In the heart of Provence, the Vaucluse is steeped in history. Originally Celtic, it was conquered by the Romans and is now rich in well-preserved Roman remains, especially at Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine where the large site is comparable to Pompeii. The skyline is dominated by the majestic silhouette of the Dentelles de Montmirail and dramatic Mont Ventoux.
On this eight night cycling holiday you get the best of both worlds: breathtaking scenery all around combined with easy pedalling on plains and gentle foothills dotted with lavender, orchards and the famous Cotes du Rhone vineyards. The towns and villages you pass through are particularly picturesque with their old quarters, weekly markets and chateaux.
We've arranged especially good evening meals with opportunities to sample both gourmet and local delicacies. Our hotels, which are all family-run, pride themselves on their Provencal cuisine and cellars full of fine local wines - one of which is located between the three world-famous vineyards of Beaumes de-Venise, Gigondas and Vacqueyras.
The town fete takes place in Vaison from 13-17 July. Join in the fun or come at a quieter time!
Your *** hotel is just north of the village of Pernes-les-Fontaines. Plenty of time to relax and explore the hotel grounds before dinner. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage, Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)
Leave Pernes-les- Fontaines this morning and head to the popular village of Saint-Didier, where you can opt to make the climb up the hill to the mediaeval settlement of Venasque (one of the prettiest villages in France) with its three Saracen towers. You'll then follow lanes and tracks up past Malemort-du-Comtat and then dropping down into the mediaeval village of Mazan with its church wall that is made up of more than 60 Roman sarcophagi. Continue on through the vines with a back drop of Mont Ventoux as you climb steadily towards Bedoin. (Staying at Hotel Les Pins, Half Board)
RIDE PLUS - 90km / 56mi
On leaving the hotel there's a steady climb to the beautiful village of Venasque via La Roque sur Pernes offering great views of the gorge. The main climb of the day is the Col de Murs which snakes it way up to the tiny village of Murs through rocks and woodlands - the Col has been used as a categorised climb in the Tour de France. The road then twists and turns for around 25km to the town of Monieux where it's only a short climb to the top of the Gorge de La Nesque. It's well worth stopping at the viewing point and there is the chance of seeing the resident local boar. Next it's a 19km descent with stunning scenery all the way into Villes sur Auzon. From here, It is only a short cycle down into the town of Bedoin with its numerous bike shops, cafes and bars and to your hotel.
Explore the lively village of Bedoin, named for the C8 Bedouins who settled there and home to the imposing church of Saint-Antonin, with its unique Spanish style - so different from any other in Provence. Bedoin is also the gateway to Mont Ventoux for more hardy cyclists seeking a challenge! Follow established cycle routes to the Chateau Pesquie, which offers everything from a stroll in the vines, to a guided cellar tour, to a tasting, to a full picnic lunch in the gardens. (Staying at Hotel Les Pins, Half Board)
After the picturesque perched village of Crillon-le-Brave you swing across the gentle Carpentras plain to Caromb, a partly fortified little town. A short, steep ascent takes you to the Lac du Paty, hidden amongst the trees. Continue downhill through forest, vineyards and cherry orchards to the fortified village of Malaucene (where Pope Clement V once lived). The final section is a flat bowl along country lanes to the Roman garrison town of Vaison la Romaine. (Staying at Hotel Burrhus, Breakfast only)
RIDE PLUS - 55km / 34mi
A steady few kms from the hotel takes you to Bedoin and to the start of possibly the most famous and iconic cycling climbs - the 21kms (1912m) to the summit of Mont Ventoux. The climb has been used in the Tour de France around 15 times. Chalet Reynard is an ideal spot for a rest and coffee. For the final 7km to the summit it's barren rocks and amazing views into the valleys below. After taking in the views you will drop down the north side on the fast sweeping road into Malaucene - home to a good selection both bars, cafes and bike shops . Finally, it's just a short cycle down quiet lanes into Vaison and to your hotel.
Vaison has France's most extensive Roman remains including a 6000-seat theatre, baths, houses and streets. There's a fine C13 cathedral and cloisters, castle ruins and fortified gateway, and squares with cool central fountains. The two halves of the town are joined by a 2000-year-old single arch Roman bridge which, amazingly, is still in use; it's well worth crossing to explore the narrow mediaeval streets and little squares of the Haute Ville. (Staying at Hotel Burrhus, Breakfast only)
Today it's via Roaix and across the Ouveze River to mediaeval Seguret - officially ranked among the most beautiful villages in France; its streets hug the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail. There's a C15 fountain, a C14 belfry and a ruined feudal castle offering far-reaching views out across the Rhone Valley. Then it's on through pretty Sablet and extensive vineyards to our friendly little hotel near Vacqueyras. (Staying at Hotel Montmirail, Half Board)
Orange, a thriving regional centre, is 20km away. It has two marvellous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, an elaborately decorated triumphal arch and a beautifully preserved Roman theatre which hosts regular evening performances; your hotelier will help organise a taxi. Alternatively, why not simply relax by the hotel pool? (Staying at Hotel Montmirail, Half Board)
Your final day's cycling takes you through the Cotes du Rhone vineyards, stops first at charming Vacqueyras where there are lots of caves. From here there's an optional detour to mediaeval Carpentras - with a cathedral, atmospheric cobbled streets and weekly (Fri) market - before returning to fountain-filled Pernes-les-Fontaines. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage, Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a 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.
