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Spring Training in Provence
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Bicycle Tours in France: Spring Training in Provence

Our Spring Training weeks are ways to get in shape early for the summer riding season! We stay in a couple of central locations for the week while taking loop rides out and back. Join us in the south of Provence for rides that include the classic landscapes of Roman Provence and the Luberon of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence. We begin at the entrance to the famous Luberon Regional Parc and end in Bedoin where we will be nestled up against the base of the legendary Mont Ventoux. As we make our way to this impressive climb, our route will be decorated with breathtaking views of Provençal spring colors, vineyards and perched medieval villages. This tour includes rides for both avid and intermediate level cyclists.

Day 1: Arrive in Avignon and shuttle to l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Highlights: Fit bicycles and take a warm-up ride

Arrive today in Avignon. We'll provide a 1:00PM shuttle to our hotel in l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a charming village astride the Sorgue River. We'll fit bikes this afternoon and suggest a warm-up ride to help you get the travel bug out of your system. We have dinner together this evening.

Day 2: Ride from l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue through the Luberon

Highlights: Villages of Lacoste, Bonnieux, Ménerbes, Oppède le Vieux, in the Luberon

We'll suggest two loops today-the longer one takes us north and east of the great limestone fault of the Grand Luberon. These great limestone folds can be considered the pre-pre-Alps. We pedal through cherry orchards and vineyards with occasional olive groves. Ménerbes is the village near which Peter Mayle remodeled his famous farmhouse in his book, A Year in Provence. Stop for a quick lunch in one of the many villages along the way. Dinner together this evening. Mileage: 60 -120 km (38 -75 miles).

Day 3: Bicycle from l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Gordes and Roussillon

Zooming through the village of Venasque.

Highlights: Venasque, the Col de Murs, Joucas, Roussillon, Gordes and Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

We ride north and west today underneath majestic Mont Ventoux. We head up and over the Col de Murs and into the limestone massif of the Vaucluse. You'll see fields of lavender, though it is not yet in bloom. Watch for the famous ochre cliffs of Roussillon and plan on a lunch stop in Gordes, one of the most beautiful villages in France. If you are ready for some sightseeing this afternoon you may enjoy visiting the great limestone spring at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. It was here that Petrarch perfected his love sonnets to the love of his life, Beatrice. Mileage: about 80 km (50 miles).

Day 4: Ride l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Vaison-la-Romaine

Provençal vineyard with poppies.

Highlights: Ride through Côte du Rhone vineyards with views of Mont Ventoux and Les Dentelles de Montmirail

Our destination today is the Roman city of Vaison-la-Romaine. We'll pedal through Côte du Rhône vineyards in the shadow of Mont Ventoux to get there. Take time this afternoon to visit the Roman ruins and the old, medieval city on the hill above the Ouvèze River. Dinner is together. Mileage: about 80 km (50 miles)

Day 5: Loop ride from Vaison-la-Romaine

Highlights: Pedal the foothills of the Alps with views south to Mont Ventoux

We take a loop ride today north and west into the foothills of the Alps. Take it easy and enjoy these villages as we pedal between the vineyards of the Rhône and the French Alps. Alternatively, ride hard and do a complete loop around Montagne de Bluye. Join us for a wine tasting this evening in preparation for our ride to the wine villages of Seguret and Gigondas tomorrow. Mileage: 40-70 km. (25-44 miles).

Day 6: A loop ride through Rhône vineyards and wine villages

Scenic rest stop in Séguret.

Highlights: Picturesque villages of Séguret, Sablet, and Gigondas

Our ride today is planned to be an easy ride in preparation for tomorrow's ride over Mont Ventoux. So relax, take it easy and enjoy the scenery. We'll suggest a picnic in one of the villages at the edge of the Rhône Valley. These villages are picture perfect as they sit amid vineyards right at the base of the limestone spires of the Dentelles de Montmirail. We continue our loop out onto the flood plain of the Rhône through more vineyards as we head back to Vaison-la-Romaine. Mileage: 50 km. (31 miles).

Day 7: Ride Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux sign along the road.

Highlights: Mont Ventoux

Our ride today takes us south, then due east up the west side of Mont Ventoux, one of the most famous climbs in cycling. Mont Ventoux towers 1909 meters (6263 ft.) above the valley of the Rhône River. Those wanting a very challenging ride can leave early and pedal from our hotel to do the entire loop of Mont Ventoux. Those wanting to shuttle will have a later departure and pedal as much or as little as they want. Our ride today ends with a 28-kilometer ride down the spectacular "Gorges de la Nesque." This is arguably one of the most beautiful bicycle rides in France. We have a final dinner together this evening at our new hotel in Bedoin. Mileage: 90 km (56 miles) plus up to 7,000 feet of climbing.

Day 8: Shuttle to Avignon and farewell

Highlights: Continue exploring Provence or head on to Paris

Our shuttle for the Avignon TGV train station leaves after breakfast this morning and will arrive by 10:00AM. Avignon is a great jumping off point to explore more of Provence or the rest of France. Or maybe you're off to start another tour now that you are in shape for the season!
  • Highlights
    Ride through vineyards and orchards, Three night stays, Beautiful Provençal landscapes and villages, Pedaling Mont Ventoux
  • Includes
    8 days, 7 nights accommodation, 7 breakfasts, and 4 dinners with wine
  • Countries
    France
  • Begin/End
    l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue/Bedoin (complimentary shuttle to and from the Avignon TGV train station or airport)
  • Arrive/Depart
    Marseille or Paris
  • Total Distance
    290 - 620 km (180 - 416 miles)
  • Daily Distance
    40 - 120 km (25 - 75 miles)
  • What to Expect
    Rolling hills and a climb.
  • Rating
  • Notes
  • Terms
Please call 1-800-685-4565 or e-mail us for the dates for this tour.

Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.

Map Key

Green pinStart
Yellow pinCity (on route)
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Other city dotCity (not part of route, provided for reference)
That [Ventoux/Gorges de la Nesque] was the best day I've ever spent on a bike!
Jim O.
Kent, WA
There is truly no better way to visit Provence than on this bike tour. The tour, the food, the people and the scenery made this a memorable "experience (plus)".
Karen L.
San Mateo, CA
The tour was excellent! Our tour guides were outstandingly knowledgeable of the region. They were awesome and exceptionally attentative to our needs and details of the trip. They truly made it a memorable "experience (plus)"!
Karen L.
San Mateo, CA
The people in our group were extremely nice and I've made new friends. Our tour leaders were awesome, they were knowledgeable and fun to be with. I rate this tour experience A+
Ernesto P.
Daly City, CA
The tour leaders were awesome, the cycling routes were unforgettable, the meals were to die for, and riding a bicycle in France every day was just a dream come true. A very memorable vacation.
Ernesto P.
Daly City, CA
The tour was great. Due to bad weather near the end of our trip, the guides had to think on their toes and rearranged the route so we could do the Ventoux. It worked out great!
Joseph A.
San Francisco, CA
[My favorite part of the trip?] Everything! The routes, the scenery, the food, the people, the VENTOUX!!! It was all so much fun.
Joseph A.
San Francisco, CA
This was my first tour with ExperiencePlus!, so I don't have a great point of reference - but our tour leaders were awesome! We had so much fun with them and the other people in our group.
Joseph A.
San Francisco, CA
This tour was the best vacation/trip I have ever taken. Our tour guides ... were awesome people and guides.
Lindsey M.
San Francisco, CA