France : Provence

Hilltop Villages of Provence Cycling

Trip code: C06PL 4.8 (16 reviews)

Self-guided cycling

6 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2+
Moderate plus

9.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

SUMMARY

  • A lavender-scented patchwork of sun drenched vineyards, olive groves and apple orchards
  • Medieval perched villages: Gordes and Bonnieux, with spectacular views across the Luberon
  • Quiet country lanes and cycle paths; beautiful Provencal countryside and sleepy hamlets
  • Great lunch options; chateaux and wine estates all too happy to provide tastings
  • A variety of hotels, each with a swimming pool

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 6 nights accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 2 evening meals
  • Bike fitting and briefing at the start of your holiday
  • Headwater navigation app
  • Bike hire included
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

TRIP DESCRIPTION

On this six 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 but for each tough climb you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view. Starting in the medieval 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 and quaint cafes.

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; whilst the Hotel les Sables d'Ocre in Roussillon sits amidst landscaped lawns with a relaxing pool area.

Terrain

The cycling is mostly on plains or gentle foothills and we have used the quietest possible lanes to link the towns and villages. There are only occasional (unavoidable) short stretches on major roads. One or two parts of the countryside are fairly hilly, so take your time on the steeper climbs and admire the wonderful long-distance views.

READ MORE

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrive in Pernes-les-Fontaines

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.

You stay at Hotel l'Hermitage.

hotel details



Hotel l’Hermitage, Pernes-les-Fontaines

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Pool
WiFi
TV
Aircon


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.

The hotel also has a swimming pool in the heart of the property.



Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 2: Pernes-les-Fontaines to Roussillon (46km/28.6mi or 50km/31.1mi)

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; this is the starting point of the Ochre Trail and your home for the next two nights.

elevation

You stay at Les Sables d'Ocre.

hotel details



Les Sables d’Ocre, Roussillon

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Aircon


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.

Day 3: At Roussillon (Optional) (24km/14.9mi)

Explore Roussillon, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, to discover its ochre-red rocks, stone buildings and unusual rock formations known as the 'Provencal Colorado'. For those wanting a longer day out, it's a scenic cycle ride through Provencal countryside up to the picturesque perched village of St Saturnin-les-Apt with its crumbling castle and one of the best views in the Luberon.

elevation

You stay at Les Sables d'Ocre.

hotel details



Les Sables d’Ocre, Roussillon

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Aircon


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.

Day 4: Roussillon to Fontaine de Vaucluse (45km/28.0mi)

After breakfast, 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. 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. Then continue to Oppede le Vieux, another perched village before to reach Fontaine de Vaucluse.

elevation

You stay at Hotel du Poete.

hotel details



Hotel du Poete, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe
Tea/coffee


Owned by a celebrated wine producer and occupying a converted water mill by the River Sorgue, is the wonderful Hotel du Poete. Offering modern rooms and a peaceful atmosphere while at the same time being centrally located in the popular village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the hotel also has an outdoor swimming surrounded by millstreams which have been turned into a tranquil water garden.

Room upgrades: Melodie Room, Symphonie Room, Prelude (Suite Junior) or Adagio (Suite Junior).
The Melodie rooms are slightly larger. Some have twin beds and some also face the garden. The Symphonie room 'Au Fil de l'Eau' is larger again and features a lovely terrace overlooking the water garden. The Junior suites overlook the garden and the swimming pool and are larger again, each having a small lounge area. The Adagio room also features a balcony with seating.

Day 5: At Fontaine de Vaucluse (Optional) (30km/18.6mi)

Take a circular ride past the orchards and meadows to the pretty villages of Lagnes. Alternatively you can spend your day in L'Isle sur la Sorgue which is just few km ride from your hotel. Surrounded by the River Sorgue, this is a charming town to potter around, its narrow streets filled with quaint cafes, little antique shops, old bridges and water wheels, not to mention a bustling market every Sunday. Or you could take a taxi to Saint-Remy-de-Provence, with its delightful old town, Roman site and monastery.

elevation

You stay at Hotel du Poete.

hotel details



Hotel du Poete, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe
Tea/coffee


Owned by a celebrated wine producer and occupying a converted water mill by the River Sorgue, is the wonderful Hotel du Poete. Offering modern rooms and a peaceful atmosphere while at the same time being centrally located in the popular village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the hotel also has an outdoor swimming surrounded by millstreams which have been turned into a tranquil water garden.

Room upgrades: Melodie Room, Symphonie Room, Prelude (Suite Junior) or Adagio (Suite Junior).
The Melodie rooms are slightly larger. Some have twin beds and some also face the garden. The Symphonie room 'Au Fil de l'Eau' is larger again and features a lovely terrace overlooking the water garden. The Junior suites overlook the garden and the swimming pool and are larger again, each having a small lounge area. The Adagio room also features a balcony with seating.

Day 6: Fontaine de Vaucluse to Pernes-les-Fontaines (33km/20.5mi)

This morning you ride to L'Isle sur la Sorgue, then through apple country where you'll see orchards aplenty. Following the lanes brings you to the mediaeval town of Le Thor. 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.

elevation

You stay at Hotel l'Hermitage.

hotel details



Hotel l’Hermitage, Pernes-les-Fontaines

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Pool
WiFi
TV
Aircon


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.

The hotel also has a swimming pool in the heart of the property.



Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 7: Leave Pernes-les-Fontaines

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.

Extending your holiday

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra hotel nights we recommend: Hotel Carre Vieux Port, Marseille; Hotel Le Grimaldi, Nice; Hotel Bristol, Avignon.

hotel details



Hotel Carre Vieux Port, Marseille

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Aircon
Tea/coffee


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.

There are plenty of restaurants near the hotel for you choose from for dinner.



