Cycling Mont Ventoux, France is top of many people’s must-do list of rides. It’s a giant of a mountain that’s steeped in cycling legend.

If you’re wondering where to base yourself for a Mont Ventoux cycling holiday, we’d suggest either:

  • one of the villages at the base of Mont Ventoux, if Ventoux is the main focus of your trip; or
  • the Luberon, Provence for a more all-around holiday experience.

There are a number of small, charming towns and villages near the base of Mont Ventoux. Many have a strong cycling pedigree and some live and breathe cycling during the summer months; more details below.

Alternatively, base yourself in the Luberon. We think it’s one of the best places to cycle in France. It offers fabulous riding on quiet roads to ancient perched villages, abbeys, castles, lavender fields and vineyards. The terrain is varied, and there are routes that will appeal to all: from flat valley riding to rolling hills. And, for those targeting Mont Ventoux, it’s just around the corner.

Want to cycle Mont Ventoux?

In this guide, you’ll find detailed information on the routes up Ventoux as well as some awesome rides in the Luberon.

We’ve also picked the brains of Dylan and the team at Mont Ventoux Cycling Club (MVCC) and Ride and Seek Bike Tours, who are based in Bedoin, at the base of Mont Ventoux (location info here). You’ll find tips and input from them throughout the guide. 

Read on for all you need to plan your next cycling adventure. 

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Routes: Cycling Mont Ventoux and beyond

Mont Ventoux routes

For many cyclists visiting the Luberon and Provence, it’s all about the Mont Ventoux climb.

The Giant of Provence, the Bald Mountain, the Lonely Mountain. Whatever you choose to call it, it towers above the Provençal countryside and is one of the world’s most iconic rides. It’s a big part of Tour de France history, books have been written on it, Tom Simpson died cycling it. The weather can be extreme. It is a mythical, semi-religious place. It’s a ride every serious road cyclist should do at least once in their life.

There are three different Mont Ventoux cycle routes: check out our three guides below. They include Ventoux route maps, gradient profiles and GPX downloads

Which side of Ventoux should you ride? 

If you’re trying to decide which of Ventoux’s three sides to ride up, here are some pointers from Dylan at Mont Ventoux Cycling Club: 

  • Bédoin is the liveliest of the three villages at the base of Mont Ventoux – the other two being Malaucène and Sault.  
  • All three have their merits as bases to ride the mountain and its surrounds. The Bédoin route is the most famous and the one to do if you’re into ticking things off lists. 
  • Of the three places Sault is the least frequented and arguably the most appealing spot in our opinion. As a springboard to explore the amazing cycling in the Drôme it is perfectly situated as well. 
  • Our favourite climb up Ventoux is the Sault climb – and not just because that is the ‘easy’ side! If you have a chance to ride the Gorges de la Nesque and then do the climb from Sault it sets you in really good stead to take on the more challenging climbs from Bédoin and Malaucène. 
  • 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. 
Cyclists celebrating have summitted Mont Ventoux (credit: James Green)

Celebrating the summit with Ride & Seek, Mont Ventoux Cycling Club’s sister company (credit: James Green)

If once up Mont Ventoux isn’t enough…

If you think you’ve got what it takes, here are some more Mont Ventoux challenges – in ascending order of craziness:

  1.  Granfondo Mont Ventoux. In 2016, the 130km route had an elevation gain of 3,600m. The 78km route had an elevation gain of 2,390m.
  2.  Les Cinglés du Ventoux. You’ll need to cycle all three routes (up and down) in a day, in whichever order you like. If you complete this, you’ll be riding 137km with 4,400 meters of vertical gain.
  3.  Bicinglette – double the Cingles! It requires six ascents and six descents within 24 hours.

Are you a member of the Club des Cingles du Mont Ventoux? Let us know in the comments below if you have attempted any of these Mont Ventoux cycling challenges – or if you plan to. We’d love to hear from you.

More info

Don’t miss our Q&A on the Cinglés du Ventoux, with lots of firsthand tips and suggestions for how to conquer it.

Want help taking on the Cinglés?

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club says, the Cinglés is a seriously tough challenge and we love to support riders who want to tackle it. We’ve put together a three day package, with a warm up ride through the Gorges de la Nesque (more on that below), the Cinglés middle day and a recovery ride on day three. Click here for more information. 

