Landscapes of the Luberon Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C08PL
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.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

This eight night holiday offers you a truly Provencal experience, taking in the lush countryside and mountain landscapes of beautiful Provence - the inspiration for many an artist and author, including Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso. Your cycle route explores the region's mediaeval towns and charming perched villages such as Gordes and Bonnieux, along with sprawling vineyards, curious caves and castle ruins, all against a vibrant backdrop of colour - think rich ochre, delicate lavender and even white cherry blossom in spring. With a number of small wine producers dotted along your route, you can stop and taste some of the region's local wine in between rides.

At a Glance

  • 8 nights in 3-star accommodation
  • 6 days cycling (including 2 optional rides); averaging 34km per day
  • 80% on quiet tarmac roads, 20% on cycle paths and tracks
  • Optional electric bikes
  • The route mainly follows quiet country roads, some short sections are on busier roads

Trip Highlights

  • Ride along country lanes and greenways in tranquil, unspoilt countryside
  • Taste the local wines
  • Visit medieval towns and castles

Is This Trip for You?

Your week starts in the medieval town of Pernes-les-Fontaines, before taking you past pretty L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, at the foot of the Vaucluse Plateau. Surrounded by the River Sorgue, this is a charming town to potter around, its narrow streets filled with quaint cafes, little antique shops, old bridges and water wheels, not to mention a bustling market every Sunday. You then move on to the town of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, overlooked by crumbling castle ruins and home to the source of the River Sorgue. After following the Ochre Trail to explore the narrow streets and pastel-painted houses of mediaeval Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, overlooked by sprawling castle remains and two 17th Century windmills, you freewheel down to the medieval town of Apt at the centre of the Luberon National Park. A greenway then leads you along the middle of the valley with views up to the famous perched villages of Bonnieux and Lacoste, and on through sleepy Maubec to Cavaillon. Your week ends with a possible visit to Thouzon's impressive caves, carved by an underground river, before you head home from Pernes-les-Fontaines.

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 34km (21.5 miles).
No. of days cycling: 6 (including 2 optional rides)
Terrain and route: The majority of the route is on quiet country roads, although there are some short sections on busier roads. There is also some cycling along a dedicated cycle greenway.

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.

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.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader.  Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency telephone number. In an emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
12
Child max age:
17
Min group size:
1
Max group size:
6

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Pernes-les-Fontaines
End City:
Pernes-les-Fontaines

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Pernes-les-Fontaines

    Arrive at your 3-star hotel in Pernes-les-Fontaines. Relax with a dip in the pool or explore the grounds before dinner. Dinner is included at a local restaurant, transfers to and from are provided.
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Pernes-les-Fontaines to Les Imberts

    Cycle alongside the Canal de Carpentras, before heading, via quiet country lanes and verdant vineyards, towards the ‘island city’ of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, surrounded by the clear waters of the River Sorgue. This popular town offers many riverside cafés and is a great place to stop for lunch before heading on to the charming, mediaeval village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Visit the largest spring in France, or potter around the handful of quaint shops and cafés, before ascending to your first, stunning view across the Luberon Valley. You then descend, amidst vineyards and olive groves, to the village of Les Imberts, just below the famous perched village of Gordes.

    Ride options: 30km/19mi or 35km/22mi
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 35 km / 22 miles
  • Day 3

    At Les Imberts (Optional)

    Walk or cycle to the famous, medieval perched village of Gordes today, to experience one of the best views there is over the Luberon – a patchwork of open plains, sprawling vineyards and olive groves. Explore the village and its castle and perhaps take a taxi (payable locally) up to the beautiful l’Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. Guided tours are available in the afternoon, or pay an early morning visit for the chance to explore at your leisure.

    Optional ride: approx. 9km/6mi 
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9 km / 6 miles
  • Day 4

    Les Imberts to Apt

    After breakfast set out through the tranquil countryside and make the short climb up to Roussillon and the start of the Ochre Trail. Enjoy the views, and perhaps a morning coffee, before pedalling on to Gargas to visit the vast Ochre Mines of Bruoux, and enjoy a spot of lunch. You'll then follow quiet lanes past vineyards - perhaps stopping to taste and purchase some of the local wines - up to the perched village of Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, before freewheeling down to the medieval town of Apt, famous for its crystallised fruits and traditional pottery.

