Source: Wim Willems
Following the Calavon river, this 28km long path was previously a railway track and is a great way to explore the hilltop villages around the area.
The 'Veloroute du Calavon' is currently the only purpose build cycle path in the Provence area but there are plans for expansion and hopefully other similar family friendly routes will soon be available. Cycling alongside fields of lavender and poppies this is truly a Provencal experience. Gradients are not too challenging (no more than 2%) with a smooth hard surface, and the route is safe for younger family members as the track is reserved for non-motorised vehicles (except for a stetch of 2.5km at Le Chene).
The route is well sign posted along the way with good distance markers so you can choose to cycle as much or as little as you want. And depending which end you start from...you will be either gradually gaining height or gradually loosing it. I would choose the latter!
So starting at Saint Martin de Castillon follow the route west towards the town of Apt, a beautiful Provencal market town since Roman times. This is one of the larger towns that you will pass through, although there are plenty of pretty villages along the way to stop and enjoy the views, medieval buildings and abbeys.
Continuing westwards towards Le Chene and on to Pont Julien you will notice the purple fields and the wonderful scent of lavender. When you reach Pont Julien it is worth taking a break to ejoy this amazing feet of Roman engineering; a stone built arch bridge over the River Calavon which dates back to 3BC. Originally the bridge was part of the Via Domitia, an important Roman road connecting Italy to France. It was used for car traffic up until 2005 when a replacement was built to ensure this amazing bridge was preserved. That adds up to around 2000 years of continuous use!
Currently the cycle path ends in Les Beaumettes, although the extension plan means that it should eventually carry on to the town of Cavaillon further west. The pretty village of Les Beaumettes also has lots on offer, from 18th Centrury castles to Roman villas, cave houses in the ruins of a chapel and the usual Provencal style markets.
© 2006-2018 RouteYou - www.routeyou.com