Hotel Le Grimaldi, Nice

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe


Le Grimaldi has 46 individually decorated rooms all equipped with air-conditioning, satellite tv, minibar, safe and hairdryer.

Ideally situated in the heart of Nice the hotel is just three minutes' walk to the pedestrian area of the city with its vast choice of bars and restaurants, 10 minutes walk from the Promenade des Anglais and 15 minutes walk from the Old Town.



Hotel Bristol, Avignon

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe
Tea/coffee


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.

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

Show prices including flights and onward rail?  

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£1549
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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £354.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £354.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Flights from Heathrow to Marseille with British Airways, then onward rail to the region.
  • Other flights, including regional departures
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Business/club/first class fares
  • First class rail
  • Electric bikes
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
Out: British Airways Heathrow to Marseille then rail Marseille to Avignon TGV and transfer to hotel 30 minutes Return: Transfer to station 30 minutes then rail Avignon TGV to Marseille then British Airways Marseille to Heathrow

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

First class rail is available at £12 per person return.

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf. We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Eurostar
We can also book connecting daily Eurostar services for customers preferring not to fly, from London and Ashford in Kent. Please call for details and prices.

Self drive
We can arrange various channel crossings for you. Please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we open again 9am Monday) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

Great experience. A wonderful way to experience the Luberon. Great for our party member who was very fit as well as those who needed the full ebike experience.

Sarah Brown, 28 Sep 2023

 

Overall, an enjoyable holiday. Local guides were friendly and helpful. The hotels were of good quality or better and the service was generally very good. The exception would be Les Sables d'Ocre; there were no staff available after 8pm (and thus no bar). This was very disappointing. It is not a long walk into the village but sometimes this is not what is wanted after a day's cycling; the information was not given to us prior to the holiday. The major disappointment is that Headwater, or possibly the parent group Exodus, seem to have kept prices relatively high but there is evidence that an increasing number of holidays on offer do NOT include evening meals. This, for us, is a real negative and we don't accept the theory given that it was to give us more flexibility. It gives more headaches and time on the internet/phone attempting to arrange evening meals. We enjoyed much of the holiday but felt it was the least enjoyable of the five holidays we have undertaken since 2008.

Mr Hills, 9 Jun 2022

 

We had a great time but we should have asked for e-bikes. Some of the hills were very long.

Mr Tayler, 21 May 2022

 

Lovely countryside and picturesque towns - almost too many of them. Some of the days are packed with sightseeing, leaving little time to do the cycling! Excellent hotels, and very well looked after by the Headwater rep. The route is at times quite piecemeal, trying to avoid busy roads, which is made just about manageable by using the GPS system provided.

Mr Trunk, 6 Sep 2019

 

As the title implies there are some steep hills but the villages are very attractive. Magnificent countryside and panoramas from the elevated villages.

Mrs Baker, 11 Aug 2019

 

Marvellous area . Notes for cycling extremely poor . The hotel at Roussillon CLOSED at 8.00pm .and had no gin and no beer . It was like a travel road house !

Mr Barker, 20 Jun 2018

 

A very enjoyable cycling holiday. The route was well researched using very quiet roads whenever possible, passing through lovely and varied countryside with stops in all the interesting hilltop villages. The hotels were all very comfortable and meals where provided were excellent. Our guide Mark was knowledgeable and couldn't have been more helpful.

Mrs Grant, 10 Jun 2018

 

Really enjoyable way to experience local cultures and get ‘off the beaten track ‘ good local representative support .

Mrs Evans, 15 May 2018

 

Very well organised, with excellent directions and achievable distances to cycle daily. Cycles very good condition, well maintained, clean and comfortable to ride. All staff willing and able to support if required.

Mr Cooper, 8 Sep 2017

 

Incredible 200 km of beautiful countryside, cuisine and culture of Provence! Loved every minute despite 35° heat and 35% elevation. La vie est belle!

Mr Hognadottir, 12 Jun 2017

 

The two holidays we have had with Headwater were extremely enjoyable. Our first was a walking holiday and the second was a cycling holiday.



Mr Baker, 12 Sep 2016

 

This holiday has given us the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful villages in Provence under our own steam and away from the crowds you'd find on a typical coach trip The exercise of cycling during the day is a great appetite-sharpener for enjoying some excellent food and local wines in the evening.

Mr McGeoch, 10 Sep 2016

 

Lovely holiday in beautiful part of world

Mrs Norfolk, 3 Sep 2016

 

Great all round experience

Mr Long, 19 Aug 2016

 

We had a fantastic holiday, The scenery, food and accomodation were great. Although we are both pretty fit my wife isn't such a keen cyclist but she really enjoyed this. The reps were really helpful when my wife wanted to swap to an E-bike towards the end when it got really hot, and now she wants to go again which I never thought would happen! I would really recommend this holiday and the E- bikes for those less enthusiastic about cycling

Mr Willard, 18 Jun 2016

 

Great cycling location with generally very quiet roads, beautiful countryside and pretty villages perched on hilltops - definitely a great way to explore the region - you can smell the lavender fields and really enjoy the countryside. Both Keith and Claire were excellent reps - really friendly, helpful and flexible in every way. The food at Dame L'Oie in Perne la Fontaine was superb as was the food at Hotel de Sable. Quality of the bikes was very good. The itinerary for the rest day at Maubec was a little underwhelming as we felt the villages weren't that picturesque with few options for coffee/stop-offs and only managed to get lunch at the last stop in Robion. We would have preferred to go back to Lacoste and Menerbes which we had whizzed through the day before.

Mrs Ainscough, 12 Jun 2016

 


Self-guided cycling

6 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2+
Moderate plus

9.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

6 nights from £1549

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

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