Cycling Week_Itinerary

The perched villages of Ventavon and Upaix
This is one of our favourite routes and we will often do it as a group ride at the beginning of the week.It’s a perfect introduction to the area without too much climbing and plenty of options to lengthen or shorten to suit all levels. From Serre Des Ormes descend through the spectacular Gorges de la Meouge and into the apple orchards of the Buech valley. We then head Northwards on the quiet road alongside the canal offering superb views of the Ecrins National Parc before stopping for a coffee or lunch and enjoying the fantastic views from the Auberge in the village of Ventavon. From here there are a number of options for returning back to Serre Des Ormes, either via the village of Upaix, where the lookout tower is well worth the short climb or via Col de Faye, a perfect first col for the week.

Distance 74km, Climbing 860m (Via Upaix)

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Tour of Chabre
A local classic!!! This is a perfect ride for a shorter day or as way of tackling your first alpine col. The route first climbs Col St Jean offering fantastic views of Pic de Bure and the Alps to the North before descending to the village of Orpierre and its’ stunning rock faces which are popular with climbers from all over the world. It is well worth passing through the narrow streets of the village and stopping for a well earned coffee or lunch. From Orpierre you continue descending past the many apple orchards to reach the main Buech Valley. Your route now takes you through the dramatic Gorges de la Meouge, where the river weaves its way under, around and even through the steep cliffs. A geologists paradise.

If you have energy left in the legs there is an option to climb Montagne de Chabre, our local test piece! The top of this hill is very popular with parapenters and affords a fantastic 360 degree view of most of the days ride.

Distance 64km, Climbing 850m (Excluding the climb of La Chabre)

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Montagne du Lure
Montagne du Lure, which is locally referred to as Mont Ventoux’s little sister, is one of our guest’s favourites. The route described starts in the citadel town of Sisteron but it is also possible to ride as a much larger loop from Serre Des Ormes. From Sisteron the route heads towards the stunning Jabron valley and the small village of Valbelle with great views of the North Face of the mountain. From here you will start the long but gradual climb along the quiet tree lined road to Col du Pas de la Graille (1597m) and then over Montagne de Lure (1736m). The final section of the climb opens up to give magnificent views of the Sommet de Lure, surrounding valleys and beyond to the Alps. The descent is one to remember and the climb is quickly forgotten on quiet, well-surfaced roads passing through the small ski station. Eventually the village of St-Etienne-Les-Orgues is reached where a stop for a coffee and crêpe is well worthwhile before heading back to Sisteron and a well-earned beer.

Distance 82 km Climbing 1600 m

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The local cols of the Meouge Valley
This is a perfect route for a shorter day exploring the local Cols around Serre Des Ormes. The climb to Col Araud is relatively short but offers superb views of the mountains around Eourres. You will then descend back to the main valley through the pretty village of Lachau. The climb through Izon-la-Bruisse is one of our favourites on quite roads and a chance to bag two cols (Muse and St-Jean) in one climb and offers stunning views of the Meouge valley and then northwards to the Alps. Also look out for the memorials to the 42 members of the resistance who were executed by the Nazis in the second world war.

Distance 43km Climbing 730m

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Tour of the Jabron
Warm up the legs on the valley road to the village of Sederon before the relatively gentle climb to Col Pigiere and into the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region. From here enjoy a long gradual descent down through the Jabron valley, offering stunning views of Montagne du Lure. The route then takes you into the Citadel town of Sisteron which is well worth exploring before returning through the stunning Gorges de La Meouge.

Distance 83km Climbing 950m

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Mont Ventoux – Le géant de Provence – From Serre Des Ormes
Mont Ventoux is often the highlight of the week and this route takes in the famous summit of Mont Ventoux, starting from Serre Des Ormes. The ride begins with a gentle spin along the valley road to Sederon before climbing to Col de l’homme Mort and then descending through Ferrassières to the village of Sault. Enjoy a coffee and croissant before the big climb of the day.

From Sault, you will climb the “easiest” but longest of the three ascents up Mont Ventoux. The route begins by gradually climbing through the trees to reach Le Chalet Reynard. The view then opens up and you leave the shelter of the trees for the final 6.5km past the Tom Simpson memorial to the summit of this famous climb at 1910m. After posing for the obligatory summit photo and perhaps stocking up on supplies at the numerous stalls or even an ice cream at the cafe we retrace our steps back to Sault, perhaps stopping for lunch at Chalet Reynard.

