The department of Vaucluse, in the south-east of France, is gradually revealing its best kept secrets. April 2021 saw the creation of the Grande Traversée du Vaucluse (GTV) mountain bike route. This eighth Grande Traversée VTT, approved by the French Cycling Federation, is a physical and technical route, crossing the Vaucluse from north to south.
Through this Collection, you’ll discover an exceptional territory lying between Mont Ventoux, Dentelles de Montmirail, Monts de Vaucluse and Luberon. By following this itinerary of almost 300 kilometres (186 mi), you’ll encounter beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages. The GTV is dedicated to mountain biking but gravel bikes can handle it too.
The landscape here is extremely changeable with varied and fun terrain. Since its launch, the route has evolved and offers even more possibilities for exploration. There are now two main mountain bike routes through the Vaucluse: a more recent ‘eastern’ section that lets you explore the Luberon, and a ‘western’ section that forms the original route.
I’ve chosen to take you on the original route, as I think it’s more complete. It starts at the foot of Mont Ventoux at the village of Savoillans on its northern slope, and ends at Mérindol on the southern slope of the Petit Luberon massif.
This trail passes through two emblematic and unmissable places in this magnificent department. The summit in the title of this Collection refers to none other than the epic Mont Ventoux. As for the source, it’s the underground resurgence of the Sorgue, which you’ll find in the charming village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. As you explore the mountain and the river, you’ll soon understand why the locals are so attached to these two natural symbols of the region.
You can ride this route all year round if you like. However, it’s not recommended for beginners. For experienced mountain and gravel bikers though, it’s a real treat.
To get there, Savoillans is served by the Lieutaud bus 104 from the town of Vaison-la-Romaine. At the end of your journey in Mérindol, you’ll have to take bus 8, from the Haute-Provence coach company. All these companies are grouped under the name ZOU. The ZOU website covers all passenger bus operators in Vaucluse and includes the most remote areas of the department. For more information on timetables, see their website: zou.maregionsud.fr/se-deplacer-en-bus/se-deplacer-en-bus-dans-le-vaucluse (in French)
For accommodation during your adventure, there’s a website dedicated to cycling which offers a wide range of possibilities, accessible to all pockets. The accommodation on offer ranges from campsites and stopover gîtes to hotels and guest houses. For more information, visit this website: provence-cycling.co.uk/cycling-accommodation/offer-1-2.html
One last piece of advice: after your adventure, don't hesitate to discover the great historical sites such as the Palais des Papes in Avignon and the Pont du Gard.
Have a nice trip!
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: December 20, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
Your adventure begins in Savoillans, the official starting point for this great mountain bike crossing of Vaucluse. The village is very pleasant and you will leave it with regret, as its authenticity and charm will please you. There is a very pretty fountain where clear and pure water flows from the…
Today the route takes you further into the paths and some of the most charming villages in the Land of Lace.
The day is balanced in terms of terrain, but has strong short climbs that will challenge you.
The Dentelles de Montmirail are the second most famous massif in the Vaucluse department, after the…
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This day is undoubtedly the most epic of your adventure, and will forever be etched in your memory.
You will climb Mont Ventoux to Chalet Reynard, taking the white gravel track which starts shortly after Bédoin. It's a tough climb so take your time and go up at your own pace. You may come across flocks…
You will love this day which presents a wide variety of terrains and landscapes. To begin with, when you leave Sault, you will take the gorges of the Nesque passing close to the lake in the village of Monieux.
You leave the lavender fields to explore this beautiful canyon at first, then after passing…
It will once again be a splendid day on the paths of the Grande traversée du Vaucluse. After yesterday's passage through the Vaucluse mountains, it will be the turn of the very heart of the Luberon to be covered.
You will first pass on the edge of the cliffs of the Village of Lioux. The trails that follow…
I suggest you start your day with a visit to the source of the Sorgue, if you didn't have the time or the inclination to visit when you arrived in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse yesterday.
The place is just enchanting, and you will enjoy the place better without the crowds. In the height of the tourist season…
For your last day of roaming, you will follow the massif of the Petit Luberon by taking the quiet paths that follow the banks of the Carpentras canal.
Around the tenth kilometer, the route follows a steep path that will take you to the edge of the integral biological reserve of Petit Luberon.
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