Provence Scooter Tour
Hit the open road on your own scooter on this guided tour of Provence’s Vaucluse and Luberon regions. We spend one night near Orange and then four and a half days of touring the romantic Provencal countryside by scooter. Traveling by scooter is fun and easy. Your guide will lead you along quiet back roads amongst olive groves and vineyards to story-book castles and hilltop villages. This is a great holiday which combines the freedom and exhilaration of touring by scooter with the fabulous food, wine, and landscapes of Provence.
Scooterbella in the news: our tours have been featured in the travel section of The Guardian (UK), Jan 20th, 2007. Another article was published by The Observer on April 23rd, 2006. Our Tuscany trip was also featured in a 3-page full-color article in the London Telegraph, and in London’s The Times.
NOTE: You must arrive at the start of the tour already a safe, competent rider. We are not a motorbike school. A motorcycle license is NOT required to drive a scooter a 50cc scooter in France. A valid car license is required.
We begin in Orange, a lovely Provencal market town which boasts some of the best-preserved Roman architecture in France. It is also well connected by fast TGV trains to Paris, Lyon, and Avignon. We then ride into the timeless beauty of the Provencal countryside, taking in the wine villages Cairanne and Rasteau on our way to Vaison la Romaine, the quintessential Provencal town where our hotel is superbly located in the center of the village square. On Day 4 we ride through some of the most beautiful villages in France to arrive at Le Chateau de Mazan, a stylish four star chateau hotel. The tour ends with a shuttle to Avignon’s TGV rail station where you can connect to Paris or Nice on France’s superb high-speed rail system.
The Scooters – We provide 50cc scooters. Please note that unlike our scooter trips in Italy, these scooters are not Vespa™ scooters, nor are they 125cc engine size. They are lightweight, comfortable, and easy to ride. They have an electric start and automatic transmission, and the brakes are on the handle bars, like on a bicycle. We provide you with helmets. The 50 cc Scooter is ideal for one person, but it can carry two light people. Note: a 125 cc scooter is available for a supplement of €120 Euro but you must have a motorbike license to drive a 125cc scooter.
IMPORTANT!! : QUALIFICATIONS
You must be over 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license. Of course anyone can be a passenger. Previous experience on a scooter or motorbike is advantageous and highly advised. If you have not ridden one before then you should do so before you do this trip. Rent a scooter locally, and learn how to ride it before coming on the trip.
WE ARE NOT HERE TO TEACH YOU HOW TO DRIVE A SCOOTER. YOU MUST ARRIVE AT THE START OF THE TRIP ALREADY A COMPETENT RIDER.
In the past we have been amazed by people who arrive to drive a scooter on public roads who have never ridden before and who are uncoordinated, nonathletic, and who will clearly never be able to drive a scooter safely. Please do not be one of these people. The 50cc scooters are easy to ride, but a good sense of balance and coordination is required.
You will be driving a motor vehicle on public roads. You are responsible for your safety but also for the safety of other motorists, bikers and pedestrians. You must be able to control the scooter and drive it competently. If we feel your driving skills put you and others at risk we reserve the right to take the scooter away from you. In the event that you cannot ride as a passenger on the back of someone else, then we will help to arrange an alternative mode of transport, either taxi, or rental car, but at your expense.
The bottom line is that we just want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday!
Useful Links -
Provence info: nice website with good photos
Avignon History: Wikipedia has a good site, with lots of info on the Great Schism
Côtes du Rhône: very informative site on one of France’s best wine families
Mont Ventoux: interesting Wikipedia entry, including lots of Tour de France stats
Parc National Régional du Luberon: park website, in English
The Marquis de Sade: read up on Provence’s most scandalous son (then see his château in Lacoste)
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: look at all the fabulous things to see in France!
Vroom by the Sea: hone your two-wheeling skills in the U.K. and get yourself some cool new gear at this scooter rental company in Brighton.
Provence Scooter Tour itinerary
Independent arrival in Orange any time today and transfer by taxi to our lovely hotel in a quiet neighbouring village. There are regular and frequent rail connections between Orange and other major French cities. Depending on when you get in, you may have time to explore this beautiful and historic Provençal town whose Antique Roman theater has been deemed a World Historical Site by UNESCO. Built during the reign of Emperor Augustus in the 1st century A.D it is considered the best preserved Roman theater in the world. Dinner is on your own tonight, but we will provide you with suggestions. Hotel included.
