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Provence Discovery

Picturesque villages of the south
 
It’s the combination of self-guided walking, cycling and sightseeing that makes this holiday so special. That, and the iconic hill-top villages and delicious Provençal cuisine you’ll discover en route. Luggage transfers are provided between hotels – all three of which have outdoor pools.
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Holiday information

 

A walking & cycling holiday in Provence

Provence has long been renowned for its picturesque villages perchés – the pretty, hill-top settlements characterised by their medieval castles, timeless, twisting alleyways and lush surrounds of olive groves, vineyards and cherry orchards. Each claims to be the most beautiful, and several have very good reason: Gordes, in particular, is magnificent – its cluster of handsome stone buildings sitting high on a rocky perch; while the ochre-hued houses of Roussillon and breathtaking views of Bonnieux are similarly striking.
One of the highlights of our 6-night walking and cycling holiday in Provence is the opportunity to explore so many of these iconic villages, and to do so in a variety of ways. As you cycle self-guided between your three high-quality hotels – each of which boasts an outdoor swimming pool – you will be rewarded with wonderful views: of the villages themselves as well as glimpses of the snow-capped Alpine peaks in the distance. Our circular walking routes provide an enjoyable contrast, as well as a closer, more detailed insight into the villages’ historic charms.

Food is another hugely important aspect of the region, with fresh, seasonal produce such as olive oils, tomatoes and garlic on sale at many a local market and featuring in numerous local dishes. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample this delicious fare: perhaps as part of a leisurely lunchtime picnic or a relaxing dinner at a local restaurant – the perfect way to round off a full day of Provençal discovery.
 
Gallery
 

E-bikes recommended

Our suggested cycling routes visit many beautiful hill-top villages; we highly recommended hiring e-bikes to help with the climbs. Please see the pricing section for further details.
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    The lavender blooms in late June/early July.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 10 12 15 18 22 26 30 29 25 20 14 11
    mm 60 64 55 53 52 38 22 47 71 114 67 62
  • Arrival in Roussillon
    Night 1: at Hotel Les Sables d’Ocre (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of exploration.
  • Choice of routes from Roussillon: 16km walk or 31.5km-49.5km cycle

    Circular walk via Lioux: 16km, 5.5hrs
    This superb introductory circuit leads you across an agricultural plain to reach the hamlet of Lioux with its spectacular bleached cliffs and fine views. Your route then climbs the dramatic cliff of Falaise de la Madeleine to descend to the plain on the other side and wind its way back to Roussillon. Before returning to your hotel, you may like to explore the ochre mines nearby; their startling array of colours are perhaps best appreciated by walking along the sentier des ocres trail (pay locally).

    Circular cycling route via Apt: 49.5km; shorter option: 31.5km
    Our introductory cycling circuit leads you east from Roussillon on small back roads through cherry orchards and vines. You pass – and can visit – the Bruoux mines: an otherworldly labyrinth of 40 kilometres of ochre mines dating from the mid-20th century, with cathedral-like galleries that soar 15 metres high. You then continue to the town of Apt in the Calavon valley, the world capital of fruits confits (candied fruit). From here, you can take a shortcut to loop back to Roussillon, or pedal eastwards to Rustrel. This sleepy village is set above one of the largest ochre deposits in the world, often referred to as the Colorado Provençal for its brightly coloured earth and chaotically shaped cliff formations. Return to Roussillon via the authentic village of Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt.
    Circular walk via Lioux and the ochre mines: 16km
    Explore the ochre mines
    En route from Roussillon to Rustrel
    Circular cycle via Apt: 49.5km
  • Cycle from Roussillon to Coustellet: 35km; easier option: 34km
    Leaving the bright hues of Roussillon behind, you cycle on to Gordes. Out of all the spectacular medieval hill-top villages of the Luberon, this is perhaps the most jaw-dropping: its golden-grey stone buildings rise almost improbably from the Calavon valley, spiralling in concentric circles up to a Renaissance castle. Take time to explore the narrow, cobbled streets and hidden lanes lined by old stone walls and centuries-old dry-stone huts, then begin your ascent to the lost village of Goult, boasting a stunning limestone castle and timeless medieval streets (a shorter route omitting the climb to Goult is also available). Once you reach the valley, you follow a specially designated cycle lane, set atop a former railway line. This leads you past a fifth-generation candied-fruit maker and to Hotel Les Oliviers in the village of Coustellet, your base for the next two nights.
    Roussillon to Coustellet: 35km
    Cycle via Gordes
  • Choice of routes from Coustellet: 24.5km walk/cycle or 34-46km cycle

