Cycling and walking in Provence is a sensual experience. As you move slowly through the landscape smell the wild thyme and rosemary. Stop to admire the texture of olive trees against old stone walls. Taste fresh chèvre mingled with tapenade piquant. Listen to the splash of fountains in village squares lined with rustling plane trees.
What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP
Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
8 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)
Self-guided and custom trips also available and can start any day. Call or email for details.
ARRIVE / DEPART
Rides: 10 to 50 km (6 to 31 miles)
Walks: 10 to 16 km (6 to 10 miles), 3 to 4 hours
Land Cost (current year):
US $180 – hybrid
US$280 – racing
Vaison-la-Romaine, Gordes, and St-Rémy-de-Provence are all about 650 km southeast of Paris. Access is via either Orange or Avignon, which can be reached via the TGV (high speed train), and are only a three to four hour journey from Paris. Transfer to Vaison, Gordes, or St-Rémy via public transportation. We will provide you with detailed instructions. The region can also be reached by air or from other gateway cities such as Lyon or Nice.
Our meeting time is at 4 pm. We will visit the Roman ruins and then enjoy a welcome wine reception at the hotel before dinner at a local restaurant. Next day, start by visiting the local market here, one of the oldest in France. Next, we will set off on bikes on a delightful ride to Entrechaux which nestles around a hilltop castle in ruins and Mollans-sur-Ouvèze clusters around a high-arched bridge marked on each side by a tower and a tiny chapel. Back in Vaison we will dine at Bistro d’ O, a favourite of food impresario Patricia Wells, who has a home in Vaison.
Today’s activities are up to you. You have the full dossier of rides and walks to choose from. You could cycle through apricot and cherry orchards to Malaucène, a quintessentially Provençale town. There’s a pleasant walk from Malaucène part-way up Mont Ventoux to a chapel. Or explore the Dentelles with a walk to the remote, perched village of Crestet, now home to an art centre.
Today ride to Entrechaux, set against Mont Ventoux and with a ruined castle looming high over the village. Add loops to Mollans-sur-Ouvèze, or Buis-les-Barronies. From Mollans there’s a walk to Pierrelongue, where a church perches high on a rocky spire. Or wind your way among wine villages, past Cairanne and then Rasteau, known for a sweet dessert wine. Add a loop to Sablet and Séguret hugging the Dentelles mountains. Extend your Route du Vin tour to Gigondas and beyond. Consider a walk into the heart of the Dentelles de Montmirail, among vineyards and lacy, rocky peaks.
Today you’re transferred to Gordes, your base for two days. Take time to explore Gordes, then walk to Sénanque Abbey, enjoy the peace and tranquility of its valley setting, and explore the Bories Village, made up of round stone huts some of which are hundreds of years old.
Today bike to Roussillon, a village of red ochre. Add a ride to the perched village of Lacoste, home of the Marquis de Sade. Or explore L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, called the “Venice of the Comtat”, then Fontaine de Vaucluse, on your way to Ménerbes, on it rocky promontory.
Begin with a transfer to St-Rémy-de-Provence, where you’ll stay for three nights. Stroll through this pretty town, then walk to Glanum and Les Antiques, ancient sites with magnificent Roman ruins, then continue to Les Deux Trous, a scene painted by Van Gogh.
Enjoy a ride to Eygalières, an artists’ village on a mostly flat ride, with fine views of the Alpilles range from nearby St-Sixte Chapel. Extend to the ruined “eagles’ nest” village of Les Baux. Take a more direct route to Les Baux through the Val d’Enfer, the “Valley of Hell”. or head there on foot.
Cycle to Mas Blanc-des-Alpilles. Follow tiny canals through the garden of Provence on this flat ride. Extend your easy ride to the castles of Beaucaire and Tarascon.
Take a final stroll in St-Rémy before heading off for your next adventure.
Located in the medieval village, this chateau features lovely gardens and a pool. It is in one of the most beautiful 16th century mansions in the Old City of Vaison; you can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
This charming 19th century boutique hotel is situated on a terraced property in the heart of the Luberon with secret gardens, an inviting pool and a lovely view of the valley. Relax in the simple, warm environment of one of the twelve personalized rooms finished in Provencal style. Gordes town center is only a five minute walk away.
Though it started life as a post house in the 1600s, the Hotel Gounod was converted into lodgings and is the original and oldest hotel in Saint-Rémy. Offering accommodations with personality and charm, the stylish hotel has been renovated using classic furnishings with bold colours and rich fabrics. There is a beautiful pool in the courtyard surrounded by gardens.