• Distance 21 km
  • Elevation gain 1580m
  • Difficulty
  • Epic rating

Just take a look at the stats for cycling Mont Ventoux via Bedoin: Bédoin-Mont Ventoux is 21.3 km long, it climbs 1,579 m, and its average gradient is 7.4%.

By way of comparison, L’Alpe d’Huez is 13.8 km at an average gradient of 7.9%.

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club says, “If you’re only riding Mont Ventoux once, make it Bédoin to Ventoux. It’s the route the Tour has taken 15 times, the one Tom Simpson died on, the iconic climb that everyone will assume you’re doing if you tell them you’re cycling Mont Ventoux. It’s on all the “top rides” lists.”

This is a ride that truly deserves its place in the epic rides hall of fame.

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Highlights of Mont Ventoux (Bédoin)

Leaving the forest and coming out into the white lunar landscape, is incredible. The sun on the white rocks is dazzling after the relative dark of the forest. You can see the hairpins stretching ahead of you, and it feels both exhilarating and daunting.

Cyclist on Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux Cycling Club rider on the way up Ventoux’s iconic slopes, from Bedoin (credit: Matt Preece)

Route notes

1. The easy warm-up: 0-5.5km:

You leave Bédoin on an open, relatively gentle road through vineyards, olive groves and cherry orchards. After about 3.5km you pass through Saint Colombe, an attractive village with some hotels/B&Bs and a few restaurants.

2. The forest: 5.5-16km

After Les Bruns and the St Estève bend, you head up into the forest on a wiggly, merciless road through the forest.  The gradient rarely drops beneath 9%, the road is quite narrow, and sightlines are poor.

3. The lunar landscape: 16-21.5km

At Chalet Reynard, you leave the forest for an unforgettable six kilometres through the white rock to the summit. The gradient reduces for a few hundred metres as you leave Chalet Reynard, but be prepared for wind as you leave the trees; if you don’t get a brutal headwind, you’re lucky!

At around 20km, you pass the memorial to Tom Simpson, and many choose to make a stop here.

4. Descent

The road down can be hair-raising. The gradient is severe, the road is often wet, there are multiple hairpins and strong gusts of wind.

Café stops

There are quite a few choices in Bedoin, at the start and end of your ride. Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club says his favourites are: 

  • Pista Cycling Café (map) – for a relaxed vibe and nice garden. 
  • Le Flandrien (map) – perfect for a Belgian beer or two after the ride! 

On the way up Ventoux, Chalet Reynard is a popular place to stop. It’s about seven kilometres before the summit, and it’s impossible to miss: there are some post-boxes at the side of the road, followed by wooden cabins and a sign for Chalet Reynard.

  • Chalet Reynard has a bar-restaurant with a decent indoor area with an open fireplace. There are also outdoor terraces. It serves simple food and drinks to predominantly cyclists and hikers and is open seven days a week.
  • Non-road cyclists might be interested in the Ventoux Bike Park at Chalet Reynard. It has a ski lift up to the start of three mountain biking trails. You can hire bikes at the restaurant. It’s open at weekends during the summer, weather permitting and is suitable for adults and children over the age of ten.
  • There is a reasonable amount of car parking outside the restaurant.

Lots of riders choose to pay their respects at the memorial to Tom Simpson, a few kilometres from the summit (on the righthand side). There is a water fountain near the Tom Simpson memorial.

At the summit, there is a restaurant that serves basic meals.

Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux

The famous Chalet Reynard

Accommodation

The town of Bédoin is the starting point for this route up Ventoux, and it has lots of accommodation options. You can find our hotel suggestions and tips on where to stay to ride Ventoux here.

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club says Some of the outlying villages around Bédoin are also worth considering as bases as they’re quieter and less touristy. For example, Mormoiron and Villes-sur-Auzon are particularly well positioned as they are a good springboard to the Luberon, Gorges del la Nesque and yet within easy reach of Bédoin.” 

Tips

Read our tips for cycling Ventoux before you set out.

Check out our complete guide to planning a holiday to Provence and Ventoux. This includes details of Mont Ventoux location velo/bike hire in Bedoin.

If once up Ventoux isn’t enough of a challenge… take a look at our Q&A on the Cinglés du Ventoux: three times up and down in 24 hours!

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

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