It’s easy to lose time in the charming lanes of Bonnieux but for those of you that wish to ride, today’s journey heads via the villages of Lacoste and Menerbes. A short downhill leads up into the sleepy village of Lacoste. From here, the route rises and falls to the artistic hangout of 12th century, Oppède Le Vieux. An afternoon of rolling cycling then leads back to Bonnieux.
The day begins with a sweeping downhill into the Luberon valley, before climbing into the small town of Lacoste, which offers excellent views into the Valley below. A fast downhill section takes you past Menerbes and through to Oppede, before looping back round with a slow and steady climb into Menerbes, returning to Bonnieux on the same road you left on. A good mix of fast downhills and proper bums off seat cycling, with hairpin bends aplenty!
Keep an eye out for vineyards and olive oil producers offering tastings, there are a few on this route.
The route is largely on main roads so when cycling please beware of traffic and cycle on the right-hand side of the road if there is no cycle lane. Whilst drivers in France are respectful of the 'velo', please do be mindful of other road users at all times, obeying local road signs and any change in road conditions. Beware of traffic especially when entering and leaving the towns where the traffic flow tends to be highest.
Before starting your ride it’s always worth inspecting your bike for any damage. Check for any damage to the frame, components or wheels. Ensure there are no loose cables and that the tyres are inflated and the brakes are working. Always wear a helmet when cycling. If you are doubtful of the condition of your rental bike please call the office or the local bike hire on the number provided in your information pack.
Always be prepared to cycle through a change of weather conditions and do check for any local weather warnings before cycling. Make sure to bring a waterproof jacket and a warm layer. Most cyclists wear [fingerless] cycle gloves for some padding on the handlebars. Don't forget a spare battery pack for an emergency charge of any navigation unit you may decide to use.
Food & Drink
Menerbes has some cafes at the top, to stop and refuel before returning to Bonnieux. Oppede also has a couple of cafes and a store.
Points of interest
Although this town is small, as it is perched on the side of one of the Luberon hilltops, it offers incredible views across the valley. Not long after the start of today’s ride, you will find yourself winding your way up through this beautiful village, with architecture dating back to the 9th century. One of the residents of Lacoste, author Finnbar Mac Eoin, was the last person to cross Pont Julien prior to its traffic closure in 2005. A plaque on the bridge reads “We do not know who was the first person to cross, but an Irishman was the last.”
Another gorgeous hilltop village which offers views over the Luberon Valley, Menerbes is the second of 2 villages on your ride today. There are plenty of cafes to stop off for a quick pick me up before cycling back to Bonnieux, and if you’re feeling particularly historical, you can visit the Corkscrew Museum, which has more than 1000 different pieces on display!
Oppede le Vieux
An optional side trip in today’s cycle will take you to the village of Oppede le Vieux. Take a stroll through the 15th and 16th century houses and admire the views offered to you from the centre of the town.