On this four night holiday you'll discover the beauty of Provence - a region where refinement and tradition blend beautifully, and whose natural light and landscapes have served as inspiration to the likes of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso and Dumas, not to mention Peter Mayle! You'll look out over a patchwork blanket of fields, olive groves, vineyards and, in the south east, apple orchards which cover the floor between the mountains on either side. While the vineyards here may not be as well-known as those of the Rhone, Burgundy and Bordeaux, some superb wines are produced here - so be sure to stop off for a tasting or two.
Your itinerary has been designed to give you a taste of the picturesque perched villages which pepper Provence's breathtaking, lavender-scented Luberon area. The hilly landscape of the region means the cycling can be challenging at times (gentler cycling options are available on the hardest day) but for each tough climb you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view. Starting in the mediaeval town of Pernes-les-Fontaines, famous for its numerous ancient stone fountains and lavoirs, you'll enjoy far-reaching views over the Luberon as you make your way to the ochre-red village of Roussillon passing vineyards, chateaux and castles on the way. You then head out along the Ochre Trail and along country lanes to pass through some of the most beautiful villages in Provence - each one offering stirring images along with a history which, in some places, stretches back over a thousand years - before your final stretch takes in sweeping apple orchards, typical French villages, quaint cafes and the fascinating network of caves at Grotte de Thouzon.
We've hand-picked a lovely selection of hotels for your holiday. The Hotel l'Hermitage in Pernes-les-Fontaines is set in 2 hectares of grounds with a saltwater swimming pool and its own orangery; the Hotel les Sables d'Ocre in Roussillon sits amidst landscaped lawns with a relaxing pool area.
Arrive at your 3 star hotel, just north of the town of Pernes-les-Fontaines. There's plenty of time to relax and explore the hotel grounds before dinner. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage, Breakfast with dinner in local restaurant)
Pass by Pernes-les-Fontaines before setting off alongside the Canal de Carpentras and on through the beautiful scenery of the Vaucluse down to the popular town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The old town here is entirely surrounded by the clear waters of the River Sorgue. There are lots of lunch options in the town, or you could stop a little further on in the pretty village of Fontaine-de- Vaucluse. In the afternoon you climb to enjoy your first spectacular views of the Luberon before descending past vineyards, olive groves and windmills, and on to the ochre-painted village of Roussillon, the starting point of the Ochre Trail. (Staying at Hotel Les Sables D'Ocre, Breakfast only)
After breakfast, set out along the Ochre Trail to the village of Gargas where you have the opportunity to visit the Ochre Mines of Bruoux. Then head south along country lanes where a mixture of climbs and freewheeling takes you through some of the most beautiful villages in Provence. First there's Bonnieux, from where the nearby Chateau la Connorgue (made famous by Ridley Scott's A Good Year) can be visited for tastings. Then it's on to Lacoste to explore the ruined castle, once a mighty fortification and now a spectacular viewpoint. From here you'll freewheel down before another short climb to Menerbes, made famous by the books of Peter Mayle, and a great place to stop for lunch. The last leg takes you to Maubec where your hotel awaits. (Staying at La Bastide du Bois. Half Board)
This morning you ride through apple country where you'll see orchards aplenty. Following the lanes brings you to the mediaeval town of Le Thor, after which you pass the ruins of the fortified monastery at Thouzon, along with the Grotte de Thouzon; a network of caves carved out by an underground river. Then it's back to Pernes-les-Fontaines where you have time to explore the mediaeval old town and the numerous ancient stone fountains and lavoirs. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage, Breakfast with dinner in local restaurant)
Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.
Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.
If you'd prefer a slightly longer holiday, take a look at our 6 night Hilltop Villages of Provence Cycling.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day.
This 19th century residence, transformed into a hotel, feels like an old family home. It is set amidst 2 hectares of grounds bedecked with fountains, many species of trees, and an orangery. The Hotel l'Hermitage is about 4km outside Pernes-les-Fontaines.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:Just a 10 minute walk outside Roussillon, this modern hotel is surrounded by landscaped lawns and has a relaxing pool area. The good sized bedrooms are decorated in rich Provencal colours.
NEARBY:A former farm house, once owned by a duchess and set amid its own woodland in the peaceful south west of the Luberon, the Bastide du Bois Breant has been restored to provide a typically Provencal feel, offering traditional rooms with modern features overlooking a courtyard. With a garden and a lovely swimming pool, the hotel provides an oasis of tranquility in close proximity to some of the most popular villages in Provence. Standard room type here is the Inspiration room, with upgrades available to Quietude and Plenitude rooms on request.
Room upgrades: Quietude Room or Plenitude Room.
Quietude room is larger and features a super king size bed or 2 single beds. The bathroom has a double wash basin, a bath and a shower. Plenitude is bigger again and has large windows opening onto the garden and a super king-sized bed. The bathroom features a shower and a stand alone bath tub.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
Situated by the well-known old port - which gives the hotel its name - the Hotel Carre Vieux Port is in the perfect location to make the most of this vibrant city. The hotel has cosy, modern rooms with contemporary bathrooms and fixtures.
NEARBY:Situated just inside the city walls and a stone's throw from the station, the Hotel Bristol sits in the historic centre of Avignon. It is located along the main street which leads to the city's main attractions; the Place de l'Horloge, the Palais des Papes and the famous Pont d'Avignon - all within a 15 minute walk. It is also ideally located to do some shopping! Inside, the lounge with its thick carpet and leather armchairs provides a cosy atmosphere. The rooms are modern and offer a variety of bed and bathroom options. There is no restaurant here but with such a huge selection right on the doorstep, you only have to step outside to explore the numerous possibilities.
Le Grimaldi has 46 individually decorated rooms all equipped with air-conditioning, satellite tv, minibar, safe and hairdryer.
Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:18, and back to Avignon TGV train station at 11:45.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Excellent short break in a beautiful region of France. Just the right balance if cycling and relaxation with my teenage daughter.
We had a great experience with Headwater, cycling the hill-tops of Provence in 35-40C heat. The Reps were great;, the bikes eminently suitable for the route; the hotels generally good; the food superb; and we both enjoyed the few days that we had.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
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Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
Every two days from 7th Apr 2019 to 22nd Oct 2019, for 4 nights.
All continental breakfasts and 3 evening meals
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £120 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment. Please call us for further details.
Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:18, and back to Avignon TGV train station at 11:45.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Hilltop Villages of Provence Cycling - Short Break. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.
We've been creating high-quality relaxed activity holidays since 1985 and our wealth of experience means we're able to build the perfect tailor-made tour for you. Our 'Gold Trusted' rating on Feefo, the independent review site, underlines our exceptional levels of customer service, and our ATOL bonding and ABTA membership guarantees your holiday is safe with us.