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Landscapes of the Luberon Cycling

from $2,799.00

The picturesque, perched villages of Provence offer stirring images along with a history which, in some places, stretches back over a thousand years. On this 8 night holiday you’ll discover vineyards, olive groves, monasteries, chateaux and caves along with the region’s famous Ochre Trail and, of course, the lavender which scents the summer air.

  • Reviews 14 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Landscapes of the Luberon Cycling.

This eight night holiday offers you a truly Provencal experience, taking in the lush countryside and mountain landscapes of beautiful Provence – the inspiration for many an artist and author, including Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso. Your cycle route explores the region’s mediaeval towns and charming perched villages such as Gordes and Bonnieux, along with sprawling vineyards, curious caves and castle ruins, all against a vibrant backdrop of colour – think rich ochre, delicate lavender and even white cherry blossom in spring. With a number of small wine producers dotted along your route, you can stop and taste some of the region’s local wine in between cycles.
Your week starts in the medieval town of Pernes-les-Fontaines, before taking you past pretty L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, at the foot of the Vaucluse plateau. 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. You then move on to the town of Fontaine-de- Vaucluse, overlooked by crumbling castle ruins and home to the source of the River Sorgue. After following the Ochre Trail to explore the narrow streets and pastel-painted houses of mediaeval Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, overlooked by sprawling castle remains and two C17 windmills, you freewheel down to the mediaeval town of Apt at the centre of the Luberon National Park. A greenway then leads you along the middle of the valley with views up to the famous perched villages of Bonnieux and Lacoste, and on through to sleepy Maubec.. Your week ends with a possible visit to Thouzon’s impressive caves, carved by an underground river, before you head home from Pernes-les-Fontaines.
You stay in a wonderful mix of hotels this week. Hotel l’Hermitage offers a relaxing stay in a C19 manor house with lovely grounds and a swimming pool; Mas de la Senancole in Les Imberts is your next stop, offering Provencal-style rooms, a heated outdoor pool and a spa with sauna, hot tub and massage room; your home in Apt is the y Hotel Sainte Anne, a small family-run hotel just across the river from the old town.

 

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • 8 nights accommodation, hotel-to-hotel
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • GPS Route notes and maps provided
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality bike rental
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Tandems available (inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Ride along country lanes and greenways in tranquil, unspoiled countryside
  • Taste the local wines
  • Visit medieval towns and castles
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Pernes-les-Fontaines

    Arrive at your 3-star hotel in Pernes-les-Fontaines. Relax with a dip in the pool or explore the grounds before dinner. (Staying at Hotel l’Hermitage, Dinner at a local restaurant)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Pernes-les-Fontaines to Les Imberts 30km/19mi or 35km/22mi

    Cycle alongside the Canal de Carpentras, before heading, via quiet country lanes and verdant vineyards, towards the ’island city’ of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, surrounded by the clear waters of the River Sorgue. This popular town offers many riverside cafes and is a great place to stop for lunch before heading on to the charming, mediaeval village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Visit the largest spring in France, or potter around the handful of quaint shops and cafes, before ascending to your first, stunning view across the Luberon Valley. You then descend, amidst vineyards and olive groves, to the village of Les Imberts, just below the famous perched village of Gordes. (Staying at Mas de la Senancole, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 At Les Imberts (Optional) 9km/6mi

    Walk or cycle to the famous, mediaeval perched village of Gordes today, to experience one of the best views there is over the Luberon – a patchwork of open plains, sprawling vineyards and olive groves. Explore the village and its castle and perhaps take a taxi (payable locally) up to the beautiful l’Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque. Guided tours are available in the afternoon, or pay an early morning visit for the chance to explore at your leisure. (Staying at Mas de la Senancole, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Les Imberts to Apt 33km/21mi or 37km/23.5mi

    After breakfast, set out through the tranquil countryside and make the short climb up to Roussillon and the start of the Ochre Trail. Enjoy the views, and perhaps a morning coffee, before pedalling on to Gargas to visit the vast Ochre Mines of Bruoux, and enjoy a spot of lunch. You’ll then follow quiet lanes past vineyards – perhaps stopping to taste and purchase some of the local wines – up to the perched village of Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, before freewheeling down to the mediaeval town of Apt, famous for its crystallised fruits and traditional pottery. (Staying at Hotel Sainte Anne, Breakfast only)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 At Apt

    Today explore Apt’s old town, wandering along the narrow alleyways to the ancient Cathedral of Ste Anne, which has its origins in Roman times (the lower crypt dates back to AD 1). In addition to the town’s museums and the Maison du Parc du Luberon, there are also plenty of shops, cafes and colourful Saturday and Tuesday markets selling a range of locally grown produce and traditional Provencal arts crafts. (Staying at Hotel Sainte Anne, Breakfast only)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Apt to Maubec 36km/22.5mi

    This morning your route follows a greenway (once an old railway track) alongside the River Calavon before crossing the Pont Julien, a stone bridge built in Roman times and an excellent picnic spot. Leave the greenway then to follow quiet lanes to the wonderful village of Bonnieux, passing Chateau la Connorgue en-route (made famous by Ridley Scott’s film A Good Year starring Russell Crowe), where you can stop for a tasting. From the village you then head on through the centre of the Luberon with views up to the perched villages of Lacoste and Bonnieux, as you wind your way to Maubec and your hotel. (Staying at La Bastide du Bois Breant, Breakfast included)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 At Maubec (optional 26km/16.5mi)

