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Bike routes and green ways © Hocquel

Bike routes and green ways: bike rides in peace and quiet

As bike riding involves the whole family from a very young age, or because you want to ride calmly, the département and cycle networks created fully secure bike routes and green ways with exclusive rights of way. A network of bike routes following small rural roads, well away from the traditional road network joins them, with junctions between routes that enable getting to Saint-Martin-de-Castillon from Lapalud to explore Vaucluse at your own pace. Whether you want to go on a ride for a few hours or cycle touring from north to south, here is a look at what you can do to plan your next bike getaway in Vaucluse-Provence.

Along the Rhone Valley, the ViaRhôna

(stages 17 and 18)

Arriving in the Drôme, this route takes you from Lapalud to Avignon in several sections. It is a 74-km ride where the landscapes of the banks of the Rhône, the river islands and agricultural plains roll by, with the mythical RN7 route running alongside. When you take your time, you visit the villages you go through, which all tell a story, you take breaks, a section of the route is a green way, from Mornas to Châteauneuf du Pape; it goes along the old dike of the Rhône giving you a ride in nature, from fields to watery spaces!

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Not to be missed

on the ViaRhôna

In Lapalud, Les Girardes lake about 4 km from the route, gives you the opportunity to swim, cool down, have picnics (and have a rest 😊). And so you know, in olden days the village was the capital of the sorghum broom.
 
Mondragon is the little village where, according to legend a terrifying dragon was overcome, the Drac, which is how the village got its name. A huge fresco at the entrance to the village tells the tale of this epic combat!
 
Mornas, with its mediaeval fortress sat atop it, which can be visited during the season, where you can come across gentle seigniors and gentlewomen.
 
In Piolenc, swap your bike outfits for swimsuits at Li Piboulo lake!
 
A dozen km from Via Rhona, Orange, where the Romans left magnificent and majestic structures: the Roman Theatre and Triumphal Arch, both listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
 
Caderousse is protected by dikes, which means it’s a village that’s almost fortified, which makes you curious!
The ile des Brotteaux is also a place to stop off for a cool break in the shade, when you can go for a swim too. You can get to it by turning right before going into the village of Caderousse (a bit before the stop-off area).
 
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which wine lovers around the world know about, is surrounded by vines and pebbles, with on one side the ruins of its papal castle from which you have a nice view of the Rhône as far as Avignon, and the Dentelles de Montmirail and the Ventoux on the other.
 
Sorgues, with a trip via the île de l’Oiselay along its centuries-old plane tree-lined path, where you can leave your bike while you go for a walk along the ecological path on the banks of the oxbow lake of the Rhône.
 
Avignon, the end of the journey, with its ramparts, Popes’ Palace, Bridge, picturesque streets, museums and art collections, without forgetting its festival of course, in July, which turns the city into one of the largest stages in the world!
A few km from the city centre, go for a walk on the Île de la Barthelasse, the largest river island in Europe, before going to Villeneuve-lez-Avignon and visiting the Philippe Le Bel Tower, the Carthusian monastery, Fort, Saint-André Abbey and its garden…

Did you know?

On the temporary route that’s still in place until 2023, you cross the Sorgues and Le Pontet villages on busy roads. Please be careful when riding.

From Avignon, you can get to the Via Venaissia at Velleron, by taking the Canals path (temporary ViaRhôna) then at Montfavet, then continue on the road via Morières-les-Avignon, Jonquerettes and Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon.

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From Orange to Les Taillades

The V861, the Via Venaissia cycle path

11 communes crossed over 59 km, with a 14-km section on the green way from Jonquières to Carpentras, along the old railway track and a few extra km between Pernes les Fontaines and Velleron. All along this ride, you can see the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux, which are both sentries and travel companions
 
In addition you’ll have noted that from the Via Rhona in Piolenc, or Caderousse, you can choose to head off this Via Venaissia in Orange to go to Robion, and the EV8, towards Apt, or Beaucaire/Tarascon, at the foot of the Alpilles!
 
Here you’ll find yourself in the Comtat Venaissin plain, the pontifical land from the 13th century until the French Revolution. Orchards and vines are scattered along the journey, as well as wonderful structures accommodating the Carpentras canal.

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Make sure you don’t miss along the way…

Orange, the princes’ city, famous for its Roman Theatre and Triumphal Arch, which have been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1981, the Chorégies, the wonderful city centre where the market sets up its stalls each Thursday.
 
