Easy Cycling in Provence
For E895.. based in our 18C home in Vinsobres or in a hotel in Vaison la Romaine, enjoy a week of guided, or self guided bicycle tours from a fixed base in the Drome Provencal with visits to vineyards, olive mills and hill top villages. Includes bike hire, breakfast, some picnic lunches and 3 evening meals.
(Saturday PM to Saturday AM - 7 nights accommodation and 6 days of activities)
Availability: All weeks in April, May, June, early july ,September and October. Minimum of 4 clients for June/July.
PLEASE NOTE: clients must have insurance that includes cycle touring cover and cycle theft.
TRANSFERS Avignon airport and Avignon TGV Station is by prior arrangement. If you are using Marseille airport there is a regular direct rail link to Orange from the airport.
This cycling holiday is ideal for those who would like to explore the rural region of the Drome Provencal by bike, but without the thought of having to cover any great distance, or move each day. From our lovely village house, we set out each day to explore the region. The rides are usually about 20 to 25kms long in the form of a loop, usually taking between 3 to 4 hours depending on the gradients and the weather. They are in ascending order of difficulty as the week progresses. We utilize our minibus and trailer to allow for a greater variety of rides. Picnic lunches are taken either during the ride or back at the guesthouse . Visits to olive mills, wine producers, Provencal markets, hill top villages, and, as bad weather extras, visits to Orange and Avignon. We also make sure that there is always time to relax by the pool with a book and a cool drink, or even a siesta! The week can be varied in terms of distances and routes to ensure that the holiday is not an overtaxing one ! The emphasis is on enjoying the scenery , stopping for photographs, walking up the steep bits , having nice long breaks for drinks and looking for shaded spots for picnic lunches.
Accommodation and meals:
Accommodation will be in our lovely large village house in Vinsobres complete with large bedrooms, shaded terraces and a large pool. There is a large library, WiFi, facilities for coffee and tea for clients' use The bed rooms are large and airy but not en suite. Each room is air conditioned with good views over the village to the mountains of Provence. We provide breakfasts, some picnics and at least 3 evening meals including a bbq on the last evening on the terrace with some nice music ..
BICYCLES: We use all terrain bikes with 26 gears and comfortable saddles, ideal for the minor roads and farm tracks that we include in the rides. Please bring suitable cycle clothing, including padded shorts, lightweight breathable tops and a lightweight shower proof outer jacket, plus a small rucksack for spare clothing, drinks, camera etc. We are negotiating to see if we can arrange also for electric bike hire if required by individuals.If driving here please do bring your own bikes if you wish.
PLEASE note that this holiday can be offered to more serious riders on a unguided basis. We can provide maps, vehicle backup and maps and guides for the famous cycling region which includes the famous Tour de France stage of Mt Ventoux..Phew !!Please also provide accurate height, weight and leg measurements so that we can provide the right size bike for you. Final fitting will be in the hire shop in Nyons at 6pm.
We can also help with accommodation if you wish to extend your stay.
Day 1Saturday. Meet your hosts at our house in Vinsobres or the hotel/guesthouse in Vaison in time for tea at 4pm. After a welcoming drink there is plenty of time to settle in before driving the 10 minutes to Nyons to collect bikes.. Your evening meal will be in the garden terrace with drinks provided.
Day 2 Sunday. Beginning with an easy picturesque flat ride from Vinsobres, through vineyards on minor roads and tracks, and then with some gradual ascents to the delightful historical villages of Buisson and then on to Villedieu, where we will stop and relax for our picnic lunch and a chance to explore the village, before a lovely descent to the river valley. Minor roads lead us back to our start point in time for a relaxing swim and cool drink before supper. Distance 20kms/4 hrs with stops.
