Self-Guided Cycling Through Provence

Journalist Niki Schuck invited her parents to share one of Peregrine's self-guided cycling tours with her earlier this year. Niki writes about her experience on their Cycling through Provence adventure.

"What better way to start the self-guided tour and celebrate my birthday than sipping a local red on the banks of the Sorgue river in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Our bikes were virtually new and with our detailed trip notes clipped to our handlebars we could hardly wait to get pedaling. Although when the taxi dropped us at the hill-topped village of Venasque, my heart skipped a beat and for a moment I wondered if it could honestly get any better & and it did..."

If I’m not travelling my other favourite pastime is cycling but it often involves early starts in order to avoid the busy roads and traffic congestion. The thought of combining both loves, through vineyards, truffle plantations and small villages in Provence was too hard to pass up and before I knew it not only my husband was keen but my 70 year old parents too.

What better way to start the self-guided tour and celebrate my birthday than sipping a local red on the banks of the Sorgue river in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Our bikes were virtually new and with our detailed trip notes clipped to our handlebars we could hardly wait to get pedaling. Although when the taxi dropped us at the hill-topped village of Venasque, my heart skipped a beat and for a moment I wondered if it could honestly get any better – and it did.

My love of cycling meant I couldn’t wait to visit Bédoin, a village famous through the Tour de France. After a picnic lunch in the square at Crillon le Brave now famous for its luxurious boutique hotels, spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the ever looming Mont Ventoux, we set off for Beaumes de Venise. Here we became quite partial to the local drop of Muscat combined with a trip to the local charcuterie.

Day four saw us ride up to the quaint and arty town of Vacqueyras, where pieces of art sculptor delighted us at every turn. Tonight we would stay at Séguret aptly known as ‘one of the most beautiful villages in France’. The steep but short climb at the very end gave way to the narrowest streets graced only by pedestrians. A highlight is the Michelin restaurant where you stay, but be sure to book in advance as it’s very popular.

The last two nights were at the medieval village Vaison la Romaine where we immersed ourselves in the Roman ruins and archaeological sites, enjoyed a loop trip to more remote villages and celebrated our last night dancing in the small streets alongside the locals.

The cycling was a total buzz for us all. Quiet narrow roads and lanes allowed us to absorb the beauty around us, explore at our own pace and chat and laugh creating memories l will treasure forever.  

Click here to view this tour.

Niki Schuck is a freelance writer based in New Zealand, who loves to cycle and drink red wine.

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