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The glittering mountain – Tour of Mount Ventoux

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The glittering mountain – Tour of Mount Ventoux

Bike Touring Collection by Vincent Reboul

3

Tours

08:31 h

80.2 mi

6,200 ft

It’s known as ‘Mont-Chauve’ (bald mountain) in French, due to the absence of any vegetation on its summit. In English, it’s known as ‘Mountain of the Moon’ for the same reason. It’s wrongly claimed that the name of Mount Ventoux, in the Provence region of southern France, comes from the area’s strong winds. This is unlikely to be true and there are more probable theories, from being named after a pre-Roman deity to having etymology based in Occidental Provençal. . Climbed by so many cyclists every year, this unmissable mountain was originally a sacred eminence. The sun, reflecting on the white limestone that crowns it, gives it its undeniably brilliant appearance no matter what its name means.

What is fascinating about the mountain is its physiognomy. It looks so different from one side to the other, it seems that you are not dealing with the same mountain. The southern side, for instance, is a bit like the land of milk and honey. You will find many fruit trees, vineyards, gentle slopes and charming villages. Its northern side is notably rougher and wilder with the beautiful Toulourenc valley. Its isolated villages seem set like jewels in the rock; numerous rivers cross its valleys, sometimes forming impressive canyons. The gorges of the Nesque are the most famous, but there are also others that are less well known, such as those of the Ouvèze, the Toulourenc or the Aulan.

The climate also varies.Sometimes you’ll be at altitude and while still under the influence of a Mediterranean climate, you can feel the beginnings of an Alpine climate during these three stages across 81 miles (130 km) of the route. This mixture of climates, due in large part to the increase in altitude, makes this region particularly appealing.

Wherever you look, the giant of Provence is there and seems to be watching you. It is omnipresent and enthralling. As a result, this Collection is designed to pay tribute to the mountain, exploring it over a long weekend.

During these stages, you will pass through the three villages of Bédoin, Malaucène and Sault. It is from these villages that the three different climbs to the summit begin.. If you are completely crazy, you can do all three climbs in one day and join the very select club of Ventoux nuts whose motto is: ‘It's not crazy to climb the Ventoux, but it's crazy to go back.’

clubcinglesventoux.org

The Tour of the Ventoux is very achievable as the daily mileage does not exceed 31 miles (50 km) and even if there is elevation gain, it’s still feasible for beginners who are just starting out on their cycling journey. The ideal way to do this cycling Tour is in bikepacking mode, as your bike can be quickly transformed into a racing bike for an extra stage, should you decide to take on the challenge of the climb.

The places described are popular and entirely dedicated to cycling. You can easily find food, accommodation and even, if necessary, bike repairs, as shops and bike repair shops are abundant. This adventure is also suitable for all budgets. You can go from campsite to campsite, or you stay in a hotel or a luxury guesthouse. The Collection can be travelled all year round, as the climate is very mild even in winter.

To get to the starting point of this circular itinerary, you will have to take bus line number 4, which connects the Orange train station to the centre of Vaison-la-Romaine.

A small reading suggestion to finish: get the small collection ‘L'ascension du Mont Ventoux’ by Petrarch. This 14th century Florentine scholar, poet and humanist was the first to write about this beautiful mountain, which is the object of a veritable cult among today's cyclists.

Enjoy the Ventoux!

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Le Tour du Ventoux

79.4 mi

6,175 ft

6,175 ft

Last updated: June 15, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Vaison-la-Romaine to Bédoin – the Tour du Ventoux

    Difficult
    02:38
    23.2 mi
    8.8 mph
    2,150 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    For a warm-up, this day which includes many possibilities of visits and few kilometers will be perfect.

    

    Starting in Vaison-la romaine is ideal, because this town offers both all the desired shops and a rich Roman and medieval past which makes it particularly pleasant and attractive.

    

    The route runs along

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  • Difficult
    03:17
    27.6 mi
    8.4 mph
    2,950 ft
    1,475 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The highlight of this second day will be the ascent of the Nesque gorges from Villes-sur-Auzon.

    

    This road that goes up the canyon is more than 20 kilometers long. You will quickly understand why it is acclaimed by local cyclists as it is so beautiful. The percentage for this climb is low and you ride

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  • Intermediate
    02:36
    29.4 mi
    11.3 mph
    1,075 ft
    2,900 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This final stage sees you return to Vaison-la-Romaine, your starting point two days ago.

    

    You will largely follow the wild Toulourenc valley. Here the Ventoux presents a completely different aspect: its north face is more impressive than its south face. The mountain becomes grandiose and seems very close

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    3
  • Distance
    80.2 mi
  • Duration
    08:31 h
  • Elevation
    6,200 ft

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