From Sault descend to the thermal Spa town of Montbrun-Les-Bains before the final climb of the day. A cracking climb, with views back to Mont Ventoux, your legs will be grateful that the gradient never gets too steep. One you reach Col de Macuegene at 1068m you can relax in the knowledge that it’s all downhill from here back home.

Distance 137km Climbing 2500m

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Mont Ventoux – For all!!!!
We can also arrange a day trip to Sault from where Mont Ventoux can be climbed as an out and back on the easiest of the 3 sides. We love this route and so many of our guests who thought they would never be able to climb this iconic mountain have surprised themselves by getting to the top.

Distance 53km, Climbing 1300m

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Mont Ventoux & the Gorges de La Nesque
Bustling market towns, stunning lavender fields, breathtaking Gorges, and an iconic mountain climb, what more could you want from a ride? Starting from the market town of Sault, a short drive from Serre Des Ormes, cross the plateau before the gentle climb to the head of the Gorges de La Nesque. The spectacular viewpoint offers a perfect excuse for a break before descending down through the Gorges. After leaving the Gorges all roads lead to Mont Ventoux! Join the climb up this infamous mountain in the small village of Sainte Colombe, it is one of the toughest road climbs out there, over 20km in length with an ascent of 1639m. After climbing through the forest to Chalet Reynard you reach the famous lunar landscape and will pass the memorial to Tom Simpson on your way to the summit. All that is left is to enjoy the 27km descent back down to the village of Sault!

This has been described by many as one of their best days on a bike so please contact us today to start planning this fantastic day trip.

Distance 84km Climbing 1800m

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Running Week_Header

If you are looking for a running holiday with great trails, accessible mountains and stunning gorges then look no further. With plenty of sunshine, luxury accommodation and fresh home cooked food, Serre Des Ormes is the place to come. The majority of our runs are based in the Méouge valley and will take you from stunning mountain ridges to breathtaking trails in the Gorges de la Méouge.

The running is self-guided but with our knowledge of the hills and trails we will make sure you get the very most out of your week with us. During your stay we will provide detailed directions, maps and GPS files. With a car you will be free to explore the valley on your own but we can arrange transport around the valley if required.

Below is a an example of a typical week running with us but this can very easily be tailored to suit you’re individual needs. From ultra-runners after an early season training location to those after a more relaxing  week of running in great surroundings, Serre Des Ormes is the place to come.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details on our running weeks, it’s what we are here for!»

Running Weeks_Itinerary

Day 1 – The mountain ridges of Eourres.

This stunning mountain ridge run starts and finishes in the hamlet of Eourres. Perched at 900m altitude the community is known for their total respect of the environment and it’s residents are proud of their organic produce and self-sufficient lifestyle. The run itself is a perfect start to the week; although predominately on ridgetops you are never far from Eourres and therefore there are plenty of options to tailor the length to suit the legs.

From the village of Eourres, you warm up by traversing the hillside and then descending to the hamlet of Les Damias. From here you climb steeply to the open mountain top of Chanteduc and a great panoramic view. A great trail decends to Col St Pierre before climbing again to reach the crest of Montagne de Mare (1603m), from here enjoy the views of the Jabron valley far below you and the impressive peaks of Montagne de Lure and infamous Mont Ventoux in the distance.

After a steep descent to Col Verdun you have a choice, if there is enough in the legs (remember this is the first day!) there is the option to climb Montagne du Pied du Mulet. Alternatively descend from Col Verdun on a cracking trail that takes you directly back to Eourres.
Distance 19 km; Elevation +/1,100 m; Click here for more route details:-  GPSies - Eourres Ridges_Chanteduc_Mare_Pied Mulet

Day 2 – Crete De Chabre

Another stunning ridge run but this time on the dramatic ridgeline of Chabre which dominates the horizon to the north of Serre Des Ormes. The highlight of this run is the ridge line between Col de St Ange and Pas de Ste Colombe, the views from the path are simply breathtaking with a 360 degree panorama of the Alps to the north and Mont Ventoux in the distance.

