The toughest and most iconic climb on the fearsome Tour de France is Mt Ventoux, also known as the ‘Beast of Provence’. Tommy Simpson died whilst climbing Mt Ventoux during the Tour and his memorial is now a place cyclists ‘need’ to visit. This superb trip includes a tour through the magnificent region of Provence as you prepare to take on the ‘Beast’. The final day provides the options of either cycling up Mt Ventoux after riding through the stunning Gorges de la Nesque or to try and join the Cingles (for the truly eccentric, there is the option to attempt to join the Club des Cingles (literally Club of the Madmen) by cycling up Mt Ventoux from the different three start points in 24 hours!).
No other region in Europe has so much colour, flavour and vitality as Provence. It is easy to see why the Romans scattered their arenas and theatres across the landscape, why Vincent Van Gogh was mesmerised by the light and contours of the region and why the Popes fled to Avignon in the 14th Century. Provence remains a joyous combination of vineyards, castles, mountains, rivers, lavender fields, tiny towns perched on rocky outcrops, splendid beaches and above-all French style.
This tour starts on the Cote d’Azur in the stylish town of Nice, and finishes in Marseille. It follows the stunning coastline through Antibes and Cannes before heading inland to Aix-en-Provence (the ‘City of a Thousand Fountains). The route continues through typical Provencal countryside to the ancient Roman towns of Arles and Avignon, both on the banks of the magnificent Rhone. The route takes in numerous stunning hilltop villages, ancient buildings, stunning mountains and gorges, vineyards, lavender fields and rivers.
From Avignon the route heads towards Mt Ventoux. The iconic mountain rises high above the surrounding countryside and dominates your view. We stay near the base of the mountain in the historic town of Vaison La Romaine. You then have the choice whether to cycle through the incredible Gorges de la Nesque and then climb Mt Ventoux from Sault or to try and join the crazy Club des Cingles!
This is a superb ride and our cycling holiday groups are always great fun. If you fancy cycling through some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe, visiting some of the most historic towns in the world and then challenging yourself against one of the toughest mountain climbs in the world, this trip is for you!
This trip is designed to link with our Perpignan to Nice trip, if you fancy the extra miles – and more of the glorious Med!
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