Exploring By Bike

There is something about pottering around this area on two wheels that simply makes my heart sing, as it’s just such a delight for all your senses:

It may be the beautiful views, perhaps taking a moment or two to sit on a wall watching the sunlight shift across the landscape, or laying the bike down and relaxing on the edge of a poppy field, absorbed by the sight of the flowers, a shimmering sea of red in the gentle spring breeze

You may be delighted by the sound of a Hoopoe, or the lilting chatter of Bee-Eaters, catching sight of them chasing insects around the trees, or be almost deafened by the wonderful kss-kss-kss sound of cicadas, which is the real soundtrack to the long sunny days of summer in Provence

As you cycle along, you’ll feel the sun’s warmth on your face and arms, or the gentle breeze on your skin, which, even in the summer, when the air can feel still and almost stifling at times, makes riding here, a delight.

Then there are the scents, from the warm pine, lilac and wild herbs of spring, to the unmistakable smell of lavender, which fills the air from late May until early August. Riding along, you will smell the fields before you see them and if you happen to stumble across a field being harvested, the scent is almost overwhelming, and you’ll end the ride far more relaxed than you ever imagined possible.

And finally the taste of a crisp, flaky, buttery croissant or pain au chocolat, as a stop at a little boulangerie or cafe is always needed to keep you going on a ride too.

The area is perfectly set up for cycling, with the incredible off-road Veloroute Du Calavon, which runs from Cereste in the neighbouring department of the Alpes de Haute Provence, along the almost flat valley floor all the way to Cavaillon. Forming part of the Eurovelo Mediterranee a Velo, it’s an amazing facility, allowing you to cycle through the Luberon in safety, away from the traffic, on a well-maintained tarmac trail, which follows the route of the old railway line through the valley.

Pottering along the path is a great way to spend a day, but equally it is the perfect spine route, to make your way through the area, from which you can turn off to explore the beautiful villages that sit on the hillsides on both sides of the valley, and believe me, it’s so much nicer arriving in the villages by bike than in a car, especially on market days, when the queues for the car parks can be more than a little frustrating!

Beyond the Veloroute there are some wonderful circular rides, which take you through the picture-postcard villages, past some of the most well-known sites in the area, and even further afield too. Additionally, there is an excellent and increasing network of well-signed routes that are easy to follow, ranging from short loops to a complete tour of The Luberon.

You may be tempted to cross The Luberon and explore the villages to the south, before climbing back over and coming back through Cereste.

You might want to explore into the Alpes de Haute Provence, perhaps heading up to the beautiful village of Simiane La Rotonde, which looks as if it could have been used as a film-set for The Lord of The Rings.

Or choose to ride through the Gorges de La Nesque, which I have to admit is one of my favourite routes; a beautiful road through glorious scenery, under the towering sight of Mont Ventoux.

Then of course there is the iconic ride to the summit of the fabled mountain itself. There are three routes up and some people choose to do all three, but our favourite is the ride from Sault, which takes a sinuous route through lavender fields and woodland, before the final approach through the scree-zone to the summit. It is an incredible ride and the views from the summit are worth the effort it takes to get there. But, I think riding up, under a full moon, to watch the sunrise from the summit is the most incredible ride I’ve ever done and if you don’t mind a hideously early start, it is worth doing.

With the recent developments in e-bikes, the cycling here is more accessible than ever and now you don’t need to be hardened cyclists to enjoy exploring the area on two wheels. Yes, there are hills, but with electric assistance on bikes, they are easily manageable and as one lady said to me, when we were sat on the wall at Menerbes one day, ‘Now I’ve discovered an e-bike, I hope I’ll be doing this till I’m 100’ … If I’m honest, I hope I will be too.

If you fancy heading off road, there are some superb, very well-marked trails too, which take you along forest tracks and across ochre paths as you move between the villages. Anyone who knows me understands that I would be a liability on a mountain bike, but there are some great suggested routes on Veloloisir Provence and equally there are some superb local guides too, who will happily arrange to take you on exciting rides, well off the beaten track.

There are a number of bike rental companies in the area, from where you can rent all types of bikes for just a few hours, or the whole length of your stay. and I would recommend to anyone to spend a day on a bike whilst you are here. I am sure you wouldn’t regret it.

We are always happy to help you build in a ride or two to your stay in the area, as part of our personalised planning service for your holiday here. If you would like to know more about this then please get in touch and we’ll do what we can to help you to experience the area on two wheels.

7 thoughts on “Exploring By Bike

    1. Yes, we’ve had so many people asking about it, we thought we may as well start doing it properly, so will be offering personalised itineraries for visitors, based on their interests to help them get the most from their stay here …. Another little something to keep us busy

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for the information and inspiration to hike and walk in the area. We hope to spend some meaningful time in the area (i.e. not just a week or two, but a couple of months) and part of the desire to do so is because of the opportunities to do more outdoor activities! I would love to take on Ventoux. That would rank very high on my bucket list.
    Thanks again for the info. BTW did you complete your trip from the UK to Provence??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that sounds wonderful, it is such a fantastic area for that. We’re just in the process of setting up a small business to help people visiting the area get the most from their stay, so let us know if there is anything we can do to help with your planning.
      If all goes well, we start the cycle down on 30th May, were just hoping that life doesn’t throw any more sticks in the spokes of life, to stop us …


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