FAQs - OUR B&B BASED TOURS.

FAQs - OUR B&B BASED TOURS.

OUR FAQs:

OUR ANSWERS:

What do your self guided tours include?

Isn't it a bit restrictive staying in just one place?

We don't think so. On the comfort front, with a single base tour there is no daily packing, unpacking and all the boring logistics of moving to the next hotel.
There is also no luggage restriction, which is no mean thing when you need both cycling and normal holiday equipment.
You'll also hopefully benefit from the personal touch and our local knowledge when you stay in just one place.
On the cycling front, we have more than enough great routes to keep you busy for the 5/6 days, with 30+ superb, self guided bike rides that start and end at our farmhouse. We have great cycling in every direction, so there's no need to ride the same area twice. And if you want to we can also design and load rides to the GPS especially for you.

My partner doesn't like to bike as much as me - how would that work with your tours?

Our self guided bike tours are designed to be flexible. You really can strike the balance between biking & relaxation that you want.
So maybe a small ride in the morning for both of you taking in the beautiful village of Oppede Le Vieux, then in the afternoon, the pool and a short ride to Gordes for the more serious biker.
And a dip in the pool & a book for the less serious biker followed maybe by a car ride to meet up in Gordes for a coffee.
The options are endless.
And remember, we also have electric bikes available for hire, if you want to make the cycling easier (at €168 per person for your stay) - please enquire at the time of booking.

Does a GPS tour mean I'm on my own?

Not at all.
First of all, it's pretty hard to get lost with one of our GPS systems. We haven't lost anyone yet...
But should that happen or should you suffer a rare mechanical problem then vehicle back up is just a call away.

Fitness - what level of fitness is needed?

You don't need to be super fit to do our cycle tours, as you choose the rides to suit you. To make it easier our rides are rated by difficulty - Easy, Moderate, Hard & Hardest.
We would recommend, however, that you do not come new to cycling and to exercise - you'll enjoy it more that way!
Ideally preparation for a tour would involve 1 or 2 rides per week over different terrains (for 4 weeks prior) of at least an hour each. This will get you used to riding and being comfortable on a bike, whilst getting used to providing a decent level of effort.
Note that our rides often take the least hilly option to get to a destination - but of course if you want hills and hundreds of lovely kms, we can do that too. And remember, of course, if you wanted to make the cycling easier with an Ebike we can organise that for you (at €168 per person for your stay). If you have any doubts here - please just contact us.

I'm not a very strong rider - can I still do one of your tours?

You can choose the difficulty of your ride with the lowest kms and the easiest routes up any hills. But if this still seems too much, we can provide you with an electrically assisted bike. It's a €168 extra charge for your stay - Please enquire at the time of booking.
With the Ebike you get to select the amount of assistance you want & the level of effort you give. The bikes are easy to ride, highly autonomous with a minimum range of 60kms to a max of 100kms.

Meals - What meals are provided?

We provide a substantial French buffet style breakfast each morning & and a home cooked 3 course meal (traditional French Provencale cuisine) every third night (set menu with wine & soft drinks included). The majority of meals at the farmhouse are served outside under the vine covered pergola on the terrace.
Please note that our evening meals have a set menu that tend to be traditional French cuisine, so unfortunately we can not cater for vegans, sorry.
If you are vegetarian, need to eat gluten or lactose free, or have any other food allergies, can you please be sure to let us know at the time of booking (not on arrival), as all of our menus need to be planned in advance.
When dining out, our listing of favourite restaurants & cafes should help point you in the right direction. We have around a dozen restaurants in the village (5/10 mins walk) of which 4 are very good. The other restaurants on our list are a 5 to 15 minutes' drive. Of course, if you need us to, we will happily make reservations for you.
Click here to access more information on Our Meals.

Tour size - what are your self guided tour sizes?

This is not mass marketing with large impersonal groups and one standard tour to fit all.
At any one time there will never be more than 8 bikers, this hopefully makes for a more special & unique tour for all.
Also unlike some tours operators, we prefer not to run a minimum group size, so you can have the peace of mind that we will not cancel your tour at the last minute due to low numbers.

