Headwater - Cotes Du Ventoux Self-Guided Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C06PV
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

7 Days Flight Inclusive
7 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

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. 

At a Glance

  • 6 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • 5 Days cycling (including one optional ride)
  • Headwater wine service 
  • Route notes and maps provided 
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Optional electric bikes 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 
  • Countries visited: France

Trip Highlights

  • Gentle cycling between the vineyards of the Cotes-du-Rhone and Ventoux appellations
  • Colourful 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, each with a pool

Is This Trip for You?

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 12th century 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.


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.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. Please note: the walking and luggage transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
8

Child max age:

17

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Pernes-Les-Fontaines
End City:
Pernes-Les-Fontaines

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Pernes-Les-Fontaines

    Arrive at your 3-star hotel in time to relax before dinner. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage)

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Pernes-Les-Fontaines to Vacqueyras

     

    Option: 1

    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 14th century 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)

     

    Option: 2

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 31 km / 20 miles
  • Day 3

    At Vacqueyras

    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)

     

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
  • Day 4

    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 16th century 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 18th century Chateau de Mazan. (Staying at Chateau de Mazan)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 25 km / 16 miles
  • Day 5

    At Mazan

    After breakfast take a ride to the lively village of Bedoin, named for the 8th century 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)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 27 km / 17 miles
  • Day 6

    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 medieval 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 11th century 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)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 26 km / 17 miles
  • Day 7

    Leave Pernes-Les-Fontaines

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

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 19th century stately manor house surrounded by landscaped gardens; in Montmirail your hotel is a 17th century villa tucked between vineyards and olive groves; then in Mazan you stay in a 18th century chateau, the former home of the Marquis de Sade.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £258.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All continental breakfasts and evening meals included.

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.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.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Temperatures tend to average around 30°C  during the summer months and fall to an average of 15°C during winter. The infamous Mistral wind can have a great effect on the temperatures, particularly in the western part of Provence. 

July and August are very warm with little to no rainfall. Temperatures tend to climb up to 30°C during the day. At night it cools off considerably, especially on the coast, near a lake or in the mountains. In general, the farther away from the coast the more oppressive the heat becomes during the day. 

The months around the high season are the most pleasant (May, June, September, October) with average temperatures between 22°C and 27°C . October is the most uncertain month of the four, but of course it can also be a splendid month with warm, sunny days and practically no rain.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

The tour itself normally begins at the start hotel in Pernes-Les-Fontaines on the afternoon of day 1 of the itinerary.Arrival and departure transfers from Marseille airport are included. 

Flights:
We can also book flights for you. British Airways Heathrow to Marseille 07:20/10:15 then rail Marseille to Avignon TGV 12:39/13:19 and transfer to hotel 40 minutes. Return: Transfer to station 40 minutes then rail Avignon TGV to Marseille 12:43/13:25 then British Airways Marseille to Heathrow 16:50/17:50. Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Standard transfers
Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:19, and back to Avignon TGV train station at 11:50.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Location start:
Pernes-Les-Fontaines
Location end:
Pernes-Les-Fontaines

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Waterproofs

Warm jumper/fleece

Suncream

Water bottle (1 litre) you will be able to refill each day at the accommodation.

Optional Equipment

Swimming Costume

 

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We've teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we'll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It's available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices. 

 For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

Reading List

  • Michelin Green Guides: Provence
  • The Rough Guide to Provence and the Côte d’Azur
  • Lonely Planet: Provence and the Côte d’Azur

Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip. Cards are widely accepted. 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need spending money for meals not included in the itinerary and all drinks. We suggest €25 per day to cover a few drinks if not then €10 per day. On the days where lunch or dinner is not included expect to spend €10-€15 for lunch and €15-€35 for dinner.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.