A field of Sunflowers.
>Biker by a field of Sunflowers.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: ANSWERS

VILLA-BASED TOURS - GENERAL:

Travel - how can I travel to the villa?

It's pretty easy to get here from overseas, as we are just a short journey from several of the main travel hubs.
Marseille airport has good links internationally (including many low cost flights) both to and from Paris, and is just a 45 minute car drive away from the villa.
Nimes (50 mins), Montpellier (1h30) & Nice airports (2h30) are also accessible.
Avignon TGV (High Speed Train) Station is a fast link from Paris (3 hours) and a 6 hour journey from London, and is usually a comfortable way to travel. Avignon station is just 40 minutes from us by road.
We would definitely recommend having a hire car once you are here, so you can easily get to and from the main transport hubs. It's also best for the shops and restaurants (both a 5 minutes drive away), other sights, should you fancy an afternoon off the bike, and as a back up if you're unlucky enough to get some bad weather. Plus they tend to work out pretty well in terms of cost when compared to two taxi journeys. Marseille airport and Avignon TGV train station both have good car hire facilities available right outside - arguscarhire.com usually fare well in terms of pricing.
Driving from Calais (Northern France) to us, usually takes between 9 and 11 hours solid driving on the motorway (remember there are toll fees, circa €85 one way).
Please click here for more info on Travel Information.

Money requirements - what will I need?

The majority of attractions, restaurants and retail outlets take bank cards. There is a cash point about a mile away from the villa. French cash points generally accept foreign cash cards.

How do I make a booking and payment?

1. Once you have confirmed that you are happy to go ahead with your booking, we send you a Pre Reservation Form detailing your booking, along with a link to our terms & conditions.
2. To secure your booking we ask for a deposit of 350 € per person which is payable at the time of booking. Sending your deposit means that you accept our terms and conditions.
3. On receipt of your deposit we will send you your Deposit Receipt & Reservation Confirmation Form. This includes the details of your booking along with your deposit payment details. , and we supply some information about getting fit for your tour, along with which equipement we recommend you bring with you for cycling.
4. Three months prior to your tour start date we will send you a reminder regarding the balance payment for your tour. We will also ask you for your written (typed) acceptance of our terms and conditions. We will also send a list of information that we need in order for your stay to run smoothly: bike measurements, mobile phone numbers, train/plane arrival times etc, nothing too complicated.
5. One month prior to your tour start date we will contact you regarding the payment for the 1,500€ refundable damage deposit (one per global booking) thats covers any damage to the entire property, grounds and pool along with bikes and any equipment. Once we received the damage deposit we will send you a receipt.

For the Deposit and the Balance, payments can be made by PayPal (incuring a 2% fee), a foreign bank transfer (usually incurring fees from free of charge to 30€), TransferWise (usually the cheapest option) or by a French Euro cheque (no charge).

For the Damage Deposit we take payments by paypal only, as these can then be refunded to you for no charge (other than a 1€ PayPal payment fee) the week following your stay. Should any damage occur we will gather quotes and debit the amount accordingly - copies of quotes and payments will of course be supplied to you.

How do arrivals and departures work?

Arrivals at the villa are from 12 Noon through to 6pm.

In order to help your arrival go smoothly, 3 months prior to your tour we will check with you to see when your plane or train arrives, or when you are planning on arriving.

Most of our guests arrive from Avignon TGV train station or Marseille airport, so we ask that you call us once you leave the station or airport or when you are 45 mins from the villa by car, in order to confirm your arrival. If you could first call us on Neil's mobile, the number is 00 33 666 999 802, should you need to you also have Natalene's on 00 33 7 82 32 33 38.

We'll then meet you in Taillades at the villa, in the small car park on the left just after main road entrance and before the main electric gates to the villas.

The postal address is 65 Avenue du Moulin, Taillades 84300.
Please see the following link to our site for directions to the villa: Travel Info.