Where are your tours based?

We are based in the countryside, within a 10 minutes walk of the great little village of Coustellet, which, for a little village, has loads of useful amenities. Coustellet is in the departement of Vaucluse, Provence, in the beautiful and renowned Luberon valley and Regional Park, in the south of France - an hour from the Med.
The vast majority of roads that we use are quiet countryside back roads. The terrain is best described as flat (an extension of the Rhône river delta) to rolling, low altitude hills (along the Luberon valley). There are, however, steeper, longer hills (the Vaucluse mountains) to the north that we can take you to if that's what you want.
Coustellet is set at the entrance of the Luberon valley, between Avignon & Apt running West / East, and Gordes & Cavaillon running North / South. We are in a beautiful countryside setting close to the valley's famous hilltop villages. There is more than enough great cycling to be had!
Click here to access our Location page.

Weather - What's it like?

With its Mediterranean climate, the area enjoys some of the best weather in France, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, and little rain.
It really does make for some excellent cycling weather!

Spring - Mid Spring - April onwards usually means great biking in Provence and you could be forgiven for thinking it's Summer with temperatures between 16 & 23c. It will probably be warm enough to wear short sleeves & shorts during the day.
Early mornings and late afternoons can be a little fresher, so long sleeves and leggings may be needed.
Like most places this time of year, you could be unlucky and could get the odd shower, so rain/wind jackets need to be brought just in case.

Summer - "La Belle Saison" with clear skies, sun and very little and often no rain. Average maximum afternoon temperatures are between 26 & 30c, so great cycling weather. We do need to be careful though and make sure we drink enough (camelback water bottles are a good idea), use sun block and wear the right light weight gear, you'll probably be wearing short sleeves & shorts.
Evenings are usually lovely of warm.

Autumn - Provence usually continues to see some great maximum temperatures - between 15 & 25c, real "Indian Summer" territory.
Around the end of September evenings usually start to cool down so you will probably need warmer gear then.
You could also be unlucky from October, and get the odd shower, so wet weather gear needs to be bought just in case.
Don't be put off though, as Autumn is a great time to visit Provence: good temperatures, fewer tourists & the days are still fairly long. We usually stop our tours around the end of October as that's when the likelihood of a shower starts becoming too great for us.

Winter - Although we have some great clear days with lots of radiant heat, it's generally too cold to run tours, so we close. The mistral is also at its strongest in Winter and early Spring.

The Mistral wind - Provence is famous for the mistral wind, thankfully it's weaker in the Luberon valley than it is further to the west.
A normal mistral wind speed is situated between 20 & 45 mph. It can make cycling harder but rarely is it a show stopper. Bring a wind jacket just in case.
The upside of the mistral wind is that it's a dry wind that chases the clouds away bringing lovely bright sunshine, so it's not all bad - it's most frequent in Winter and in early Spring, when we are closed.

Rain - you would be unlucky if you got anything more than a shower - very rarely is it so heavy that we can't cycle.
If you do get a bit of rain, there are however lots of ideas for rare rainy-day activities: many museums, historic sights, interesting towns, lots of shopping etc.

Average Max Temp Celsius Fahrenheit
APRIL
The cherry trees are in full blossom!
21°C 70°F
MAY
The Perfect cycling conditions!
The poppies & flowers are out - It's beautiful!
23°C 74°F
JUNE
The perfect cycling conditions with lovely warm spring weather!
It's strawberry & cherry time and the lavender is in blossum!
27°C 81°F
JULY
Summer time in Provence: Blue skies, long evenings.
The lavender is in blossom!
30°C 86°F
AUGUST
Summer time in Provence: Blue skies, long evenings.
33°C 91°F
SEPTEMBER
Beautiful "Indian Summer".
Ideal for cycling! The wine harvest begins.
27°C 81°F
OCTOBER
Beautiful "Indian Summer".
Ideal for cycling! The wine harvest continues.
24°C 75°F

Can children do your self guided tours?

