Vaucluse in Provence is famous not just for its lavender fields, vineyards, picturesque villages and historic towns – it’s also perfect for cycling. Whether you want to pootle along enjoying the glorious scenery or thunder up the side of the majestic Mont Ventoux – there’s a bike and a route to suit everyone.
Cycling in Vaucluse
The Mediterranean climate and tranquil country lanes of Vaucluse are perfect for those who like to cycle gently and enjoy the scenery as you spin past fields of lavender (in high lavender season, late June to early July be aware that the temperature is usually high), vineyards and orchards filled with cherry and apricot trees. From Mont Ventoux to the Luberon passing through the vineyards of the Rhône Valley, from Gigondas to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Vaucluse offers a diverse array of cycling itineraries for all levels of rider and all types of bikes. There’s a whopping 1500km of cycle routes along small, quiet roads and more than 400 professionals (hotels, restaurants and stop-off points) bearing the ‘Cyclists Welcome’ certification. Plus, there are 3 dedicated greenways for cycling and four itinerant routes.
Those who like to push themselves however will find the steep slopes of Mont Ventoux, an icon of the cycling world, ideal for a spot of mountain biking. Since the first road to the top was inaugurated in 1900, the 19009-metre high summit has been a favourite with cyclists who like a challenge. Regularly featured in the Tour de France, the stages of the Ventoux are the stuff of legend. Though if you want that ‘Tour de France’ feeling without the effort, electric mountain bikes are optional!
From cross-country to all-mountain, enduro, raid, mountain biking, family mountain biking, electric bikes (and a network of charging stations) plus gravel bikes – the cycling is great, all year round.
Gravel bikes – on and off-road adventure
Cycling in Vaucluse is always a chance for adventure, thrills and gorgeous scenery but gravel bikes offer a whole new level of fun.
Gravel bikes are adventure road bikes, perfect for on and off-road cycling, ideal for touring and ‘bike-packing.’ They’re the ultimate in flexible riding. Climb up wooded foothills, traverse hills and plains, cross the Ochre valley, follow narrow roads, cycle lanes and signposted cycle routes. On a gravel bike you can go everywhere. And for those who don’t want to enjoy the scenery without too much effort – there are even e-gravel bikes for hire!
In the pretty wine growing village of Rasteau, you’ll find the first French Gravel and bike-packing touring holiday introduction centre. There’s a gravel bike specialist instructor on hand, gravel bikes for hire (including electric), baggage equipment and GPS. There’s also a 1 day to 5-day sports camp option and a group gite with catering, perfect for holidays with friends and to make new friends. Several routes start from the centre to suit all levels and it’s a brilliant way to practice your cycling skills and try gravel biking in a superb environment with support if you need it. You’ll never look back!
A new VTOPO map with gravel bike itineraries across Vaucluse shows 30 routes for all levels: vtopo.fr/carte-gravel-vaucluse
Find out more about cycling and itineraries in Vaucluse: provencecycling.co.uk