Cycling in the Alpes de Haute Provence

Christina/ August 27, 2022/ The daily grind, Culture

The plateau of Puimoisson and Valensole is not only a good hiking place it also good for cycling. However, due to the many differ, the differences in altitude you either need an e-bike or you should be in very good shape. I use my little black mountainbike, a lot of water and a good portion of power in my thighs.

From Puimoisson to Valensole
The first tour is already a ripsnorter. I start at our holiday home underneath the Aérodrome of Puimoisson. I cylcle to the village itself. No matter where you go you always have to overcome an altitude in difference. Plus, there are the high temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade and more during the day. The fun part of the ride is definitely the stage from Puimoisson to Riez. It is simply downhill. Having reached Riez I go for some culture and have a look at the former Apollo temple, the so called Colonnes romaines. However, there is not much to discover.

I cycle to the city centre looking for a shady place to enjoy some water and something to drink. Sitting on a bench I try to figure out, how to go back. I choose the path via Valensole and its plateau. the route to Valensole is steep and winding. In the midday heat it is a kind of a fight. But I win. However, I am running out of water. I really do hope that teh village has an open store. I am lucky. There is a small supermarket right at the entrance of Valensole. I buy another 1,5 litres bottle and a coke. Having quenched my thirst I take a stroll through the village. Close to the market place I find a very nice seating close to the former open air washing area.

I enjoy my water and something to eat. I read some pages of my book and take a look a the people passing by. After a while I explore the rest of the town. I come across another washing area and a nice manorial looking B&B. I prepare myself for the way back. The remaining distance is about 15 kilometres. Again I cycle uphill until I have reached the top of the plateau. It is a very nice ride and I guess this place must be fantastic during the bloom of the lavender in June and July. On my way I pick some lavenderflowers which survived the harvest. The flowery scent is still enjoyable.

Arriving a Puimoisson I try to refill my waterstock once again. The only supermarket in the village centre closes at 12:30. I have no choice but to cycle back to my holiday home and to water my dehydrated throat over there.

On the Route des Crêtes at La Palud sur Verdun
The Route des Crêtes du Verdon of La Palud sur Verdon is an ascent in the region Alpes de Haute Provence. The round trip is about 23 kilometres and has a difference of 462 metres in altitude with an average decline of 7 %. the highest point is 1.323 metres. We start our tour at La Palud sur Verdon. The town is THE starting point for a hiking tour through the gorge du Verdon or a cycle trip on the mountain pass. La Palud is kind of crowded. It is not easy to catch a parking space. However we are lucky. From the town limit we cycle to the starting point and struggle up the winding road – mark you without electrical support. In transit we stop at the lookout points. Both, the looks into the 700 metres deep gorge and into the sky are spectacular. It is interesting how many birds of prey are on its way.

At the end of the Route des Crêtes which has only one direction, we arrive at the restaurant “Chalet de la Maline”. We are about to stop for something to eat. The place is already packed and we don’t feel like waiting. Therefore we ride back to La Palud and sit down for something to drink.

Enjoying our drinks we think about the rest of the day. We decide to make a second tour. This time form the Pont du Galetas above the Lac de Sainte Croix to Aiguines, a small village in the mountains. Once again we are facing some steep ascent. We activate our last power reserves and continue to the top. Having reached the place we are happy. The village offers a spectacular view onto the Lac the Sainte Croix. Moreover, the town has a former castle and a nice calm market square. Once again we buy some water and enjoy a rest under some trees on a bench.

Our return path passes by the former castle and some donkeys:-) Afterwards we turn into a pine-tree forest. This part of the route is enjoyable cool and it smells good. We come across another Chambre d’Hote, the Ferme de Chanteraine. If you want to you can chill and sun tan at the pool. We move on though. We pass by a camping site and reach the main road (D957). After a while we arrive at the Pont du Galetas, our final destination. Altogether it was a really nice cycle trip – but effortful as well.

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