VILLA BIKE TOURS - FAQs ON OUR LOCATION & ACCESS.

VILLA BIKE TOURS - FAQs ON OUR LOCATION & ACCESS.

OUR FAQs:

OUR ANSWERS:

Where is the villa situated?

We are based in Provence, in the village of Taillades in the beautiful and renowned Luberon valley and Regional Park, in the south of France - 40 minutes from Avignon and 1 hour to 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.
Taillades is located on the flat near the entrance to the Luberon valley, between Avignon & Apt running West / East, and L'Isle sur la Sorgue & Cavaillon running North / South.
The villa is set in and alongside an attractive newly renovated development from the 1800s, just opposite the well-known St Pierre Mill and its 6m high water wheel. It is within easy striking distance of the vast majority of the famous Luberon stone villages.
The villa is situated just 6km from Coustellet from where we run our B&B based bike tours, so we are never far away should we be needed.
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
MARCH
The almond trees are in full blossom!
16°C 61°F
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

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.

Amenities - what amenities are there around the villa?

In Taillades village there is a good restaurant and a bakery. Then within a 5 minute ride or 2 minutes car journey, you have Robion village, with lots of good restaurants and cafes, pizza take away, bakeries, 2 butchers, bio fruit and veg, a cash point, a mini supermarket, 2 pharmacies and an English speaking doctor.
Then 5 minutes in the other direction we have the town of Cavaillon, with several supermarkets, and all the amenities and services you would expect.

Roads - What are they like?

We are based in the countryside, our rides use the smaller, less busy back roads wherever possible. Use of busier roads is extremely limited & really is kept to an absolute minimum.
On the car front, you should find that those that you cross tend to be fairly respectful of cyclists.
We go to a lot of trouble to plan rides using the best country roads, bike tracks & villages lanes that should make for memorable, relaxed cycling.

What is the terrain like?

The terrain around the villa is a varied one and really does cater for all needs. It's best described as flat to the West and North (an extension of the Rhône river delta) to rolling, low altitude hills to the East (along the Luberon valley). There are, however, steeper, longer hills to the North East where the climbing gets harder (the Monts de Vaucluse) that we can take you to, if that's what you like.
Our 30 rides take in all of these different terrains, so you really can find the type of ride & effort required that you want.

Mont Ventoux - Can I cycle Mont Ventoux whilst at the villa?

Yes you can - there are 2 start points for Mont Ventoux that are easily accessible - the villages of Bedoin (the official Tour de France start @ 320 metres) & Sault (an easier starting point @ 760 metres). Both are an easy 50 mins' car journey from the villa.
From the base, it usually takes anywhere from between 2 & 3 hours to get up to the top @ 1912 metres.
It's important to plan for the weather, and we can help you with this. The temperature difference between the start and the summit is often 10°. Plus the Mistral wind can blow very hard in the final few kilometres, so a wind or winter jacket is a must, you'll also be glad of it on the way down - it's a long way!
Warning though, Mt Ventoux is not for the faint hearted! To make the experience less difficult many of our bikers hire a carbon road bike at the foot of the moutain in Bedoin for the day or afternoon. There are several bike rental places, with huge stocks, some offer booking on line - search "bike hire Bedoin", with others you just need to turn up. Equipment offered includes helmets, pumps, automatic pedals (you bring your shoes) etc...

Travel - how can I travel to your self guided tours?

It's very easy to get here from overseas, as we are just a short journey from several main travel hubs.
Marseille airport has good links internationally (including many low cost flights), both to and from Paris and is just a 50-minute car drive away from our farmhouse.
Nimes (1h10), Montpellier (1h40) & Nice (2h20) airports are also accessible.
Avignon TGV (High Speed Train) Station is a fast link from Paris (3 hours) and a 6 hour journey from London. Avignon station is just 30 / 40 minutes from us by road.
All of the above have good car hire facilities - starting with compacts from around 200 € for 6 days. Arguscarhire.com is often a good bet.
Driving from Calais (Northern France) to us takes 9 hours non stop on the motorway.
Please click here for more info on Travel Information.