As a general rule, and as with most tours, our holidays tend to be suitable for kids of 15 and over.
Our tours are, however, flexible so you can make the cycling as easy as you find suitable for you and your family. With some guidance from us, you can choose the right rides, distances, amount of climbing & attractions that you are comfortable with.

Do I need to speak French?

No, is the quick answer, we are an English / French family so you are ok on that front.
As for the restaurants, cafes and shops etc, they are used to seeing non-French speakers, so many will have some level of English.
Though any effort to speak French - even the very basics will usually go down well.

Are drinks included with the dinners?

Wine, beer and soft drinks are all included in your tour price.

Amenities - what amenities are there in the village of Coustellet?

Here's what there is within a 5 / 10 min walk: 4 or 5 stand out restaurants, cafes, the best Sunday morning farmer's market around (& a smaller Wednesday afternoon market), cash points, supermarket, deli, green grocers, 3 bakeries & cake shops, wine cellars, ice cream parlours, estate agents, newsagents, pharmacy etc.
And within 10 minutes' drive of the bed and breakfast, there are the towns of Cavaillon & Isle sur la Sorgue, & within 25 minutes the City of Avignon, with all the amenities and services you would expect.

Tour dates - What tour dates do you run?

We run our self guided bike tours from April to October inclusive. Arrival days vary (please see the availability schedule), arrival times are between 4pm and 8pm. From Noon may be possible if organised in advance. Departures by 11am. Please contact us for any questions regarding tour dates.
Please click here to go to the page "Prices & Dates".

Local Restaurants - What are they like?

We have a list of our and our guests' favourite tried and tested restaurants & cafes which should be useful for your lunches and evenings out. There are some very good restaurants for all budgets, and they are easy to get to, from a 5 minute walk into the village to at most a 20 minute car journey.
There are a dozen or so restaurants in the village - 4 of which are very good.

Lunch - What are the possibilities?

Of course you have various choices.
There are many excellent restaurants and cafes in the Luberon villages & towns that you will visit on our rides.
Our preferred restaurant listing points you in the right direction regarding type of food and budget.
Or if you prefer you can always find a takeaway baguette sandwich or buy bread from one of the numerous excellent bakeries. You could also visit one of the many Provencal markets, and finding a scenic picnic spot should not be a problem!

Special Dietary Requirements - Can you cater for people with special dietary requirements?

Our evening meals have a set menu that tend to be traditional French cuisine, so unfortunately we can not cater for vegans, sorry. If you are vegetarian, need to eat gluten or lactose free, or have any other food allergies, can you please be sure to let us know at the time of booking (not on arrival), as all of our menus need to be planned in advance.

Snacks & Drinks - What about snacks & drinks outside of meals?

We have drinks (beer, soft drinks & water), ice creams and snacks available at any time, from the "Honesty Fridge" - you just help yourself...

Laundry - How do I wash my bike clothes?

We do a washing run every morning and put it out to dry. This is free of charge.

Wi-Fi - do you have it?

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the house and on the terrace.

When is the Lavender harvested?

Lavender is in bloom from June through to mid July, this is usually when the harvest starts - it's dependent on the weather that has preceded.

Do you have pets?

Yes, we have a cat, Rocket. She's both an indoor and outdoor cat. Though she is not allowed in the bedrooms.

OK that's a lot about the bike tours - but who are we?

We are Natalene, Neil, Lucy & Jamie an Anglo French family who have been living in Provence for the last 17 years.
We made the move from London after many excellent holidays cycling in the area. Following the success of our B&B business we created Provence Cycling Holidays, thus combining our B&B experience, with our long held passion for biking and the great back drop for cycling that is the Luberon!
Then in 2017, given the success of our B&B based bike tours, we set up a second business, with our Villa based tours out of the village of Taillades, just 7kms from the B&B. These are GPS tours based in our lovely new build villa on a self catering basis.
Click here for more info on our Villa based tours.

