Categories: France

Dreaming of Provence

by Julie Horton - Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Back in 2019 B.C. (Before Covid) I had the pleasure and privilege to do the ExperiencePlus! ride through Provence and the Luberon. No doubt like for many of you my photo storing software pops up little reminders of good times past. As I took my photographic stroll down memory lane, I grew misty thinking about my fellow adventurers, the amazing rides, meals and memories we shared. Oh and those ridiculously delicious truffle potato chips that somehow paired perfectly with wine at happy hour.

A few more of my favorite cycling in Provence memories in words and in photos.

  • Riding through beautiful small villages, vineyards, olive groves. Stopping to sit in fields of lavender and thyme being transported to an aromatic version of heaven.
  • Market day in Arles – this is a huge event that wraps around the walls of the city and features just about any- and everything you could ever want to buy, eat, grow or raise.
  • In St Remy I fell hard for this picturesque small town with views of the Alpilles hills. Van Gogh spent a year at a sanitarium here and painted some of his most famous works including Landscape at Saint-Rémy. There’s a wonderful ice cream shop a short distance from the hotel and I had one of my favorite meals here – truffle and walnut ravioli with an amazing red wine.
  • Pont du Gard, built around 20 B.C., this Roman aqueduct’s sophistication and effectiveness at transporting water across miles is really unimaginable. The more you learn the more unbelievable it becomes.
  • We spent two nights at Domaine de Cabasse a family-run inn and vineyard just outside the walls of the famous wine village of Seguret. The wine tasting here with the vintner as our host was something special.  As was the simple pleasure of relaxing by the pool with friends enjoying a cold beverage after a ride.
  • Les Baux – Carrieres de Lumieres  is extraordinary! Who could have imagined using the inside of a cave to put on multi-media presentations? Van Gogh just happened to be featured when we were there. Having giant versions of his paintings appear and disappear magically on the surrounding walls – a captivating total immersion of sight and sound.
  • Four 2- night stays made this trip feel super relaxed. And I appreciated the extra time to explore each of the wonderful towns we visited.
  • Mont Ventoux is a classic climb of the Tour de France and considered the giant of Provence.  A good number of our group accepted the challenge to ride this beast. It’s a hard climb, but filled with conversations and fun moments with riders from all over the world who have made a pilgrimage to ride up this mountain. As you near the top there are strategically positioned photographers ready to document your accomplishment in the hopes that you will buy the photo they take of you. Not accustomed to paparazzi the excitement helped energize my legs and spirit as they cheered and chased me to get the perfect angle to memorialize the occasion. The clever ones know how to endear themselves to you by giving you a push as they stick their business card in your pocket. As each member of our group reached the top they joined “the pile” of us lying on the wonderfully warm pavement and cheering on our fellow riders.

Let’s go! Though travel restrictions are currently in place we are very hopeful that we will be able to run trips later in the year and dates are filling up! There is still space available on both fall departures and we have four 2022 departures dates posted.

Best of Provence (8 days)

September 17 – 24, 2021
October 1 – 8, 2021

Best of Provence Plus! the Luberon and Aix-en-Provence (11 days)

September 17 – 27, 2021
October 1 – 11, 2021

Julie Horton - Julie Horton is the Purveyor of Cycling Adventures at ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours. She bicycled in more than 20 countries on a year long, self-supported bicycle tour around the world, which covered more than 14,000 miles. Her career in the adventure travel industry began back in 1994 when she started leading hiking tours in the USA, Europe, and far flung locations like Nepal and Thailand. After 10 years on the trail her desire to get back on the road led her to ExperiencePlus! in 2004. Her passion for traveling by bicycle and sharing the possibilities and plans with our travelers makes her "work" at ExperiencePlus! fun and gratifying. She looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for traveling by bike with each of you and hearing of your adventures. Email Julie(at)ExperiencePlus.com

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