3h 30 min
+513 / -513
Cycling the Villages of the Orb Valley
Discover the beauty of the Haut-Languedoc and the Orb Valley on this cycling tour. Wind your way up to Berlou through rolling hills, holm oaks, vineyards and olive groves at the foot of the Caroux. Marvel at the remarkable architecture of the towns and villages that have been shaped by the winding course of the Orb for thousands of years. Explore the deepest parts of the river and its steep gorges between Vieussan and Cessenon and experience the rich history of this region!
Depart from Cessenon-sur-Orb
Begin this trail in Cessenon-sur-Orb, a picturesque medieval village surrounded by the Orb river and mountains. Don’t forget to explore its 12th century church, fortifications, 13m high keep and fountain. From the bridge, admire the river and the village’s square tower atop a rock. Leaving the village on the D20 in the direction of Prades-sur-Vernazobre, you’ll pass through vineyards for 4 km before turning right onto the D177E2, crossing the Vernazobre river and arriving in Prades.
From Prades-sur-Vernazobre to Berlou
From Prades, you begin a gentle ascent of about 5 km, winding through vineyards with the first slopes of the Haut-Languedoc in the distance. Once you reach the Col de la Pierre Blanche, around kilometre 10, you can take a rocky path that leads to orientation tables. Located in the midst of the vineyards, these four tables provide a unique view of the Caroux Massif, which looks like a woman lying down from afar. With the help of these tables, you can unlock the secrets of the region’s landscapes, soils, and geological environment. Eventually, you’ll reach Berlou, a tranquil village known for its excellent Saint-Chinian Berlou AOC wines. Berlou’s slopes retain water and store heat to release it slowly.
From Berlou to Vieussan
The undulating road from Berlou to Vieussan winds through beautiful wild landscapes. After a 3 km climb to the Col de Merly, you’ll descend to Escagnès before another 3 km climb to Mézelles and finally a long descent to the banks of the Orb at Vieussan. The view from the road is stunning! This 12th century village, perched on a steep valley has a wealth of history, including a castle keep and numerous stone buildings. It’s a difficult village to access by bike due to the steep slopes.
From Vieussan to Roquebrun
From Vieussan, follow the Orb River along the D14. Pass by the XIIth century Le Pin Tower and Roman Bridge for a beautiful view of the Orb Valley. Continue 9 km to Roquebrun, nicknamed “the Little Nice” for its palm trees, ochre-colored houses and abundance of citrus trees and mimosas. Visit the Mediterranean Garden at the top of the village where you can admire the view of vineyards, the Orb river and the bridge that has spanned it since 1870.
from roquebrun to cessenon-sur-orb
Take the D19 for 5 km to the tiny hamlet of Escougoussou, before taking the D136 to Cessenon-sur-Orb. Make a stop at the Coumiac Quarry to observe the 365 million year old fossils and the Griotte marble used in famous buildings such as the White House.
If you would like to read about more things to do in this area you can download this free PDF guide
For more details and maps of a great selection of cycling routes in the Languedoc you can download our ultimate guide