An Easy Biking Route in the Luberon Valley to Try
One of my favourite biking routes is the Véloroute du Calavon, in the Luberon Valley. It’s a pretty ride and very easy.
Biking on a Voie Verte
This route is a voie verte (or “greenway”), a paved route for bikers, walkers and rollerbladers. There is a network of them in France, many built where railroad tracks used to be, making them nice and flat.
The Véloroute du Calavon begins in Cavaillon and goes to Apt, though it is not yet complete, so there are gaps along the way. Here’s a website with more information.
My wife and I like to start near the village of Baumettes. To get there, we take the D900 and get off at the D29 exit going south. After about 200 meters, there is a small parking lot on the left, and you can join Véloroute from there. Here’s a link to the spot on Google Maps.
We head east, with a rocky hillside on our left and the valley floor on our right. After a couple of kilometres, we pass the abandoned Goult train station, sitting forlornly next to where the train tracks used to be.
A few hundred meters later, and just off the path to the right, we like to stop and look at the Dolmen de l’Ubac, a large megalithic tomb. It was only discovered in 1995 after the river next to it flooded and revealed its location. Here’s where you can find it on Google Maps.
After another seven kilometres, we reach Pont Julien, a Roman bridge that crosses the Calavon River. It was built 2,000 years ago and looks solid enough to go a couple of thousand more. However, it was still used for auto traffic until early this century.
The bridge is very picturesque, and we sometimes stop to have a picnic lunch on the riverbank before heading back to Baumettes. Or, if we are feeling energetic, we instead take a detour on the way back, onto the D106, and have lunch in Lacoste.
Lunch with a View
Lacoste is a hilltop village, so there is some huffing and puffing as we pedal our way up to it. A ruined château dominates the village that once belonged to the infamous Marquis de Sade. The château is now owned by Pierre Cardin, who is slowly restoring it. Lacoste is home to the Savannah College of Art and Design campus, so we sometimes come across groups of young people speaking English.
The reason we love Lacoste is the Café de France. It’s a simple place with a wonderful view, perched on the side of the hill. We enjoy our meal while gazing across the valley to Bonnieux, over orchards and vineyards and a couple of lavender fields. The café doesn’t really have an address but here is where you can find it.
For lunch with a view, the Café de France is hard to beat. And the best part is, after our meal, we hop on our bikes and coast all the way back to the Véloroute.
This article is based on content that Keith is collecting for his third book, “An Insiders Guide to Provence,” with a publication date of December 2021. Click here to pre-order the book.
Places to Stay Nearby
If you are looking for a comfortable place to call “home” during your stay in Provence our holiday listings include charming B&Bs, village homes and beautiful countryside villas.
Au Coin des Amis is a gem of a village home in Rustrel, a quiet Luberon Valley. Dating from the 1700s, this fully-restored three (3)-bedroom house is just this side of heaven. The 190 sm / 2,000 sq ft home was previously owned and elegantly and meticulously restored by an antiquarian. This special home has a superb charm and architectural detail and is artfully blended with modern and stylish bathrooms, kitchen and living spaces.
Experience village life in our Bonnieux apartment. Bonheur en Bonnieux is a newly renovated 1300-square foot, three-bedroom/two bathroom apartment located in the heart of Bonnieux. Guests especially enjoy the large, well-equipped kitchen and the adjoining covered terrace where you can relax over a meal, sip a glass of wine, and observe Bonnieux’s daily life.
Cent Cinq welcomes guests all year round for short and long stays. These newly renovated self-catering apartments are located in an 18th-century townhouse in Apt, a vibrant market town in the heart of the Luberon. Each apartment has a bedroom and bathroom and an open plan kitchen and living area and sleeps a maximum of 3 guests.
If you are looking for a perfect holiday rental property with a heated pool, Les Vallons sleeps 12 people. This holiday rental delivers complete seclusion near the beautiful Luberon National Park and charming villages. Les Vallons is a fully restored hamlet in the countryside near the provençal village of Cucuron.
Chez Manon is an 18th-century farmhouse (French “mas”) that has been restored to reflect its provençal origins while incorporating modern comforts. It has a heated pool, professionally landscaped grounds, well-equipped open plan living and five comfortable bedrooms.