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:Set among the pines at the very foot of Mt Ventoux, and just outside the lively village of Bedoin (popular among cyclists as the gateway to the mountain), is Hotel des Pins. This property perfectly blends the traditional and the modern with the outside boasting wooden shutters and a terracotta tile roof while inside each of the stylish rooms and suites are individually decorated in a contemporary style. Some have 4-poster or canopy beds, while upgraded rooms add balconies or terraces. There's also an elegant restaurant along with a bar, a lounge, and a patio. Other features include pine-shaded gardens, an outdoor swimming pool and a space for massages.
Room upgrades: Confort / Prestige Room , Suite (Junior/Deluxe/Seven) or Suite (Cerise) .
Prestige rooms have a balcony or terrace, twin beds or a double bed, and a bath. The Cerise suite is made up of two connecting rooms, and can host up to five people. It also features a balcony and a large wooden terrace. The Junior suite stretches over two floors, with a bedroom on the ground floor, and an elegant bathroom with a bath on the first floor. Deluxe Suite comprises an elegant bedroom and a bathroom with a ceiling shower. This suite also boasts an attractive wooden terrace and a Bang & Olufsen music player.
The Hotel Burrhus boasts a fantastic location, right in the very heart of Vaison la- Romaine.
Just a short distance from both Vacqueyras and Gigondas is the Hotel Montmirail, a handsome C19 villa tucked away between vines and olive trees at the foot of the lace like peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The hotel features a fine-dining restaurant and a relaxed bar, as well as a swimming pool and an expansive patio in the garden. Standard rooms feature free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and minibar, while upgraded rooms are decorated in a French country style and have views of the garden and pool.
Room upgrades: Comfort Room or Superior Room.
The Comfort room is slightly larger and offers views over the hills. The Superior room is larger still and offers a veiw of the garden and pool.
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.
Le Grimaldi has 46 individually decorated rooms all equipped with air-conditioning, satellite tv, minibar, safe and hairdryer.
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.
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:This hotel was originally a maison bourgeoise until it was converted into a hotel by an ex-patissier! It has now been in Mme Ramise's family for over 45 years.
Room upgrades: Privilege Room.
The Privilage room has a very spacious bedroom with king size bed.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:19, 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.
The excellent weather ensured that our holiday was most enjoyable. The GPS routes were generally appropriate for the level of holiday and for our electric bikes but short stretches were very challenging gradients and one route in particular was impossible to negotiate on electric bikes due to gravel, stones and boulders. There were also a few inaccuracies. The accommodation was all generally good as were the dining arrangements. Overall we would recommend this holiday; the area is beautiful and interesting and the route is varied and well thought out.
This was an excellent holiday through lovely countryside. The route was hillier than we had expected for a 1+ bike rating but the day mileages were short so it evened out. For those of us aged over 70 and with a temperature of 33C, the climb out of Caromb on Day 4 was indeed memorable! But there were some lovely long descents to compensate.
We had no problems finding coffee and lunch stops as there were lots of bars and cafes en route, even on Sundays and Mondays.
Accommodation was mixed, as always with Headwater, but every hotel had its excellent upsides.
We spent two extra days in Vaison and took the bus into Orange on one of them to see the splendid Roman theatre there. 10:03 from the top of the road beyond Tourist Info, the journey takes an hour and there are buses back at 16:15, 17:15 and 18:15.
Wonderful holiday in a beautiful region with an excellent and charming rep. Marred by the anxiety for me (Jane) over the working of the new app, battery running out before reaching the destination and the lack of good and accurate back up directions. The apps need a bit of tweaking but will be good. Attachment to bikes need to be stronger and visible in strong sunlight.
French showers were hand held and in bath and not very good. The towels provided were all of very poor quality. This was the same in all our hotels, therefore it must not be high priority to French citizens. Otherwise hotel standards were excellent. Sadly age was against us in relation to the use of Ride with GPS. Of the four of us, one had a garmin which did not give him satisfactory results, one had nothing, I had a smart phone which seemed to have a will of it's own as far as working was concerned. Very occasionally it was excellent and made all the difference to the quality of my ride, Sometimes it started off OK and then became silent, usually it was hopeless and I finished by not using it at all. BUT, I am not good with modern technology and may have to take at least some of the blame for this. Our fourth member could usually, but not always, get the verbal instructions, so we mainly followed her. When she failed us we found the written text not entirely accurate. Our grandchildren would have managed without question, but at our age it was a challenge that at times threatened our enjoyment. Certainly when it worked it was wonderful, but that made it all the more annoying the rest of the time.