From the small village of Ballon climb the forest path to reach Col St Jean. From the Col you begin the undulating traverse of Crete Chabre. At first the path follows the shaded north side of the ridgeline before climbing onto the Crete itself. From here the ridge top path continues, at times quite exposed, to Col de St Ange which is one of our favourite viewpoints in the valley. From the Col descend steeply at first and then on more gentle forest paths back to Serre Des Ormes and a well earned cup of tea, piece of cake and perhaps a dip in the pool.

Distance 19km, Elevation +700m / -850m; Click here for more route details:-   GPSies - Ballon to Serre Des Ormes via Crete de Chabre

Day 3 – Circuit of the Méouge

This circuit around the stunning Gorges de la Méouge offers a total contrast to the previous two days of mountain ridges. The run follows the Méouge river as it weaves through the steep sided cliff faces before returning on the north side of the hillside to give a give magnificent views over the Gorge and Pic St Cyr opposite.

The trail starts at Pont Roman, a charming Roman Bridge crossing the Méouge River, popular with locals and tourists enjoying a pique-nique alongside the river or taking a dip in the many plunge pool. The trail quickly leaves the crowds and follows the Gorges upstream to Roche Coupee which offers a magnificent view back down the Méouge. From here the trail continues up stream on a quite exposed path at times before crossing to the opposite side of the valley.

The path then climbs from the valley bottom and opens out to allow a stunning vista over the Gorges de la Meouge and of Pic St Cyr opposite before descending back to the car past the village of Pomet perched on the cliff tops.

Distance 13km, Elevation +/- 800m

Day 4 – Rest Day

Well earned rest day after 3 days of running. Enjoy a day recovering at Serre Des Ormes and relax by the the swimming pool or browsing through the numerous books in our library enjoying tea and cake.

If you do want to stretch the legs then there are a number of easier loops on tracks from the house that we can recommend.

Day 5 – Laragne Market & Mountain Ridges of St Genis & Gorges du Riou

In the morning why not visit the local market in Laragne. A bustling weekly market where you can wander around the many stalls with local producers selling a huge variety of cheeses, meats, fruit & veg and of course wine and beers. Or just relax in a cafe and watch the world go by with a coffee or perhaps join the locals for a drink of Pastis! After the market it’s time to run again and and today we recommend a route around the ridges of St Genis and Gorges du Riou. The route starts from the Plan d’eau du rhiou, a superb bathing lake set in stunning surroundings. From the Lake climb up to the ridgeline which dominates the horizon and make a circuit of the Montagne de St-Genis before dropping down into the Gorges du Riou. From here head back to the Lake and a enjoy a well earned cool down swim.

Distance 22 km, Elevation +/-1,000m; Click here for more route details:-   GPSies - Montagne de St Genis & Gorges du Riou
Day 6 – Pic St Cyr and the Gorges de la Méouge

A route of two halves both as dramatic as each other in very different ways. First the open mountain ridge of St Cyr before returning to the stunning trails along the length of the Gorges de la Meouge. Both equally dramatic, we probably saved the best to last, so I hope you have enough left in the legs!
The route starts from the quaint hamlet of St-Pierre-Avez, from here you climb, quite steeply at times up through shaded oak trees before the path opens out at “Les Avens”, a limestone rocky outcrop perched on the side of the hill offering panoramic views of the Méouge valley. From Les Avens continue climbing to the summit of Pic-St-Cyr. The views from the top of this peak are magnificent, to the East the mountain side drops quickly to the Buech Valley, to the West there are views of the Méouge valley and to the North, in the distance the grand snow topped mountains of the Alps can be seen. You can continue to enjoy the views on the relatively gentle descent along the open ridge of St-Cyr before dropping more steeply through the trees to bring you about above the Gorges de la Meouge.

After descending to the hamlet of the Antonaves and topping up with water you return to St Pierre-Avez along the stunning Gorges de la Meouge. This stunning trail follows the Méouge and is steep, rocky and exposed in places, you will have remember too keep one eye on the path and one on the view which is equally dramatic. There are plenty of opportunities to cool of the body and legs in the many natural pools formed by the river.

Distance 19km, Elevation +/- 1100m; Click here for more route details:-  GPSies - Pic St Cyr and Gorges de la Meouge