Experience some of the most famous Tour de France climbs in Provence and in the Southern Alps for yourself on an extraordinary 6-day cycling tour from Mont Ventoux to Alpe d’Huez. Cycle up the “Giant of Provence” and follow our Tour-de-France-worthy itinerary through the majestic Alps.
Take part in this adventurous journey, where you'll be wheeling through physically challenging routes, such as passing over the Col d’Izoard, and climbing the 21 hairpin bends to Alpe d’Huez. The views, however are your rewards: glimpse sunrises and sunsets, ravishing canyons, verdant pastures and fine-looking vistas. The charming towns of Sault, Guillestre, and Briançon offer a peek at the pre-Alps countryside, and the serene landscape at Lac de Serre-Ponçon offers the feeling of rest as you glide upon pleasant paths.
Day 1: Arrival in Mazan or Bedoin
Welcome to Provence! Your adventure starts in the small village of Mazan, with its old medieval center protected by a circled wall of buildings. If you’re arriving by train, Avignon is the closest city that is serviced by the TGV. In this case, we can arrange a transfer between Avignon and Mazan (please note that the transfer is not part of the package). Avignon is a marvelous place, with tree-lined cobblestone streets leading you to the main square and the “Palais des Papes” (the Pope’s Palace). Take some time and visit the palace and the grounds next to it. Wherever you arrive from, remember to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow, you ride!
Day 2: Mazan or Bedoin — Orpierre
Take on the classic Tour de France ride up Mont Ventoux via Bédoin this morning. The ever-changing gradients will challenge you until you exit the forest — when the exposure to the elements atop the “bald mountain” will keep you on your toes! Stop and pay your respects at the Tom Simpson monument, then push yourself to the summit (1,912 m/6,273 ft). Down through Sault, the ‘scenic route’ includes quintessential Provençal lavender fields. You’ll soon reach the Dauphinés, the pre-Alps where you’ll encounter minor climbs, the Col de l’Homme Mort (1,212 m/3,976 ft) and the Col de Macuègne (1,068 m/3,504 ft). Follow the twists and turns along river valleys, the ups and downs of the region until you enter true Alpine territory. Tonight, you’ll rest up in Orpierre, a medieval town nestled against mountain walls.
Day 3: Orpierre — Embrun
On today’s long route, you may feel sandwiched between mountains and rows upon rows of vines — not a bad thing! As you pedal on, you’ll wind your way through ravines and follow La Durance river. Once the road starts to rise, glance around for a glimpse of Chateau de Tallard and the dome-topped Ceuse in the background. Hamlets dot the valley ahead, but soon you’ll hug the mountains and pedal uphill. The vistas over Lac de Serre-Ponçon are breathtaking, and you might find it hard to believe it’s a man-made body of water! The lake once again becomes La Durance, and you’ll rest in the nearby commune of Embrun.
Day 4: Embrun — Serre-Chevalier
Take the path of La Durance where you will pass by the fortified town of Mont-Dauphine. You will be led to Guillestre, an authentic Alpine community where you’ll find flowers and fountains in every square. The elevated slope of Gorges de Guil will push you to climb one of the tour's highlights, the Col d’Izoard, a Tour de France climb that goes "beyond category". Here, you will be required to wind your way up hairpin turns. Views are rewarding at the summit (2,360 m/7,743 ft). You can opt to make a stop at a small cycling museum that pays tribute to Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet and other great legends. Riding down is easy; take the road to Briançon, a valley city nestled beneath the protection of Fort Vauban, and stop to explore if you wish — or continue to your accommodations in Serre-Chevalier.
Day 5: Serre-Chevalier — Alpe d’Huez
Glaciers hide amid the mountain peaks in this popular skiing destination — but you’re here for other athletic pursuits. Today’s route is technically part of the eastern climb to the Col du Lautaret, but you’ll bypass it and Galibier on your way to Bourg d’Oisans. Once you reach this unassuming town, muster your energy for the 21 hairpin bends up to Alpe d’Huez (1,860 m/6,102 ft) — let the memories of previous stage winners (whose names appear on each turn) encourage you on your ascent. The only appropriate way to celebrate tonight is with a dinner worthy of champions.
Day 6: Departure
Fill your lungs with fresh mountain air while you can, because today’s the day you’ll descend from Alpe d’Huez and head on to your next adventure.