On the afternoon of arrival we need to give you a short induction so that you can get the most from your tour.
Here's what we go through:
1. We'll show you around the villa and the pool. Handover keys and the inventory.
2. We'll show you how our tours work, and how to select the appropriate rides. Along with help to draw up a schedule of rides for the week if that is what you would like.
3. The Garmin GPS systems and how they work with our pre loaded rides.
4. We'll fit you for your bikes, crash helmets, fit pedals etc if necessary.
5. A small 3kms ride to show you, the GPS in action as well as the nearby converted train bike track.
The above introduction usually takes between 1 & 2 hours.

Departures - from 8.45am to 10am.

When your tour is finished, we will meet you at the villa to take back the keys and check the villa - we can book in a time for this when we meet you.

The main end of stay clean is included in the booking price. We do ask however that you carry out some tasks before departures; strip the beds, fill and start the dishwasher, take out the bines etc. However, if the villa is very dirty then extra cleaning will be needed and charged at 75€.
Damage deposits will be repaid in the week following your departure. Any damage to the property or equipment will be deducted from the deposit. Copies of quotes and receipts will be forwarded.
If you need to leave before 8.45, we can organise a pre checkout the day before. We can organise this when we see you.

Cancellation - What happens if I need to cancel my tour?

Please read about cancellation in our Terms & Conditions.

Travel Insurance - What do I need?

Please make sure you have adequate insurance to cover you for any damage caused to the property and / or equipment (including theft) and / or to any third party, and / or should you need to cancel your tour before the start date and / or for any illness or injury during your cycling tour.
PCH is not liable to refund any monies due to the curtailment of a guest's holiday.
Guests are responsible for any loss, damage or theft of their bicycles, equipment or GPS systems (up to their full replacement cost depending on the problem). Note that we supply bike locks to secure your bikes. Our GPS systems are solidly fixed to the bars, but can be easily released for touring on foot.
Some insurers may ask you for the type of cycling - it is classified as cycle touring (on roads).
It is not mountain biking, down hilling nor is it extreme sports!

Accidents or Illness - What happens should I have an accident or fall ill.

We will do everything we can to help, if you have a minor illness we will help to get you to a local doctor.
If you have a minor accident on the bike we will come and get you and then get you to a local doctor if needed.
If you were to have a more serious illness or accident emergency services would need to be contacted (Dial 112 on your phone).

If you are an EU resident we would recommend that you have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC entitles you to medical treatment at reduced cost or sometimes free, when temporarily visiting a European Union (EU) country. Only treatment provided under the state scheme is covered.
However, to obtain treatment you will need to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you.

For EU and non EU residents alike, you should make sure you have adequate travel insurance - see the question above.

Local Restaurants - What are they like?

We will give you a list of our guests and our favourite tried and tested restaurants & cafes which should be useful for your lunches and evenings out. There are some very good restaurants for all budgets, and they are easy to get to, from a 5 minute walk into the village or from a 5 - 15 minute drive to a nearby village. These restaurants and cafes have been marked on your GPS units to make finding them more easy.

What about meals when we are at the villa?

As you may have seen there is a large choice of good restaurants and cafes available for both lunch and dinner, for when you fancy a meal out.

But what about when you want to eat at the villa? First you're going to need some ingredients. One of the options is the various local markets. There is the superb Sunday morning farmers market in Coustellet just 5kms away, great for local fresh provencal produce: fruit, vegetables, cheeses, meats etc. There are other good large local food markets in Apt, L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Petit Palais and nice smaller markets in Roussillon and Gordes.

In terms of shops there is a good bakers one minute's walk away from the villa and there are butchers, bakers, fruit & veg shops and a small supermarket nearby in Robion, just a two minutes' drive away. Coustellet, just a 10 minutes' drive away, has a superb bakers, the farmers shop, quality wine cellars, a reputed chocolatier, quality delicatessens, a fishmongers, a bio shop and more.
Then with a 5 minutes' drive you have a large Auchan hyper market, that has a wide range of food and domestic products.

Once you have the ingredients, you should have everything you need to cook up a feast for family and friends at the villa . The spacious and attractive kithcen has been equipped to a high level with a built-in oven, induction hob, american fridge, built-in microwave, dishwasher, plenty of pots and pans, coffee machine, toaster etc...

