Essential rides in Provence

Provence is a cyclists heaven, with wide, sweeping roads that descend through tree-lined canyons, long climbs to some of the most beautiful views in the world, quiet roads, an abundance of places to stop for coffee, lunch or even a world-famous wine, views around every corner, fresh clean air and a climate that is the envy of riders around the world. There are 159 villages in France tagged the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ or ‘the most beautiful villages in France’ of which 7 are housed here in the Vaucluse, namely Ansouis, Gordes, Lourmarin, Menerbes, Rousillon, Seguret and Venasque, highlighting just how stunning the cycling is here.

Here are just a few of our must-do rides.

Gordes hilltop village

Medieval Hilltop Tour

One of our favourite rides, a Medieval hilltop town tour - visit the incredible villages of the Luberon Valley, Menerbes, Oppede Le Vieux, Lacoste, Bonnieux and Gordes. Made even better with lunch with a view, at one of the regions most incredible restaurants. There are some hills, but they tend to be short and sharp, with a great view at the top to make it worthwhile.

Wine & Vineyards

Provence is known for its incredible wines and you are never very far from a field of vines burgeoning with grapes. This ride visits some of the regions best vineyards, including the world famous Chateauneuf du Pape, we’ll even arrange to transport any purchases back to your accommodation.
Mont Ventoux

The Giant of Provence

Mont Ventoux, the ‘Giant of Provence’, is one of the most famous climbs in cycling and a must-do for cyclists from around the world. We will start from the Bedoin side, most visited of the 3 routes by the Tour de France, and stop for drinks at the famous Chalet Renard. Following our descent riders will have the choice of an easy ride to the accommodation or an attempt at the ‘Cingles’, a triple ascent of the mountain from all 3 routes Bedoin, Malaucenne and Sault.
Sunflowers in Luberon fields


Gordes to Fontaine de Vaucluse - This stunningly beautiful ride has a touch of everything, starting at one of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ and finishing at the incredible natural beauty spot at Vaucluse, via the national park du Luberon, some amazing climbing through the valley with views you’ll never forget and a cafe stop or two at some picturesque spots en-route.
Sunset at Lourmain

A Year In Provence

Ride from Menerbes, home of Peter Mayle when he first wrote his evocative book, through a stunning valley dissecting the Luberons, into Lourmarin where Mayle spent his final years. Watch the landscape change as we drop into the village, enjoy the Renaissance castle and the winding streets with their cafes, restaurants and boutiques. We’ll climb back up the valley to take in views towards Mont Ventoux on our way home.
Le Gorges de la Nesque

Stunning Canyon

Le Gorges de la Nesque is a stunning canyon with winding roads that travel upwards to a magnificent viewpoint. The best bit about this ride is that the tunnels we pass through prevent large vehicles from following, so it always feels quite magical. Wild boars, incredible views and a fantastic smell of wild thyme that lingers in the air all add to the experience.
Les Baux-de-Provence village in Les Alpilles

Les Alpilles

Les Alpilles are a small range, with a peak of just 1600ft, but they are very distinct, with incredible views that were immortalised by Vincent van Gough during his time there. With it’s distinct limestone jagged tops and 17 villages to visit, the area is great for exploring, and as always there are an abundance of coffee stops and photo opportunities. It is also possible to visit Arles, a former Roman site which has beautifully preserved architecture including an amphitheatre and baths.
Mountain biking in the Luberon

Grand Tour of the Luberon

Did you know that there are over 63 marked Mountain Bike trails (MTB is known as VTT in France) in the Luberon Valley, including 6 black runs? There are over 1000km of trails to choose from. There is even one that descends from the summit of Mont Ventoux that stands 1910 metres above the valley. So if you are an off-roader or you fancy mixing it up a bit, consider a day or two on some of these magnificent trails.
“My first organised foreign cycling trip was with Marc at Ride Provence. From our first contact, Marc provided an enthusiastic and full description of the trip which really whetted my appetite for the event. Having never ridden the distance (110 miles) especially over cobbles, I was apprehensive and a little nervous of the event. From training rides, nutrition, kit and general advice, Marc was always on hand to help and advise - in particular, his previous experience of the event was invaluable and reassuring. The trip itself was a good small group of us and the short trip over to Roubaix kicked off with a dubious playlist that he'd prepared and a Marc's famous quiz... Whether it was the early morning drop off at the start (rather than taking the bus with everyone else), the mechanical and technical support along the way, personalised feed stops, inside hints and tips on the course or the Beers at the end as we cheered each other in, it really felt like we had a VIP experience for the event. Thoroughly recommended - booked another trip 🙂”
Neil - Project Manager, RWE Supply & Trading GmbH