Meet your guide after breakfast at 9:00 for a brief orientation then head out on your first ride, passing through the wine villages of Cairanne and Rasteau. Lunch in the perfect Provencal village square in Villedieu and then a super scenic ride via Merindols les Oliviers to Vaison La Romaine. Time in the afternoon to explore the quaint medieval quarter, built in the 8th century as protection against marauding barbaric tribes. Our hotel, the Burrhus is located amongst the cafe’s, bistrots, and boutiques of Vaison’s market area. Overnight Hotel Burrhus, Vaison La Romaine. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
This morning the town is buzzing with life because today is Le Grand Marché at Vaison, considered to be the best of all Provençal markets. Hundreds of stalls sell handicrafts, linens, ceramics, herbs, soaps, and food, including olives prepared in every conceivable way. Partake in this quintessential Provençal experience in the early morning. Our afternoon ride takes us to the most remote part of the region as we ride along the northern edge of Mont Ventoux. This area is sparsely populated, but still dotted with picturesque hilltop villages like Brantes where we have lunch beneath a shady plane tree. We follow the emerald-coloured waters of the Gorges du Toulourenc to return to Vaison for dinner in the medieval quarter. Overnight Hotel Burrhus, Vaison La Romaine. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included
We spend the morning scooting amongst the vineyards and villages of Cotes du Rhone’s most prestigious appelations. Mid morning cafe’ stop in Gigondas before continuing on up to La Suzette for expansive views. A winding descent brings us to the imposing mass of the Chateau Le Barroux, a 12th century fortress. We will stop for a quick visit of this impressive site, whose walls have withstood assaults over the centuries, most recently in WWII. After lunch our route takes us through the quaint villages of Caromb, and St, Peirre de Vassols. Our destination is the walled village of Mazan, and it’s Chateau. Built in 1720 in French regency style it was once the residence of the Marquis de Sade. It was completely renovated in 2001 and turned into a charming country style hotel on the edge of the village of Mazan. Enjoy the gardens and pool before an aperitif and dinner. Overnight Chateadu de Mazan. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Today’s ride takes us from one perfect, quintessential Provencal village to the next. We thread our way from Flassan, to Villes-sur-Auzon to Methamis, to Venasque for a scenic café au lait. Lunch is had in Pernes Les Fontaines, a gorgeous walled town famous for its fountains. We will have a private guided walking tour of Perne’s historic medieval center. The impressive heights of Mont Ventoux, “The Giant of Provence” is our beacon as we ride back to Mazan. Ventoux towers over the surrounding countryside at 6,263 feet. Enjoy a refreshing drink beneath a shady plane tree in the village before retiring to the Hotel before dinner. Overnight Chateau de Mazan. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
A 40-minute morning shuttle to Avignon TGV station is timed to correspond with a high-speed train to Paris. Many choose to stay on in Avignon for a couple of days to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Papal Palace and to enjoy a sojourn to the nearby village of Chateauneuf du Pape, or head south to St Remy de Provence and Les Alpilles, made famous by Vincent Van Gogh. Breakfast included.
Note on Itinerary: Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, such as the weather
Trip Cost Includes: 5 nights accommodation (1 night near Orange, 2 nights Vaison La Romaine, 2 nights Mazan); 5 breakfasts and 4 dinners; bilingual guide; one 50cc scooter with rear carrier bin; related third party liability insurance as required by French law (but not insurance covering theft or damage to the scooter where you are at fault); helmet and fuel; all luggage transfers from day 2 to the end of the tour at Avignon train station. Note: a 125 cc scooter is available for a supplement of €120 Euro but you must have a motorbike license.
Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below. Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime!
Getting There: the trip starts in Orange, which is easily accessible by rail from Paris and Avignon.
Air: most intercontinental flights fly into Paris “Charles de Gaulle” but you can also fly into smaller airports in Provence like Marseille, the small Avignon airport, or the Nimes airport served by Ryan Air flights.
Rail: Orange is not on the direct TGV (high-speed train) line from Paris, so you will have to change in either Lyon or Avignon. Journey time is 3.5-4.5 hours. Trains from Marseille take about an hour and a half.
Note: there are 2 train stations in Avignon, one in the center for regional trains and the newer TGV station, which is connected to the central station by TER regional train (or of course taxi). If you transfer via Avignon you must change train station!
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends with a shuttle to the TGV (high-speed rail) station of Avignon. We will schedule our exact drop-off according to the group’s travel arrangements.
If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip, or feel free to e-mail us with any specific travel questions.
Good variety of venues for riding from small hamlets to vineyards to rocky gorges. Wine, Olive Oil and Chocolate tastings allow for short breaks and retail therapy. Lodging was excellent. Guides are personable and have a deep understanding of the local history and culture. We are already looking forward to our next trip with Scooter Bella!
This was our 3rd Vespa Tour with Scooterbella and just as with our first 2 this was a fun, relaxed, friendly week of wonderful scenery, food and wine with great people. Looking forward very much to our next Scooterbella holiday!