Carpentras, with its Friday morning market which invades the whole town, truffle markets in winter (November to March) or summer, its synagogue, church-cathedral, former episcopal palace that has become the law courts, its townhouses and the Inguimbertine.
 
Pernes-les-Fontaines, with its 41 fountains, Ferrande Tower and mediaeval frescos, streets and squares, old houses, artisans!
 
Velleron, known for its strawberry festival on 8 May each year, but also and mainly for its large farmers’ market. It’s a real covered market that’s in the open air!
 
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, nicknamed the Comtadine Venice with its waterwheels, canals and pretty little bridge, is also the 3rd-ranked place in Europe for antique dealers.
 
Robion is drenched in 3 waterways (the Coulon, the Boulon and the Escanson). Once you’ve parked your bike, heading along the Carpentras canal it is the perfect place for wonderful hikes and walks in the massif du Luberon, at the foot of which it lies.

via-venaissia

Not to be missed

On the edges of this itinerary, be in Villes-sur-Auzon on 5 June, when the Gorges de la Nesque are turned into a green way. A day with no cars where you can freely wander the pretty canyon in which a stagecoach road was dug in olden days.

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Two itineraries in the Luberon

Touring the Luberon by bike and the EV8, the Mediterranean by bike (which lets you go to Le Perthus at Menton)

Much of both itineraries follows the route of the Calavon green way in the centre of the Luberon Regional Nature Park, where landscapes of vines and orchards are scattered around the villages, often up on hilltops, which seem to beckon travellers 😊

pont-romain

Unmissable

Cavaillon, the melon capital, with a gorgeous market on Monday mornings, a former synagogue that has become a museum, the Roman arch and Saint-Jacques hill, where you can swap your bike for a climbing harness on the via ferrata overlooking the city!

Oppède-le-Vieux, which has retained all its charm of bygone past and where the climb (on foot) towards the Notre-Dame-d’Alidon church offers a pretty surprise when you arrive with a view of the northern Luberon plain and the Ventoux.

Ménerbes, classed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France, its old stones, the quiet atmosphere which envelops the visitor and its stunning views from the top of the village.

Goult (Fr) and its pretty Moulin de Jérusalem windmill, a nice stopover for a wander through time…

Lacoste, the history of which is linked to the Marquis de Sade, then Pierre Cardin.

Bonnieux, a sentinel between South and North Luberon. It is a pretty village full of character where it is good to wander, before taking a breath of nature in the cedar forest, right next to it.

Gargas (Fr), lying in the plain, has a unique jewel in Europe, the Bruoux mines in addition to its lovely village centre. Here, we dive into the colour miners’ cathedral galleries.

Apt (Fr), the capital of candied fruit, with its big Provencal market on Saturday morning, the Maison du Parc, its museum to discover the town’s history and industrial adventure and, for a picnic, or to go for a dip, the La Riaille lake with its amusement park 😊

Worth the detour

2 structures can be seen on the route which may not be unusual, but which history lovers will find impressive! Julien Bridge, which you’ll cross, was built by the Romans in the 1st century and, just after the old Goult station, below, the Ubac Dolmen (Fr), a Neolithic funerary monument.

oppede

Practical info

practical info

If you come cycle touring and/or without a car, the Zou regional network will be your partner. In addition, the ViaRhôna and Via Venaissia are Bike routes that are easily accessed with many TER stations with trains that go to Avignon and the main towns in the département.

Rhone Valley
Bollène – 3.5 km ViaRhôna / Bédarrides 7 km from the Via Rhona/ Orange – 10.2 km from the ViaRhôna / Courthézon-Châteauneuf-du-Pape – 10.8 km from the ViaRhôna
 
Between Ventoux, Sorgues du Comtat and Pays des Sorgues-Monts de Vaucluse
Orange (on the route) / Courthézon-Châteauneuf du Pape – 4 km from the Via Venaissia / Bédarrides 10.1 km from the Via Venaissia / Carpentras (1 km from the Via Venaissia) / Monteux (5.5 km from the Via Venaissia), Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (2 km from the Via Venaissia)
 
In the Luberon, on the EV8
Cavaillon / Manosque / Forcalquier / Pertuis.
Note: the Zou coach to get to Apt carrying a bike