Other top rides in the Luberon, Provence

There is another side to cycling in Provence, far away from Mont Ventoux: the less famous, easier going rides through bucolic countryside. The region is a wonderful place to cycle even if you (or someone you’re travelling with) doesn’t want to cycle Mont Ventoux itself. Creamy stone pool villas dot the countryside, there are markets to explore, superb restaurants in quiet villages, excellent little known wine producers, swimming lakes and bike paths for the kids too.

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club agrees. He says “If you only do the Mont Ventoux you are only scratching the surface of what this area has to offer. From the Dentelles to the Drôme region on the north side of the mountain this area merits a prolonged stay for any avid cyclist. By all means tick off the Bédoin climb so it is in your palmares but then take some time to explore further afield. 

Two of our favourite Provence cycling routes are below.

1. Highlights of the Northern Luberon

Distance: 65.9km

Elevation gain 1,185m

If you’ve only got time for one ride in the Luberon, make it this one; the showcase for Luberon cycling.

The route takes you past lavender fields, perched villages and some of the region’s most iconic sites, including Chateau de Lacoste, Abbey de Sénanque, Village des Bories and Le Sentier des Ocres in Roussillon.

The real difficulty will be resisting the urge to stop all the time to take photos and visit these amazing places.

Tip: If you’re looking for a longer ride, tack on the 38km perched village ride.

Abbey de Senanque, Luberon with lavender fieldsAbbey de Sénanque, near Gordes
Village des Bories, also near Gordes
The pink buildings of Rousillon village, Luberon, FranceRoussillon village

2. Highlights Of The Southern Luberon

GPX DownloadTerms of use reminder

Distance: 58.6km

Elevation gain: 838m

This fabulous loop gives you a taste of the Luberon on the south side of the Luberon Mountains.

The ride starts with the unforgettable twisting and turning descent of the D943 gorge road, surrounded by immense grey stone walls.

Once you’re out of the gorge, the riding is more mellow through vineyards, past castles and through ancient villages. The small lake surrounded by 200-year-old plane trees at Cucuron is a particular highlight.

If you’ve got time, we’d also recommend a stop in beautiful Lourmarin.

Bonnieux, a perched village in the Luberon, Provence, FranceBonnieux (photo credit: Gordon Bell/
Village square in Cucuron, set around a pondCucuron (photo credit: Marina VA/
A winding street in Lourmarin, Luberon National Park, FranceLourmarin (photo credit: Gordon Bell/

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club also suggests the following rides: 

3. Gorges de la Nesque

Dylan says “I think the Gorges de la Nesque is one of the most stunning cycling routes in all of France. The road follows the course of the Nesque river on its meandering course. For much of the route you’re high above the river on a balcony road that hugs the cliff face and takes you through roughly hewn tunnels, carved into the limestone rockface 

The 20km climb really begins from the small villages of Villes-sur-Auzon; but it’s an unaggressive kind of a climb at just a 2.3% average. The viewpoint at Castellaras Belvedere is not to be missed (as long as you’ve got a head for heights!). From the viewpoint you look all the way down into the bottom of the gorge. Absolutely stunning. 

One of my favourite things about this route is that it is generally wonderfully free of other vehicles. It also makes a fantastic warm up for those wanting to ride Mont Ventoux, which looms overhead.” 

4. Tour of Ventoux

Dylan says This is a great tour that will give you get a great sense of what the region has to offer. You can ride it in either direction but we prefer to ride from Mormoiron in the direction of Sault so that we incorporate the steady climb up the Gorges de la Nesque first. From Sault you then go into the Drôme region and have a chance to ride through Montbrun les Bains which is very deserving of its status of being one of the ‘Plus Beaux Village de France (Most Beautiful Villages of France).  

The riding on the ‘back side’ of the mountain is marked by an absence of traffic and some stunning landscapes – all the time whilst seeing Mont Ventoux from different angles. You complete the circuit by riding through Malaucène, over the smaller version of the Col de la Madeleine to Bédoin and then back to Mormoiron. 

