Cycling in Provence, France is a feast for the senses. Following the region's quiet roads, you’ll cycle through quaint French villages, passing vineyards, olive groves and cherry orchards along the way.
Famed by the Tour de France and with beautiful scenery, it’s no wonder that there are loads of Provence bike tours to pick from. In this guide we'll share some of our top picks.
Full disclosure: unless stated below, we have no commercial relationship with any of the tour operators listed and receive no financial benefit if you book one of their tours.
The advantages of guided Provence bike tours
Whilst those experienced in road cycling in Europe might opt for DIY, self-guided cycling holidays in Provence, choosing a guided bike tour in Provence has its advantages.
As well as the social element to group bike tours, choosing an organised cycling tour gives you the reassurance that you’ll always have support should anything go wrong along the way.
If you decide to go down the guided bike tour route, it’s of course important to choose the best bike tour company for your needs.
This article lists some of our top picks for the best cycling tour options in Provence.
If you're still debating the guided v self-guided question, this article may be useful for you.
Which area of Provence is best for you?
You’ll also want to consider what is the best base for cycling in Provence.
Do you want a short trip focusing on climbing the mighty Mont Ventoux (relevant tours here), or perhaps you want to explore the Luberon region (relevant tours here) or head to the Cote D’Azur (relevant tours here)?
Alternatively, for Provence cycling holidays of a week or more, a point-to-point tour, staying at a different hotel each night, could be the best option (relevant tours here).
Below we've got our pick of some of the most interesting tours out there, based on these regions. Enjoy!
Mont Ventoux bike tours
Mont Ventoux is one of the most famous mountains in Europe and a mecca for road cycling enthusiasts. Also known as the ‘Giant of Provence’, the 1912-metre limestone peak can be seen from most places in the region. Famed by the Tour de France, Mont Ventoux has featured in the event 14 times since 1951 (more on the Tour history here). The summit is a vertical mile high, with an average gradient of 7.5%, so it’s not for beginners - yet, if you're fit enough, it offers one of the most satisfying climbs in France, if not the world.
You can find out more background information about cycling Ventoux in this guide.
Veloventoux are a small family company, comprising husband and wife Craig and Vicky and their daughter. They run a guest house in Provence and offer seven-night guided cycling holidays.
One such bike tour begins with a climb of Mont Ventoux before heading on to Alpe d'Huez, the Col du Glandon and the Col de la Croix de Fer.
2. Exodus travels
Exodus is a highly respected, international tour operator, which offers all types of adventure holidays. They have over 500 itineraries across 90+ countries.
The company offers a cycling weekend with two and a half days of riding which enables guests to tackle Mont Ventoux via the two most iconic routes – from Bedoin, passing the Tommy Simpson memorial, and also from Malaucene with its stunning views over the valleys below.
Intura are a small French company who were founded in 2004 and offer guided and self-guided walking and cycling holidays in France and Portugal.
They offer a short break cycling holiday in Provence which includes a leisurely ride along the wine roads of the Mont Ventoux before the challenging Mont Ventoux climb the following day. There’s also the option to add on an extra day touring the lavender fields of Sault.
Luberon bike tours
The Luberon region of Provence has some great cycling circuits featuring quiet roads with little traffic. The region is made up of three mountain ranges - the Lesser Luberon, the Greater Luberon and the Eastern Luberon, each dotted with hilltop villages and offering stunning views of vineyards and orchards. To the north is Ventoux.
You can find out more background information about cycling the Luberon in our in-depth guide.
4. France Bike Trips
France Bike Trips is a small company offering guided and self-guided cycling tours in France. Most tours offer two versions, depending on your level of fitness and ability.
The self-guided bike tour of the Luberon takes cyclists on a circuit of the most beautiful villages in the area - Sénanque, Gordes, Bonnieux, Buoux and Lourmarin. Here you can get a taste of the relaxed lifestyle of Provence and admire the peaceful countryside.
5. Provence Cycling Holidays
Provence Cycling Holidays is a small family-run company offering self-guided single-base cycling holidays. They have a B&B in Coustellet which provides the base for six-night cycling holidays in the Luberon region of Provence.
With carefully-planned self-guided rides, you can visit all the best Luberon sights including the Ocre mine of Roussillon, the rich history of Gourdes and the charming village of Goult which was half-destroyed by an earthquake. Should you wish, you can visit attractions such as lavender fields, vineyard tours, markets and ancient buildings.
Côte d'Azure bike tours
The Cote d’Azur is where the Alps meet the sea and is where you’ll find Nice, the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille.
6. Azur Cycling Tours
Azur Cycle Tours offer cycling holidays in the South of France with a choice of guided day rides and fully-supported cycling tours.
One such tour is the ‘Aches in Provence’ tour, a clever pun based on the French city of Aix-en-Provence. The tour doesn’t actually cycle in Aix itself, but with an itinerary promising the best and most challenging cycling that the south-east of France has to offer, ‘aches’ are a par for the course. This tour includes a journey over the highest road pass in France, the Col de la Bonette as well as the deepest canyon in Europe, the Gorges du Verdon. You’ll also cycle the Formula 1 circuit in Monaco, home to super cars, super yachts and super models as well as super cyclists such as Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte and Chris Froome.
Point to point cycling tours in Provence
Cyclomundo is a French cycling holiday company offering guided and self-guided bike tours in Europe.
The company offers a self-guided tour from Avignon to Nice, covering low-lying vineyards and the heights of the Alps as you head towards the Mediterranean Sea. This is undoubtedly a challenging tour, with up to 73 miles covered each day, but it does give the flexibility to explore the natural and man-made wonders of Provence as you please.
8. Love Velo
Love Velo is a large, UK based company that offers all sorts of tours, from leisurely rides to hardcore training camps.
Their seven night Provence cycling holiday caught our eye. It conveniently starts in Avignon, from where you ride to Saint Remy (on one of three routes, depending on how easy/hard you want to make it). You do a loop ride in Saint Remy before heading off to the wonderful L'Isle sur la Sorgue, spending a day riding from there and then cycling to medieval Mazan and exploring the wine country around Chateauneaf-du-Pape.
We hope our pick of Provence tours has been useful and helped you pick the best tour for you! Let us know in the comments below - and if we've missed any operators you've had a great experience with, please also leave us a comment!
(via Moyenne Corniche, L’Escarène, Sospel and Col de Braus)
(aka Corniche d’Or) loop