21 km (Outbound)
1,570 m (outbound)
Malaucène is Bédoin’s less famous sister.
But it’s no “little” sister: Mont Ventoux via Malaucène is just as tough as the Bédoin route.
On a clear day you get fantastic views throughout the ride and it’s also much quieter than the Bédoin route. The only time the Tour didn’t go up the Bédoin route, this is the route it went up.
Route map and profile
Distance: 21 km
Elevation Gain: 1,570 m
Max Grade: 15 %
Avg. Grade: 7 %
All metrics in this guide are approximate
HIGHLIGHTS OF MONT VENTOUX (MALAUCÈNE)
The views down into the valley and over the Provençal countryside are far-reaching and magnificent throughout this peaceful ride.
But they’re probably topped by the feeling you get as you view the hairpins and the summit lighthouse as you enter the lunar landscape.
1. The easy warm-up: 0-2 km
Roll out through town and to the start of the climb.
2. The long, tough middle: 2-20 km
Almost immediately the gradient is a testing 7-8%. You climb up through pine forests, but there are frequent fantastic views to take your mind off your legs. The gradients roll between about 2 (but not often and not for long!) and a whopping 11%.
There is a particularly tough 4km section just below Chalet Liotard (about 10km in) and another just after it; save some energy!
3. The glorious end: 20-22 km
Suddenly the summit comes into view, with the hairpins and lighthouse beckoning across the moonscape. The end is in sight (albeit there are a few kilometres of 8% gradient between you and it!)
The road down can be hair-raising. The gradient is severe, the road is often wet, there are multiple hairpins and strong gusts of wind.
About 15km into the Mt Ventoux climb, about 7km from the summit, you’ll come to the rustic, superbly located, Chalet Liotard. It has stunning views and serves food that gets good reviews. It has both inside and outside seating.
Near Chalet Liotard is the turn-off to Mont Serein. You are unlikely to want to visit if you’re cycling to the summit of Ventoux, but it might be worth knowing about this little mountain station with winter sports, summer hiking, horse-riding, a treetop adventure playground and other activities. Nearby, the Camping Le Mont Serein is the only campsite towards the top of Mont Ventoux. They should let you fill your water bottle and use the toilets, for a small charge.
The little town of Malaucène is the starting point for this Malaucène-Ventoux route. You can find our hotel suggestions here.
Alternatively, take a look at our suggestions for where to stay in the Luberon National Park. This is where we have always ridden Ventoux from, and it’s about 40-50 km south of Malaucène. The Luberon is worth considering if your trip is not solely about riding Ventoux.
Take a look at our tips for cycling Ventoux.
On this Malaucène-Mont Ventoux route, gradients vary between 2 (rare!) and 12%. This gives you a chance to catch your breath on the (relatively) gentler sections - but the changing gradients can also make it difficult to get into a regular rhythm. For some, this terrain makes the Malaucène route easier than Bédoin; others think the more consistent Bédoin route is easier.
The Malaucène route up Ventoux is generally more sheltered from the wind than the Bédoin route. But this can mean sweltering temperatures in summer if there is no breeze. And you still need to come prepared for freezing weather at the summit… Ventoux is massively unpredictable!
If once up Ventoux isn't enough of a challenge for you... take a look at our Q&A on the Cinglés du Ventoux: three times up and down in 24 hours!