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Discover the natural wonders of La Provence on this venture into the Côtes du Rhône winelands. From ancient villages scattered with Roman ruins to historic cities, there are plenty of interesting places to stop and soak up Provencal history. And in between stops? Wonderful cycling through vineyards, along river trails and into the beautiful valleys of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains. And then there’s the wine...
What not to miss
Arrive at Avignon or Marseille.
Transfer by minibus, taxi or train to our base hotel in Mazan where you can enjoy a tipple from the hotels well stocked cellar by the side of the pool to get you into holiday mode.
Round Tour to Pernes les Fontaines | Distance 15 miles (25 km).
After breakfast you’ll be equipped with your bicycle. The day is then yours to explore Mazan, a pretty little town of narrow streets, ancient houses, churches and fountains pitched against a backdrop of lush green valleys. From here we suggest a round trip to Carpentras, a pleasant town rich with history, from fortress ruins to classic Provencal facades. The markets here are lovely to potter around too. Pernes les Fontaines is also nearby, where you can peruse no less than forty ancient fountains along the fountain trail.
From Mazan to Chateauneuf-du-Pape | Distance 23 miles (37km).
Time to get into the saddle and travel to your next stop, on a gently undulating ride through cornfields and vineyards. Along the way, you’ll chance upon Loriol du Comtat, a quaint village in the heart of the winelands complete with châteaux and a beautiful Romanesque church. The village of Courthézon is also on route, a tranquil waterside dwelling with the Seille River flowing through it, and the river Ouvèze River at its border. A great place to stop for lunch and a wander through historic architecture, fountains trickling all around you.
Round Tour to Avignon or Orange | Distance 30 miles (49 km) or 21 miles (34 km).
Whilst the abundance of tasting venues on offer in Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a great temptation, we advise that today you set out on your bikes to visit one of the regions historical hot-spots. The city of Avignon was once the home of the papacy and is home to the papal palace, a staggering statement of the churches power in the middle ages. Further north along the Rhone river is Orange, a small city that was once a regional captital. It is home to a vast Roman theatre and a host of excellent museums. The wines will still be there waiting at the end of your ride.
From Chateauneuf-du-Pape to Gigondas | Distance 20 miles (32km).
Today you’ll journey into the heart of the Côtes du Rhône along tiny lanes that wend their way through vineyards towards Gigondas, lying at the base of the spectacular Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range. Popular with rock climbers and hikers, this impressive mountain is finely chiselled by erosion, so that from far away it resembles a majestic piece of stone lace work. There is a distinctly Mediterranean feel here, with aromatic plants and Aleppo pines softening the entire landscape - and, of course, vines galore. The village of Courthézon and Vacqueyras are interesting spots to stop en route, either for lunch or to stretch the legs with a short stroll around their medieval streets.
Round Tour to Vaison-la-Romaine | Distance 21 miles (34 km).
One of the loveliest little villages in the Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas is a must-see for wine lovers, producing some of the region’s finest wines, robust and powerful in flavour. Lined with stone houses, it’s pretty streets lead to beautiful church, with panoramic views along the way. From Gigondas you can also enjoy a ride to Vaison la Romaine, the jewel of Roman Provence. Surrounded by the Ouvèze River, this fascinating city is a contrast of modern life and ancient Roman ruins.
From Gigondas to Mazan | Distance 18 miles (29km).
Today’s ride skirts the Dentelles de Montmirail, passing two gems of the region, Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise. The village of Vacqueyras is another example of the region’s history, with an elegant Provencal bell tower, age-worn doors and windows overflowing with flowers. If you like it here, stop long enough to visit the botanical gardens - and sample one of its vintage Côtes du Rhône exports. Beaumes de Venise is a little further along the wine trail, and renowned for its excellent fortified sweet wine made from the Muscat grape. Situated at the foot of the Plateau des Courens, the village owes its name to the abundance of caves (or ‘baunes’) that dapple the hill. Stroll its flower-lined alleyways towards château ruins, venture into prehistoric caves, and yet another chance to sample the region’s amazing wines and gourmet fare before heading back to Mazan for your final night.
We say “au revoir” before transferring you direct from Mazan to Avignon or Marseille by private taxi.
Note: The accommodation listed below is indicative, it is not guaranteed and is subject to availability. Alternative accommodation of an equal standard may be used.
This is a château hotel surrounded by a fabulous garden. Once home of the notorious Marquis de Sade, the 17th century château while being 4* luxury feels relaxed and homely. In a small Provençal village, at the base of Mont Ventoux, the highest mountain in Provence, the views are magnificent and the scenery stunning. The terrace is used for summer dining, so you can enjoy your gastronomic dinners listening to the cicadas and if very lucky, a nightingale. The hotel swimming pool is situated in the landscaped gardens and there is also a floral terrace.
La Sommellerie is a haven of peace, ideally nested in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, between Orange and Avignon. Immerse yourself in your favorite book in the shade of the majestic plane tree or bask by the pool. This ancient, 17th century sheep barn is a beautiful building, with thick walls and a typical provençal character. Recently renovated, La Sommellerie hotel has 16 comfortable rooms and a restaurant opening on a shaded terrace. The view over the garden and pool from each table is breathtaking.
Looking for charm, relaxation and a taste of the good life at a hotel and restaurant in the Vaucluse? Les Florets, a peaceful haven tucked away in the Gigondas vineyards, invites you to drink in the beauty of the seasons, enjoy delicious cuisine and relax by the pool. The motto of this charming Provençal home: "Welcome to our home, where you'll feel right at home".
The 19th Century villa is set in a large garden surrounded by olive trees in the Dentelles de Montmirail. Although the rooms are understated, the hotel benefits from an outdoor swimming pool, a superb restaurant and an extensive terrace where you can enjoy your meals under an ancient plane tree.
Dates and Prices 2019 (Flights and Transfers included)
|2019 Departure Dates||Nights||Adult Price|
|April - October||7||£1345|
Tour Only 2019
|2019 Departure Dates||Nights||Adult Price|
|April - October||7||£1085|
Start your holiday on any day of the week.
Please contact one of our Activities Experts on 020 7471 7750 for child prices.
Extend your stay
If you wish to add extra nights to your holiday, please call our experts for help and advice.
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