Via venaissia @ Hocquel

Véloroute at the foot of mont ventoux

Fantastic bike ride at full speed on the Via Venaissia

More than any ordinary bike ride, this ‘voie verte’ (greenway) runs along what used to be a railway line between Orange and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, offering an experience like none you’ve ever had before! Cycle as fast as you like in total safety, go behind the ghostly scenes of the history of the railway, geocache and learn about Jonquières, Loriol, Sarrians and Carpentras!

facile

intermédiaire

difficile

Duration:

2 hours

Distance:

14 km

Pratice:

Bike rides

Type:

round trip

Car park:

ancienne gar de Jonduières

  • The Via Venaissia is a 15 km cycle route (from Jonquières to Carpentras) that runs on its own site, avoiding contact with main roads. As well as bikes, the route is open to pedestrians and those using roller skates.
  • You can also start in Orange (10.4 km further along from Jonquières station), and continue from Carpentras on to the medieval city of Pernes-les-Fontaines (10.6 km).

JONQUIERES: ALL ABOARD!

And we’re on the railway line setting off from the old Jonquières station. Jump on your saddle and it’s full steam ahead!

This section starts on the platform of the old Jonquières station, which is very easily accessible. It’s great fun taking the place of trains! The ground is flat, without ups or downs, making it a great, smooth-running ride. We race out of the village, safe from any dangerous traffic. Before us, the plains of the Comtat-Venaissin, nicknamed “Le Jardin de la France” (the Garden of France) make up a rolling landscape of vineyards, vegetable crops and trees, with Mont Ventoux as a magnificent backdrop.

Did you know?

Information boards on peasant and industrial life around the Via Venaissia can be found along the way. The railway line represented a major economic advantage for the Comtat Venaissin, which benefits from exceptional irrigation and fertility.

Gare de la via venaissia @ Hocquel

INSIDE A COLOURFUL PAINTING

Between vineyards, farmland, fields of flowers and sculpted mountains

The section between Jonquières and Sarrians is a straight line with beautiful views of the vineyards. After having crossed the Ouvèze on a metal viaduct, we carry on through the undergrowth before entering an agricultural landscape brightened up by the colours of tulip fields in full bloom. The panoramic views of the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux mountains are fantastic!

Firm favourite

Jonquières is home to 4 castles – a very rare thing for a village! It is also well-known for its furniture production and spectacular tulip fields stretching as far as the eye can see during blooming season.

Champs de tulipes au Ventoux @ Hocquel

LEARN ALL ABOUT THE HISTORY OF SARRIANS

We arrive at the old Sarrians station and its goods market has fallen into disuse. On the wall, a vintage advert boasts about the benefits of a very special water!

Did you know about Montmirail’s purgative water? Well, neither did I, and I was a thousand miles away from imagining that there had ever been thermal baths round here!
In fact, people coming to the baths (which included celebrities such as Sarah Besnard and Frédéric Mistral) used this railway to get to Gigondas where the sulphurous, magnesian and ferruginous waters from the Dentelles de Montmirail could relieve their rheumatism and other ailments. The remains of the thermal baths can still be seen at Hôtel de Montmirail, which can be found at the foot of the massif.

Publicité Sarrians

The advert was not actually created by the thermal baths but by the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée railway company who saw it as a great way of increasing their number of passengers.

LUNCH AT THE TRAIN STATION?

Having passed Sarrians, we cycle through some more woodland until we reach the old Aubignan/Loriol train station. The path is really lovely all year round with its woody scents! But I have to admit, I have a weakness for coming this way in the springtime – the chirping of the birds and the first flowers waving in the wind are just too lovely!
After having passed over the cross-brace bridge, we decide to make a stop at the train station bistro. The kitchens and dressed tables sit in place of the ticket office and ticket validation machines. Today, walkers can eat or hire bikes here! Enjoy delicious, local cuisine inside this old building that now serves a new purpose, or under the plane trees on the terrace.
A place to add to your bucket list!

Bistrot

Recommended

Vel’Art Vintage bike rental company in Loriol-du-Comtat rents out a range of environmentally friendly bikes (pixie, fatbike, and other oddities) and brings it to you on the bike path. Let’s try a tandem bike!

Via venaissia @ Hocquel

ENTERING CARPENTRAS

As the fields whizz by, the roads and the clock towers are almost in sight…

The unusual train guard’s houses are still visible as well as beautiful mansions. We then glide down into some kind of trench, which had been dug out for the railway line and is overhung by 3 successive bridges including the Carpentras Canal, which you can get a better look at if you turn round on the path to Meyras at the end of the “corridor”. Cross the Auzon viaduct above the road to Orange and voilà! The entrance to Carpentras. Facing the ancient centre, we enjoy unobstructed views of the city’s roofs: the belfry, the clock of St Siffrein Cathedral, the remains of the fortified tower of the Porte d’Orange etc.

Firm favourite

Like us, we recommend you stop in Carpentras on the banks of the Auzon, a large green space at the side of the river.
Here you will find picnic tables in the shade of large trees. These banks are particularly lovely in the summer months!

Canal de Carpentras @Rathay

What not to miss in Carpentras

Carpentras Cathedral

This 15th-century building, in its southern, gothic style, displays a rare architectural feature: a ‘ball of rats’ sits above the ‘porte juive’ (Jewish door), as well as the valuable St Mors in the chapel, which would have been forged with two nails to symbolise Christ’s crucifixion.

What not to miss in Carpentras

Hôtel-Dieu, Inguimbertine Museum

The Hôtel-Dieu was built in an 18th-century style by the bishop, Inguimbert, and was originally one of the largest hospitals in the Comtat Venaissin. Today, it is home to a large multimedia library incidentally named after him: ‘La Bibliothèque-Musée L’Inguimbertine’ (The Inguimbertine Library-Museum).

What not to miss in Carpentras

The synagogue

Built in 1367, the synagogue bears witness to the presence of Jewish communities who, persecuted in the Kingdom of France, benefitted from papal protection and settled in the Comtat Venaissin. The oldest synagogue in France, it’s still in use today.

What not to miss in Carpentras

The market

Situated in the town’s historic centre, Carpentras market (Fridays) has developed a high reputation. Renowned for the quality and freshness of its produce, you’ll have a great time walking around and stocking up on local specialities.

What not to miss in Carpentras

Berlingots

With its little stripes and bright, candy colours, the berlingot, one of the oldest sweets in the world, is THE sweet speciality of Carpentras. You must give it a taste!

What not to miss in Carpentras

Noëls insolites Festival

Every year during the Christmas season, the Noëls insolites Festival invades the city of Carpentras – celebrating the holidays and making the magic of Christmas come alive. Parades, visual and musical entertainment, workshops etc.
For 15 days, Carpentras is buzzing with excitement!

Bike friendly accommodation

around the via Venaissia