If you can't find the question that you want to ask here - please email or call us.

FAQs - OUR B&B BASED TOURS.

OUR FAQs:

OUR ANSWERS:

What do your self guided tours include?

Isn't it a bit restrictive staying in just one place?

We don't think so. On the comfort front, with a single base tour there is no daily packing, unpacking and all the boring logistics of moving to the next hotel.
There is also no luggage restriction, which is no mean thing when you need both cycling and normal holiday equipment.
You'll also hopefully benefit from the personal touch and our local knowledge when you stay in just one place.
On the cycling front, we have more than enough great routes to keep you busy for the 5/6 days, with 30+ superb, self guided bike rides that start and end at our farmhouse. We have great cycling in every direction, so there's no need to ride the same area twice. And if you want to we can also design and load rides to the GPS especially for you.

My partner doesn't like to bike as much as me - how would that work with your tours?

Our self guided bike tours are designed to be flexible. You really can strike the balance between biking & relaxation that you want.
So maybe a small ride in the morning for both of you taking in the beautiful village of Oppede Le Vieux, then in the afternoon, the pool and a short ride to Gordes for the more serious biker
And a dip in the pool & a book for the less serious biker followed maybe by a car ride to meet up in Gordes for a coffee.
The options are endless.
And remember, we also have electric bikes available for hire, if you want to make the cycling easier (at €168 per person for your stay) - please enquire at the time of booking.

Does a GPS tour mean I'm on my own?

Not at all.
First of all, it's pretty hard to get lost with one of our GPS systems. We haven't lost anyone yet...
But should that happen or should you suffer a rare mechanical problem then vehicle back up is just a call away.

Fitness - what level of fitness is needed?

You don't need to be super fit to do our tours, as you choose the rides to suit you. To make it easier our rides are rated by difficulty - Easy, Moderate, Hard & Hardest.
We would recommend, however, that you do not come new to cycling and to exercise - you'll enjoy it more that way!
Ideally preparation for a tour would involve 1 or 2 rides per week over different terrains (for 4 weeks prior) of at least an hour each. This will get you used to riding and being comfortable on a bike, whilst getting used to providing a decent level of effort.
Note that our rides often take the least hilly option to get to a destination - but of course if you want hills and hundreds of lovely kms, we can do that too. And remember, of course, if you wanted to make the cycling easier with an Ebike we can organise that for you (at €168 per person for your stay). If you have any doubts here - please just contact us.

I'm not a very strong rider - can I still do one of your tours?

You can choose the difficulty of your ride with the lowest kms and the easiest routes up any hills. But if this still seems too much, we can provide you with an electrically assisted bike. It's a €168 extra charge for your stay - Please enquire at the time of booking.
With the Ebike you get to select the amount of assistance you want & the level of effort you give. The bikes are easy to ride, highly autonomous with a minimum range of 60kms to a max of 100kms.

Meals - What meals are provided?

We provide a substantial French buffet style breakfast each morning & and a home cooked 3 course meal (traditional French Provencale cuisine) every third night (set menu with wine & soft drinks included). The majority of meals at the farmhouse are served outside under the vine covered pergola on the terrace.
Please note that our evening meals have a set menu that tend to be traditional French cuisine, so unfortunately we can not cater for vegans, sorry.
If you are vegetarian, need to eat gluten or lactose free, or have any other food allergies, can you please be sure to let us know at the time of booking (not on arrival), as all of our menus need to be planned in advance.
When dining out, our listing of favourite restaurants & cafes should help point you in the right direction. We have around a dozen restaurants in the village (5/10 mins walk) of which 4 are very good. The other restaurants on our list are a 5 to 15 minutes' drive. Of course, if you need us to, we will happily make reservations for you.
Click here to access more information on Our Meals.

Tour size - what are your self guided tour sizes?

This is not mass marketing with large impersonal groups and one standard tour to fit all.
At any one time there will never be more than 8 bikers, this hopefully makes for a more special & unique tour for all.
Also unlike some tours operators, we prefer not to run a minimum group size, so you can have the peace of mind that we will not cancel your tour at the last minute due to low numbers.