    Cycle from Coustellet to Gordes: 7.5km each way; circular walking route from Gordes: 9.5km, 3.5hrs
    Today we highly recommend returning by bike to Gordes, from where you can enjoy a beautiful circular walk into the surrounding countryside. To maximise your time on foot, we suggest taking the most direct cycling route between Coustellet and Gordes, which is along a slightly busier road than we would usually choose. It’s very much worth it, though – your walking route leads you via the picturesque Abbaye de Sénanque, which stands in a truly delightful and peaceful setting, surrounded by lavender fields. The abbey was founded in 1148 and is still home to an Order of Cistercian monks who produce honey, lavender essence and a variety of liqueurs.

    Circular cycling route via the Luberon mountains: 46km; easier option: 34km
    Another excellent option is to cycle south from Coustellet towards the villages perchés of the Luberon mountains. After a short but steep climb you reach Oppède-le-Vieux, where medieval homes nestle tightly above the ramparts, and ancient cobbled streets lead up to a 12th-century church. Two quaint bistros sit below the village, inviting you for a petite pause café. Country lanes meander on from here through orchards and truffle-oak plantations to reach three more hill-top villages, all well worth a visit. First is Ménerbes, its streets hanging precariously above the valley, and listed among the most beautiful villages in France. Next is Lacoste, with vaulted stone archways, tiny medieval streets and the ruins of a castle belonging to the infamous Marquis de Sade. And last but not least Bonnieux, where the views from the ancient church extend to the entire valley (the name Bonnieux comes from the French words bon (good) and oeil (eye)). You return to Coustellet via the dedicated cycle path along the valley.
    Circular walk from Gordes: 9.5km
    Sénanque Abbey
    Around Coustellet
    Circular cycle via the Luberon mountains: 46km
  • Cycle from Coustellet to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse: 20km
    Today, you leave Coustellet behind to explore the lesser-known villages of Maubec and Robion, both set on the jagged, western edge of the Luberon mountains. Pedal past gorgeous stone villas and gardens before making the short climb between the villages of Cabrières and Lagnes, aiming for a viewpoint from where you can enjoy a short walk to the ruins of Le Mur de la Peste. Literally translated as the ‘plague wall’, this 27-kilometre dry-stone wall was built in 1720 to ward off the plague that arrived via Marseille. A winding descent then brings you to the village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and its pure, emerald waters; today’s route is deliberately short to give you plenty of time to explore this lovely village, where you spend two nights at the Hotel du Poète, set right alongside the soothing waters of the Sorgue river.
    Coustellet to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse: 20km
    En route to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
  • Choice of routes from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse: 13km walk or 35.5km-48.5km cycle

    Circular walking route via Saumane: 13km, 5hrs
    This final walking option is a varied circuit through the wooded garrigues (limestone hills), passing the imposing fortified château at Saumane de Vaucluse. It sits above the small village of Saumane, set on a rocky perch in a sea of green forested hills. The houses merge with the cliffs, trees, shrubs and flowers adding to the natural feel of the place. Return to the hotel to relax on its tranquil terrace by the river and small swimming pool.

    Circular cycling route via Vénasque: 48.5km; shorter option: 35.5km
    This two-wheeled option takes you to the little-known villages on the northern slopes of the Vaucluse Mountains. Passing through cherry orchards, you cycle high above the plains to the tiny Provençal villages of La Roque-sur-Pernes and Le Beaucet, both completely lost in time and as far off the beaten track as you can hope to get. Continue north to the village perché of Vénasque, where the Romanesque church harbours a baptistery from the 6th century – one of the oldest religious monuments in Provence. You then freewheel down to the plains, passing the villages of Saint-Didier (and its famed nougat factory!), and then Pernes-les-Fontaines, its pretty medieval streets sprinkled with beautifully sculpted fountains, before eventually returning to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.
    We also provide notes for a slightly abridged version of this route, heading directly from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse to Pernes-les-Fontaines.
    Circular walk via Saumane: 13km
    Relax on the terrace at Hotel du Poète
    The cherry orchards of Vénasque
    Circular cycle via Vénasque: 48.5km
 

Accommodation

You stay in three charming small hotels, each with a swimming pool.
 