Local Restaurants - What are they like?

We have a list of our and our guests' favourite tried and tested restaurants & cafés 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 or from a 5 - 15 minute drive to a nearby village. These restaurants and cafes have been marked on your GPS units to make finding them more easy.

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 Provençal markets, and finding a scenic picnic spot should not be a problem!

I would say that the majority of our bikers prefer to have a lighter lunch, so as not to make afternoon cycling too uncomfortable. This can work well as there are lots of simpler, but good, local cafes where you can get lighter fare; lots of salads, omelettes etc. The daily ride notes that you take with you flag up where you can find our single favourite lunch spot (along with other choices) in each of the villages visited. These restaurants and cafes have been marked on your GPS units to make finding them more easy.
Should you want a more informal lunch, there are many bakeries (takeaway baguette sandwiches, breads, cakes etc...) and markets where you can stop and put yourself together a nice provencale picnic. Picturesque spots, to stop and enjoy your food abound, along the routes that we follow. Obviously, should you want a more full on lunch experience the notes will also point you in the right direction.

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 preceeded.

Water - Can I drink the local water?

Yes you can - as you can many of the fresh water fountains dotted around the valley and hills. If it's not potable they must tell you, either "Eau non potable" or "Eau non controlee".

Local Maps - Where can I get a map of the local area?

You can try the following link - which is a map of the Luberon Regional Park:
https://goo.gl/6mM2Lv

The following link is for the Departement of the Vaucluse (a larger area than the above Luberon Regional Park - it's the French equivalent of a County or State):
Map of Vaucluse.

What reading can I do to get a feel for the area beforehand?

"Rough guide to Provence & the Cote d'Azur"- an excellent tourist guide to the Luberon and wider Provence.
https://goo.gl/jb8lkh

"A year in Provence", Peter Mayle, Penguin. Set in the Luberon Valley, its a good read about the French & Provence. To be taken with a pinch of salt:
https://goo.gl/3fxMXe

"Michelin guide to Provence":
https://goo.gl/AFOTqM

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

VILLA BIKE TOURS - FAQs ON OUR LOCATION & ACCESS.

OUR FAQs:

OUR ANSWERS:

Where is the villa situated?

We are based in Provence, in the village of Taillades in the beautiful and renowned Luberon valley and Regional Park, in the south of France - 40 minutes from Avignon and 1 hour to 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.
Taillades is located on the flat near the entrance to the Luberon valley, between Avignon & Apt running West / East, and L'Isle sur la Sorgue & Cavaillon running North / South.
The villa is set in and alongside an attractive newly renovated development from the 1800s, just opposite the well-known St Pierre Mill and its 6m high water wheel. It is within easy striking distance of the vast majority of the famous Luberon stone villages.
The villa is situated just 6km from Coustellet from where we run our B&B based bike tours, so we are never far away should we be needed.
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
MARCH
The almond trees are in full blossom!
16°C 61°F
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

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.

Amenities - what amenities are there around the villa?

In Taillades village there is a good restaurant and a bakery. Then within a 5 minute ride or 2 minutes car journey, you have Robion village, with lots of good restaurants and cafes, pizza take away, bakeries, 2 butchers, bio fruit and veg, a cash point, a mini supermarket, 2 pharmacies and an English speaking doctor.
Then 5 minutes in the other direction we have the town of Cavaillon, with several supermarkets, and all the amenities and services you would expect.

Roads - What are they like?

We are based in the countryside, our rides use the smaller, less busy back roads wherever possible. Use of busier roads is extremely limited & really is kept to an absolute minimum.
On the car front, you should find that those that you cross tend to be fairly respectful of cyclists.
We go to a lot of trouble to plan rides using the best country roads, bike tracks & villages lanes that should make for memorable, relaxed cycling.

What is the terrain like?

The terrain around the villa is a varied one and really does cater for all needs. It's best described as flat to the West and North (an extension of the Rhône river delta) to rolling, low altitude hills to the East (along the Luberon valley). There are, however, steeper, longer hills to the North East where the climbing gets harder (the Monts de Vaucluse) that we can take you to, if that's what you like.
Our 30 rides take in all of these different terrains, so you really can find the type of ride & effort required that you want.

