You’ve done your travel research and decided you’re ready to pedal and climb your way across the south of France on a custom Provence Bike Tour. Excellent choice! Provence is famous for its picturesque landscapes, delicious food and wine, rich history, and breathtaking art and architecture — and spring and summer happen to be the best seasons to visit.
Our custom Provence bike tours begin just outside of Avignon and loop through the Vaucluse and the Luberon. You have options to visit the beautiful villages of Gordes, Bedouin, Sault, Gigondas, Beaumes-de-Venise — all the way to the high peaks of Mont Ventoux.
The question remains: what will you see and do between rides? From winding vineyard roads to high mountain ranges, the possibilities are endless. To help narrow it down, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite activities in Provence. The region boasts so many amazing small businesses, local producers and artisans to help you experience the area’s scenery and history in a way that is memorable and immersive — through all five senses!
These full-body, interactive sensory experiences allow travelers to sample the unparalleled culture and natural beauty of this majestic region. Get ready to discover all the wonders that make Provence unique, special and the destination of a lifetime.
As an agricultural region, ‘France’ and ‘Flavor’ truly go hand in hand. From cheeses and olive oils, to truffles and grapes, there are endless ways to tickle your taste buds in Provence.
There are over 400 vineyards and wine cellars in Provence to satisfy any “oenophile” wine enthusiast. It’s hard to pick just one, but you can’t go wrong touring the wine country villages through Gigondas, Sablet and Seguret. Here you can try the world-famous French rosés that have the refreshing quality of drier-style white wines with the body and flavor of a red. In Provence you can truly live by the phrase ‘Rose All Day!”
If you’d prefer something a bit more savory, consider a stop at Moulin Castelas near St. Remy where you can sample dozens of local olive oils for free in their tasting room and visit the mill where they undergo cold extraction.
From cheeses and olive oils, to truffles and grapes, there are endless ways to tickle your taste buds in Provence.
And for your post-ride snack, treat or meal? Here are some of our favorite local go-tos to give you a feast for your senses:
- Fresh, artisanal sorbet at Leone’s in Vaison-la-Romaine
- Ginger and Lemon ice cream at Scaramouche in Cereste
- Fresh cherries at the weekly farmer’s market in Menerbes
- A patio dinner at Le Petit Jardin in Viens.
Our body’s sense of touch allows us to experience pressure, temperature, vibration, pain and pleasure through different receptors in the skin. After feeling the wind in your hair on your bike you can explore other sensations of touch in Provence.
Parc animalier in Mollégès is the perfect experience for the animal lover or kid-at-heart. This intimate park and petting zoo offers dozens of farm animals including donkeys, ponies, cows, sheep, pigs, geese, chickens, ducks, peacocks, koi carp, boars and various local goat breeds. Many of the animals roam freely so you can touch them and experience them up close and personal, just like the farmers of the region always have.
Ready to relax and unwind the Provencal way? The Thermes Sextius spa is at the site of the original Roman baths in the city of Aix. The day spa boasts a natural, underground hot spring, as well as an indoor pool and several treatment rooms for massage and detox.
Miss being in the kitchen while traveling? Cooking in Provence offers cooking classes and retreats where you can learn the secrets of the local cuisine and the art of “slow living” in a private home in La Belugue to share with you my passion for seasonal cuisine and slow living.
Studies show that our sense of smell is closely linked with memory, and Provence is one of those places where your nose can be your guide. From floral and fruity to pungent and woody, you’ll never forget your experiences here.
The lavender blooms will be peaking in mid-summer, but if you want to visit in the off-season you can still experience its floral magic up close and personal. At the Lavender Museum in Cabrières-d’Avignon you can take a scented watercolor workshop, where you create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece with watercolor paints that are scented with the natural essence of lavender. Bonus? It also includes a self-guided audio tour. Two for one!
Grasse is known as the birthplace of luxe perfume. Travelers from around the world visit this town set in the hills above Cannes for a whiff of its intoxicating fragrance of the pink centifolia rose, which is the signature scent infused in Chanel’s No. 5. Here flower picking is an art form, and each family farm has its own method of preserving the rose petals’ delicate fragrance. After stopping by the International Perfume Museum and getting a deeper understanding of the history of perfume we recommend heading to the Fragonard Parfumerie for an immerse workshop where you receive a guided tour, a keepsake apprentice apron and a 100 ml bottle of your own custom fragrance.
Sunflower fields are not as praised as the iconic lavender fields in Provence, however they’re no less picturesque — even Van Gogh himself was inspired by them. The best place to see the breathtaking and bright landscapes is the Valensole plateau in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, where the small villages of Esparron-de-Verdon, Saint-Martin-de-Brômes, and Riez hold special flower festivities throughout the summer. Want a two-for-one scenic road trip? On the rural road between Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Noves, you will find bright yellow fields of sunflowers right next to the iconic purple lavender hills. It’s truly a color explosion!
Traveling with a history buff? The medieval town of Vaison La Romaine has one of the highest concentrations of Gallo-Roman ruins and archeological sites in France. In the 1st century, the Voconces built roads and large public monuments and infrastructure such as baths, theaters, cathedrals, aqueducts, and bridges out of stone. The ruins are a superb demonstration of Roman civil engineering and iconic Gothic architectural design.
At the Opéra de Marseille you can visit one of the oldest and largest opera houses in France. The elegant art deco building center and museum offers vibrant year-round programming of opera, ballet, educational demonstrations, live performances and other musical productions and events. Plan to visit during Tous à l’Opéra, a country-wide opera weekend in May, or later in August for the smaller scale event, the Chorégies d’Orange.
Every summer the vineyards of the southern part of the Rhône Valley are filled with the sound of music.
Every summer the vineyards of the southern part of the Rhône Valley are filled with the sound of music. The Les Musicales dans les Vignes festival travels around the prestigious winegrowing estates of the Vaucluse, the Bouches-du-Rhône and the Var, for a celebration of life’s greatest pleasures: music and wine. In all, 40 jazz or classical concerts are put on from June to September. It is a prime opportunity to not only hear music to stir your soul, but also to taste the best wines in the region and meet passionate wine-growers.
Provence, Your Way
Want some more inspo for your upcoming bike tour in Provence? Check out our past blogs for some of our other favorite hidden gems!
- Our 4 Favorite Provence Rides
- Our 5 Favorite Things about Sault
- Our Love Affair with Mont Ventoux
- Our Top 5 Sights in Vaison-la-Romain
Outfitter Bicycle Tours is fully committed to providing low-hassle customizable cycling tours that are created to fit each guest’s interests, and needs!
Our suggested Provence bike tour itineraries range from 5 to 8 nights, or we can custom design a tour for your pace, needs, and interest. You name the dates, riding distance, and other details of your tour and then we curate and customize your travel experience – on your own terms!
Rest assured either way, you’ll have access to top-of-the-line cycling equipment and gear, worry-free routing by GPS, and a knowledgeable local guide/concierge always available to help you when you need it.
Contact us today to start planning your dream bicycle vacation!