Prices & travel options
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  • 6 nights: 01 April 2020 - 30 June 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2020 £1145 £430
    1 - 21 May 2020 £1195 £460
    22 May - 24 Jun 2020 £1230 £475
    1 - 30 Sep 2020 £1230 £475
    1 - 25 Oct 2020 £1195 £460
    3rd & 4th person discount -£60
    Single traveller supplement £60

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    DEDUCT £40pp if staying at Hotel Les Oliviers on a Sunday (hotel restaurant closed).

    Electric bikes recommended: add £70 per person

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    6 nights: 01 April 2020 - 30 June 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2020 £1465 £430
    1 - 21 May 2020 £1510 £460
    22 May - 24 Jun 2020 £1545 £475
    1 - 30 Sep 2020 £1545 £475
    1 - 25 Oct 2020 £1510 £460
    3rd & 4th person discount -£140
    Single traveller supplement £40

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    DEDUCT £40pp if staying at Hotel Les Oliviers on a Sunday (hotel restaurant closed).

    Electric bikes recommended: add £70 per person

    Included travel: UK–Avignon (Eurostar direct or Eurostar/TGV via Paris) approx. duration out 6h/home 7h & taxi transfer (out 1h/home 1h30).
    > More about 'by rail' prices
    > The 'rail experience': what to expect

    If you book your holiday less than 6 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the same services at a supplement.

    6 nights: 01 April 2020 - 30 June 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2020 £1260 £430
    1 - 21 May 2020 £1295 £460
    22 May - 24 Jun 2020 £1340 £475
    1 - 30 Sep 2020 £1340 £475
    1 - 25 Oct 2020 £1295 £460
    3rd & 4th person discount -£155
    Single traveller supplement £155

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    DEDUCT £40pp if staying at Hotel Les Oliviers on a Sunday (hotel restaurant closed).

    > More information about travelling self-drive

    Electric bikes recommended: add £70 per person

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outward travel on 3-5 & 10-12 April 2020, and for homeward travel on 12-13 April 2020. A supplement of £47 per car per single journey applies outward on Fridays & Saturdays 22-23 May & 10 July-15 August 2020 and homeward on Saturdays & Sundays 30-31 May & 18 July-30 August 2020.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel du Poète, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
    'Mélodie': 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2020 £30
    'Mélodie': 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £30

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike. If you are upgrading to an e-bike, add a further £10pp per day.
    Hotel du Poète, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2020 £116 £190
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £116 £190
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Marseille
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Marseille easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Marseille Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Marseille easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Humberside - Marseille (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Marseille easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Marseille British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Marseille easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Marseille Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Marseille Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Marseille easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Manchester - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Marseille

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Marseille Vitrolles to Cavaillon (1h), taxi Cavaillon to hotel (0h20) £41 1500
    direct taxi Marseille airport to hotel (1h30) £84 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Cavaillon (0h30), rail Cavaillon to Marseille Vitrolles (1h) £34 1330 Mon-Fri (1230 Sat-Sun)
    direct taxi hotel to Marseille airport (1h30) £82 flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 5 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
 
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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a hybrid bike with 23 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; panniers/saddlebags; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock.
  • While we would always recommend that you take your own well-fitting helmet, they can be hired locally for a small fee. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hire a helmet.
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes.)
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • You do need to make sure you’re covered, because it’s you who is responsible for any damage to or loss of the bike during the holiday. You should always lock it (preferably to an immovable object) and remove any easy-to-steal accessories when leaving it unattended. The travel insurance policy that we offer covers you for loss and damage (provided you’ve locked or stored it appropriately). If you are arranging your own insurance, but it doesn’t cover bikes, we can provide bike-only cover. See the FAQs section of the main cycling holidays page for more details.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our travel insurance policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your alternative policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/before-you-travel and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC). You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them when the UK withdraws from the European Union (EU).

    It currently seems highly likely the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will take place on 31 January 2020, at which point the UK will enter a minimum 11-month transition period through to the end of December 2020. During this transition period there will be absolutely no changes to current arrangements for UK citizens travelling to an EU destination, so you can book your 2020 holiday certain that there will be no disruptions or complications caused by Brexit.
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 4/1/2020 3:53:22 PM