Travel back in time on the “Méditerranée à vélo” cycle route

Bike trips are’nt just about enjoying the scenery or keeping fit. They can also be a chance to explore the past, by visiting sites that were built in prehistoric or ancient times. This is what this one-day adventure is all about, following the Méditerranée à Vélo trail which runs through the Luberon Natural Regional Park, a site that has been classed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve and Global Geopark.




APT: Where this journey through time begins

For those coming to Apt by car, the most convenient place to park is in Place Lauze de Perret (except on Saturday mornings due to the weekly market). If you have an electric car, you can refuel at one of the charging points while you are out cycling
Your journey back in time begins in Apt, where you will step into the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, when the town flourished thanks to the exploitation of ochre and the production of earthenware and candied fruit.
A visit to the Museum of Apt will transport you to this historical period, during which modes of production and the daily lives of the French were revolutionised by technology. Displaying tools, billboards and know-how, the tour immerses visitors in the atmosphere of the 18th century, where one could hear the metallic sound of the wheels of ochre-filled wagons passing over the tracks.
After having a taste of the 18th century in France, find your way back to your bicycle – a mode of transport whose popularity boomed during the industrial revolution – to continue on your journey.

Possible detour

Before hopping back on your bike, consider a visit to the Geology Museum situated in la Maison du Parc in Apt, where you’ll leap 130 million years back in time.

Visitor information for the Museum of Apt

– July and August: from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 5:30 pm
– September to December 2023: from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 5:30 pm


(included in the Vaucluse Provence Pass)

14 Place du Postel – 84400 Apt


1 hour

The Ancient Structure of Pont Julien

Good to know

To rent your bicycle from the start of the “voie verte” (greenway), book in advance at  Station Bee’s Apt.
In the case of a technical issue, Général Bike Luberon or Cycling Center Coquillade in Gargas will help you out!

Duration of this leg: 40 minutes (10 km)

To travel back even further in time, join the véloroute du Calavon: from the town centre, head towards the town hall (Rue du Dr Gros) before passing through Calavon, following the cycle lane. The “Passage du Ballet” road leads towards the cycle route which you should take on the left (in the direction of Bonnieux).
Those with a sweet tooth can stop off at the Maison du Fruit Confit, on the outskirts of Apt, to make sure that the know-how acquired in the 18th century is still as effective today!
The scenic cycle path, lined with wooden beams and flowers, crosses Apt before passing fields until it reaches Gargas.
It then winds through fields, vineyards, and groves, straight on to Bonnieux. Just before arriving at the Pont Julien, beautiful, curved lanes allow you to overlook the structure before crossing it.

The prehistoric Dolmen de Goult

Duration of this leg: 30 minutes (5.7 km)

After a short break or – weather-permitting – a picnic, continue the journey to go even further back in time.  In the commune of Goult, just past Bonnieux, awaits the next leg. Further down the cycle route to the left, just before the former Lumières train station, lies an intriguing construction: Dolmen de l’Ubac.Une image contenant arbre, plein air, ciel, sol

Description générée automatiquement
This dolmen, built at the very beginning of the Final Neolithic period, between 3300 and 2900 BC, is a funerary monument which has been home to some fifty deceased, of all ages and sexes. They have all been buried in a contracted position, their lower limbs bent and brought close to their torso.
Standing in front of this monument, which bears witness to the presence of our ancestors in this part of the Luberon, is a moving experience, forging a connection between the people of the present and those of ancient times.

Ca vaut le détour

Prolong your visit

You can explore the village of Goult (warning: steep slope) by turning around and coming back along the Calavon cycle route, stopping at the last exit you passed through, where you’ll want to take the D106 in the direction of the village (using the roundabout to safely cross the main road). Once you’ve reached the village, perhaps take a walk around the Conservatoire des Terrasses de Cultures to discover the charm of Goult, in particular the Moulin de Jérusalem.

Returning to the 21st century: the way back

A savoir

Good to know

You can also make your way back by bus from Goult. The line 915 which you can get from the bus stop on the RD900 will bring you back to Apt.

Duration of this leg: 1 hour of cycling + visits (15 km)

After trying on the 18th century frock coat and then the Roman toga, it is time to slowly make your way back to the present.
Between Bonnieux and Goult, 2 spots might catch your eye: Cave de Bonnieux and Fondation Blachère.

2 stop-offs on the way back, to put off the return to reality a little longer:
– Enjoy a wine tasting at the Cave de Bonnieux. As an « Accueil vélo » establishment (a site guaranteeing services and facilities for cyclists), you can fill up your water bottle here and the winery can deliver your purchases to your home or to where you’re staying (for a fee)
– Discover a collection of contemporary African art at Fondation Blachère. The site is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm
Finally, a rural bike ride along the Méditerranée à Vélo (also called véloroute du Cavalon) will take you back to Apt and the present day.

Practical info


List of bike rental and Accueil Vélo repair shops at your starting point:
–   Apt : Station Bee’s Apt
–   Gargas : General Bike Luberon and Cycling Center Coquillade
–   Avignon

Picnic spots :
–  At the start of the cycle route in Apt : two picnic tables and bike racks
–  On the Riaille lake on the outskirt of Apt
–  Pont Julien, on the banks of the Calavon river
–  Ancienne gare de Lumières : tables, toilets, water station and games area

Where to eat

Accueil Vélo restaurants on the route

L’imprévu – Gargas

follow the cycle route (12 km there and back from Goult)