Provence by bike
One of the best things about Provence is that you can choose the way you want to discover it. By on foot, in a classic 2CV, by scooter and by bike…
Monts du Vaucluse
One of the best routes for a casual bike ride is from Goult to Roussillon passing through Joucas and the winery Chateau Blanc. If you are feeling very sporty, why not start your ride in Gordes. This side of the Luberon valley is referred to as the Monts du Vaucluse and includes the popular villages of Gordes and Roussillon but also some lesser known villages such as Goult and Joucas.
Stop to take a walking tour of Roussillon one of the most popular villages in the Luberon. The views over the rugged rocks, plenty of pretty cafés, quirky boutiques and 15 art galleries are a magnet for tourists. This area is home to the world’s largest ochre deposit and the hues of red and orange contrasted with the green vines and Provencal blue sun make this a bike ride to remember.
From Roussillon you can coast down to the valley and make your last stop at the Roman-built bridge, Le Pont Julien.
Discover the Luberon
It’s funny how natural barriers tend to create distinct regions. Such is the case for the Luberon Mountain Chain. The official Luberon region includes both the north and south side, but there are two personalities to explore. The north: Luberon Coeur de Provence, and the south: Côté Sud Luberon.
Lourmarin and Ansouis are in the South Luberon and both on the list of “Most Beautiful Village”. I recommend both villages with stops in Vaugines and Cucuron in-between. If you happen to be here during the first part of May, you’ll be stopping your bike every now and then to get a selfie in a vibrant red poppy field.
You can also discover the Provence of “Jean de La Florette” the beautiful book by Marcel Pagnol, near Vaugines (you might want to note that there is a great picnic spot in this village next to the Romanesque church). In more recent times, some of the loveliest scenes in “A Good Year” starring Russell Crowe were filmed in Cucuron. The ambiance of the south doesn’t stop here though. You can also go truffle hunting, taste olive oil, buy wine and visit castles
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the perfect place to start your exploration of the renowned vineyards of Provence.
Take a leisurely ride in a sea of rolling hills lined with vines as a wine grower explains the secrets of making wine, both past and present. Taste wine in an ancient cellar and buy a bottle to enjoy with your gourmet picnic in the vineyard. You don’t have to be a knowledgeable wine connoisseur to appreciate a day in Chateauneuf-du-Pape – the stories go beyond the wine.
Be sure to explore the area east of Chateauneuf-du-Pape for other cru wines and discover charming villages such as Seguret, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes de Venise. These four villages are linked together following the west side of the beautiful laced mountains known as Les Dentelles de Montmirail.
The real charm of Provence is that there is so much more to it than picturesque villages. Cave dwellings, dry-stone huts, prehistoric vestiges, natural wonders and hidden chapels are all a part of the discovery and from a bike, you can explore it leisurely, taking in the scents and sights en route. Of course, all these day tours can be done by car, but if you are looking for that unique experience to see Provence up close, don’t forget the biking adventure.
By Emily Durand, expert Provence guide at Your Private Provence