    Options today include circular rides to the pretty villages of Lagnes, Taillades and Robion. Alternatively, take a taxi ride (payable locally) to explore historical Saint-Remy-de-Provence to visit the old town, impressive Roman site of Glanum and the monastery of Saint Paul de Mausole where van Gogh lived during the period of such eternal masterpieces as The Starry Night. (Staying at La Bastide du Bois Breant, Breakfast included)

  8. Day 8 Day 6 Maubec to Pernes-les-Fontaines 38km/24mi

    This morning you’ll cycle past apple orchards to the small, mediaeval town of Le Thor on the banks of the River Sorgue before continuing to the hilltop town of Thouzon. Visit Castle Thouzon (an ancient fortified monastery) and explore Les Grottes de Thouzon, a 320m-long cave carved out by an underground river over 60 million years ago. After lunch, continue on to Pernes-les-Fontaines where you’ll have time to explore the mediaeval old town and the numerous ancient stone fountains. (Staying at Hotel l’Hermitage, Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 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.

c08pl_2018_map
Where you stay
Hotel l’Hermitage
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.
Mas de la Senancole
Located in Les Imberts, just a few kilometres from the famous perched village of Gordes, with its mediaeval castle, and the Village des Bories open-air museum, is the Mas de la Senancole. Along with a garden and a heated outdoor pool, the property also offers guests a spa featuring a sauna, hot tub and massage room. Each room is decorated in the Provencal style and features air conditioning, tv and a minibar, some also have an outdoor seating area. Next door is the hotel’s restaurant L’Estellan which serves regional dishes with a contemporary twist.
Hotel Sainte Anne
Ideally situated in a former C19 townhouse, quietly tucked away next to the old town in the authentic Place Faubourg du Ballet, is the Hotel Sainte Anne. This cosy hotel features just 7 comfortable, personalised rooms and the top floor overlooks the rooftops of the old city just across the river. Breakfast features home made breads and jams as well as fresh fruits and yoghurts. The hotel does not offer evening meals but as there are so many local restaurants to choose from, we have left your evening meal free.
La Bastide du Bois Breant
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.
Hotel l’Hermitage
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.
Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 4 dinners are included.

Provençale cuisine is a blend of many influences from the plentiful sea, to neighbour Italy and the early Roman occupation. The soil is rich and the climate is conducive to producing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.

Whilst not the most sophisticated of the French cuisines, most dishes use the excellent tasting local fresh produce. Cooking à la Provençale uses local olive oil, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and wild herbs, all ripened by the sun to give an intensity of flavour. You can browse among the colours and smells, and make picnic purchases at the lively local markets.

Your week starts in the mediaeval town of Pernes-les-Fontaines, before taking you past pretty L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, at the foot of the Vaucluse Plateau. 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. You then move on to the town of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, overlooked by crumbling castle ruins and home to the source of the River Sorgue. After following the Ochre Trail to explore the narrow streets and pastel-painted houses of mediaeval Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, overlooked by sprawling castle remains and two 17th Century windmills, you freewheel down to the mediaeval town of Apt at the centre of the Luberon National Park. A greenway then leads you along the middle of the valley with views up to the famous perched villages of Bonnieux and Lacoste, and on through sleepy Maubec to Cavaillon. Your week ends with a possible visit to Thouzon’s impressive caves, carved by an underground river, before you head home from Pernes-les-Fontaines.

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 34km (21.5 miles).
No. of days cycling: 6 (including 2 optional rides)
Terrain and route: The majority of the route is on quiet country roads, although there are some short sections on busier roads. There is also some cycling along a dedicated cycle greenway.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 08/10/2019
5/5

Mrs Johnson

This was a well organised tour taking in some pretty hilltop villages. We have done several Headwater holidays, but think that this was our first '2 bike '. It was quite demanding and many locals had electric bikes, but the hills are manageable. Les Imberts is a very small place, but the suggested trip to Gordes is well worth it, but we took an easier, but longer route there to avoid the main road. We found Apt to be rather uninspiring for a 2 night stay, We looked on Trip Advisor and found a couple of good local restaurants, but there was little to do during the day. Instead we cycled to the small town of Cereste along a cycle route- but it was a demanding ride. Our last hotel on the route was very picturesque and the welcome was the best we had, but we would have liked some choice at dinner especially as they hadn't noted the dietary preferences we have noted with Headwater ( luckily I had a good lunch that day). La Pernes de la Fontaines is a very pleasant town.

We started our holiday with a night in Avignon and would recommend thi. Our guide Joey ontacted us the night before and made excellent recommendations for our morning in Avignon. The week we stayed was a busy one for Joey ( he could have done with some help), but his cheerfulness and enthusiasm were most welcome.

We would recommend this holiday.

Reviewed On 30/09/2019
5/5

Mr Chandler

Good all round, except a cycling itinerary for the rest day at Apt would have been very welcome. The hotel at Apr lacked a Headwater blue book. The manager / owner did not seem to know about them.

Reviewed On 26/09/2019
4/5

Mr Makin

Good hotels, good food, pity about the quality of the electric bikes.

Reviewed On 26/11/2018

Ms Farlow

Barry and I throughly enjoyed our experience in Provence cycling with Headwater. The only difficul thing was to get a good cup of coffee!

Reviewed On 26/11/2018
5/5

Mr Pover

Our cycling holiday in the Luberon was typical Headwater style. Friendly rustic hotels, minor road routes, places to visit, great scenery and great local food and wine. Other cyclists on the same route were great company when we bumped into them.

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