Best time to visit Provence & French Riviera

Cycling around Mont Ventoux in Provence & French Riviera

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

Best time: May–October

Cycling around Mont Ventoux
Cycling around Mont Ventoux

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.

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.

Practical info

What is the best time to visit Mont Ventoux for cycling?

Mont Ventoux is a popular cycling destination with the best time for cycling being May to October. These months offer pleasant temperatures averaging 14-26°C, ideal for cycling. However, peak tourist months in July and August should be avoided. Visiting outside this period may result in extreme temperatures and adverse weather conditions. Show more

What are the different routes to climb Mont Ventoux?

Mont Ventoux has three routes to climb of near-equivalent difficulty. The most famous and challenging climb begins in Bédoin and opens from April to November. The southern route from Malaucène opens by mid-May offering brilliant views of the Luberon valley. The Sault route, opening mid-April, offers a more relaxed climb. Each clime provides a unique perspective of the surrounding countryside. Show more

Can I rent a hybrid or electric bike in the area?

Hybrid and electric bicycles can be rented near Mont Ventoux at Chalet Reynaud. Those seeking easier climbs may rent electric bikes, which are available alongside accessories. The Chalet Reynaud also offers a ski-lift service for mountain biking trails nearby. Show more

Are there any sports events held on Mont Ventoux during the summer?

Mont Ventoux hosts several sporting events throughout the summer. In June, the Ventoux Masterseries welcomes cycling enthusiasts from all over for a collective meeting. Additionally, the Les Cinglés du Mont Ventoux offers an amateur race over the summer. Perhaps most notably, the Mont Ventoux Challenge is a challenging race welcoming both professional and amateur cyclists each year. Show more

Is there any historical significance to Mont Ventoux in the cycling world?

Mont Ventoux is legendary in the cycling world, making it a popular destination among cycling fans. A memorial to Tom Simpson, who died during the 1967 Tour de France, has been erected on the mountain. The memorial serves as a popular site for cyclists to pay their respects, as well as to capture dramatic photos. Mont Ventoux is famous for being one of the most challenging climbs in the Tour de France, appearing numerous times throughout its history. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin