monts de Vaucluse, we then gently make our way back to our start and end point in Cavaillon, heads full with memories of charming Provence.  

Self-guided tour: from 255€ - Details Duration : 3 or 4 days | Level : Customer satisfaction : - 0 reviews
+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

  • A circuit with a strong "heritage" orientation, enabling you to discover the rich history of the area in detail.
  • The gentle, relaxed lifestyle of Provence: small village squares, beautiful and peaceful countryside, markets full of rich, local produce…
  • The lavender fields and the ochres of the Colorado Provençal.
  • Gordes and Roussillon, considered amongst the most beautiful villages in France
  • Comfortable, quality accommodation in hotels and guest houses

Description

Comments

  • This trip exists in 2 versions: V2=2 wheels / V3=3 wheels
  • Special offers for private groups. Please ask us for a quotation.
  • E-bike rental available for this tour. See details in "Useful information" tab.

Day 1: Cavaillon - Bonnieux

Itinerary start: France Bike Trips services begin on day 1 at 10am at Cavaillon SNCF railway station.

On request we can book the previous night’s accommodation for you in Cavaillon.

A pretty Provençal town located on the banks of the Durance, Cavaillon belonged to the Comtat Venaissin (independent Papal state), between the 13th and the 18th century.
From here a few pedal strokes take us into the Parc Natural Régional du Luberon. The first village we cross is Robion, a typical Provençal village with its square shaded by plane trees, its fountain, the ruins of a feudal castle, and a chapel perched high on a rocky mount overlooking the village. Our route takes us along the edge of the Petit Luberon, from village to village, and castle to castle, with names that evoke the tormented history of the French wars of religion: Oppèdes le Vieux, Ménerbes, as well as Lacoste and Bonnieux… two enemy brothers! A protestant stronghold, Lacoste witnessed several episodes of repression against the Vaudois of the Luberon during the 16th century. The village is however mainly known for its ruined castle, property of the Marquis de Sade during the 18th century. Previously the property of the Lords of Agoult, Bonnieux was also a Templar base, before becoming papal land for four centuries, on the arrival of the popes in Avignon. With its many private mansions, Bonnieux has retained its air of opulent pontifical town, and is the destination for our first overnight stop.

Distance covered: approx. 35 km; altitude gain: approx. 650 m
Optional loop: Out and back to the Abbaye de St Hilaire, + 3km
Optional loop: Out and back to the Forêt des Cèdres: + 15 km and 250 m altitude gain

Day 2: Bonnieux - Roussillon

On leaving Bonnieux, we head east, in the direction of Buoux. Once past the Combe de Bonnieux, which separates the Luberon in two, we enter the Grand Luberon; wilder, greener and as steeped in history as the Petit Luberon. The Aiguebrun River runs along the foot of the Buoux Cliffs, followed north for centuries by the mule convoys bringing salt from Provence. The valley forms a natural gateway that was closely guarded, overlooked by the imposing Buoux Fort. A short climb takes us up onto the Plateau des Claparèdes, an arid plateau that evokes the austere Provence of the French author Giono. The plateau is home to several "Bories", small dry-stone huts that were used by shepherds for shelter. From the plateau, we gently descend towards the pretty village of Saignon, with superb views of Apt and the surrounding countryside. We then continue our descent to Apt, which we reach by way of the Cavalon cycle track. Capital of the Luberon, the town is worth a visit for its cathedral, its pretty cobbled streets and the Maison du Parc, which offers a wealth of information on the area. From Apt we head into ochre country! Due north, via Villard for the most courageous cyclists, and directly north-east for those who prefer an easier route. The famous "Colorado Provençal" of Rustrel is unfortunately too far to the east of our route (included in the 4-day version). However, we do pass the Mines du Broux which offer guided tours through 650 m of galleries and tunnels, some of which are as high as 15m, in an underground network of more than 40km... The sunset over the ochres of Roussillon is not to be missed. The hues of yellow, red and orange earth on the "Sentier des Ochres" are a photographer’s dream! Considered one of the “most beautiful villages in France”, Roussillon offers a superb setting for this second overnight stop.

