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Villages & Valleys of Provence

Provence’s colourful medieval villages
 
Colourful landscapes and fascinating hill-top villages provide the perfect backdrop for self-guided cycling, with luggage transfers. Let the French terroir  – embodied in the olive oils, truffles and wines – tantalise your senses and visit the famed food market and antiques shops in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Villages & Valleys of Provence. 6 nights
Villages & Valleys of Provence. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday in Provence

There’s a reason A Year in Provence  author Peter Mayle chose to settle in the Luberon: in a country of magnificent regions and picturesque villages perchés, Provence’s Luberon mountains arguably take top prize. Colourful hillsides of vines, cherry orchards, olive groves and truffle-oak plantations are dotted with a never-ending supply of proud and defiant medieval villages, each perched high above the plains and worthy of lengthy exploration.
These historic villages are connected by small country lanes, making the bicycle the perfect way to get around. Visit Gordes with its ancient homes perched dizzyingly high atop the valley; wonder at Roussillon and its colourful buildings in every hue from pale yellow to deep red; explore Lacoste and the ruins of a castle once owned by the notorious Marquis de Sade; and test out the mysterious and mystical powers of the spring at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Then, at the holiday’s end, make your way towards Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, home to one of France’s most renowned weekly markets, and the uncontested antiques capital of Provence.
 
Gallery
 

Inclusive value

We include electric bikes for this grade 2 holiday. 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 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 cycling.
  • Circular route from Roussillon: 49.5km; shorter option: 31.5km
    Our introductory 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.
    Near Rustrel
    Circular route from Roussillon: 49.5km
    Circular route from Roussillon shorter option: 31.5km
  • 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 cosy village of Coustellet, your base for the next two nights.
    Gordes, which you pass en route from Roussillon to Coustellet
    Roussillon to Coustellet: 35km
    Roussillon to Coustellet easier option: 34km
  • Circular route from Coustellet: 46km; easier option: 34km
    We suggest heading south 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.
    Near Coustellet
    Circular route from Coustellet: 46km
    Circular route from Coustellet easier option: 34km
  • 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, the depth of which remains a mystery even today. Here 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
    Coustellet to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
  • Choice of routes from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse: 18.5km to 48.5km

    Circular route from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse via Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: 18.5km
    Beyond Fontaine-de-Vaucluse the plains begin, and the vines and truffle oaks give way to pear and apple orchards. Seldom-used lanes criss-cross these to lead you to the town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a veritable island surrounded by the clear waters of the Sorgue river. The picturesque quays here are lined with cafés and restaurants, while ancient waterwheels sit in the cold waters (12-13°C all year round!). The renowned Sunday market stalls fill the entire town centre, while the famous antique shops attract visitors from all over the world.

    Circular route from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse via Vénasque: 48.5km; shorter option: 35.5km
    This second 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 route from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse via Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: 18.5km
    Circular route from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse via Vénasque: 48.5km
    Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
    Circular route from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse via Vénasque shorter option: 35.5km
 

Accommodation

You stay in three charming small hotels.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 6 nights: 01 April - 30 June 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 April £1145 £415
    1 - 23 May £1185 £440
    24 May - 24 June £1220 £450
    1 - 30 September £1220 £450
    1 - 25 October £1185 £440
    3rd & 4th person discount -£85
    Single traveller supplement £85

    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.

    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 - 30 June 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 April £1410 £415
    1 - 23 May £1445 £440
    24 May - 24 June £1485 £450
    1 - 30 September £1485 £450
    1 - 25 October £1445 £440
    3rd & 4th person discount -£130
    Single traveller supplement £130

    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.

    Included travel: UK–Avignon (Eurostar direct or Eurostar/TGV via Paris) approx. duration out 6h/home 7h & taxi transfer (out 1h/home 1h30).

    If you book your holiday less than 3 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 sames services at a supplement.

    6 nights: 01 April - 30 June 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 April £1195 £415
    1 - 23 May £1235 £440
    24 May - 24 June £1270 £450
    1 - 30 September £1270 £450
    1 - 25 October £1235 £440
    3rd & 4th person discount -£140
    Single traveller supplement £140

    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.

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outbound travel 5-7 Apr & 19-21 Apr, and for inbound travel 21-22 Apr 2019. A supplement of £45 per car per single journey applies outbound on Fridays & Saturdays 24-25 May & 12 Jul-17 Aug 2019 inclusive, and inbound on Saturdays & Sundays 1-2 Jun & 19 Jul-2 Sep 2019 inclusive.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel du Poète, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
    'Mélodie': 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £29
    'Mélodie': 01 Sep - 09 Oct 2019 £29

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

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of an e-bike.
    Hotel du Poète, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £112 £182
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £112 £182
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Avignon, Marseille

    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. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Avignon Flybe 
    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
    Exeter - Avignon Flybe 
    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
    Stansted - Marseille Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Avignon Flybe 
    Manchester - Marseille easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Manchester - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Avignon Flybe 
    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. 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 £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 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.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Avignon

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Avignon airport to hotel (1h) £27 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Avignon airport (1h) £17 flexible

    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) £22 1500
    direct taxi Marseille airport to hotel (1h30) £60 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Cavaillon (0h30), rail Cavaillon to Marseille Vitrolles (1h) £16 1230/1330
    direct taxi hotel to Marseille airport (1h30) £60 flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 5 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality electric 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 an electric bike with a choice of 4 power levels; 8 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; pannier/saddlebag; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock. 21-gear hybrid bikes are also available; please indicate your preference at the time of booking.
  • 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 for £19 per person. 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 £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). 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 can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ 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. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • 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.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • 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 : 8/25/2019 10:22:57 AM