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Headwater – Wine Villages of Provence Self-Guided Cycling

from $2,415.00

Explore the eastern side of the Vaucluse, with its colorful Medieval villages, eclectic markets and good local wines.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
All about the Headwater – Wine Villages of Provence Self-Guided Cycling.

With a history dating back to Roman times, today the Vaucluse is a patchwork of vineyards punctuated by olive groves and watched over by the silent majesty of Mt Ventoux – a Mecca for cyclists who come to challenge themselves in emulation of their Tour de France heroes. Our gentle 6 night cycling holiday, however, offers you a much more relaxed way to take in this fabulous region, one of the most fertile plains in southern France and home to such wine appellations as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and, further afield, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It’s also home to the Ventoux appellation which, although not as well-known as its cousins from the Rhone Valley, offers some fantastic wines at equally impressive prices.

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.

* 7 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodations

All continental breakfasts and 6 evening meals
* Headwater wine service
* Route notes and maps
* High quality bikes (optional electric bikes)
* Luggage transfers between hotels

Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (at designated place and time)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Gentle cycling between the vineyards of the Cotes-du-Rhone and Ventoux appellations
  • Colorful Medieval towns and villages; eclectic markets; good local wines with plenty of tasting opportunities
  • Quiet lanes and tranquil countryside at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail
  • Lively Bedoin, gateway to the incredible Mt Ventoux
  • Wonderful family-run hotels.
  • Based on our popular 6 night, Cotes du Ventoux Cycling
  1. Day 1 Arrive in Avignon

    After checking into the Hotel Bristol, you have free time to discover all that Avignon has to offer and choose a restaurant for dinner (pay locally). *Staying at Hotel Bristol.*

  2. Day 2 AVIGNON TO PERNES-LES-FONTAINES

    */Option: 1/*Visit the famous Palais des Papes and admire the view from the Pont d’Avignon. In the afternoon, we take you to Pernes-les-Fontaines *Staying at Hotel l’Hermitage, Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant* */Option: 2/*/https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/styles/panopoly_image_original… alt=”” width=”127” height=”38” class=”media-element file-default panopoly-image-original” data-delta=”1”>/

  3. Day 3 PERNES-LES-FONTAINES TO VACQUEYRAS

    Setting out from Pernes-les-Fontaines you immediately find yourself surrounded by a sea of swaying vines and spectacular views of the ’Giant of Provence’, Mt Ventoux, and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Heading towards the mountains takes you around Carpentras into the sleepy village of Loriol-du-Comtat. It’s then on to Aubignan, a small market town with ramparts dating back to the C14 and a pretty old quarter to explore – it’s a perfect lunch spot. In the afternoon you’ll come to the wine village of Vacqueyras, home to one of the Southern Rhone’s bigger names, and from here make the short climb up to your beautiful hotel in Les Dentelles. *Staying at Hotel Montmirail*

  4. Day 4 AT VACQUEYRAS (OPTIONAL) 

    Today you are spoiled for choice. You can cycle through the Vacqueyras vineyards to the village of Gigondas, famous for its ruby-red wine, where you’ll find masses of tasting opportunities (you can also visit Gigondas on foot by taking a leisurely stroll through the stunning Dentelles de Montmirail). Alternatively you could take a taxi to explore Orange with its famous UNESCO Roman amphitheatre and cathedral or to Chateauneuf du Pape for the world-famous vineyards there. However, if that all sounds too much you can simply relax by the pool and take in the wonderful Provencal ambiance.*Staying at Hotel Montmirail.** *

  5. Day 5 VACQUEYRAS TO MAZAN 

    Today you leave Les Dentelles behind as you head for the village of Beaumes-de-Venise with its muscat wines and olive oil museum. Then it’s a gentle ride along quiet lanes, past olive groves at the foot of Mt Ventoux, to the ancient, fortified village of Caromb. Home to an impressive church, a C16 watchtower and 14 fountains, it makes a nice option for lunch. With Mt Ventoux at your back now, head south through the vineyards to the mediaeval village of Mazan with its church wall made up of more than 60 Roman sarcophagi. Your home for the next two nights is the country chic C18 Chateau de Mazan. *Staying at Chateau de Mazan*

  6. Day 6 AT MAZAN

    After breakfast take a ride to 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 Mt Ventoux for more hardy cyclists seeking a challenge! From there 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. Then it’s back to Mazan, either to explore the village or relax by the pool before dinner. *Staying at Chateau de Mazan*

  7. Day 7 MAZAN TO PERNES-LES-FONTAINES

    This morning follow empty lanes and vineyard tracks to Malemort-du-Comtat before coming to the foot of the hill on which the wonderful mediaeval village of Venasque sits perched, still surrounded by the remains of its ramparts and three Saracen towers. Listed as one of the ’Most Beautiful Villages of France’, there is also a lovely C11 baptistery right in the heart of the village. Heading back down leads you to the popular village of St-Didier with its great variety of lunch options. It’s then a fairly short distance to the old town of Pernes-les- Fontaines where you should have time to explore before heading back to your hotel for a swim in the pool before dinner. *Staying at Hotel l’Hermitage. Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant.*

  8. Day 8 LEAVE PERNES-LES-FONTAINES

    LEAVE PERNES-LES-FONTAINES

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Where you stay

Hotels

We’ve hand-picked a great mix of hotels for you, each with a swimming pool and each offering fine Provencal cuisine and cellars full of local wine. In Pernes-les-Fontaines you stay in a C19 stately manor house surrounded by landscaped gardens; in Montmirail your hotel is a C17 villa tucked between vineyards and olive groves; then in Mazan you stay in a C18 chateau, the former home of the Marquis de Sade.

 

Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and evening meals included.

While 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.The proximity of the sea makes fish and seafood an important element of the local cuisine. Regional dishes include the famous bouillabaisse, a rich fish stew served with aioli and rouille; the bourride – a lighter version of the bouillabaisse; pistou soupe (summer vegetable soup with a blend of garlic, basil and olive oil); authentic ratatouille, large colourful salads an delicious courgette flower fritters. Tapenade and anchoïade are savoury dips made with local olives and anchovies; pissaladière is an onion tart with olives and anchovies and is very likely to have come from the Romans.

Making wine, particularly rosé, has been Provence’s specialty for a long time. The grapes and soil throughout the region vary a lot, but the hot, sunny and dry climate is ideal for the local wines. The local red grape varieties are used because they cope well with strong sun exposure and poor soils: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Tibouren and Calitor. The rosés are made out of the same varieties but the musts only macerate for a few hours so the fruits’ skin don’t darken the juice or release too many tannins.

Your route takes you along quiet country lanes across plains and gentle foothills, with breath-taking views of Mt Ventoux acting as your backdrop for the week. Highlights include C12 Vacqueyras, which lies in close proximity to the major names of the Southern Rhone as well as Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine with their UNESCO listed Roman World Heritage sites, and Beaumes-de-Venise, famous for its Muscat wine! From Mazan, birthplace of the Festival de Provence, you can head off to the lively village of Bedoin at the foot of ‘The Giant of Provence’, then on to sample a bespoke picnic and wine pairing in the grounds of Chateau Pesquie. On your way back you have the option to visit the perched village of Venasque before coming to Pernes-les-Fontaines with its delightful old town and over 40 ancient stone fountains.

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 25km (15.8 miles).
No. of days cycling: 5 (including 1 optional ride)

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.

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.

Overall Rating
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