Mont Ventoux Travel Blog› entry 7 of 8 › view all entries
I was always interested in road cycling as a child, and grew up watching the Tour de France every summer, so I wanted to see at first hand this awesome mountain which is regarded as one of the toughest climbs which the race has crossed. We drove a loop from Avignon via Carpentras, across the top of the mountain, with a couple of stops on the climb to take in the views.
The road to the top is twisty and very steep in places; our poor hire car wasn't able to get out of second gear.
There is a lodge/cafe part way up the climb, where the road divides. We stopped there to survey the views. We'd read that it got a lot colder as you gained height, but we were still suprised by how cold it felt when we stepped out of the car. By the time we'd driven to the top of the mountain the temperature had fallen to 8 Celsius, compared with 28 in Avignon when we set off.
Towards the top of the mountain the vegetation stops and you enter a strange sort of moonscape. The place has a very surreal feel. Towards the top of the climb is a monument to Tommy Simpson, a British cyclist who died on the climb during the 1967 Tour de France.
The views from the top were partially obscured by mist and haze on the day we were there; on a clear day the views must be fantastic. The top of the mountain is capped by a weather station, which stands out tall from the strange lunar landscape.