Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Now It's The Tour De Luberon

I know I shouldn't grumble but it's Sod's Law that we book a cycle tour and ride in temperatures approaching forty centigrade in the shade and then book a luxury villa with swimming pool for the remainder of the holiday and the temperatures drop by twenty degrees. So, with the swimming pool merely something that makes a pretty photo, we were left with the question of what to do here in pretty Bonnieux.

There are no prizes for guessing what we came up with and yesterday we set out on our rented bikes. There's a slight difference this time, Bonnieux is in a very hilly region so we have given ourselves a bit of a break and gone for electric bikes. You can still peddle them (they won't go if you don't) but climbing hills is a breeze and we take great pleasure in flying past real cyclists as they puff and pant their way to the summit.

And they really have been summits. We've climbed until our ears have popped and we've ridden along a ridge that has clear views down to the Mediterranean coast.

We're on our second day of bike hire at the moment as, at 60 Euros a day, seven days would have been an extravagance but it's been well worth it and we've done two rides totaling about 90 km. Today we rode through a forest on a ridge that separated the Luberon from the south. Sadly it was grey and cold but yesterday was mild and sunny and the route that the rental company gave us took us through some fabulous scenery.

The last stop on yesterday's route was Oppede Le Vieux a deserted medieval town high on a hillside. It was a beautiful place and we stopped for lunch in the restaurant.

We has a fabulous lunch in a stunning setting.

The public WC was far from stunning and it amazes me how many of these hole in the
ground loos remain in France - it's the one time that constipation is welcome. We're in the 21st century now!

We saw some absolutely beautiful places including the lovely Menerbes made famous by Peter Mayle. It's certainly a beautiful little town but even today,many years after the book's heyday, it's very busy with visitors. We also rode to Lacoste. Much of this super medieval village including its castle has been bought by Pierre Cardin who has done it up to an amazing standard (nor quite The Mowbrays).It's a magnificently photogenic place but it somehow feels sterile as if Cardin has sucked all the life out of it and left us with a manicured film set. Tomorrow we're off on our final bike ride - at 70 kilometers it should be a fitting last day but two to the end of the holiday. I'll finish today with some of the very pretty places we've cycled to.