Mont Ventoux - Can I cycle Mont Ventoux whilst at the villa?

Yes you can - there are 2 start points for Mont Ventoux that are easily accessible - the villages of Bedoin (the official Tour de France start @ 320 metres) & Sault (an easier starting point @ 760 metres). Both are an easy 50 mins' car journey from the villa.
From the base, it usually takes anywhere from between 2 & 3 hours to get up to the top @ 1912 metres.
It's important to plan for the weather, and we can help you with this. The temperature difference between the start and the summit is often 10°. Plus the Mistral wind can blow very hard in the final few kilometres, so a wind or winter jacket is a must, you'll also be glad of it on the way down - it's a long way!
Warning though, Mt Ventoux is not for the faint hearted! To make the experience less difficult many of our bikers hire a carbon road bike at the foot of the moutain in Bedoin for the day or afternoon. There are several bike rental places, with huge stocks, some offer booking on line - search "bike hire Bedoin", with others you just need to turn up. Equipment offered includes helmets, pumps, automatic pedals (you bring your shoes) etc...

Travel - how can I travel to your self guided tours?

It's very easy to get here from overseas, as we are just a short journey from several main travel hubs.
Marseille airport has good links internationally (including many low cost flights), both to and from Paris and is just a 50-minute car drive away from our farmhouse.
Nimes (1h10), Montpellier (1h40) & Nice (2h20) airports are also accessible.
Avignon TGV (High Speed Train) Station is a fast link from Paris (3 hours) and a 6 hour journey from London. Avignon station is just 30 / 40 minutes from us by road.
All of the above have good car hire facilities - starting with compacts from around 200 € for 6 days. Arguscarhire.com is often a good bet.
Driving from Calais (Northern France) to us takes 9 hours non stop on the motorway.
Please click here for more info on Travel Information.

Local Restaurants - What are they like?

We have a list of our and our guests' favourite tried and tested restaurants & cafés 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 or from a 5 - 15 minute drive to a nearby village. These restaurants and cafes have been marked on your GPS units to make finding them more easy.

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 Provençal markets, and finding a scenic picnic spot should not be a problem!

I would say that the majority of our bikers prefer to have a lighter lunch, so as not to make afternoon cycling too uncomfortable. This can work well as there are lots of simpler, but good, local cafes where you can get lighter fare; lots of salads, omelettes etc. The daily ride notes that you take with you flag up where you can find our single favourite lunch spot (along with other choices) in each of the villages visited. These restaurants and cafes have been marked on your GPS units to make finding them more easy.
Should you want a more informal lunch, there are many bakeries (takeaway baguette sandwiches, breads, cakes etc...) and markets where you can stop and put yourself together a nice provencale picnic. Picturesque spots, to stop and enjoy your food abound, along the routes that we follow. Obviously, should you want a more full on lunch experience the notes will also point you in the right direction.

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 preceeded.

Water - Can I drink the local water?

Yes you can - as you can many of the fresh water fountains dotted around the valley and hills. If it's not potable they must tell you, either "Eau non potable" or "Eau non controlee".

Local Maps - Where can I get a map of the local area?

You can try the following link - which is a map of the Luberon Regional Park:
https://goo.gl/6mM2Lv

The following link is for the Departement of the Vaucluse (a larger area than the above Luberon Regional Park - it's the French equivalent of a County or State):
Map of Vaucluse.

What reading can I do to get a feel for the area beforehand?

"Rough guide to Provence & the Cote d'Azur"- an excellent tourist guide to the Luberon and wider Provence.
https://goo.gl/jb8lkh

"A year in Provence", Peter Mayle, Penguin. Set in the Luberon Valley, its a good read about the French & Provence. To be taken with a pinch of salt:
https://goo.gl/3fxMXe

"Michelin guide to Provence":
https://goo.gl/AFOTqM

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

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