Best time to visit Provence & French Riviera

Cycling around Mont Ventoux

Explore villages, olive groves, vineyards, and other wonders in the Mont Ventoux region

Cycling around Mont Ventoux in Provence & French Riviera 2019 - Best Time
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© will_cyclist

Some say Mont Ventoux is the hardest of all the famous Tour de France climbs and rightly so. Mont Ventoux is an almost 2-kilometre high mountain surrounded by small hills. It rises alone and so is easily accessible without steep roads. However, the length of this inclined route and the weather conditions make it a challenge. To make your climb easier, you can rent either a hybrid or an electric-assisted bike instead of an ordinary one.

Cycling around Mont Ventoux in Provence & French Riviera - Best Season 2019

There are three ways to the top of the mountain and the most famous one starts in Bédoin that is usually open from mid-April to mid-November. This is the Tour de France route which all cycling legends ride. Around 7 km (4 mi) below the summit, you'll see mark Chalet Reynaud. It's a small ski and summer mountain sports resort with ski pistes and a toboggan run and a few dozen kilometers for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. Besides food, the Chalet also sells biking accessories and provides rental of mountain bikes. You can take a ski lift to three mountain biking trails nearby.

The second one on the southern part of the mountain is Malaucène. It isn't any easier than the first, but it can be less crowded. This road section is usually open by mid-May. And then there's Sault, the third and easiest one, open from mid-April. All the​ routes give you the opportunity to witness the beautiful hilltop villages, lavender fields, vineyards, olive groves, and river valleys. No matter what road you choose, you'll end up 1912 metres over Provence with breathtaking scenery and a sense of accomplishment.

Amateur cycling races to climb Mount Ventoux are held all the time during the summer: the Ventoux Masterseries, Les Cinglés du Mont Ventoux, and others. In 2006, Jean-Pascal Roux did eleven climbs, starting from Bédoin. The mountain also features a memorial of cyclist Tom Simpson who died of exhaustion and overheating near the summit during Tour de France of 1967. Today cyclists bring water bottles in tribute.