Spend 24 hours in Ventoux
After breakfast at Château de Mazan, drive to Carpentras to buy energyboosting supplies for later on. Cheeses from Fromagerie du Comtat (pictured), cakes or chocolates from Pâtisserie Jouvaud. As an afternoon cyclist, you’ll welcome these in the long gap between early French lunch and late French dinner. Buy a large-scale map too.
Head for Pernes-lès-Fontaines south of Carpentras and admire at least one of the 40 fountains in this pretty town while lunching at Au Fils du Temps (tiny, so be sure to book). Sample star Ventoux wines while tucking into the well-priced yet stylish menu du marché.
Drive to Villes-sur-Auzon to pick up the electric bike pre-booked from TerraBike at TerraVentoux wine co-op. First stop is Château Pesquié at Mormoiron. You can sign up for a cellar tour and tasting (1.5 hours) or just stroll along the vineyard trail, then sample a few wines in the art-filled tasting room. Don’t miss the flagship red Artémia. Next, pedal south to Malemort-du-Comtat, then east to Château Unang. Surrounded by oak forests and refreshed by the Nesque river, the vineyards of this organic estate have a cool microclimate which leaves its mark on elegant wines. Return the bike and drive to Le Barroux up against Mont Ventoux and absorb the wildness. The best vineyards here like Clos de Trias and St-Jean du Barroux look – deliberately – wild too.
Evening and overnight
From Le Barroux it’s a hop to Crillon Le Brave, another hilltop village. No drinking and driving dilemmas: you’re staying and eating at Hotel Crillon Le Brave. The posh option is chez Jérôme Blanchet but don’t overlook Bistrot 40k; all the wines and key ingredients in the small daily-changing menu come from within a 40km radius.