Signposted cycling routes in Provence

For those that don’t like following a Garmin, there are a range of excellent signposted routes:

Family rides around the Luberon, Provence

Here are some ideas for Provence cycling holidays with kids:

Veloroute – Voie Verte du Calavon

A superb bike path begins near the village of Coustellet and follows the Calavon valley for 37km. It’s almost flat (189m elevation gain over the whole ride), and much is well away from the road. One of the highlights is passing the Pont Julian Roman bridge.

Route Map and GPX

Family cycling France - bike path near Bonnieux, France
Pont Julian roman bridge near the cycling path, Luberon National Park, France
Bike path near Pont Julian, Provence, France

Perched villages loop

This 38km loop takes in some of the Luberon’s most attractive perched villages:

  • Lacoste with its wonderful castle and panoramas over the Luberon.
  • Menerbes, one of the Luberon’s most famous perched villages.
  • Oppède le Vieux, this once abandoned terraced village is one of our favourite finds. An old gateway leads from the main square to the upper village – be prepared for countless steps and unforgettable views from the church at the top. You’ll need to leave your bikes at the bottom.

Tip: with 634m climbing, this route is only suitable for older children that are keen cyclists.

Route Map and GPX

Chateau de Lacoste, a perched village in the Luberon, FranceLacoste (photo credit: Gordon Bell/
View from the church at the top of Oppede le vieux villageOppède le Vieux
view up to Menerbes villageMenerbes village

Provence cycle tours

Mont Ventoux Cycling Club 

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club says “We are based in Bédoin at Pista Cafe, just off the Route Ventoux at Km 0 of the Bédoin climb. We offer guided and self-guided options up and around Mont Ventoux. You can find more details on our website, here. 

We’re always very happy to chat all things routes and cycling in the area – so even if you aren’t looking for someone to organise your trip for you, do call in for a coffee 

We have a fleet of rental bikes (more details below), a bike workshop and the coffee machine is always on. We run weekly club rides and can also offer airport and luggage transfers. 

Other options 

If you’d like some help with organising your trip to Provence, check out our article on the best Provence bike tour operators.

You might also be interested in our tips for how to pick the best bike tour company for your needs and the different kind of French cycling holidays out there.

Cyclists on Mont Ventoux

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

Where to stay

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club shares some thoughts on good bases for riding Ventoux above. 

We’ve also prepared this detailed article on the best places to stay and accommodation for cyclists near Ventoux. Here you’ll find our tips for deciding between staying at the foot of Ventoux versus the villages around Ventoux versus the Luberon. We also share suggestions for specific cycling-friendly accommodation.


Road winding around BonnieuxBeautiful Bonnieux (photo credit: Gordon Bell/
Church tower in Roussillon villageBell tower in Roussillon
View from the ruined castle at the top of Saint Saturin des Apt villageView from the ruined castle above Saint Saturnin-les-Apt

Bike hire

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club says “We offer bike rental from our base in Bédoin. We have a fleet of rental bikes that includes premium titanium road bikes, e-road bikes and both flat-bar and e-leisure bikes. Our workshop provides full repair and servicing options. We’re also a great place to grab a coffee and we’d love to see you on one of our weekly club rides. There’s information on the tour operator services we offer, above.” 

Below are some other companies that may also be able to help with bike rental for Mont Ventoux and the wider Luberon/Provence region. We have always taken our bikes with us, so haven’t tried these suggestions.

Prices, services and bike brands often change. Please let us know if anything is incorrect.

Mont Ventoux bike hire

If you’re looking for Mont Ventoux bike hire, the following places all have a good range of bikes to offer and are in the shadow of the mountain. 

Bédoin bike hire

Mont Ventoux Cycling Club (MVCC) – Pista Cafe, 79 chemin de la Ferraille, Bédoin // +33 (0)4 86 04 83 37 // website

La Route du Ventoux  – 57 Route du Mont-Ventoux 84410 Bédoin // +33 (0)4 90 67 07 40 – La Route du Ventoux is also known as France Bike Rentals as the owners of La Route du Ventoux are part owners of France Bike Rentals, a company which rents and delivers bikes all over France.