Level 2: approx. 45 km; altitude gain: approx. 650 m
Level 3: approx. 55 km; altitude gain: approx. 950 m

Day 3: Roussillon - Cavaillon

The landscape changes once again after Roussillon. We leave the ochre hills behind us, replaced by the classic Provençal colours of vineyards and orchards. The highlight of today's ride is Gordes, perched on a rocky outcrop where it basks in the Provençal sunshine, with the Monts de Vaucluse as a backdrop. The village is a fine example of traditional dry-stone wall construction, its houses blending perfectly with the surrounding landscape. An icon of Provence, Gordes is also considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. From here there are 2 options, descend gently back towards Cavaillon, or take a detour and climb the pretty road that leads to the Abbaye de Sénanque. Sénanque is the most impressive of the "three Cistercian sisters" of Provence. We approach the abbey via a plateau that plunges into the narrow valley of Sénancole, hidden from the outside world and home to the abbey for over 8 centuries.
A few pedal strokes lead us on to Cabrières d'Avignon, then Lagnes. From here there is another opportunity for an extra loop via the pretty village of Fontaine de Vaucluse, source of the Sorgue River. The spring, biggest in France, is set at the foot of a dramatic 230m limestone cliff. A route along back roads through orchards and fields takes us gently back to Cavaillon.

Distance covered approx. 30 km; altitude gain: approx. 250 m
Optional loop to Abbaye de Sénanque: + 15 km and + 300 m altitude gain. Optional loop to Fontaine de Vaucluse: + 7 km and 100 m altitude gain

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

Itinerary end: France Bike Trips services end in Cavaillon on the last day at around 4pm.

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

Day 1: Cavaillon - Bonnieux

Itinerary start: France Bike Trips services begin on day 1 at 10am at Cavaillon SNCF railway station.

On request we can book the previous night’s accommodation for you in Cavaillon.

A pretty Provençal town located on the banks of the Durance, Cavaillon belonged to the Comtat Venaissin (independent Papal state), between the 13th and the 18th century.
From here a few pedal strokes take us into the Parc Natural Régional du Luberon. The first village we cross is Robion, a typical Provençal village with its square shaded by plane trees, its fountain, the ruins of a feudal castle, and a chapel perched high on a rocky mount overlooking the village. Our route takes us along the edge of the Petit Luberon, from village to village, and castle to castle, with names that evoke the tormented history of the French wars of religion: Oppèdes le Vieux, Ménerbes, as well as Lacoste and Bonnieux… two enemy brothers! A protestant stronghold, Lacoste witnessed several episodes of repression against the Vaudois of the Luberon during the 16th century. The village is however mainly known for its ruined castle, property of the Marquis de Sade during the 18th century. Previously the property of the Lords of Agoult, Bonnieux was also a Templar base, before becoming papal land for four centuries, on the arrival of the popes in Avignon. With its many private mansions, Bonnieux has retained its air of opulent pontifical town, and is the destination for our first overnight stop.

Distance covered: approx. 35 km; altitude gain: approx. 650 m
Optional loop: Out and back to the Abbaye de St Hilaire, + 3km
Optional loop: Out and back to the Forêt des Cèdres: + 15 km and 250 m altitude gain

Day 2: Bonnieux - Cereste

On leaving Bonnieux, we head east, in the direction of Buoux. Once past the Combe de Bonnieux, which separates the Luberon in two, we enter the Grand Luberon; wilder, greener and as steeped in history as the Petit Luberon. The Aiguebrun River runs along the foot of the Buoux Cliffs, followed north for centuries by the mule convoys bringing salt from Provence. The valley forms a natural gateway that was closely guarded, overlooked by the imposing Buoux Fort. A short climb takes us up onto the Plateau des Claparèdes, an arid plateau that evokes the austere Provence of the French author Giono. The plateau is home to several "Bories", small dry-stone huts that were used by shepherds for shelter. From the plateau, we gently descend towards the pretty village of Saignon, with superb views of Apt and the surrounding countryside. We then continue our descent to Céreste at the foot of the Luberon. Stage post on the ancient Via Domitia, Céreste has retained its function as an important stopover town since the Middle Ages, with several guest houses and restaurants welcoming passing travellers. And for those who still have some energy, an out and back loop from Céreste offers the chance to visit the pretty and mysterious Prieuré de Carluc (priory).

