Are you planning a bike holiday in the Région Sud and want advice on exploring the area? You could not have picked a better destination thanks to our sunny landscapes and bike-friendly routes! Here are our picks of the five best places for bike tourism in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
THE LUBERON WITH YOUR FAMILY
The postcard version of Provence
Head off to explore a picturesque Provence that is peppered with buildings of stone and ochre. The Luberon is the gorgeous backdrop for Gordes classified among the “Most Beautiful Villages in France.” Perched at 373 metres, its castle overlooks its little sloping streets. In Rustrel, you will only have eyes for the Provençal Colorado and its eroded cliffs that dazzle in more than 20 different shades of ochre.
As for the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon, this UNESCO-designated world biosphere reserve and geopark will enchant you with its bike routes that weave through fields of olive trees, lavender and vines.
Looking for a leisurely bike ride? Apt and its surroundings offer many family-friendly bike routes, which can also be done as a couple or with friends. The 25-kilometre long Ocres du Luberon ride will delight both the young and the old.
Lovers of long rides? Try the Around the Luberon by Bike route and race along the 236 kilometres of signposted trails to explore of this unique area.
THE VALLÉE DU CHAMPSAUR
The biodiversity of the Écrins Massif
Are you looking for family cycling routes in Alpine landscapes? The Vallée du Champsaur, at the heart of the Hautes-Alpes and the Parc National des Ecrins, is the best place for you!
Crossed by the turbulent Drac, a tributary of the Isère, this glacial valley has landscapes whose agricultural past can be read on the mountainside. With their mix of beech hedges, meadows and woods, the Alpine fields are home to a rich biodiversity, starting with a multitude of birds. You can spot golden eagles, griffon vultures, or owlets nesting in the forests.
The village of Saint-Bonnet, the historic capital of the Vallée du Champsaur, is a real showcase of this high-quality terroir. On Mondays and Thursdays, 80 exhibitors display local goods at the Place du Champ de Foire.
What about biking? It’s your choice; there are no less than three family-friendly routes ranging in length from 5 to 45 kilometres. On each one, you can criss-cross the valley and meet its cattle farmers.
Our favourite: the 42-kilometre Bocage du Champsaur, an easy route that is perfectly suitable for family cycling. You will pedal past the last preserved bocages [Alpine hedgerows] in Europe. This route, which meanders through winter sports resorts like Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes and Ancelle, offers breath-taking landscapes.
THE PROVENÇAL COUNTRYSIDE BY BIKE
The Alpilles territory
Vineyards, olive trees, and unique villages make up the Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles, a real wonder of the Bouches-du-Rhône.
This unique area, carved by nature, houses the Alpilles Massif. This 30-kilometre-long limestone block was formed by the Pyrenees and the Alps smashing together – hence its name of “the little Alps.” Here, you can observe the magnificent result on the surrounding rocks as you bike between hills, rocks, forests, garrigues, and canals.
Next, you will arrive in the not-to-miss Tarascon and a visit to its fortress. This works out nicely, since this village is also a crossing point of two essential bike routes: the Mediterranean by Bike and the ViaRhôna.
To explore the Provençal countryside by bike, try the 39-kilometre loop – an ideal family cycling route. You cross Provençal villages like Graveson and Maillane before reaching Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, the capital of the Alpilles. There, take the time to visit the Glanum archaeological site and its impressive ruins from the Roman era.
Did you know? The town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence was an inspirational place for Vincent van Gogh, who visited between 1889 and 1890. He completed nearly 150 paintings during his stay.
ON THE SALT AND PINK FLAMINGO ROAD
In the Camargue
Located between the Rhône and the Gard, the Camargue is an exceptional land, populated with migratory birds, pink flamingos, bulls, and horses.
Explore this unique setting at the speed of your pedals, since this bike ride is not very difficult. Cycle along lagoons, marshes and salt flats, enjoying some spur-of-the-moment sunbathing on the more than 10-kilometre-long Plage Napoléon.
The Camargue is also a place of prestigious cultural heritage, as illustrated by the town of Arles. Its arenas and amphitheatre proudly recall the Roman period.
To travel through this area by bike, head off with your family on the 29 kilometres of the pink flamingos and salt route. As you pedal, admire first the salt pools and then the Faraman lighthouse. A bit further along, access the pink flamingo observatory, where you can admire the famous bird that has become the emblem of the Camargue.
THE PLAINE DE CAILLE
At the heart of the Réserve Biologique des Monts d’Azur
About 20 kilometres from Grasse, in the heart of the Parc Naturel Regional des Préalpes d’Azur, the Plaine de Caille is an exceptional site for lovers of nature and the great outdoors. A little paradise that is strewn with multi-coloured flowers at the end of spring, this area features arable plains, marshes, and Scots pines.
From the village of Caille, marked by its agricultural past, enjoy the 6.5-kilometre, completely signposted loop. This short route leads you to the heart of the biological reserve, inviting you to learn about its fauna, flora, and rural life.
After around 20 minutes of cycling on the plain, you will find huge empty meadows. On the way, you’ll meet many sheep and cattle. Once you arrive at the Bois de Serre woods, breath in and enjoy the fragrant pines.
Good to know: bike hire is available on site, so you don’t need to overload your car!
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