Bedoin Location – 20 Rte de Malaucène, 84410 Bédoin // +33490659453 

Malaucène bike hire

Ventoux Bikes – 1, Avenue de Verdun,  84340 Malaucène // +33 (0)9 62 30 25 73 

Sault bike hire

Albion Cycles – Route de Saint Trinit, 84390 Sault // +33 (0)4 90 64 09 32

Luberon bike hire

There are lots of places to rent bikes in the Luberon and Provence and we’ve listed some below.

Rent Bike Luberon – 2, Rue Marceau, 84 480 Bonnieux // +33 (0)7 78 68 34 94

Sun e bike – 1 Avenue Clovis Hugues, 84480 Bonnieux // +33 (0)4 90 74 09 96 – You need to contact them about road bike hire since they primarily rent electric bikes. 

BMC cycling centre – Coquillade Village, Le Perrotet, 84400 Gargas // +33 (0)4 90 74 71 71 – The cycle centre is part of the Coquillade Hotel. We contacted the hotel to check it is possible to hire bikes if you are not a guest and they told us: “You can hire our bikes if you do not stay at the hotel. However, the bike always must return in the evening at the Rental Shop.”

Velo Luberon – ZAC Saint Martin, 84120 Pertuis // +33 (0)4 90 09 17 33

Luberon Biking – Conservatoire des Ocres D104 84220 Roussillon // +33 (0)4 90 90 14 62

Ventoux bike hire tips:

  • Book your bike in advance, particularly in peak season when Ventoux bike rental can get super busy.
  • Remember to bring your own pedals, shoes and helmet. This packing list may help! 
  • Check which way around your brakes are set before you ride away (i.e. whether the front brakes are on the right hand (as is usual in the UK) or on the left (as is usual elsewhere in Europe). 

Undecided on whether to hire a bike or bring your own? Read this.

Cyclists after a Mont Ventoux Cycling Club club ride

Relaxing after a Mont Ventoux Cycling Club ride (credit: Megan Reynolds)

When to go

Our favourite time to visit the Luberon and Ventoux is June when it’s hot, without being ridiculous, the lavender fields look and smell amazing, and the roads aren’t inundated with families on school holidays. That said, we’ve visited in July and (contrary to what most people say!) preferred it to September simply due to the lavender fields being in flower and the reliably hot days.

It comes down to your priorities. Hopefully, this chart will help you decide. The weather on Ventoux is changeable whatever the time of year and the Mistral may well be blowing hard – even in high summer.

If you want to cycle Ventoux, check the Mont Ventoux weather forecast before you set out.

January Ventoux climb closed.

Ventoux may be closed, depending on weather and which route you want to ride.



May still be a bit of snow at the top of Ventoux and unlikely to see the lavender fields in bloom. But tourist numbers should be low, and the heat shouldn’t be too intense.



Warm days for cycling, without the intense heat of July/August, fewer tourists and, in late June, the lavender fields should be in bloom.



School holidays in France, UK (from mid-July) and US; Le Festival d’Avignon makes the area particularly busy; and it could be very hot. But you should see lavender and sunflowers in full bloom.



School holidays in France, UK and US; intense heat will make Ventoux hard work. But you should see lavender and sunflowers (lavender is generally harvested from mid-July to late August).



Can get some heavy rain/thunderstorms and the lavender will have been harvested but generally a good combination of lower temperature and fewer tourists. Great for foodies: markets packed with ripe produce, e.g. Cavaillon melons.



Earlier on in October, you may well have good temperatures and clear roads for climbing Ventoux. Towards the middle and end of the month, the road may be shut depending on weather and route.



Ventoux may well be closed, depending on weather and which route you want to ride.



Ventoux climb closed.


Getting to (and around) Provence

Getting to Ventoux 

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club says, “The most convenient airport gateway for riding Mont Ventoux is Marseille Provence Airport. Unfortunately, the public transport links from the airport are not great and so the easiest transport solution is to rent a vehicle at the airport. MVCC also provides airport transfers on request. 

Getting around 

Having a rental car is a good option for getting around. It gives options for family, shopping, dining, rest days, a support vehicle, recce-ing new routes and non-cycling friends/partners. This article has info on bike racks for hired cars and more.


Books and maps

Luberon and Mont Ventoux maps

If you like to look at bike routes on a physical map, consider this map of the Vaucluse department (which is where the Luberon and Ventoux are located). The IGN Ventoux map may also be useful.