Day 3 Monday. The ride today passes through some of the famous vineyards of the Cotes du Rhone region. Beginning at Vaison la Romaine we circle through the gently undulating valley of the River Ouveze, Rasteau, Cairanne, before climbing to the base of the Dentelles. Then on to Gigondas, famous for its wines, before enjoying our light lunch in the village square and spend time exploring the village. After lunch, an easy ascending climb leads us to the nearby delightful Provencal hilltop village of Seguret, an old Roman site. A stroll up the cobbled street and through the atmospheric lanes is a real treat. From Seguret, a fairly steep initial ascent will take us back to Vaison. Distance 30kms/4.5hrs with stops.Back up vehicle available after Seguret for those preferring to avoid the last sector.
Day 4 Tuesday. Today we do the Papal Enclave circuit from Valreas via Richerenches of Knight Templars fame, and passing through Visan with its medieval heart and superb chapel. This circuit passes through splendid rolling countryside of vineyards, lavender fields and evergreen oak forests. There are few ascents, apart from the ride out of Valreas, so it is a really pleasant, leisurely ride to be fully enjoyed slowly. The first part of the ride leads up onto the famous Vinsobres plateau, with glorious views towards Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles. A long sweeping descent then leads down into wooded valleys, before arriving at Visan. Here we stop for a drink and a chance to explore the village and its beautiful chapel. The ride then continues through picturesque countryside with contrasting fields of lavender, wheat, vineyards and truffle oak forest. Enjoy lunch in Richerenches, under the old plane trees. The village is famous for its winter truffle market, but also because it was a major centre for the Knights Templar. This old walled enclave is well worth a visit, as is the information centre.Here the backup vehicle will collect the group and return us to Vinsobres in time for a swim and rest before a short drive to a local restaurant for supper which clients pay for.
Distance 25km and 4hrs
Day 5 Wednesday. Today’s ride leads us through the spectacular heart of the hill country of Pagnol. Beginning outside Vaison la Romaine the circuit initially follows the river valley surrounded by vineyards and orchards, followed by a fairly steep climb up to the Pas du Ventoux on minor roads from Mollans. Here you enjoy great views up towards Mont Ventoux and its summit at 1900m. From here we take a dramatic sweeping descent into the Toulourenc River Valley. After crossing the river, a gradual ascent leads us through a beautiful wood where we rest and enjoy our picnic before descending gently to the historic village of Malaucene, at the base of Mont Ventoux, well known as one of the stages of the Tour de France. Time is spent exploring the historic centre of the village before returning to Vaison on minor roads. Distance 33kms/6 hrs with stops.
Day 6 Thursday. A much more leisurely start to the day, with a visit to the Provencal market in Nyons, wandering around the old town and visiting the lavender distillery and olive mill. Today is your day off, so no ride is planned, and the afternoon can be spent lunching in town, relaxing, swimming, or even taking a siesta
Day 7 Friday. This is the most attractive ride of the week, with stunning views of the Dentelles, and swooping descents through woodlands, mountains and vineyards. Our last day begins in Malaucene, the site of the Pope's summer palace in the 14th Century. Unfortunately little remains of the palace today, but there is an interesting fortified church dating from the same period. Our route follows minor roads up via a long ascent to a col, with excellent views of the rocky spines of the Dentelles. From here we descend through a patchwork of fields and forest to the hamlet of Suzette perched on a rocky shoulder, where we enjoy our picnic lunch. Another long, fun descent leads to Le Barroux, and a visit to the chateau. Our return via a maze of tracks and minor roads, passes a massive Roman aqueduct. Our final descent leads back to Malaucene, and a cool drink in one of the tree shaded cafes, a fitting climax to the weeks' rides. Distance 30kms /6hrs. Please note that we also offer a shorter and less demanding ride from Nyons on easy tracks through lovely riverside scenery passing through ancient villages. Stop for lunch and then a gentle ride back on ordinary roads..recommended for those who would prefer an easier ride ...still excellent tour !!
Tonight enjoy aperitifs and a special farewell meal with your hosts, plus plenty of wine, and some nicely cushioned seats!
Day 8 Saturday. This morning we bid farewell by 9am. Transport is provided to Orange rail Station or, for an extra charge, transfers to Avignon TGV or Airport.