Provence Cycling and Yoga Tour Overview
The idea of running a cycling tour with a yoga element has been in the pipeline for us for a while. The stars finally aligned though with Tania wishing to focus more on her own retreats, and Dylan moving the Ride and Seek base to Provence. The combination of Dylan’s knowledge of the cycling in his own backyard, a friendship with the owner of the Chateau Mazan and Tania’s expertise in organising yoga retreats made this tour concept an easy proposition.
On the yoga side we are fortunate to have Tania on board. In recent years she has pioneered the Guardian live yoga series and has one of her retreats listed as among the best 25 in the world. Undoubtedly if Dylan hadn’t pulled the family card we would not have got her on board!
The cycling side is the easier part given the plethora of great cycling options available in Provence and that Dylan now lives there. There is cycling to suit all levels in the area and hence we have created an itinerary that allows for all levels to be satisfied. The regular ride distances are relatively short, but each day extra riding will be available. With over 15 years of running tours in the area we are not short of ride options.
The tour format is based on using two hotels. We feel that this provides a bit more variety for your tour experience and provides a sense of journey as we ride from the Luberon into the Vaucluse. Tania will offer morning and afternoon practice each day, with the cycling providing the filling.
Check out the series of hip stretches in the video below to get sense of how well yoga can complement cycling.
Provence Cycling and Yoga Tour Highlights
> Daily yoga practice to prepare for, and recover from, the riding on offer.
> Cycle through a number of the ‘most beautiful villages of France’ that dot this area.
> Join us for a BBQ and some fine Provencal wines at Dylan’s home.
> Take on the ‘Giant’ of Provence – Mont Ventoux. We pride ourselves on giving you all the support you need.
> Reside in the lovely surrounds of the Chateau Mazan – once home to the Marquis de Sade.
> Experience the contrast between two of Provence’s most beguiling areas – the Luberon and the Vaucluse
> Sample the delights of the amazing Provencal cuisine with the great wines that accompany it.
> Cycling to suit all levels with extra loops available everyday for those wanting extra riding.
Provence Cycling and Yoga Tour Dates & Prices
|Tour||Start Date||End Date||Days||Cost (Euros)|
|Provence – Cycling and Yoga||Custom||Custom||6 (5 nights)||€2,450|
Provence Bike Tour Food & Wine
With a strong Italian and Spanish influence the cuisine of Provence has a distinctive flair that sets it apart from more classic French fare. Blessed with an abundance of natural ingredients that flourish in the region, Provence is unsurpassed for the freshness of its produce and variety of its dishes. What better encapsulates the flavours of Provençal cuisine than the region’s herbs? Containing rosemary, marjoram, basil, savory and thyme, as well as a variety of other aromatic plants, you’ll be awakened to their presence not just in the food but also in the air as you cycle along. And what about the tapenades? These go so well spread on fougasse – a flat bread with herbs, fig, olive and walnut. We like the original made of capers, black olives and anchovies but why not try the myriad of other options and discover your own favourite?
Provence is also one of France’s serious fine wine regions, on a par with Bordeaux and Burgundy. In contrast to the cultured power of Bordeaux and the elegance of Burgundy, Provençal red wines are earthier with an almost rustic flavour. In this respect they are really interesting since quality commercial wine making is balanced by a real sense of identity. Our tour takes us into the heart of some of the regions finest wines and we’ll have the chance to compare and contrast the relative merits of Côtes du Rhône, Les Baux and Côtes du Ventoux. For dessert we recommend the excellent Muscat de Beaumes de Venise – an almost floral, citrus bouquet making them both refreshing and full bodied.
On our cycling and yoga tour we use two hotels that are both full of character. Both hotels are well positioned in the centre of the villages in which we stay and have great spaces for yoga practice. Cycling wise we get the chance to explore two of Provence’s most picturesque areas – the Luberon and Vaucluse – on a series of loop rides that can be geared for all levels.
La Maison des Ocres is situated in the lovely village of Roussillon. Classified as one of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ (Most Beautiful Villages of France) it provides a perfect base for the first 3 days of the tour. Our boutique hotel is newly renovated and is perfectly positioned to walk into the village. Yoga practice around the pool coupled with rolling cycling in the Luberon combine perfectly.
The Chateau de Mazan is a 4* family run hotel with a very personalised decoration. Located in the village of Mazan, in the Vaucluse region of Provence, this elegant hotel has a gourmet restaurant and provides us with a great base for the last two days of the tour. It’s an ideal base to discover Provence and also take on Mont Ventoux! Built in 1720, during France’s early Regency Period, what is not widely known is that the Marquis de Sade once called it home.
In his acclaimed book Peter Mayle writes about the experience of moving to Provence and setting up home. His anecdotes are humorously told and the easy prose makes for a good read.
Peter Mayle A Year in Provence
Marcel Pagnol and Provence are synonomous in many ways. This book follows on from the sad story of Jean de Florette and recounts the story of Manon’s attempts to avenge the death of her father. The film is also worth a watch but to fully appreciate Pagnol you need to read this book.
Marcel Pagnol Manon des sources
In his inimitable style Fotheringham takes on the subject of Tom Simpson, the British cyclist who tragically died ascending Mt Ventoux. The book treats his controversial and tragic life in an objective and sensitive manner.
William Fotheringham Put me back on my bike
Provence was the first Roman provincia outside the Alps and it is from this that the region derived its name. Mullins provides a broad overview of the Roman occupation and discusses how this has shaped the region we know today.
Edwin Mullins Roman Provence
Inviting readers to explore the savoury splendour of her native France, Lydie Marshall combines anecdotes of her time spent in Provence with recipes she has acquired from three generations of French friends and family.
Lydie Marshall A passion for my Provence
The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven Popes resided in Avignon. Mullins provides a well-balanced and sympathetic treatment of Popes often denigrated for their lack of piety.
Edwin Mullins The Popes of Avignon
Provence Bike Tour History
Named by the Romans, headquarters of the Popes, fought over for centuries, Provence has a rich cultural history dating back to the Neolithic period. The Ligurians, Celts and Greeks all settled here before Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul in the 1st century BC. The Romans named the area Provincia Romana and the region flourished leaving us classic Roman sites such as Orange and Pont du Gard, both UNESCO heritage sites, Arles, once capital of the ‘3 Gauls’ (France, Spain and Britain) and beautiful Glanum near St Rémy de Provence.
After the Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century, Provence was invaded and fought over for centuries. The Visigoths, Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, Saracens and Franks all left their mark and soon after the turn of the millennium Provence joined the Holy Roman Empire.
Provence again prospered – Cathedrals and monasteries were built and the region’s importance in Europe grew – from around the 12th to the 14th centuries Provençal was the literary language of France, northern Spain and parts of Italy, and was the principal language of the medieval troubadours who romanticised courtly love in poems and melodies.
Early in the 14th century the French-born Pope Clement V moved the Papal headquarters from Rome to Avignon and the city and region flourished. After ‘Good King René of Provence’ died, Provence became part of France in 1481, but Avignon and Carpentras remained under Papal control until the French Revolution in 1789.
In recent centuries Provence has attracted many famous artists due to the light and vibrant colours of the landscape – Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Signac, Raoul Dufy, Claude Monet, and Edvard Munch were all inspired by Provence’s beauty.
For variety and depth of culture and history you would be hard pressed to find an area anywhere in Europe as rich as Provence.
I want to thank the Ride and Seek team for a very intimate and experiential tour. This is my third trip with Ride and Seek and each one exceeds my expectations. I’ve traveled to Provence on my own, but Ride and Seek presented a Provence that I wouldn’t have been able to discover on my own, including personal relationships with locals, hidden gems and a thorough knowledge of the culture and history. In addition, Ride and Seek took care of every detail including, pre-trip planning, superior bike equipment, exceptional hotels, great food and extremely attentive and personable guide. Ride and Seek Provence was another perfect trip for me!
Last year, my wife and I had the great pleasure of riding in Provence with Ride and Seek and seeing a number of “Les plus beaux villages de France.” The experience was fantastic from beginning to end. The beauty and history of the region, the food, the wine and the guides (not to mention the cycling!) made this a memorable vacation. The colors of Provence are amazing, from the evening skies of St. Remy to the ochres of Roussillon. The memorable week culminated with our climb of Mt. Ventoux. Our guide James paced us up this iconic ascent on a perfect day with clear blue skies, little wind, and a fantastic view of Provence below us from the top. I think Dylan and James were as pleased as we were that everyone in the group made it to the top. We had such a wonderful experience we will be riding with Ride and Seek again this summer!
Tour at a Glance
Provence Cycling and Yoga
Distance: 240km I 155miles
Elevation: 2500m I 8202ft
Provence Cycling and YogaLength: 6 days / 5 nights