Since moving to Nîmes last summer Shoko and I have been semi-adopted by our infinitely kind (and infinitely patient when it comes to dealing with my French…) landlady/neighbor, Marie-Hélène. Last weekend she invited us to her sister’s house in the Luberon area of Provence. Well, weekends are for long rides, as anyone in training knows, so I decided to ride over and get some badly-needed mileage in my legs before my race next weekend.
Luberon is the heart of Provence and it is justly famous for its many beautiful villages (Ménerbes, for example, is the village made famous by Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence”), lavender fields and scenic vistas. As usual, none of these could be captured by my camera, so check the internet for confirmation.
Luberon is also a mountain range and there is a sign-posted cycling route that encircles the mountains, nearly 240 km long. This is the beginning of it, near the town of Cavaillon.
This is village of Opède le Vieux, one of many places I had to enjoy from below, having promised everyone I’d arrive for lunch.
From around here I lost the cycling route altogether, thinking I was going to take a shortcut to Montjustin, my destination. Instead, I re-climbed the mountain I just flew down. At least I had a view – you might be able to make out the Alps if you squint.
Finally, after 130 km (all on a light breakfast and one pain aux amandes, I might add…) I reached the turnoff to Montjustin. Tip for cyclists coming to France: if the name of a place includes the word ‘mont’, it’s not in there for nothing!
This is me waving for my team car near the top of that last hill.
Below are some shots in and around the village. This area is really lovely and, at least out of season, the cycling is amazing. Probably wise to avoid school holidays, though. I can only imagine the convoys of RVs that must plows these tiny roads in summer.