Off for a family holiday or weekend in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur? Why not explore the Région Sud by bike! Follow our handy guide of the top five bike routes for an unforgettable family cycling holiday
ESCAPE TO NATURE
The Luberon Greenway
Distance: 37 kms
Head off on a three-hour family bike ride on the Calavon Greenway between Coustellet and La Paraire. On the old railway of the Chemins de Fer de Provence, pedal along 37 kilometres of protected tracks along the Calavon River. Depending on the season, behold the beautiful landscape of olive trees, sunflowers, or poppies. On your route, take the Pont Julien bridge for fine views of the Luberon’s hilltop villages – which you can explore just a few kilometres from the greenway. Don’t miss the market in Apt to savour local products.
BETWEEN VINES AND HERITAGE
On the tracks of the Train des Pignes
Finish: Les Arcs-sur-Argens
Distance: 13.5 kms
Explore the Dracénie via the 13.5‑km “Vines by Bike” route, which leads you through the Côtes de Provence. Tracing the old Train des Pignes tracks, now laid out as an easy path, leave Draguignan to reach the magnificent mediaeval town of Les Arcs-sur-Argens. Don’t hesitate to stop at wineries for tastings and to meet the enthusiastic winemakers. Embrace the Provençal pace – slow down and take your time. Enjoy the gurgling fountains and the cicadas singing as you make your way through these villages perched at the edge of the Verdon.
A BIKE RIDE FOR LOVERS OF CULTURE AND NATURE
The Via Venaissia
Distance: 14 kms
This cycle path, whose name comes from the Comtat Venaissin, invites you to discover a unique, local heritage. Its route partly follows the old railway that linked Orange to l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, used by travellers until 1938. With your family, set off on this 14-kilometre, partially shaded, bike-only greenway. Take the time to admire the exceptional views of Mont Ventoux and the massif of Les Dentelles de Montmirail. Savour a gourmet break at the Bistrot de la Gare in Loriol du Comtat or Chez Jouvaud in Carpentras. Relax and admire the verdant banks of the Auzon at the foot of town, before you visit its famous synagogue. For families with teenagers, prolong the pleasure of your ride by taking the extensions at the start and the end of the route – which take you on roads shared with local traffic. From Jonquières, go to Orange, whose ancient theatre is a must-see. Once you arrive at Carpentras, visit the mediaeval village of Pernes-les-Fontaines, a town with 40 fountains.
ALONG THE VAR RIVER
Don’t forget your binoculars!
Start: Lac du Broc
Finish: Lac du Broc
Distance: 6.6 kms
Head off with your family to explore the Var and the Estéron River, and then circle the clear waters of the Lac du Broc. A bird-watching paradise – swans, herons, moorhens, and 260 other species – there is sure to be a show throughout the ride. Families who enjoy fishing can tempt the pike and carp of the Lac du Broc, while lovers of old buildings can continue their adventure in the surrounding mediaeval villages. While it’s open to all kinds of bikes, a mountain bike is advised on this 6.6‑kilometre path, which will take around 90 minutes.
The town surrounded by water
Distance: 9.3 kms
An hour is all you need for this nine-kilometre loop from the Tour Saint-Louis in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The town’s special feature? It is surrounded by water! Ride between pink flamingos and wild horses into the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue. For lunch, enjoy Carteau mussels and organic oysters that medalled at the Salon de l’Agriculture. Then, finish your ride with a kitesurfing session on the Plage de Carteau.
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