An excellent and varied exploration of the Vaucluse region of Provence, with opportunites to visit ancient Roman ruins, mediaeval villages and legendary Cotes-du-Rhone vineyards.
Really enjoyed the holiday and out rep Mark was extremely pleasant and helpful. As we were 4 ladies we had requested twin rooms and this was confirmed by Headwater. However this was not the case in three of the hotels which provided double beds with single duvets. This was a 1+ cycle and we had elected for electric bikes which proved to be the right choice.
A good concept for a cycling holiday and overall, a lovely and enjoyable time. Fabulous scenery and well selected routes to follow.
Despite being of the same modest grading as our two previous HW cycling holidays, this was significantly harder, because of the heat (over 34 degrees) and some long uphill stretches, especially on the Lafare-Vaison day. However, it was worth it for the lovely scenery, the downhill bits, and the hotels, two of which had lovely pools, and some excellent food, especially at Hotel Montmirail (if only it had air-con as well!) and at La Dame d'Oie at Pernes. Plenty of opportunities to sample the Provence Rose, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise and Gigondas wines. The archaeological sites and mediaeval town at Vaison la Romaine are well worth the 'rest' day.
Takes you on new journeys
Hilltop villages of Provence
This was an excellent holiday, lovely scenery and good hotels and we had a lot of fun. Days 1 and 3 are quite challenging and justify the 2 bike plus rating but the other days are not overly taxing, and there is no shame in pushing your bike up the hill into Gordes! If you start the cycling bit of this holiday on a Sunday there is an excellent market in Isles sur la Sorgue where you can get picnic supplies...although pushing the bike through the packed town was a bit challenging.(I would give this holiday 5 stars)
Vineyards of the Vaucluse
Pleasant cycling through some enjoyable countryside, and lots of good wine! Le Grand Jardin is one of the loveliest places we have stayed. The food at Castel Mireio was delicious and the service (unlike a previous reviewer we didn't find it slow) and welcome very friendly. We are not quite sure it merits anything higher than a one bike rating - some of the distances for full days cycling were a bit short (but we had done 'Hilltop Villages of Provence' the week before so this may have coloured our view). It is not a very touristy area (apart from Vaison la Romain) so many places you visit are quite quiet.
(I would give this holiday 3 stars)
A wonderful taste of Provencal scenery, wine and food!
This holiday is as described. Cycling more difficult at start but definitely got easier. The hotels tended to be on the edge of villages but this didn't matter too much as they had lovely swimming pools and the weather was very hot and sunny.
Superb cycling location with generally very quiet roads, beautiful countryside and pretty villages perched on hilltops. The reps were really helpful in every way and we enjoyed our time with them. Whilst staying at the Hermitage hotel we ate in the local town at the restaurant - Dame L'Oie which was superb. At Vaison la Romaine we ate at La Barantavelle which was a wonderful meal and far superior to the alternative restaurant in the Old Town. The most disappointing was Castel Mirei as although the owners were very helpful, both breakfasts and evening meals were very poor with extremely slow service and the room was very 'tired' with traffic noise from a side road interrupting any peace. There is however a decent sized pool and small cool sitting room with cold drinks to purchase which were very welcome.
The cycling instructions were generally easy to follow though we would welcome more distances being included between turning points and perhaps a small trip metre on the bike which we have had on other holidays with one of Headwater' s competitors.
Dear Mrs Ramsden,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. Please be assured, all of the feedback we receive is valued and used to help enhance our holidays for the future.
It sounds from your feedback that you had an enjoyable holiday and made the most of your time in this region. We were pleased to see you found the service provided by our reps useful and enjoyed spending your time with them.
We were however sorry to read of your disappointment with Castel Mirei, whilst we agree there are a number of great features to this accommodation, we have taken the decision to replace this hotel for the 2017 season.
We are also making some exciting changes to the way we produce our route notes.
Over the past couple of summers, we have received many requests to make the notes electronic and downloadable so customers can use them on their smart phone or tablet device. We are going to trial this in the cycling resorts that feature experienced Headwater reps, and for all of our new cycling holidays. Then once we gain feedback, we plan to roll this out to other resorts for future seasons.
We will, of course still provide hard copy notes for any customers that prefer this style and for our non-rep regions.
We hope you will agree, these changes will help to continue to enhance this holidays for the future.
In closing, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued loyalty, we look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
Headwaters choice of hotels / restaurants resulted in us having some superb meals.
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 8 nights.
All continental breakfasts and 6 evening meals
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £202 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
It is possible to hire tandem bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £185 per bike. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:19, 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 Vineyards of Vaucluse Cycling. 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.