ALONG AND AROUND MONT VENTOUX
Bike route 1 – Through the vineyards to Les Dentelles de Montmirail
Whoever says cycling in France, says Mont Ventoux. This iconic mountain attracts countless sports enthusiasts each year who see the Ventoux as their ultimate challenge. The tough climb requires good preparation, with plenty of training and sacrifice. It is therefore a real victory over yourself when the top of the mythical climb comes into view!
Anyone who follows cycling and/or cycles regularly themselves knows the Mont-Ventoux, and for many it is on the bucket list or has already been ticked off – whether several times or not.
But what a lot of avid Ventoux cyclists don’t know is that the area around Mont Ventoux is also challenging and, above all, very beautiful for cycling. In fact, the region around Bald Mountain is completely unknown to some Ventoux climbers. The natural beauty and beautiful villages follow one another in the wide surroundings of the mountain. The gorges, vineyards, views, hairpin bends, rock formations and typical picturesque villages alternate continuously.
We were in the region in mid-September – after the lavender fields had finished flowering – and did several wonderful rides. From camping le Voconce in Saint-Marcellin-lès-Vaison near the picturesque Vaison-la-Romaine, we left daily for a beautiful ride on great roads. And,…no shortage of altimeters either even though the first week we stayed away from the steep roads that lead/lead to the top of the of the barren mountain. We limit ourselves to three places around the Mont Ventoux that you absolutely must visit by bike. Les Dentelles de Montmirail, les Gorges de la Nesque, and the Valley of the Toulourenc are beautiful pieces of nature with nice traffic-free roads.
Today we take you on a tour of les Dentelles de Montmirail, the first of our three hotspots.
Les Dentelles de Montmirail are very specially shaped mountain peaks east of the Ventoux in the Vaucluse. The mountain range consists of more than a thousand narrow protruding peaks that appear as delicate as a “border of lace”. Hence the name “Dentelles”. Around these velvet rocks you can make a beautiful tour, which immediately involves much more than cycling alone. We set off from Vaison-la-Romaine for this tour through Séguret, Sablet, Gigondas, Vacqueyras to Beaumes-de-Venise… The ordinary wine lover starts licking his lips when these names come up. Yes, even on our bike tour, famous Côtes du Rhône wines make your taste buds work and the water soon comes pouring out of your mouth as you cycle through the vineyards. I myself was like royalty in Beaumes-de-Venise. The vineyards of the special sweet white dessert wine, which to my taste is one of the best sweet wines in the world, are on the south side of les Dentelles de Montmirail. Stopping and tasting here is simply a “must”. Of course, we were anticipated and had brought our backpack to take a few bottles with us. Knowing that you tasted and bought one of your favorite wines on the property itself makes you feel special. That feeling is only intensified because you take a tour along and through the wine domains by bike and backpack.
Here you cycle through a unique environment surrounded by vineyards. You ride from one famous wine village to another. From Beaumes-de-Venise to Carpentras and then it goes via a beautiful new bike path on an old train bed to Bédoin where it is teeming with cyclists who only have eyes for the ‘Ventoux’. We leave the Bald Mountain to the right and cycle over the beautiful Col de la Madeleine to Malaucène and on to Camping le Voconce, where we take a dip in the fresh water of the Ouvèze. Right behind our pitch, the river created a deep pool where we could swim against the current.
After such a wonderful bike ride with wine tasting, it is so nice to relax in the natural water and let the past hours flash by like in a movie. A day of experiences we will never forget.
Located in the north of the Vaucluse, Séguret is built on the northern side of the flanks of Les Dentelles de Montmirail. The beautiful village overlooks the plain of the Rhone valley. Séguret is full of picturesque old houses and it is like being lost for a moment in the Middle Ages. The entire village is car-free and there is an atmosphere you will have rarely felt. The eastern bank of the Rhône is used here to grow the grapes from which the Côtes du Rhône wines are made.
The famous wine villages of Chateauneuf du Pape and Vacqueyras are around the corner, so the road to Séguret is a real feast for any cycling and wine lover. The amount of vines is overwhelming and along the road there are tall cypresses every few hundred meters on both sides, while in the background Mont Ventoux completes the picture.
Tip: Lavender fields
We were in the Mont Ventoux area in late September and it was beautiful! But did you know that in the summer period the lavender is in full bloom? The landscape then has an enchanting color and the smell of the flowers is unforgettable. The best time to visit the lavender fields is from late June to early August. This is the best period to experience the vibrant colors and scents and also one for your bucket list.
CAMPING *** LE VOCONCE
Hamlet of Cabrières
250 Chemin des Voconces
84110 CRESTET – France
GPS : 44.223599 – 5.104333
Tel : +33 (0)4 90 36 28 10
Email : email@example.com
Text and photo: Patrick Van Gansen