To Montbrun-les-Bains - You lead me away from home, just to save you from touring alone - CycleBlaze

May 11, 2022

To Montbrun-les-Bains

The weather forecast for this area in France is perfect for cycle touring. If anything, it may be getting a bit too warm by the afternoon with highs in the mid twenties under full sun conditions. But for now we will hope to find some shade as we make our way to Montbrun-les-Bains today.

We  had a simple breakfast in our apartment  before packing up and carrying our bikes down the 13 steps of the steep, narrow, twisting staircase to the road below. The staircase is so tight I do not think a regular size bike could be taken up to the second floor apartment  without removing the front wheel. Before heading off we said good bye to our hosts Emily and Daan of Thé Choi Toi. For us it has been a great place to stay and we enjoyed our time in Vaison la Romaine.

This is the bridge that connects the two parts of Vaison la Romaine.
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We passed over the small bridge into town to buy some lunch  before riding the left bank of the Ouvèze River. I like to think of today`s route as the backside of Mont Ventoux.  The more west facing side of the mountain has the popular towns of Malaucène and Bédoin where many riders begin their ride up to the top of Ventoux. We were riding along  the D40  and  there are really no towns of any size between Vaison la Romaine and Montbrun les Bains but Ventoux is almost always in view on our right side. It was really a very beautiful ride.

The secret village of Crestet does not look so secret from this side of the road.
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Small rock bridge crossing the Toulourenc River.
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The Toulourenc River. The house on the left may have had a waterwheel at some time.
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We enjoyed a scenic but short ride beside the Ouvéze River before turning off and crossing one of its tributaries - the Toulourenc River. The Toulourenc  paralleled our route all the way to Montbrun les Bains but it was small and we rarely saw it except at a few crossings. The road soon began to climb up into the hills  and we spent quite a bit of time reaching the top elevation of 575 metres before we headed back  down the other side on an equally steep grade but now with full brakes applied. The view of Mont Ventoux, the surrounding hills and fields in the valley bellow are excellent on this clear day.

The only tunnel for the day.
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Looking across the vineyards toward the mountains.
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One of the many looks (and pictures) of Ventoux that we had today. For those unfamiliar, note the hill with the tower at the very top.
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Its a col! It maybe but we still have another 200 metres of climbing.
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Smiling car retired in the field.
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Several roadies passed us today. This was a group of around eight and every one said, ¨bonjour¨ as they went by. That`s a lot of bonjours to reply to!
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Another look.
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The fields in the valley below.
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Getting closer. This was looking across the valley as we were at the top - 575 metres. Ventoux is slightly over 1900 metres
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Looking south down the valley.
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Heading downhill finally.
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Mont Ventoux from a different angle.
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The oak forests are such a lovely green.
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Brakes or no brakes?
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A very scenic ride.
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At the bottom of the hill we stopped for the sandwich we had brought with us and then stopped again in the small town of Savoillan for afternoon coffee. Savoillan is the largest village we went through today but it only has a single restaurant and a patisserie. We were now less than 10Kms from Montbrun les Bains. However, with a bit of a headwind we were starting to feel the effects of the earlier hills.

Coffee stop in Savoillan. The restaurant was across the street and they had a couple off tables in front of the local church. A nice place for a break.
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Not sure how well this will be seen. But years ago the tree was splitting and a metal belt was put around it to hold it together. The belt is completely grown over on one side.
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The hillsides were so beautiful with the different shades of green.
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Our destination is this village - Montbrun les Bains. Famous for its sulfur hot baths.
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Quite a sight riding up to it. It is also a Les plus beau villages de France.
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Closer yet
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We were near the top of the village when Pat checked ¨mapsme¨ for the location of our accommodation for the night. Pat suggested that we may have gone a bit too far and passed it on the way up. We were not really certain as to its location and had promised to meet the owner at 4pm so we still had an hour to look around the village. We continued further up to the town's belfry where the  road ends and parked our bikes. We carried on through the belfry gate and began to follow a very rough coblestone  path and stairs about 150 metres to a beautiful small resting area with a small sign - Le Place de Grande Soleil. We were looking around when Scott said ¨bonjour¨ (like only Scott can!) to a lady who is trimming plants, and the lady responded in English, ¨Are you from Canada?"   Wow, you can tell all that from a crappy pronunciation of ¨bonjour¨? "Why yes we are."  "I am so glad to meet you," she replied - "you are staying right here!" What luck! Now we had to figure out how to get our bikes and equipment up that path!! But it is a great spot. We will be spending two nights here. 

Up in Montbrun les Bains looking down into the valley.. We entered via the road bellow.
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The town's Belfry dates back to the 13th century and was part of the village's fortification.
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It was hard to push our bikes up these stairs.
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Our apartment in Montbrun les Bains.
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Scott AndersonWow! What a place to stay if you’re arriving by bike!
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1 week ago
End of the day in Place du Grand Soleil.
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The view from our window.
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Today's ride: 39 km (24 miles)
Total: 521 km (324 miles)

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