Level 2: approx. 45 km; altitude gain: approx. 750 m (a shorter route is possible)
Level 3: Optional loop to Carluc: + 7 km and 100 m altitude gain

Day 3: Cereste - Roussillon

The proximity of the Colorado Provençal, and the importance which the extraction of ochre had on the economy of the area, invites us to head north to Rustrel. But first we need to tackle the climb that takes us over the Col des Quatre Chemins. During the climb we cross Viens, a pretty medieval village built in a spiral shape and perched high on a rocky outcrop. The picturesque network of streets is well worth a visit (and offers a good excuse to take a break from the climb...). A great descent leads us to Gignac and its chateau, then on to the foot of Rustrel, the Colorado Provençal and its ochre earth quarries. We park the bikes and take a short walk through the multicolour Colorado, with its mix of yellow, red and orange earth, a paradise for landscape painters and photographers. Rustrel is a beautiful village with an imposing 17th century turreted castle, at the foot of the Grand-Montagne which peaks at over 1000 metres above sea level. But the day isn't over yet. Far from it! We now set our course due west in order to begin our return journey. For the fittest there's the opportunity to climb once again before descending to Apt, capital of the Luberon with its cathedral, its pretty cobbled streets and the Maison du Parc, which offers a wealth of information on the area. The various routes re-join before arriving at the Mines du Broux which offer guided tours through 650 m of galleries and tunnels, some of which are as high as 15m, in an an underground network of more than 40km... The sunset from Roussillon, with views over the ochres hills is not to be missed! Considered one of the “most beautiful villages in France”, Roussillon offers a superb setting for our last overnight stop.

Level 2: approx. 45 km; altitude gain: approx. 650 m Level 3: approx. 50 km; altitude gain: approx. 900 m
Day 4: Roussillon - Cavaillon: Identical to day 3 of the 3-day programme

Day 4: Roussillon - Cavaillon

The landscape changes once again after Roussillon. We leave the ochre hills behind us, replaced by the classic Provençal colours of vineyards and orchards. The highlight of today's ride is Gordes, perched on a rocky outcrop where it basks in the Provençal sunshine, with the Monts de Vaucluse as a backdrop. The village is a fine example of traditional dry-stone wall construction, its houses blending perfectly with the surrounding landscape. An icon of Provence, Gordes is also considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. From here there are 2 options, descend gently back towards Cavaillon, or take a detour and climb the pretty road that leads to the Abbaye de Sénanque. Sénanque is the most impressive of the "three Cistercian sisters" of Provence. We approach the abbey via a plateau that plunges into the narrow valley of Sénancole, hidden from the outside world and home to the abbey for over 8 centuries.
A few pedal strokes lead us on to Cabrières d'Avignon, then Lagnes. From here there is another opportunity for an extra loop via the pretty village of Fontaine de Vaucluse, source of the Sorgue River. The spring, biggest in France, is set at the foot of a dramatic 230m limestone cliff. A route along back roads through orchards and fields takes us gently back to Cavaillon. France Bike Trips services end in Cavaillon late afternoon.

Distance covered approx. 30 km; altitude gain: approx. 250 m
Optional loop to Abbaye de Sénanque: + 15 km and + 300 m altitude gain. Optional loop to Fontaine de Vaucluse: + 7 km and 100 m altitude gain

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

Itinerary end: France Bike Trips services end in Cavaillon on the last day at around 4pm.

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

This tour has not yet received any reviews.

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Please type in your email in order to see more information about this tour

Your email will not be communicated to any third party or company outside France Bike Trips / Velorizons. You may receive occasional emails from France Bike Trips, with the possibility to unsubscribe at any time. CNIL (French National Commission for Data Protection and Liberties)

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What is My France Bike Trips?

"My France Bike Trips" allows you to:
  • Update your contact details
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  • View and download your travel documents
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You can prefix chosen words with the '+' sign to make them mandatory, or with the '-' sign to avoid results containing this word from appearing, e.g. west +nepal -canada

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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
X

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