We understand that sometimes it’s nice to spend a day away from your bike, or there are some days when you just need to rest, recharge and take in the sights before getting back in the saddle, or that you may want to bring guests with you who are keen to take in all the wonderful things that Provence has to offer without having to pedal anywhere (the French refer to this, rather wonderfully as Accompagnants). For those of you who would like to take in some of the sights, sounds, smells and culture of our wonderful part of the world, we suggest some of following activities. We are happy to arrange any of these trips for you, including transport, tickets, meals and a guide or you can plan your own days out.



We highly recommend a trip to Venasque for a look around the picturesque village with its ancient 12th century church and old town wall ruins, with one of the best views in the area. Then onwards to Fontaine de Vaucluse for a gentle walk up to the viewpoint with its distinctive spring at the top. That should help you work up an appetite for lunch at Gordes, one of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’, with a picture postcard facade and some delightful streets to meander through.

The Venice of Provence

No trip to the area is complete without a visit to the antiques heaven of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, known as ‘the Venice of Provence’. Market days on Sundays are a feast for the senses, with over 300 stalls, and definitely worth a visit. Stroll around the centre, discover hidden gems up side alleys, look round the Notre-Dame-Des-Anges church, dip your toes in the ever cool water that flows by one of the famous waterwheels and even visit the Chocolate Museum. There’s something for everyone.
Pont Saint Benezet

Palais des Papes

An absolute must is a trip to Avignon including a visit to the Palais des Papes, former residence of the Pope, and the world famous Pont Saint Benezet (or Pont d’Avignon) the remains of a 12th century bridge across the River Rhone that stretches out into the river. Take in lunch in one of the city squares and then wander the streets which have been kept safely inside the historic city ramparts since medieval times. Great for shopping, gastronomy and exploring, there’s something to see everywhere you go in Avignon.
Menerbes Plain of Luberon

Luberon Valley

A Tour of the Luberon Valley is a great way to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the area. Historic hilltop villages including Menerbes, Oppede Le Vieux, Lacoste, Bonnieux and Gordes are all within reach and all offer incredible views across the valley. See the wonderful Limestone Cliffs that symbolise this part of Provence and marvel at the beauty of the local villages and incredible views. Lunch can be taken at one of the most beautiful restaurants in the area. Be prepared for a bit of a walk, most of these villages are atop a hill which has a short but sharp climb to reach them.
The Ancient Theater of Orange
Photo by Romeoch


Take a trip to the Roman Ruins in Orange and spend the afternoon soaking up the history of this fascinating town, including the incredibly preserved amphitheatre (You can even take in a show there as it remains in use to this day) triumphal arch and wonderfully educational museum. Orange is also well known for cuisine and its laid back approach to life, so find a restaurant, order the Carte du Jour, sit back and enjoy.
Chateauneuf du Pape

Chateauneuf de Pape

Visit some of the areas world famous vineyards with our own private transport, taking in lunch at Chateauneuf de Pape, one of the most renowned and exclusive wine areas in the world, with bottles of vintage years fetching thousands of pounds at auction. Throw in some wine tasting and a browse around the beautiful village and you have a truly wonderful day out.

Other fantastic trips to consider include:

  • A trip to Unesco listed Aix en Provence
  • A visit to the Lavender and Huile D’Olive Museums
  • Lunch Al Fresco and a trip to the Roman Monuments of Arles
  • Canoeing along the river under the Unesco listed Le Pont Du Gard.
  • Walk the Ocre hued village of Rousillon.
  • Take a trip to Nimes and discover the Roman Amphitheatre.
  • Tree Top Adventure ‘Parcours’ deep in the forest.
  • Head a bit further and take the hour-long drive to Marseille.
  • Spend a couple of nights in Nice, taking in the Promenade des Anglais and Castle Hill with its views across the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Enjoy an indulgent weekend with a visit to Montpellier, its historic buildings, viaduct and the largest pedestrianised square in Europe.
Or of course you could combine your trip to Provence with a visit to some of Europes incredible sights which are all within easy reach via one of the many nearby airports, high speed train or by car on the Autoroute. We are always happy to help share our experiences of travelling Europe to help you build your dream trip.
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