When our friends Kevin and Allan invited us to join them in Provence, we couldn’t resist the chance to explore another part of France by bike. I found a trip offered by Discover France that met our needs perfectly. Instead of traveling place-to-place each day, this trip was based in the village of Gordes – where our friends were staying. The company supplied us with maps and a variety of routes for us to select from each day.
Gordes dates to the Roman times, and served as a refuge throughout history, including as a center for the Resistance during World War II. Its narrow, cobblestone streets wind around the mountain to the valley. Fortunately there are well-paved roads that allow for car and bike travel.
September is less crowded and less hot than summer in the south of France and once again the French roads and reverence for cyclists didn’t disappoint. Local foods and wine, lavender fields, olive groves, and historic sights made for the perfect getaway and chance also to visit with friends.
There were a total of 10 of us. While we biked each day, the others visited vineyards, museums and villages, catching the colorful market days. We joined them for drinks and dinner and shared our experiences.
The area is also known for mountains – and we climbed a few- and stone quarries. One quarry in Les Baux-de-Provence, has been an unusual museum since 2012 when it partnered with Carrieres de Lumieres, to create immersive art exhibits. Each year a different artist is featured, this year was Van Gogh. For about 45 minutes, we ambled through the quarry as the paintings came to life, accompanied by music. Truly spectacular! We had already toured enough of the countryside to see how the area inspired Van Gogh’s painting.
Kevin and Allan are scouring the countryside for property for a vacation home—so we’re sure we’ll be back.