The mountain of Lure and Mont Ventoux bear a family resemblance. The Lure is an almost perfect copy of Mont Ventoux, its cousin, the ‘Mont Chauve’ which attracts cyclists from all over the world. In this Collection, I show you the region at the gates to Provence in France. The area is relatively unknown yet has diverse landscapes.
This three-day itinerary connects the city of Vaison-la-Romaine to the city of Apt, covering a total of 222 kilometres (138 mi). The entire route is paved. First, you ride along the northern face of Mont Ventoux and across the large expanses of the Sault plateau where spelt and famous lavender grow. The Jabron Valley, with its alpine air will then surprise you with its beauty and tranquility. The itinerary then takes you to the commune of Sisteron and then to the summit of the Lure Mountain, which is as high as its famous neighbour.
The route then returns to an obligatory passage to the village of Banon where you find the largest rural independent bookshop in France, the Bleuet. The bookshop has put the village on the map and brings lots of culture to the community. Next, you ride to Simiane-la-Rotonde, a hilltop village, via the Luberon Natural Park. From the plateau, a long descent plunges you into the valley, passing Rustrel village. The route ends in the town of Apt in the heart of the Luberon.
It goes without saying that when talking about ‘mountains’, a significant difference in altitude also comes into play. You need to have a good level of fitness to take on this Collection, although the first two stages are quite short which allow you to work up to the last day’s difficult climb.
Most villages have grocery stores, bakeries, water sources and restaurants, so you don’t need to carry too much food. However, don’t forget to pack warm clothes as the weather can change very quickly on the two mountain summits, even in summer. Generally, the climate is cool and dry – ideal for cycling. The route is only feasible from May to mid-November as it often snows in winter.
To get to the start line, public transport runs from Apt and Vaison-la-Romaine. You’ll find a range of accommodation in the towns of Vaison-la-Romaine, Sault, Sisteron and Apt, from camping to three-star hotels. You usually don’t have to book in advance except in the high season.
As we are in Jean Giono's country, if you have some space left in one of your bags, take a copy of his book ‘The Horseman on the Roof’. This route follows part of Angelo’s, the book’s hero, journey. You can relive the adventures of the horseman from the Piedmont in Italy.
The route starts at the Roman bridge at Vaison-la-Romaine, built above the Ouvèze. The flora of Mont Ventoux is rich and exceptional. No wonder since the northern slope that you will follow is very little frequented. The Toulourenc valley reveals a wild site of great beauty.
If you have the right idea to stay there, a stop in Brantes, one …
This second part of the route takes you first through the Plateau d'Albion or the Plateau de Sault. This is where you can admire the famous lavender fields (full bloom usually begins in mid-July). The color and smell help distinguish the hybrid plant from the original.The Négron pass is easy to access and gradual, it connects the upper Jabron …
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For this stage, the most difficult, we start the day with a bang by climbing the Lure mountain via the D53. Leave relatively early to make the most of every moment.The climb is 26 kilometers on a small quiet road without traffic. The percentages (and this is very practical) are indicated on each kilometer terminal. Most of the time, the road is under the foliage of beech trees.