Then the only thing left to decide is where to have the meal, it's either the dining area inside, with its six person solid wood table and plush chairs or it's outside on the terrace under the pergola to enjoy the warm weather. With plenty of provencal tablecloths, table furnishings, quality wine glasses and plenty of crockery etc, there is all you need to enjoy the occasion and that well-earned dinner.

There is also a large Weber charcoal BBQ available so you can make the most of the good weather.

Lunches out - What are the possibilities?

I would say that the majority of our bikers prefer to have a lighter lunch, so as not to make afternoon cycling too uncomfortable. This can work well as there are lots of simpler, but good, local cafes where you can get lighter fare; lots of salads, ommelettes etc. The daily ride notes that you take with you flag up where you can find our single favourite lunch spot (along with other choices) in each of the villages visited. These restaurants and cafes have been marked on your GPS units to make finding them more easy.
Should you want a more informal lunch, there are many bakeries (takeaway baguette sandwiches, breads, cakes etc...) and markets where you can stop and put yourself together a nice provencale picnic. Picturesque spots, to stop and enjoy your food abound, along the routes that we follow.
Obviously, should you want a more full on lunch experience the notes will also point you in the right direction.

Special Dietary Requirements - Do restaurants cater for them?

I would say French restaurants in general, do not cater very well for requirements that are out of the French norms, as France is very attached to its traditional cuisine. Vegetarians tend to fare the best, as most decent restaurants will have an alternative, it's just the choice won't be huge.

For lactose intolerance, gluten free and vegan food, in general, but not always, it will be more of a question of having to choose carefully amongst the existing menu items.

How do I wash my bike clothes?

There is a large capacity washing machine at the villa, as well as a ironing board and iron. For drying clothes there is a drying rack and the Provencal sun. Please note that we don't have a tumble dryer at the villa.

Do you provide any supplies?

Yes, we provide you with a Starter Kit, enough to get you going with some: milk, tea and coffee, cordial, sugar, S&P, olive oil, toilet rolls, kitchen roll, washing-up liquid, washing powder and dishwasher liquid.
We provide pillows, bedlinen, towels, toilettries (showel gel, shampoo, handsoap, washing-up liquid as grease remover) and hairdryers.
There is also a vacuum cleaner, mops, dustpan & brush...

WIFI - do you have it?

Yes, we have free Wi-Fi available throughout the house and on the terrace.

Wine tasting - how does it work if we want to buy some bottles?

There are many good local vineyards and most offer winetasting (degustation in French). They will often have 3 reds, 3 whites and 3 roses for you to try. It's customary to buy at least a bottle or two if you have had a tasting. Some vineyards will ship a case(s) to you at home a cost. We have plotted some of the most popular vineyards throughout the local area onto your GPS units.

When is the Lavender harvested?

Lavender is harvested whilst it flowers anywhere from the end of June to August. We know where the lavender spots are and we try to visit them where possible with our rides.

Water - Can I drink the local water?

Yes you can - as you can many of the fresh water fountains dotted around the valley and hills. The rule is that the fountain needs to be sign posted if you can not drink the water, usually with "eau non controllee" or "eau non potable".

Local Maps - Where can I get a map of the local area?

You can try the following link - which is a map of the local area, the Luberon Regional Park:

The following link is for the Departement of the Vaucluse (a larger area than the above Luberon Regional Park - it's the French equivalent of a County or State):

What reading can I do to get a feel for the area beforehand?

"Rough guide to Provence & the Cote d'Azur"- an excellent tourist guide to the Luberon and wider Provence.
https://goo.gl/jb8lkh

"A year in Provence", Peter Mayle, Penguin. Set in the Luberon Valley, its a good read about the French & Provence. To be taken with a pinch of salt:
https://goo.gl/3fxMXe

"Michelin guide to Provence":
https://goo.gl/AFOTqM

Are pets allowed at the villa?

Sorry but no, as we need to keep it pet free for people with allergies.

If you can't find the question that you want to ask here - please email or call us.

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