Provence rhymes with vacances ("vacations" in French). When I was a child, my family was renting every summer a mas (Provençal farm) in the Luberon. So when I came back to Provence years later with the mission of designing a new trip for Backroads, all my childhood memories came back to me! With this new Provence biking trip, our goal is to show two faces of Provence: the Luberon and Secret Provence.
The first one is probably ringing a bell if you have read A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. We discover by bike (and on foot) all the celebrated villages listed in the famous book: Lacoste, Ménerbes, Bonnieux, Gordes, etc. My favorite thing to do while visiting these towns is to sit on the terrace of the local coffee place, enjoying a café and watching people walking out of the boulangerie with their baguette, old folks playing pétanque (Provençal bocce ball) and of course, chit-chatting about the weather with the locals! The cerise sur le gâteau (cherry on top)--we have the chance on this trip to experience a Provençal market in the town of Gordes, the picture-postcard of the Luberon!
Then we move east to discover Secret Provence: less touristy, more authentic! I will always remember the first time I visited this part of Provence: the lavender fields are endless. Our ride takes us through villages where time stopped back in the Middle Ages. We can explore the town of Simiane-la-Rotonde, with its castle from the 12th century. And while having lunch in Banon, we must try the local goat cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves! As you know, France is renowned for its decadent and elegant cuisine. As a French person and lover of Provence, I feel it is my duty to show this region's specialties. Before enjoying an amazing dinner experience (we start the trip at the famous Bastide de Capelongue, the two-Michelin starred restaurant of chef Edouard Loubet), it's fun and informative during our ride to stop at the local producers. Honey, olives, wine tastings: we got it all!