Daniel Friebe’s coffee table sized Mountain High is an excellent addition to any cycling library. It covers a selection of Europe’s greatest climbs, including Mont Ventoux. It has four pages of the cycling history of Ventoux as well as good photos and profiles of the Bédoin and Malaucène routes.

Alternatively, Simon Warren’s (almost) pocket-sized 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs Tour de France gives a brief but practical description of Ventoux.

Ride a Stage of the Tour de France by Kristian Bauer is in a similar vein. It is a translation from the German original published in 2006, but don’t let that put you off. It’s in a slightly larger format than Warren’s book, and so has more room for detail. It includes ten pages on Ventoux, covering the Bédoin and Malaucène routes, and including maps, profiles, photos and history.


Tom Simpson and Mont Ventoux are practically synonymous. His death on Ventoux is a prominent part of the mountain’s history. These books will fill you in.

If you would prefer something a bit lighter:


DVDs of Tour de France highlights will of course feature Ventoux. There is also Virtual Rides Ventoux Cycling Training if you want to have Ventoux as your backdrop as you train for your ride.

Things to do in Provence (when you’re not cycling)

If you’re looking for inspiration for what to do when you’re not cycling, this helpful article gives you 7 days of things to do and see in Provence.

Great cycling cafés 

Whether you’re cycling or not, it’s always good to know about the best little places to find coffee and croissants! 

Dylan from Mont Ventoux Cycling Club shares his favourites: 


Cafe de la Liberte: (map) – another lovely spot. 


Mont Ventoux Cycling Club @ Pista Cafe (map // website) – of course, the best place in town for coffee and cycling!  

Le Flandrien (map) – an excellent place if you like great Belgian beers. 

Ville sur Auzon: 

Cafe du Soleil (map) – a great place to stop after riding Gorges de la Nesque. 


Hotel le Nesk (map) – it has a great cycling museum and nice terrace looking across at Mont Ventoux. 

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Good to know

Mont Ventoux: Tour de France history

  • The Tour de France does not visit Ventoux very often; the 2016 tour was its 15th visit and 10th stage finish. All but 1 of these visits has used the Bédoin route. The exception was in 1951 when the Tour climbed from Malaucène.
  • Britain’s Tom Simpson died on Mont Ventoux on July 13, 1967, during the Tour de France. Exhausted and dehydrated, he collapsed near the top of the climb. In a state of delirium, he was heard to utter “Put me back on my bike!” Sadly he died on the way to hospital. Alcohol and amphetamines were found in his blood. Thousands visit the memorial to Simpson on Ventoux each year. He was 29 and the first British rider to have a genuine chance of winning the Tour.
  • In 2016, a motorcycle-induced crash damaged Chris Froome’s bike. He ended up running about 100m up the mountain until he was given a neutral service bike (his team car was too far back).
  • In 2000, Armstrong said he gifted Pantani the win after the pair broke away together to the top of Ventoux.  Pantani was suitably miffed, and a famous war of words ensued.
  • Armstrong never won on Ventoux.

Interesting facts

  • Ventoux is French for ‘wind’. Wind speeds as high as 320 km/h have been recorded, and the wind blows at 90+ km/hour for over 200 days a year. As a result, temperatures on Mont Ventoux can be as extreme. For more information read our tips on cycling Mont Ventoux article.
  • The altitude of Mont Ventoux seems to be open to debate. You’ll see a range of heights for its summit – anything from 1,909 metres to 1,912 metres.
  • UNESCO list Ventoux as a biosphere reserve.
  • For information on the Cingles Ventoux challenge, see above.
  • The fastest ascent of Mont Ventoux to date was Iban Mayo’s record Mont Ventoux climb of 55′ 51″ in the individual climbing time trial of the 2004 Dauphiné Libéré. The average time for cycling Mont Ventoux is a more moderate 1.5 to 4 hours, depending on which route you take, your fitness and the conditions.

Over to you!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the Ventoux and Luberon/Provence region. Drop us a line or let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Want to check out some other destinations? Search for more amazing cycling destinations and if you know when you want to travel, speed up the decision process by filtering by the month you want to travel.


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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up 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.

Last Reviewed: 16 April 2024

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