Embrace and Ride Les Gorges de la Nesque
Close to ‘The Beast of Provence’, Mont Ventoux is the magnificent canyon of Gorges de la Nesque. Many see this as the second most important canyon in Province after the Gorges de Verdon, but others will tell you it is just as impressive. And they are right.
There are several cycling routes you can take to experience les Gorges de la Nesque, some longer and more challenging than others. All take you through the low tunnels carved through the mountains, which is an impressive sight in of itself. The French balcony roads afford magnificent views and are amazing to cycle. The low height of the tunnels makes roads heavy vehicle-free, which is great when on two wheels.
As you ride from Sault, you will be greeted by blue fields interwoven with the gold of spelt. This is quite common in Provence and spend a little time here, and this is what you will see. You come across the Nesque River about ten kms into the ride. This disappears underground somewhat unexpectedly. It resurfaces around the Fontaine de Vacluse which is about 30 kms downstream.
The ride takes you to Monieux, which is a quaint medieval town, with cobbled streets. The Romanesque church and watchtower remains are popular tourist draws. When you pass Monieux, you will soon find you’re riding on the edge of a canyon. Well done, you’ve reached the Gorges de la Nesque.
Embracing Les Gorges de la Nesque
The land tumbles from lavender fields into white oaks, cliffs, and crags, and this is where you embrace Les Gorges de la Nesque. The canyon greets you giving you magnificent views of rock formations. Along the way, there are observational places where you can take in the views and get a sense of scale. The valley is beautiful, and this is contrasted by the rocks that tower into the sky.
There are three prominent viewing places along the route, offering you a unique take on the Gorges de la Nesque. Arguably the best of these is the Castellaras belvedere. It is a few kilometres from Monieux and looks out on to Rocher du Cire. An 872-metre high rock formation. It is magnificent.
As the road unfolds, you’ll notice that it is narrower in some parts and hedges sometimes form the border between the road and the canyon.
Cycling in Provence
Provence is a truly beautiful and spectacular region of France. It is winemaking country, and many of the routes take you through the vineyards that boasts some of the best wine in the world. The landscape can change quite dramatically from beautiful fields of lavender and yellow flowers giving way to rock formations shaped over millennia by natural forces.
Scattered throughout the region are beautiful villages and towns that have that unique, unmistakable French stamp. You can almost taste the cheese and smell the baguettes as you ride through them. This is France as you imagined it.
Riding the Gorges de la Nesque with SportActive
SportActive’s Mont Ventoux Tour will show you this amazing part of Provence. The 65 kms route lets you experience the canyon and provides a great riding challenge. Best of all you get to climb Mont Ventoux, one of the most difficult mountains to ride in the world. What could be better? Discover SportActive’s Mont Ventoux tour now.
Date submitted: 3/3/2020