Arguably the most iconic climb in Tour de France history, Mont Ventoux reaches 1,909m above the flat surroundings of the Vaucluse. Its monolithic presence in the landscape means it can be seen from miles around and is a central part of Provenal lore and culture. For cyclists, it is one of the worlds most challenging climbs and one that features on almost all of our bucket lists. This tour bases you in Mazan, a short ride from the traditional starting point of Bedoin, helping to make your own ascent as hassle-free as possible. As well as tackling the giant of Provence, we propose additional handcrafted routes taking in the Gorges de la Nesque and the charming towns of this stunning part of France.
Day 1 | Arrive in Mazan
Relax by the pool, enjoy a glass (or bottle) from the hotels well stocked cellar and relax, ready to start your cycling on day two.
Day 2 | Optional Round Trip: Bedoin and Malaucne
Your first day on the bike takes you north to the market village of Bedoin, the most popular starting point the climb of Mont Ventoux. But that turning can wait until tomorrow. To ease you into the trip and make sure youre accustomed to your bikes and navigation, we propose a route out to Malaucne, taking in the steady, picturesque Col de la Madeleine. Stop for lunch in Malaucne and soak up the atmosphere as other riders prepare for or recover from their day of climbing. You return to Mazan through yet more stunning Provenal scenery, with the town of Le Barroux, Caromb and Crillon le Brave offering good options for coffee stops.
Day 3 | Optional Round Trip: Mont Ventoux (Bedoin Route)
After acclimatising and making sure youre comfortable on day one, now is the best time to take on the giant of Provence. The route starts with 10 mostly flat kilometres into Bedoin, which serves as the perfect warm up. From Bedoin we start our stopwatches and begin the climb proper. The first part of the climb is on a relatively gradual gradient, as you rise up from the valley floor towards the forested lower slopes. The real challenge starts as you enter the trees, with a long stretch of 9% climbing. On a summers day, the shade here does offer some respite. You emerge from the forest at Chalet Reynard, a good spot for a refuel if youre not chasing a time. From here the route enters the famous moonscape and continues through 6km of bald, white rock up to the summit, passing the Tom Simpson memorial on the way. After the obligatory photos at the summit, a long and exhilarating descent awaits, all the way back to Mazan.
Day 4 | Optional Round Trip: Gorges de la Nesque
After yesterdays climb you may well feel that a day by the pool is the best option for today and we wouldnt hold it against you. But for those looking to ride, we have one of the most beautiful routes in Europe available for you. Heading east from Mazan we start climbing gradually, through Mormoiron and Villes-sur-Auzon, and into the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque. The road here twists and turns on a steady, but manageable, ascent, with jaw-dropping views seemingly around every corner. We leave the gorge at Monieux before turning south and joining another spectacular road to carry you freewheeling back into Mazan.
Day 5 | We say au revoir
Trip extensions are available upon request.
- Fully serviced aluminium road bikes with carbon fibre upgrade options
- Water bottle and accessories
- Bed & breakfast basis as standard
- 3 & 4 star accommodation (unless otherwise stated)
- Tour information pack upon arrival
- Detailed navigational material often including GPS maps
- Local support whenever needed
- Flights and transfers not included as standard but available on request
- Full financial protection through ABTA and ATOL