Where are your tours based?

We are based in the countryside, within a 10 minutes walk of the great little village of Coustellet, which, for a little village, has loads of useful amenities. Coustellet is in the departement of Vaucluse, Provence, in the beautiful and renowned Luberon valley and Regional Park, in the south of France - an hour from the Med.
The vast majority of roads that we use are quiet countryside back roads. The terrain is best described as flat (an extension of the Rhône river delta) to rolling, low altitude hills (along the Luberon valley). There are, however, steeper, longer hills (the Vaucluse mountains) to the north that we can take you to if that's what you want.
Coustellet is set at the entrance of the Luberon valley, between Avignon & Apt running West / East, and Gordes & Cavaillon running North / South. We are in a beautiful countryside setting close to the valley's famous hilltop villages.There is more than enough great cycling to be had!
Click here to access our Location page.

Weather - What's it like?

With its Mediterranean climate, the area enjoys some of the best weather in France, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, and little rain.
It really does make for some excellent cycling weather!

Spring - April onwards usually means great biking in Provence and you could be forgiven for thinking it's Summer with temperatures between 16 & 23c. It will probably be warm enough to wear short sleeves & shorts during the day.
Early mornings and late afternoons can be a little fresher, so long sleeves and leggings may be needed.
Like most places this time of year, you could be unlucky and could get the odd shower, so rain/wind jackets need to be brought just in case.

Summer - "La Belle Saison" with clear skies, sun and very little and often no rain. Average maximum afternoon temperatures are between 26 & 30c, so great cycling weather. We do need to be careful though and make sure to drink enough (camelback water bottles are a good idea), use sun block and wear the right light weight gear, you'll probably be wearing short sleeves & shorts.
Evenings are usually lovely of warm.

Autumn - Provence usually continues to see some great maximum temperatures - between 15 & 25c, real "Indian Summer" territory.
Around the end of September evenings usually start to cool down so you will probably need warmer gear then.
You could also be unlucky from October, and get the odd shower, so wet weather gear needs to be bought just in case.
Don't be put off though, as Autumn is a great time to visit Provence: good temperatures, fewer tourists & the days are still fairly long. We usually stop our tours around the end of October as that's when the likelihood of a shower starts becoming too great for us.

Winter - Although we have some great clear days with lots of radiant heat, it's generally too cold to run tours, so we close. The mistral is also at its strongest in Winter and early Spring.

The Mistral wind - Provence is famous for the mistral wind, thankfully it's weaker in the Luberon valley than it is further to the west.
A normal mistral wind speed is situated between 20 & 45 mph. It can make cycling harder but rarely is it a show stopper. Bring a wind jacket just in case.
The upside of the mistral wind is that it's a dry wind that chases the clouds away bringing lovely bright sunshine, so it's not all bad - it's most frequent in Winter and in early Spring, when we are closed.

Rain - you would be unlucky if you got anything more than a shower - very rarely is it so heavy that we can't cycle.
If you do get a bit of rain, there are however lots of ideas for rare rainy-day activities: many museums, historic sights, interesting towns, lots of shopping etc.

Average Max Temp Celsius Fahrenheit
APRIL
The cherry trees are in full blossom!
21°C 70°F
MAY
The Perfect cycling conditions!
The poppies & flowers are out - It's beautiful!
23°C 74°F
JUNE
The perfect cycling conditions with lovely warm spring weather!
It's strawberry & cherry time and the lavender is in blossum!
27°C 81°F
JULY
Summer time in Provence: Blue skies, long evenings.
The lavender is in full blossom!
30°C 86°F
AUGUST
Summer time in Provence: Blue skies, long evenings.
33°C 91°F
SEPTEMBER
Beautiful "Indian Summer".
Ideal for cycling! The wine harvest begins.
27°C 81°F
OCTOBER
Beautiful "Indian Summer".
Ideal for cycling! The wine harvest continues.
24°C 75°F

Can children do your self guided tours?

