October 18, 2017 - Luberon, Provence, Cycling, Active, For Children
Cycling in the Luberon is fantastic, with quiet windy
roads for the roadies and fantastic singletrack and fireroads for the
off-roaders. In the interests of accurate research, I’ve been trying to
do a little of both and can heartily recommend either.
In the bottom of the valley, running between Coustellet and Apt is an “Avenue Verte”, a dedicated cyling path built on an old railway. This is perfect for families and gentle rides – it’s always flat and runs through a series of little towns.
Cycling with kids in Provence
If you’re driving you can of course bring your own bike but if you
fly or come by train it’s useful to be able to hire a bike. I’ve used
“Culture Velo” in Cavaillon and was very pleased with them. They found a
small bike for my 3 year old son and a gave me a beautiful Cannondale
Synapse carbon road bike. They are also easy to find and park at, set
slightly out of tow
Ben loved cycling his bike around Cabrieres d’Avignon – there are
some wonderful woods uphill from the village with paths leading off all
over the place. One day he cycled (and I walked and pushed and carried)
from Cabrieres to Gordes, nearly 5 miles in all, all through the woods
on old paths, away from traffic. It was a delight and we both had a well
deserved ice-cream at the end.
Cycling up Mont Ventoux
For those with a little cycling culture, Mont Ventoux, barely 20 or 30
kms to the north will provide an irresistible draw. Made famous through
its inclusion in many a tour de France stage, Mont Ventoux rises to
nearly 2000 metres from the surrounding plains, and offers around 20kms
of continuous uphill, up winding roads threaded through the moonlike
landscape of the windblasted upper slopes. You can find out more here:
I’ve yet to make it up the slopes on a road bike – my schedule often
doesn’t leave much time for a full day out (that’s my excuse anyway),
but I have got up most of it on mountain bike tracks, til I was stopped
by snow, in February. I had driven down from the UK, so had my mountain
bike with me, and had found an off-road route listed in a website, so
thought I would give it a go, and can heartily recommend it. Though the
snow level was down to around 1200 metres, the day was spectacular and
the views went on for ever.
I had made an appointment for lunch at the Chalet Liotard, around 1500
metres up the mountain on the Malaucene route, so I had to make sure I
could get there from my start on the Bedoin side of the mountain. The
first part was easy but as I climbed I first came across a number of
jeeps, full of hunters intent on flushing out some wild boar. I just
hoped they wouldn’t flush one out in my direction; they’re generally
friendly enough, and scared of humans, but not when they’re being
Then, as I left the hunters behind, I started to see the first
signs of snow, until finally I had to give up any attempts at cycling,
and just carried my bike on my back while climbing through the forest. I
finally hit a cross-country snow route that lead round to Chalet
Liotard, so I could get back on the bike and follow it, avoiding the
rails. I got some quite surprised looks when I came slipping and sliding
round the corners towards the skiers, but reaching the Chalet was a
delight and a relief.
If you’re going to Provence and would like some advice on where to cycle, just ask us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There really is something for everybody, whether you’re three or ninety
three, a gentle stroller or a Tour de France enthusiast.