Vines Vineyards and Fine Wines with France en Velo
If you are a cyclist, France is your country and Provence is perfection.
Hannah Reynolds a competitive cyclist and writer and John Walsh a professional biking guide have pooled their shared passion in a new book called France en Vélo – The Ultimate Cycle Journey From Channel to Med – St-Malo to Nice. Read the full story here. Hannah and John agreed to share a few of their favourite bike rides in Provence with Perfectly Provence readers. Here, is a great one for wine lovers:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape to Villes-sur-Auzon (24miles/38km)
Writing and researching France en Velo gave us plenty of opportunities to indulge in good food and wine, none more so than Stage 25 from Châteauneuf-du-Pape to Villes-sur-Auzon. This is a fantastic stage for wine lovers. It starts in one of the most famous wine-producing villages of the world, and it takes you past many caves where you can stop and enjoy a tasting.
There is no better way to experience the wines of the region than to sit with one of the highly knowledgeable and passionate producers overlooking the vines that produce the contents of the glass you are drinking. You can feel the heat and see how the banked terraces and lines of vines have been designed to give the growing fruit maximum benefit of the sun.
As you leave Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the road meanders its way out through the vineyards where in the autumn you will see the grapes being hand-picked. As you climb the gently rolling road with acres of vines on either side, it is worth stopping and looking back over your shoulder to appreciate the view of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the ruins of Château-des-Papes below you. Whilst there is plenty of evidence of modern wine production there are also romantic looking châteaux lining the road, many of which offer tastings and fine dining.
After leaving Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the vines are left behind for a short while as the route takes you through a series of small villages before passing through the bustling market town of Carpentras. On leaving Carpentras, you regain your views of the vineyards while heading toward the ever more imposing outline of Mont Ventoux.
Mont Ventoux dominates the skyline of much of Provence, clearly visible from our resting point at the end of this stage Villes-sur-Auzon. Here the vines of the TerraVentoux wine co-operative grow under its continuous gaze.
France en Vélo The Ultimate Cycle Journey from Channel to Med – St-Malo to Nice by Hannah Reynolds and John Walsh is published by Wild Things Publishing and available from France en Velo. To get your copy for a special introductory price of £13.59, saving 20% off the RRP, enter code SMNGN at the checkout, free postage and packaging to UK destinations.For a guided holiday from St- Malo to Nice visit Skedaddle.