Cycling in Provence: From Vineyards to France’s Venice to the Luberon

The summer heat arrived several days ago, finally. It’s made for glorious days cycling, but it also zaps every bit of energy out of your body.  Last night, once again I fell asleep with my i-Pad on my lap, unable to finish a post about our stage from Chateauneuf du Pape to L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue.  I’ve decided to hold that thought, finish it another day and tell you a bit about our spectacular morning in L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue and our ride to the hilltown of Bonnieux in the Luberon.

The Venice of France

The Venice of France

To begin with, the morning. One of my favorite parts of being in France is waking up to the sound of church bells, and since it’s Sunday, the bells were really a special treat. And Sunday is market day in L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue, an event which practically covers the entire town. I got up early to go take photos and checkout possible picnic lunch supplies.  I had such great fun observing one of my favorite events in France.

Spices

Spices

I love everything about market day, the colors, the smells, the friendship, the long lines for the best cheese and discovering new favorites. My find of the day today was garlic and herbs de Provence olives and an apricot and nut baguette.

Lavender

Lavender

Before long, the streets were so crowded you could barely move. That meant that it was time to pack up and head for our destination of the day, Bonnieux in the Luberon.  I’ll fill you in on more of the history of Bonnieux in another post. For now, suffice it to say that I spent the day cycling knowing that the end of the day would involve a big uphill climb.  We passed a lot of really big mountains during the day, so I had quite a bit of trepidation about what the day would hold, most important, whether I would be able to make it!

Mountains in my path?

Mountains in my path?

After some incredible navigating by my husband, we found the Veloroute du Calavon, an incredible bike path that follows the Calavon River. The bike path was terrific and the scenery even better.

Veloroute du Cavalon

Veloroute du Cavalon

Mont Ventoux was almost always within sight, another cause for continuing concern on my part.  We passed the junction for Lacoste, and before long, the junction for Bonnieux.  Almost 7 km to the top.

View along the climb

View along the climb

I’ll spare you the details about the climb, other than to say that it was hot, with little shade, and I am sure it’s really longer than 7 km!  I made it to the to the top, wishing most of the way that I had a Sun-e-Bike electric bike.  But that will be tomorrow’s post. Bonnieux is gorgeous, and I feel like we are on top of the world. Here are some of my favorite photos of Bonnieux from this afternoon and tonight.

View from Bonnieux

View from Bonnieux

View from my hotel

View from my hotel

View of Lacoste at night from Bonnieux

View of Lacoste at night from Bonnieux

I’m really looking forward to my e-bike experience tomorrow!

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Posted by Maggie LaCoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.