    Ride options: 33km/21mi or 37km/23mi
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 37 km / 23 miles
  • Day 5

    At Apt

    Today explore Apt's old town, wandering along the narrow alleyways to the ancient Cathedral of Ste Anne, which has its origins in Roman times (the lower crypt dates back to AD 1). In addition to the town's museums and the Maison du Parc du Luberon, there are also plenty of shops, cafes and colourful Saturday and Tuesday markets selling a range of locally grown produce and traditional Provencal arts and crafts.
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Apt to Fontaine de Vaucluse

    This morning your route follows a greenway (once an old railway track) alongside the River Calavon before crossing the Pont Julien, a stone bridge built in Roman times and an excellent picnic spot. Leave the greenway then to follow quiet lanes to the wonderful villages of Menerbes and Oppede le Vieux. From the village you then head on through the centre of the Luberon with views up to the perched villages of Lacoste, as you wind your way to Fontaine de Vaucluse and your hotel.

    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 44 km / 27 miles
  • Day 7

    At Fontaine de Vaucluse (Optional)

    Take a circular ride past the orchards and meadows to the pretty villages of Lagnes. Alternatively you can spend your day in L'Isle sur la Sorgue which is just few km ride from your hotel. Surrounded by the River Sorgue, this is a charming town to potter around, its narrow streets filled with quaint cafes, little antique shops, old bridges and water wheels, not to mention a bustling market every Sunday. Or you could take a taxi to Saint-Remy-de-Provence, with its delightful old town, Roman site and monastery.

    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 29.7 km / 18.4 miles
  • Day 8

    Fontaine de Vaucluse to Pernes-les-Fontaines

    This morning you ride to L'Isle sur la Sorgue, then through apple country where you'll see orchards aplenty. Following the lanes brings you to the mediaeval town of Le Thor. Then it's back to Pernes-les-Fontaines where you have time to explore the mediaeval old town and the numerous ancient stone fountains and lavoirs.

    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 33 km / 20 miles
  • Day 9

    Leave Pernes-les-Fontaines

    If you are on our standard transfer our reps will take you to Avignon TGV station in time for the train to Marseilles.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

You stay in a wonderful mix of hotels this week. Hotel l'Hermitage offers a relaxing stay in a 19th Century manor house with lovely grounds and a swimming pool; Mas de la Sénancole in Les Imberts is your next stop, offering Provençal-style rooms, a heated outdoor pool and a spa with sauna, hot tub and massage room; your home in Apt is the cosy Hotel Sainte Anne, a small family-run hotel just across the river from the old town; and your final stop is La Bastide du Bois Breant, a former farm house, once owned by a duchess and set amid its own woodland in the peaceful south west of the Luberon.

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

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £450.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 4 dinners are included.

Provençale cuisine is a blend of many influences from the plentiful sea, to neighbour Italy and the early Roman occupation. The soil is rich and the climate is conducive to producing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.

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.

Transportation

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by taxi or minibus.

When travelling on Eurostar you can take up to 2 large bags onto the train. You don’t need to check it in – just take it straight onto the train.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Weather in Aix-en-Provence is good throughout the year thanks to its mild Mediterranean climate. The region welcomes hot, dry summers (June to September) averaging around 30°C. Spring (March to May) and autumn (October to November) are cool and balmy and perfect for cycling.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

The tour only prices for this holiday include our standard 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). Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:17, and back to Avignon TGV train station at 11:20.

Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports.

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.

Location start:
Pernes-les-Fontaines
Location end:
Pernes-les-Fontaines

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

We use custom made Headwater hybrid bikes. All bikes are supplied with:

  • 1 handlebar map holder
  • 2 rear panniers
  • 1 bike lock per 2 people
  • 1 puncture repair kit per 2 people, which includes a pump

Seat and handlebar heights will have been set up in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, it is unlikely that we will have got these perfect so it is important to check the bike set up before you leave and adjust it accordingly.

Bike Repairs
As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair or change an inner tube before setting off on your bike! The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems but there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

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.

Please note: These are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment. Supplement of £50 per e-bike.

Optional Equipment

A swimsuit and suncream are recommended, particularly in July and August.
A warm jumper/fleece and a waterproof are also recommended should the temperatures be a bit cooler and for the mornings and evenings. You may also wish to bring some leggings to wear over your shorts in the mornings when the temperatures are a little cooler.

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 on 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.

N.B This does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling to be undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and the ‘Is this trip for you’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. 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.

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.

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.

230 Volts AC, standard European adapter required.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (May 2022) of approximately 1.2 to the GBP,  0.96 to the USD, 0.74 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.60 to the NZD.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

ATM Availability

We recommend you bring your spending money in cash, but credit or debit cards may be useful for shopping/extra excursions.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need spending money for lunches and evening meals out that are not included in the itinerary. We recommend approximately €5-10 for lunch and €15-30 for dinner.

There are some places of interest en route and you may wish to organise some guided visits or take taxis to get a little further afield. As you pass many vineyards you may wish to purchase some of the local wine.

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.

 

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 & Development 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 our website for online bookings, 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.