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Mont Ventoux to L'Isle Sur la Sorgue

A pleasant cycle ride that visits both Pernes-les-Fontaines and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

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This scenic cycle ride goes in a figure of eight, starting and finishing in Velleron, but also visiting Pernes-les-Fontaines to the north and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to the south.

Starting at the market place in Velleron, turn right after the footbridge and head towards the town centre in the direction of the Stade Municipal. Head north on Avenue Joseph Liotier until you come to a junction with the Stade Municipal signposted on the right, turn off here and follow the road round until just before the sports fields. Here you’ll see a left hand bend and a green cycle route sign, follow this in the direction of Pernes-Les-Fontaines.

Chemin de la Grande Bastide will continue straight on to Chemin de la Faleche, look out for the green cycle route sign indicating another left turn onto Chemin des Plantiers. The road becomes smaller and much more rural at this point, with trees and farmland to either side.

Eventually you’ll come to a junction on a main road (D938), cross straight over and continue on the Chemin de la Raffinade, a tree-lined shady road that passes some lovely big estates. At the barrier, turn left along the Canal de Carpentras. When you come to the second bridge you might need to get off your bike and walk awhile, as the path is very narrow. Turn right at the next bridge and follow a small road uphill. Take the road on the right along the canal to get to Pernes-Les-Fountaines. This is a lovely place to stop for a wander around the medieval buildings to admire the ancient ramparts, beautiful churches and many fountains (for which the village is named).

At the roundabout, follow the signposts for Saint Didier and the D27 and continue along Avenue Fontaine de Luna, turning right at the mini-roundabout onto Chemin de Fontblanque. You’ll cross another roundabout and a couple of other minor junctions before you reach Chemin du Val de Guilhaud on your right. Turn here and you’ll find yourself on a small but well surfaced road; the route becomes a lot more rural now, passing vineyards and farmers’ fields on either side. Eventually you’ll come to a bridge that crosses the canal, on the other side of the bridge turn left and follow the green cycle route sign alongside the Canal de Carpentras. The path is unsurfaced and quite stony along here, so it’s probably not ideal for road bikes with sensitive tyres. You’ll pass a few little turnoffs but wait until you reach a hairpin bend and turn right onto Chemin des Vinaises, which will lead you back towards Velleron.

When you reach a roundabout, continue straight on along Chemin des Gypieres through a quiet residential area; take the last exit at the first mini-roundabout, swiftly followed by the first exit at the second mini-roundabout onto Carriero Frederic Mistral. Follow the road round until the post office on the corner, then turn left and ride downhill on the Boulevard du Barri. Look out for the fountain and turn left, again following the green cycle route signs, onto Chemin des Nesquieres. This brings you onto a pleasant country road, surrounded by lots of trees and fields. You stay on this road for quite some time, ignoring all turn-offs, until you come to the end and turn right onto Chemin de la Pont de Sablé. Follow this road, taking care to follow it round to the right where it crosses a small stone bridge.

You’ll soon come to a series of three roundabouts; carry straight on at the first, turn right at the second, and turn left at the third to reach the “centre ville” of Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue. Isle-Sur-La-Sorge is a wonderfully pretty little village interlaced with canals, earning it the nickname "Venice of Provence".. Waterwheels and fountains can be found just about everywhere and the regular antiques markets are a fascinating way to spend a few hours.

When you reach a stone bridge turn right onto Quai Clovis Hugues, until you are able to cross back over the canal by turning right and continuing over the roundabout to Avenue Jean Bouin. Cycle for some time until you come to a roundabout then turn right onto Allée de la Ricarde, and at the next roundabout take a left onto Chemin de Montclard.

Continue along Chemin de Monclard; a quiet, leafy residential road that takes you to the village of Le Thor. If you’re a keen hiker as well as a cyclist then Le Thor is worth revisiting on foot for its many hiking trails and a visit to the fossils and stalactites of the Thouzon cave.

Green cycling signs will take you left onto Route de Velleron and right at the next roundabout onto Route d’Orange. At the following roundabout, turn right onto the D1 for a few metres, then take the first left turn onto the much smaller and prettier Chemin des Vachonnes. For the next few kilometres you’ll find yourself heading deeper into the countryside, surrounded by open fields and the occasional farmhouse.

At the end of the road turn left onto Chemin de la Traille and then almost immediately right  onto Chemin des Blancas. At the end of Chemin des Blancas turn right and follow the main road to a junction where you’ll take another right. Follow the path alongside the Canal du Moulin de Crillon until you reach Chemin de la Garonne; turn left and cycle to the roundabout where you can take the last exit back to the centre of Velleron along the Avenue des Sorgues. From April to September there is a daily farmers market in Velleron from 6pm, it is considered to be one of the best in the Vaucluse so make sure you leave time to do a bit of shopping!

During this 35km cycle ride you do all the hard work in the first 8km as you climb up to Pernes-les-Fontaines at 150m, then freewheel back down to Velleron at an altitude of 50m. The second loop to Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue is flat as a crepe and very easy riding.

What to bring

Sunscreen and plenty of water are essential when cycling in summer. This route provides plenty of options for picking up little gifts and local items such as jam and olives, so consider attaching some panniers to your bike for transporting all your goodies.

What to see

Vineyards, art galleries, medieval castles and ancient caves... the list is endless. Sights and attractions in Vaucluse are varied with something to interest everyone.

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Where to lunch

There are plenty of options en route but Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue offers the best range of cafes and restaurants. It is quite touristy though, so be prepared for a bit of bustle during the peak summer months.

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Stats

  • Route
  • Distance: 35km
  • Highest Point: 150m

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