Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Gourmet Provence Bike Tour

Last week I told you about my pal Kit Golson's Chic Provence Design Tour, for lovers of interior design, décor, art and antiques. But there's another Provence trip coming up that I wanted to mention as well. This one is for bikers and it's led by another friend of mine, a terrific American chef named Jon Chiri who has lived and worked in Provence for many years. After successfully running the cooking school at the gorgeous Avignon hotel called La Mirande, Jon is now the chef at the one-of-a-kind La Verrière, a spectacular property up in Crestet, in the AOC Mont Ventoux wine region. The property encompasses a vineyard and winery, "extreme" wine school, elegant and high-tech conference center, seven-bedroom villa-style hotel, restaurant and more. (If you want to rent La Verrière for your group or a very-special occasion, it's yours for 25,000€ per week. And don't worry, there's definitely a place to land your helicopter!) The very genial owners of La Verrière give Jon a week off every now and then to lead gourmet culinary bike tours through the company Gourmet Cycling Travel.  And I can't think of a better person to bike Provence with! 

In terms of dates, you have two options: June 24 to 29, 2012, and September 2 to 7, 2012. Both trips start and finish in Avignon. You'll bike ten to 40 miles per day in rolling hills, experiencing world-class scenery, cooking classes, colorful outdoor markets, wine and chocolate tastings, gourmet restaurants, Medieval hilltop villages, lavender fields and so much more. You'll stay at La Verrière and at the Chateau de Rochegude, a Relais & Château that dates to the 12th century, overlooking the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône. Jon will bike with you every day and be on hand to answer all your questions, about the local food, wine, culture, history, expat name it.

Travel + Leisure Magazine recently named Gourmet Cycling Travel's Provence Luxury Tour as one of "22 Best Life-Changing Trips." And who among us couldn't use a life-changing trip? Plus, as a reader of Provence Post, you get a $250-per-person discount. For more specific details, including a full itinerary and pricing, click here

But wait, there’s more. Gourmet Cycling Travel is also running a special bike trip in July (July 16 to 23) that allows serious bikers to experience four thrilling stages of the Tour de France. (Yes, that Tour de France!) Cyclists will challenge themselves up some of the most-famous mountains of the legendary bike race, like the Col d'Aubisque, Col du Portillon and the Col du Tourmalet. You’ll ride the Tourmalet just hours before the race and then relax at a prime viewing location to cheer on Cadel, Alberto and Andy as they battle for the summit. Non-cyclists are welcome and will enjoy separate guided activities on non-tour-viewing days like a full-day guided tour of Paris, a cooking class in Spain, mountain hikes in the Pyrenees and more. Full info on the Tour de France trip is here. Or, feel free to call or email for info on any Gourmet Cycling trip: or US phone 888-327-2283. 

Photos from top: Postcard-perfect views; trip leader Jon Chiri; Château de Rochegude will be one of your two hotels on the Provence Luxury Bike Tour; a Château de Rochegude guestroom; the gorgeous La Verrière in Crestet will provide your second accommodations for the week.


  1. Eating, drinking and bicycling through Provence? Ohhhh.... that does indeed look like a life-changing tour. Something I will tormenting myself with for the foreseeable future...

  2. this has always been a dream of mine. how wonderful would it be?! how i would love to do this with p-daddy. bliss.

  3. Jon's a lovely guy. I worked at la Verriere for a few days and on one of those days Jon cooked lunch for me. Wonderful chef.



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