Bicycle Tours and Holidays for Cyclists
Organised for the Cyclist's Touring Club

email: chris@2cycle2.co.uk   phone: 01246 250 647   mobile: 0796 758 4409

Haute Provence, Buis Les Baronnies and the Alps

The giant ridge of Mount Ventoux (1910m) towers over the local hills

We have been running tours based (at least part of the time) at Buis les Baronnies since 2004 but have been going there since the early 80's. Buis is positioned to give easy access to Mount Ventoux and the Southern and Central French Alps. It is superb cycling country with very varied terrain and many good routes.

For 2019,the tour is based at Buis and is land only (You make your own way there, most people come by car and combine it with some touring in other parts of France) and fully supported - There is a back-up vehicle to assist you on the rides. Cost is £679 for one week based at Buis

August Haute Provence 11 - 18 August 2019

Download Itinerary and leader's notes.   

You can book online at www.cyclingholidays.org

Any questions or to check availability please email: chris@2cycle2.co.uk   or phone: 01246 250 647   mobile: 0796 758 4409

Our hotel came under new management recently, rooms have been refurbished and air conditioning installed. Twenty years ago the locals would have denied any need for this but global warming has reached Provence and snow can no longer be seen in the summer on Mount Ventoux.

The hotel is beautifully situated on the edge of Buis with a swimming pool and most rooms have their own small terraces. The hotel does a better than normal continental breakfast for cyclists, usually with hard boiled eggs, ham, cheese and fruit and cereals, so our day normally begins with breakfast between 7.30 and 8.45 with most people appearing around 8.00. Get up early and you will see the bread being brought from the local bakery.

We normally get on the road around 9.15. after preparing bikes and studying the routes

The tours based at Buis are early or late summer to avoid the worst of the heat, so starting at the crack of dawn is not needed (July is usually just too hot for cycling) .

We get a wide variety of people on the tours, some people will barely be able to ride a bike and others think nothing of a hundred miles in a day.

Generally just about anyone will fit in (providing they don't insist on forcing their politics on people at the dinner table) We have had tandems and recumbents and one or two trikes. Some people come on mountain bikes, others on carbon fibre race bikes. The roads are good, being generally well surfaced and well engineered. The rides are straightforward with beautiful scenery There are café/bars on the routes but we carry plenty of water and bonk rations.

Most days the short and long rides follow the same route until morning coffee break, after this heroic endeavours start for one group while the other starts thinking about picnics or lunch in a cafe/bar.

All the rides have places to stop for drinks or snacks. Both groups normally get back with plenty of time for a swim and drink before dinner at 7.30 pm. Evening meals are included in the cost. We eat in local restaurants on four nights and at the hotel on the other three nights. The evening meal usually has three courses ; the wine lists include some excellent local wines.

Photos mostly by Pete and Marian Smith

Buis is a small town or large village with two small supermarkets, a cinema, several bars and restaurants, various shops and a market on Wednesdays. The town's mayor is, locally, famous for his repeated assertion that 'Buis is the most beautiful small town in France!' He may well be right.

It certainly is friendly in an old-fashioned easy-going sort of way, but this is Provence or, more correctly, Haute Provence, probably the last unspoilt part of Mediterranean France and famous for it's laid back life-style.

How long it will all last is another matter, every year the Belgians, Dutch, Germans and Brits who want to retire to Provence, jack the house prices ever higher by moving further inland from the coast where prices long ago went beyond the reach of all but the very rich. Fortunately, hidden away in the hills and eighty miles from the coast, Buis and the area round it is hardly mentioned in any of the Guide Books, so growth is slow; twenty years ago there were perhaps a dozen British expats in the area, today there may be two dozen.

The area is famous for lavender along with apricots, cherries, olives, goat's cheese and, of course, wine. At the turn of the century Buis was the apricot centre of France and a narrow gauge railway ran along the valley over various bridges, through a couple of tunnels and across the plain of the Rhone to take the apricots to Orange where the mainline railway shipped most of them to Paris. Sadly the railway, whose trains ran at just above walking pace, closed in 1952. Today some of our rides use what was the railway track as a short cut, bypassing a tiny col.

Silk was a major industry in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries in Provence and some of the houses in Buis have large rooms at the rear where silk worm eggs were grown. Now local industry is still mostly agricultural with farmers co-operatives running small canning and freezing plants up in the hills (by doing their own processing and packaging they can hang on to more of the profits)

Financial protection for your holiday

Our air holidays are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 5613.


Holidays without air content are similarly protected by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Ltd, of which CTC Tours & Holidays are a member. Our ABTOT number is 5102.

C O P Y R I G H T   ©   H A L C H E M Y   2 0 1 3   -   A L L   R I G H T S   R E S E R V E D