|from $2,631* per person||7 Days||April-September
Exertion level: 3
|Operator: Breakaway Adventures
24 people max
This popular cycling holiday follows a triangular route, exploring the heart of “secret” Provence. It is almost wholly unspoiled, combining rural tranquillity with beautiful landscapes, and it hardly seems to have changed in centuries.
You’ll see dozens of châteaux, and lovely churches, chapels and abbeys. The cycling is relaxed with rural routes taking you through vineyards, woodlands and up to pretty perched villages with the most amazing views. The summer sun is softened by breezes coming in from the Mediterranean and, everywhere, there’s the scent of the garrigue to remind you you’re in Provence.
This holiday starts and ends at our hotel in Le Thoronet. In between, you stay in a lovely family-run hotel in Ponteves, and a beautifully converted C16 coaching inn in Tourtour. All hotels offer private outdoor swimming pools and there’s a jacuzzi in Tourtour.
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Day 1 Arrive at Le Thoronet
We meet you at Les Arcs and take you to your hotel (35 mins) - time for a relaxing swim before dinner .
Day 2 Le Thoronet to Pontevès 32km/20mi or 37km/23mi
First stop is the atmospheric C12 Cistercian Abbaye du Thoronet then it’s a lovely, leisurely cycle beneath huge pink cliffs, dotted with white villages, vineyards and tempting picnic spots. Highlights include Carces (great wine tasting and lake) and picturesque Cotignac with is C13 church, fortress and amazing troglodyte dwellings!
Hotel le Rouge Gorge**
Pontevès Days 2+3
Pontevès is a typical Provençal country hamlet and, we think, a perfect place to unwind. We are really pleased to have found this lovely hotel; the friendly owners will make your stay a memorable one.
The hotel has a lovely pool, very appealing after a days cycling!
Day 3 At Pontevès
Walk to the ruins of the castle or cycle (6km/4mi round trip) to nearby Barjols, a little town utterly dominated by water (it has four rivers running through it, 16 lavoirs and 27 fountains) - pottery and tambourines are made here too! More energetic cyclists enjoy the trip along the river to Sillans-la-Cascade and its stunning waterfall.
Day 4 Pontevès to Tourtour 37km/23mi or 44km/27mi
It’s a lovely ride today to Tourtour, with the option of extending the route to pass through the Forêt de Pélenc and taking in the pretty hill village of Moissac-Bellevue. Both routes take you via Aups, a great spot for lunch and a stroll through the narrow streets before heading on to the picturesque village of Tourtour where you spend the next two nights in a beautifully converted C16 coaching inn with jacuzzi and two private pools.
L’Auberge St Pierre ***
Tourtour Days 4+5
The Auberge St Pierre is a couple of kms outside Tourtour, amid a wonderfully green 90-hectare estate. Formerly a 16C country residence, it is now a 16-bedroom hotel offering a wide range of facilities: swimming pool, tennis courts, sauna, jacuzzi, walks and fresh water fishing.
Further details on the hotel website.
Day 5 At Tourtour
This may be a small village, but it packs quite a punch! Explore the medieval old quarter, art galleries and lovely little church before lunch beneath the old lime trees. The more energetic can cycle to the picturesque villages of Ampus and Chateaudouble. Or, of course, you can just laze by the pools!
Day 6 Tourtour to Le Thoronet 42km/26mi or 47km/29mi
Your day starts with a wonderful downhill spin through pine forests to Villecroze, a picturesque village founded by a retired Roman General and later the site of a Templar commandery. On to Salernes - famous for its colorful tiles and pottery - then via the Bresque Valley to the medieval village of Entrecasteaux: fortified Gothic church and C17 chateau. Your final strech takes you through a series of several sleepy hamlets and back to Le Thoronetin time for a swim and laze by the pool before dinner.
Day 7 Leave Le Thoronet
For extra nights we recommend Nice or Tourtour.
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