France - Provence

France - Provence

6th September 2019 - 15th September 2019 (10 days)

Place for a female to share

Based at a welcoming rural hotel, well-used to cycling groups and with excellent home cooking, this tour offers an exploration of the quiet lanes and medieval villages of the Vaucluse and Albion Plateaux in Provence. The climate is Mediterranean with olive and fig groves, vines and herbs, vultures and other exotic raptors. One ride, usually of medium length, is led every day and in addition to the rides to and from the hotel, there is a choice of 16 routes of varying length and difficulty. For mountain enthusiasts there are optional ascents of the Montagne de la Lure and all three on-road ascents of Mont Ventoux. Routes can be ridden on any day, though the ascent of Mont Ventoux by the easiest route will be attempted when the clearest views are possible.

  • Holiday Type Guided
  • Tour Manager Sheila Simpson
  • Grade Moderate
  • Booking Status Places Available
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Board Basis Half Board
  • Travel Arrangements Coach
  • Road / Off Road Road
  • Holiday Style Centre-based
  • Vehicle Support Carry Own Luggage
  • Holiday Ref 03259


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France - Provence

Friday 6th September

Travel by European Bike Express from your chosen pick-up point to Dover for the P&O ferry crossing to Calais and thence through the night to Orange.

Saturday 7th September

Arrive at Orange (40m) at approximately 0700. Cycle to Aurel (820m) via Vaison-la-Romain. 70km. Stay 7 nights.

Sunday 8th September

Circular ride via Sault, St-Saturnin-les-Apt and Monieux. 62km. Alternative short circuit to Monieux. 32km.

Monday 9th September

Circuit of the Plateau d’Albion, Revest-du-Bion, Banon, Simiane-la-Rotonde, St-Christol. 63km. Alternative short circuit to Revest-du-Bion and St-Christol. 38km.

Tuesday 10th September

Out-and-back ride to Mt Ventoux summit (1909m) using the eastern ‘easy’ route. 62km. Alternative very hilly circuit, using the notorious southern ascent of Mont Ventoux. 74km. Short circuit of the Col de l’Homme Mort (1212m) and Col de Negron (1242m). 48km.

Wednesday 11th September

Circular ride via the Gorges de Toulourenc, Col d’Aulan (845m), Buis-les-Baronnies, Col de Fontaube (635m) and Brantes. 67km. Alternative hillier circular ride via Séderon, Col St-Jean (1158m), Col de Perty (1302m) and Gorges de Toulourenc. 88km.

Thursday 12th September

Circular ride via the Colorado de Rustrel and St-Christol. 72km. Alternative short circuit via St-Christol and Revest-du-Bion. 45km. Alternative circuit to ascend Mont Ventoux from Malaucene. 90km.

Friday 13th September

Circuit to Villes-sur-Auzon via the Plateau de Vaucluse and ascent of Gorges de la Nesque, 76km. Alternative strenuous circular ride to the summit of the Montagne de Lure (1826m), returning via St-Etienne-des-Orgues and Banon. 135km.

Saturday 14th September

Cycle to Orange via the Gorges de la Nesque and Aubignan. 77km. Return overnight journey on the European Bike Express to Calais, departing at approximately 1700.

Sunday 15th September

Ferry crossing to Dover and your chosen set-down point in the UK.


Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation is at an ancient inn, now a 2-star hotel, in the small village of Aurel at the foot of Mont Ventoux. Rooms are based on two people sharing. Meals are on a half board basis. Vegetarians, and people with other dietary requirements, should detail these when booking.

Passports, Visa & Health

EU citizens must hold a passport that is still valid on the date of their return to their home country. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether they require a visa. There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You must also carry your European Health Insurance Card.

Travel Insurance

Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.


The price of £995 is based on a minimum number of 8 people taking part in the tour and is calculated at a rate of 1.12 Euros to £1 sterling (based on exchange rates published on on 14 September 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3). If there are insufficient bookings by 28th June 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid.

Price Includes

  • Return coach travel between Orange and any Bike Bus pick-up point in England
  • 7 nights hotel, half-board, sharing room
  • 16 cycle routes on marked-up maps and as GPS tracks
  • CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs

Price Does Not Include

  • Meals in transit
  • Drinks with evening meals
  • Lunches or refreshments during the day
  • Entry fees at any attractions
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single occupancy supplement (£160, subject to availability)

Payment Schedule

A deposit of £295 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £700 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 28th June 2019.


Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:

Written notice received:

Before 28th June 2019

From 28th June 2019 through to departure


Cancellation charge:

Deposit (£295)

100% (£995)

The Area Covered By The Holiday

Our base is on the Vaucluse Plateau, surrounded by spectacular scenery with limestone gorges and medieval villages. To the west and east, are the twin peaks of the ‘Giant of Provence’, Mont Ventoux, and the Montagne de Lure. The terrain varies from rolling to hilly to mountainous, depending on your choice of rides. If you cycle fairly regularly and climb hills steadily in a low gear, then you will almost certainly rate any of the routes on this holiday as comfortable. If you are not used to hills, then you will want to choose the shorter rides. Having said that, most people find French climbs much easier than the equivalent English climbs in that they are well graded. Road surfaces are generally very good. Traffic density is low.

Rides & Rest Days

There will be plenty of time for photography and exploring villages, ruins and natural features on the majority of our rides, though most of the time on the three longest routes (90, 90, 135km) will be spent cycling and sightseeing from the saddle.
Each day a group will be led at a pace of 18-20kmph on the flat, tackling hills at a slower pace. We use minor roads almost entirely, though as with any tour, road closures and landslips can affect our route choice. You are free to ride separately, but it is important that you are fit enough to ride the 70km (44 miles) to the hotel, climbing from Orange at 40m to Aurel at 800m. The return route at the end of the week is almost entirely downhill.
Discrepancies in hill-climbing speeds will be inevitable, but for those who wish to ride in the group, frequent photo opportunities and snack stops should keep us together. The Tour Manager knows the area well and can suggest worthwhile extensions for riders who would like to ride further than the led group.
A more detailed itinerary, with sketch maps and GPX tracks, will be sent with the final tour information.

Accommodation & Meals

Staying at a 2-star hotel that is visited regularly by cycling groups and provides excellent meals on a half-board basis. We will be sharing rooms. There is a sauna and group jacuzzi so you might want to bring a swimsuit. Cycles are stored in a locked garage. We buy supplies individually for lunch, which is often at or near a bar-café, and stop at cafes whenever possible mid- morning and mid-afternoon.


Travel will be via European Bike Express, a luxury air-conditioned club class coach, travelling to Orange and back to the UK. Cycles travel in custom built trailers offering maximum security. The bus is non-smoking and offers food and beverages for purchase.
When booking this holiday online it is also necessary to complete a booking form for the European Bike Express and to email this to the Tour Manager. The form can be downloaded here.

Group Information

The maximum number of participants will be 12 excluding the Tour Manager(s).

Weather & Clothing

The climate is Mediterranean so weather should be warm, even hot, but at elevation in the mountains it can be cold, particularly on the descents. Bring lightweight summer clothing, with some extra layers with covering for arms and legs, for warmth in the mountains or in case of sunburn, a change for evenings and a light waterproof.

Cycles & Equipment

A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB is suitable. All our routes are on-road but there is plenty of excellent off-road cycling or walking directly from the hotel, if you research these routes yourself. You should ensure your cycle is well maintained, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes. Tandems should have at least one hub brake. A low bottom gear (eg a small chainring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended. Mudguards are optional. Lights are recommended but might not prove essential. Participants will be expected to carry each day sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs, along with any waterproofs and spare clothing needed for the day. Please note it is French law that cyclists outside of urban areas at night, or at times of poor visibility, must wear a retro-reflective gilet and carry lights.

Maps & Guides

Each day, you should carry the route sketch map, which will be provided. To travel further afield you will need to have Michelin 527, ‘Provence, Alpes, Cote d’Azur’, 1:250,000, which covers the area (and much more) and is sufficient for on-road rides. You will need several 1:100,000 IGN maps if you want to ride or walk off-road. For more information, Michelin Tourist Guide ‘Provence’ covers the area of the rides and is available in English. GPS tracks of the routes will also be available.

Travel Insurance & Advice

In addition to travel insurance, EU nationals should carry a European Health Insurance Card, obtainable from This enables you to take advantage of emergency medical services free or at a discount under a reciprocal provision that exists between EU member states. Your travel insurer may refuse to meet the extra costs of medical treatment if you do not carry this card.
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at or on 0845 850 2829.