Why choose Printemps to travel by bike in Provence?

1 – Carpets of wild flowers

Spring comes early in Provence. The day before writing this article, I saw an almond tree budding in the hills: for me, the smell of almond blossoms has always meant the promise of spring, (and more time spent on my bike).

Aromatic herbs like thyme, rosemary and winter savory display their small flowers in spring, from white to pink to purple, they are visible along paths and in gardens.

Delicate cistus flowers bloom in the scrubland. Carpets of poppies adorn farmers’ fields in May, transforming the landscapes into paintings. Valerian and its pink flowers grow on dry stone walls.

Fluorescent yellow Spanish broom fills the air with a musky scent. I have a particular affection for cherry blossoms in April: entirely white flowers filling the orchards at the foot of Mont Ventoux, and around the hilltop village of Venasque.

All of these flowers rush to bloom in spring, before the warm, sunny months of summer put a stop to growth.

2 – Fewer tourists

There is room for everyone in Provence, especially along its trails and secondary roads. During April and May, even the busiest parts of Provence are relatively quiet.

We generally do not bother with reservations, whether for accommodation or restaurants. The hilltop villages empty, and you can discover them in their medieval light, strolling alone through the cobbled streets. The cyclists you will meet during your hikes are most often locals.

The bistros and cafes are also full of locals, and you’ll have a more authentic experience.

3 – Favorable weather

Yes, you can have an occasional downpour in April and May.

No, it never really lasts all day.

And yes, you can still go out by bike. As I celebrate 20 years in Provence, primarily as a guide, I’ve probably only had a handful of weather-related cancellations during that time. Most days are perfect for riding, and as long as you have a light windproof jacket and gloves on hand – just in case – you won’t feel cold.

4 – Long days

Good weather is coupled with long days in April and May. It doesn’t get dark until after 8:00pm in April, and even later in May. It’s during this time that I can target all-day bike rides, stopping as much as needed or desired. And plus no need to calculate the heat into the equation.

I’ll often ride Ventoux in the early Spring, before the road to the summit is opened. The final 4.5 kilometers are still off-limits to cars, the winter snow still built up on the side of the road: adding to the excitement of the climb.

Let us know if we can help build your Spring cycling or hiking trip in Provence. Most of our tours are custom-built, and we often start off with a phone call to chat about the details. Looking forward to seeing you in Provence this Spring?