Judith and Brad, Goldie and Kent, Andrea and Claude, welcome to our Best of Southern France Tour!
The next ten days we will tour the Provence, the Massif Central, les Cevennes, the Ardeche, le Vercors and the Route de Grand Alpes!
Our tourstart hotel in Vence was great.
Tourguide Holger got trapped.
The first stop on our tour at the Gorge de Loup.
Saw that chapel on top of the rock?
First views of the Gorge du Verdon...and we were lucky and saw some vultures circling efortlessly in the air
Goldie, Claude, Kent and Brad
some climbers high above the turquoise...
Our second riding day leads us further west into France. Our goal today is Villeneuve les Avignon which is a beautiful medieval town at the opposite site of the Rhone River of Avignon.
Our first stop of today was at the nice little village Roussillion where already the romans mined for ocre that was used as red pigment.
This area of France has so many of those nice little medieval town that are wonderfully preserved. This one in the background is Gordes.
The Gorge de la Nesque is not only impressive to look at but was also a great ride.
One of todays highlights was the Mont Venteux, an impressive mountain that can be seen from a very big distance and was considered a holy mountain by the first celtic tribes that settled in the area.
Tonight we stay in the little town of Villeneuve les Avignon.
Our lovely dinner in the evening
First we followed the River Rhone north and after we found our way thru extensive forest to the old monastery Chartreuse Valbonne. And this coffee stop developed... The monks - if there are still some residing here - have a certain sort of humor under the eyes of Maria...
One of these (restored) medieval bridges on our way to the Cevennes
And here we just entered the Parque National de Cevennes, remote, nearly no traffic, just amazing!
...and Brad exploring
...some riding pics!
...not much out here... But that is exactly what fascinates!
Views from the Mt Aigoual
Our nice hotel for the next two nights
Today was our restday in our wonderfull hotel in La Muse. We only went for a short ride today, but it was a beautiful one.
Frist we followed the Gorges du Tarn for a few miles.
Then we climbed up to the Plateau on a very small road that took us all the way to the top in just a few hairpins.
The highlight of the day was our visit to Aven Armand, a cave that was discovered 1897 and houses some of the worlds biggest stalagmites which are truly impressive.
Our hotel is located directly at the Gorges du Tarn and the landscape couldnt be much prettier.
Day 6 of our tour already, which also means today is the first day we are heading back east again. Starting our tour in Vence we only went west so far, now we started our loop back to where we began, but luckily there are still alot of great riding days ahead of us.
Today was all about rivers. First we followed the Tarn, later the famous Ardeche and at the end of the day we also crossed the Rhone river.
We were lucky with the weather today, since we rode just between two big areas of rain. But we managed to stay dry the whole day.
The view over the Ardeche is just georgous.
A trophy for Claude from his wife...and
..Goldie having birthday!
So many things to celebrate! Our best wishes!!
Today we headed into the Vercors mountain range and right into the clouds...
The amphitheatre in the background just showing shadowy. Normally one is standing here at the abyss...
Even though we have fun riding these wonderful roads!
Goldie and Kent
Riding thru the beautiful Bourne Gorge. Just great!!
Our picnic today. Thank you Daniel!
In the end we have to hide in the van, pouring rain - but our tough crew takes it easy!
Today we are heading back into the Alps and will see some very high mountains again. We were a bit sceptic about the weather in the morning but it cleared up pretty soon and became an amazing day with awesome views of the great scenery.
The Col du Telegraphe was our first mountain pass of the day. Hard to miss that its regularly part of the Tour de France.
The Col du Galibier was our second pass of the day, and wow what an amazing scenery up there at nearly 2.600 meters.
Although the weather was perfect and the sun was out, it is still cold on top of the mountain at this time of the year. So a hot soup was a good choice for lunch.
So many Col`s (Mountain Passes) to choose from.
The scenery on our last pass today, the Col d`Izoard was just breathtaking.
Time for a coffee break at the Refuge Napoleon before they close down for this season.
Today rain was forecasted but we had a nice start with sunshine. Goldie and Brad at the Col de Vars.
So beautiful! And great weather!!
Claude taking pictures and...
Goldie and Kent!
...and Brad on the way up to Col Lombarde, one of the more challenging passes!
On top of the Col de Lombarde: Well done guys!!
Claude presenting my bike or something like that )
Down the western ramp to Isola...
...and up again to the Col de la Bonette, the second highest paved pass in the Alps.
...on the Panorama road around the Bonette on 2.800 meters! Freezing cold but beautiful!!
Thank you for a great day!!
Our last riding day leads us back from Arvieux in the french alps to Vence where our tour started.
The summer season in this part of France is already over so alot of places have already close down until the winter season starts.
We had some bad weather in the morning when we went over the Col de la Cayolle but luckily the clouds cleared up during the day and it got warmer the closer we got to Vence.
The last two days we have seen a lot of great cars doing a rally on the Grand Route des Alps including one amazing Bugatti Oldtimer from the Netherlands.
Looks like the right place for us to take a Coffee brake.