The 108th edition of the Tour de France is coming to Provence in 2021 and stage 11 sees the peloton tackle a 199km stage completely within the department of the Vaucluse, from Sorgues to Malaucène.
The stage promises to be a real spectacle with the first ever double ascent of Mont Ventoux, the 16th and 17th ascents since it’s first appearance in 1951, with the finish in Malaucène for the first time.
The 2021 route is a great one, as well as our local stage, the race also features another iconic climb on Stage 18 up Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees. There’s also the longest stage in 20 years as the riders face 248km from Vierzon to Le Creusot on Stage 7.
The Tour de France will start on June 26 with Tadej Pogacar defending the yellow jersey.
The start or ‘Grand Depart’ will be in the north-west city of Brest and the race will finish, as always, in Paris on the Champs-Elysees.
Where can I watch Le Tour?
As we said, this year’s Tour will feature a double ascent of the iconic Mont Ventoux after the stage starts in Sorgues and finishes, 199km later, in the village of Malaucène and there are plenty of incredible places to watch the stage as it comes flying through the valley. The most obvious perhaps is to catch a glimpse of the riders as they ride up the mountain, that’s probably your best chance to see them for any period of time as they normally come through so fast that all you get to see is a blur of colour and the whizz of wheels followed by a sea of team vehicles and tour support cars…not that that itself isn’t exciting, but they’ll certainly be going a bit slower on the mountain itself so if you’re after a selfie then consider heading upwards.
The legendary climb will feature twice on Stage 11, taking place on Wednesday 7th July, with riders starting on the easiest (and in our opinion the prettiest) of the three sides at Sault – 26km at an average gradient of 4.6 per cent – then taking on the hardest side from Bedoin – 21km at 7.5 per cent, before finishing at the base in the small village of Malaucène.
Can I ride the route? What are the best rides in Vaucluse? What about Cycling in the Luberon?
Mont Ventoux is nicknamed the “Beast of Provence”, the “Giant of Provence” or even the “Bald Mountain” and it remains a must-do on every cyclist’s list of rides. It has gained mystical status due to its unique landscape, it’s incredible winds, called Mistral, that can whip their way through the valley below and the fact that it claimed the life of British Tour de France rider Tommy Simpson in 1967.
It is a long and tough climb, with the average club cyclist taking around 2 hours to complete the ascent (The record incidentally is 55 minutes during a time trial by Spaniard Iban Mayo), but you are rewarded with an incredible 360 degree view of the area, with both the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea visible on clear days.
The most popular route is the one the Tour most commonly takes, from Bedoin, a climb of 21km at an average gradient of 7.5 percent.
If you’re feeling really brave though you can attempt all 3 sides in one day, a feat that will gain you entry to the Cinglés du Mont Ventoux Club (Or Crazed Club!).
For a more leisurely ride there are limitless possibilities, from Medieval Hilltop Village tours of Menerbes, Gordes and Oppéde (Put links to your site for each of these) to vineyard tours of Chateauneuf du Pape, Lavender Field tours, Olive Oil factory visits and more, all featuring café and restaurant stops at some of the most beautiful villages in the area (links, links).
If you would like a guided tour of the area (by bike or otherwise) then consider our partners at Ride Provence who live locally and run some incredible tours that suit all tastes and rider abilities. www.rideprovence.com
Where are the best places to stay in Provence?
There are so many beautiful places to stay here in the Luberon Valley that we guarantee you’ll find your dream place. Hilltop villages such as Lacoste, Bonnieux and Venasque give spectacular views and picture postcard settings, while villages like Roussillon, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Lourmarin give guests a glimpse into the history and lifestyle of the area. It is hard to look past our 7 ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ such as the picture perfect Gordes and the immortalised Ménerbes which give a real feel of luxury and prestige.
At Provence Days we have a selection of the most incredible villa rentals, from 3 bedroomed villas (or gites as they can be called here) with fabulous terraces to luxury Provencal Farmhouses (or Mas as they are known locally) complete with pools and far ranging views. View our selection of villa rentalshere
We work with homeowners to provide the very best places to holiday for our clients and we also work with local concierge and other partners to ensure you have access to everything you desire to make your stay fabulous.
What else can I do in the Luberon Valley?
If you’re feeling sporty then from your villa rental you could ride a selection of the other routes that are so plentiful.
With family you could consider the Calavon ‘voie verte veloroute’ bike route, which will transport you from Cavaillon (famous for growing the Charentais melon which is regarded as one of the best in the world) to the historic market town of Apt, avoiding any serious climbs.
If you’re here for serious riding then consider the Gorges de la Nesque for a simply stunning route, or even an ‘Everesting’ attempt at one of the numerous 20% gradient hills that grace the valley.
You can kayak to the Pond du Gard, hit the Tree Top ‘accrobranche’ adventure sites, take part in a game of Petanque, Horse ride…the possibilities are endless.
For a more relaxed break, consider visiting the Roman towns of Nimes, Orange and Arles all of which have preserved Amphitheatres or the fortress town of Avignon where you can visit the world famous Palais des Papes, home of the popes during their extradition from Rome.
Whether you’re here purely for the Tour de France or you’d simply like to catch a glimpse of the action while indulging in your other loves, you’ll find everything you need here in Provence. Let us help you find your perfect villa rental.
À Bientôt – Mark and the Provence Days Team