As a general rule, and as with most tours, our holidays tend to be suitable for kids of 15 and over.
Our tours are, however, flexible so you can make the cycling as easy as you find suitable for you and your family. With some guidance from us, you can choose the right rides, distances, amount of climbing & attractions that you are comfortable with.

Do I need to speak French?

No, is the quick answer, we are an English / French family so you are ok on that front.
As for the restaurants, cafes and shops etc, they are used to seeing non-French speakers, so many will have some level of English.
Though any effort to speak French - even the very basics will usually go down well.

Are drinks included with the dinners?

Wine, beer and soft drinks are all included in your tour price.

Amenities - what amenities are there in the village of Coustellet?

Here's what there is within a 5 / 10 min walk: 4 or 5 stand out restaurants, cafes, the best Sunday morning farmer's market around (& a smaller Wednesday afternoon market), cash points, supermarket, deli, green grocers, 3 bakeries & cake shops, wine cellars, ice cream parlours, estate agents, newsagents, pharmacy etc.
And within 10 minutes' drive of the bed and breakfast, there are the towns of Cavaillon & Isle sur la Sorgue, & within 25 minutes the City of Avignon, with all the amenities and services you would expect.

Tour dates - What tour dates do you run?

We run our self guided bike tours from April to October inclusive. Arrival days vary (please see the availability schedule), arrival times are between 4pm and 8pm. From Noon may be possible if organised in advance. Departures by 11am. Please contact us for any questions regarding tour dates.
Please click here to go to the page "Prices & Dates".

Local Restaurants - What are they like?

We have a list of our and our guests' favourite tried and tested restaurants & cafes which should be useful for your lunches and evenings out. There are some very good restaurants for all budgets, and they are easy to get to, from a 5 minute walk into the village to at most a 20 minute car journey.
There are a dozen or so restaurants in the village - 4 of which are very good.

Lunch - What are the possibilities?

Of course you have various choices.
There are many excellent restaurants and cafes in the Luberon villages & towns that you will visit on our rides.
Our preferred restaurant listing points you in the right direction regarding type of food and budget.
Or if you prefer you can always find a takeaway baguette sandwich or buy bread from one of the numerous excellent bakeries. You could also visit one of the many Provencal markets, and finding a scenic picnic spot should not be a problem!

Special Dietary Requirements - Can you cater for people with special dietary requirements?

Our evening meals have a set menu that tend to be traditional French cuisine, so unfortunately we can not cater for vegans, sorry. If you are vegetarian, need to eat gluten or lactose free, or have any other food allergies, can you please be sure to let us know at the time of booking (not on arrival), as all of our menus need to be planned in advance.

Snacks & Drinks - What about snacks & drinks outside of meals?

We have drinks (beer, soft drinks & water), ice creams and snacks available at any time, from the "Honesty Fridge" - you just help yourself...

Laundry - How do I wash my bike clothes?

We do a washing run every morning and put it out to dry. This is free of charge.

Wi-Fi - do you have it?

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the house and on the terrace.

When is the Lavender harvested?

Lavender is in bloom from June through to mid July, this is usually when the harvest starts - it's dependent on the weather that has preceded.

Do you have pets?

Yes, we have a cat, Rocket. She's both an indoor and outdoor cat. Though she is not allowed in the bedrooms.

OK that's a lot about the bike tours - but who are we?

We are Natalene, Neil, Lucy & Jamie an Anglo French family who have been living in Provence for the last 17 years.
We made the move from London after many excellent holidays cycling in the area. Following the success of our B&B business we created Provence Cycling Holidays, thus combining our B&B experience, with our long held passion for biking and the great back drop for cycling that is the Luberon!
Then in 2017, given the success of our B&B based bike tours, we set up a second business, with our Villa based tours out of the village of Taillades, just 7kms from the B&B. These are GPS tours based in our lovely new build villa on a self catering basis.
Click here for more info on our Villa based tours.

If you can't find the question that you want to ask here - please email or call us.

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