The Durance By Bike: A Cycle Route Along The Water.
Cycling enthusiasts looking for a destination for their next vacation will surely find what they're looking for in the PACA region thanks to the Durance à Vélo! This bike route, also known as V862, follows the Durance valley from Monêtier-les-Bains to Avignon. Here are 5 things to know about this cycling itinerary.
This cycle route winds through the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region for over 400 km.
The Durance by bike is one of the newest cycling facilities in Provence Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is a cycle route of about 440 km that follows the Durance valley, the longest river in Provence.
Like the river that gives it its name, "The Durance by bike" winds through the PACA region from Le Monêtier-les-Bains in the Hautes-Alpes to Avignon in the Vaucluse department.
Upon arrival in Avignon, this cycle route joins the ViaRhôna (see our article on this other cycling itinerary opposite).
2- She crosses 4 departments.
Of the six departments in the PACA region, four are crossed by this cycle route:
• Hautes-Alpes (05)
• Alpes de Haute-Provence (04)
• Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
• Vaucluse (84).
The Durance à vélo allows you to discover a wide variety of landscapes, starting with the mountainous landscapes of the Guisane Valley (a tributary of the Durance).
Starting from Monêtier-les-Bains, located north of Briançon at nearly 1400m above sea level, to reach Avignon, cycling enthusiasts will see the landscape change along the water and the V862...
Before arriving in Gap, this cycle route overlooks the Serre-Ponçon reservoir, a water reservoir dedicated to irrigation. Between Gap and Manosque, the road crosses an agricultural plain and orchards.
In the lower Durance, the Mediterranean influence becomes more noticeable and the cycle route offers beautiful views of the Luberon and Alpilles massifs before joining the Rhône and the ViaRhôna.
3- She combines greenways and low-traffic roads.
As its name suggests, the La Durance bike route follows the Durance valley for most of the itinerary. If you are considering taking this road for your next cycling trip, be aware that this bike route combines sections of greenways reserved exclusively for cyclists with portions of roads specifically chosen for their low traffic volume. Whether you travel this bike route over several days or just take a day trip, caution is therefore required!
4- It allows you to discover remarkable sites in Provence.
Before reaching the City of Popes, the Durance by bike passes through several municipalities such as Briançon, Gap, Sisteron, Manosque and Cavaillon, which will allow you to make stops and easily refuel.
In the Hautes-Alpes, you can visit the municipality of Mont-Dauphin and its famous Mont-Dauphin fort, which is a Vauban site listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the Bouches-du-Rhône, don't miss visiting the charming municipality of La Roque-d'Anthéron known for its international piano festival.
Also note that this bike route passes near many remarkable natural sites in the PACA region:
• the Queyras Regional Natural Park
• Lake Serre-Ponçon
• the Ecrins National Park
• the Luberon mountain.
5- It is easily accessible by regional trains (TER).
To discover the natural and cultural beauties that await you along La Durance by bike, all you have to do is take the train! Several SNCF stations along the railway line from Briançon to Marseille make it easy to reach the V862.
One of the most practical ways to do cycle tourism on this bike route is to book a TER Cyclo. These are regional trains accessible to bikes with a free reservation made through the Résa TER Cyclo website.
With a train ticket and a bike reservation, you can board the dedicated bike spaces at no extra cost, provided you have a standard bike (not a tandem or cargo bike) and have removed bulky luggage and accessories.
Thanks to the bike spaces on regional trains, cycling tourism along La Durance has never been easier!