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French Alps

£1245 per person

Grade 4 Cycle TourWelcome to our exciting new trip in the French Alps. This week-long tour explores some of France’s most spectacular scenery and tackles some of the Tour de France’s most iconic climbs.

We cover approximately 250 miles over 6 days averaging around 42 miles a day. However this trip isn’t about mileage but about climbing some truly majestic mountains. Generally you will have finished cycling by early afternoon with time to relax and explore, or go for a bike ride!

Bourg d’Oisans, our base for the week, is located in the heart of the Oisans, in a natural setting among the mountains, it is considered by many to be the capital of French cycling. There are plenty of bars and restaurants set along the main streets and an abundance of patisseries, grocery and gift shops and a few cycle stores.

The tour runs from Saturday to Saturday with 6 days cycling and includes classic climbs of the Cols de Sarenne, d’Ornon, Croix de Fer, Lautaret, Galibier and Alpe d’Huez.  All our routes depart from Bourg d’Oisans where the long, valley bottom road allows you to stretch your legs before you reach the ascents.

This tour is aimed at cyclists who like a challenge but, as the mileages aren’t too long, the climbs are achievable for most regular cyclists. However hill training beforehand and some experience of multi-day cycling trips is essential. Our cycling support team will be on hand to offer guidance and encouragement, with the support van waiting at convenient points along each route to provide assistance.

Your effort will be well rewarded with many fantastic vistas over the mountains of the French Alps. The main aims of each day are to have a great time and gain a great sense of achievement reaching the tops of these iconic climbs.

Highlights

  • Bourg d’Oisans our base, considered capital of French cycling
  • Follow the Tour de France’s most iconic routes
  • Climbs of the Cols de Sarenne, d’Ornon, Croix de Fer, Lautaret, Galibier and Alpe d’Huez
  • Beautiful natural setting surrounded by mountains
  • Free bike transfers from UK
  • Celebration final night
  • Small group size – we limit the numbers to 12

Accommodation

Your accommodation will be on a bed and breakfast basis in a locally based Chalet.

The trip is costed on a sharing basis, although single rooms may be available on payment for a single supplement of £325.

Meals

Breakfast will be included in the chalet and a pack-up lunch will be provided.

You will need to purchase your own evening meals, which are usually eaten communally although you are free to opt out if you wish.

We will carry emergency energy gels and bars in the support van but you are advised to bring along your own preferred sports nutrition to fuel your ride.

In the Tour Plan, (B, L, D) refers to meals included in the trip cost i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Arrival / Departure Transfers

We are offering transfers to and from Geneva airport, which provides flight options from several UK airports. Our transfer bus will leave no later than 4.30pm for the 2 ½ hour journey to Bourg, so your flight will need to arrive at least 1 hour before then.  For anyone bringing their own bike, depending on the numbers, there may be an extra charge if we need a vehicle with a trailer.

For a more carbon emission friendly option you can also take the Eurostar train from London to Geneva.

Bike Transfers

We will happily transport your bike to Bourg d’Oisans and back at no extra charge. If you drop your bike off at our Sheffield office up to three days before departure we will carefully pack it in the support van, drive it to the start and then return it to Sheffield ready for you to collect. If that isn’t convenient, then depending on where you live, we may be able to collect your bike on our journey from Sheffield to Dover. Please get in touch with us to discuss arrangements.

Alternatively, for those not wanting to take their own bike, there are several bike hire shops available in Bourg. Contact us for details.

Tour Plan

The route of this tour is flexible and should be seen as a guide only. Local conditions, weather or fitness could lead to changes in our daily plans. All times and distances are approximate.

6 days of cycling
Approx 250 miles Age
  • Destination
  • Depart from
    Bourg d’Oisans, France (via Geneva Airport)
  • Return from
    Geneva, France
  • Road surfaces
    Long alpine climbs and with some technical descents. Tarmac (conditions can vary).
  • Bike Type
    Road bike
  • Included
    French Alps
    Accommodation
    Lunch
    Cycling guide
    GPX files
    Vehicle support
    Baggage transfer
    Airport transfers
  • Not Included
    Evening meals (unless specified)
    Bike hire
    Travel to start & from finish
    International flights
    Travel insurance
    Visas
1
Arrival Day
Arrive at Geneva and transfer to Bourg d’Oisans.  Settle into your rooms and then an evening briefing for the riders and leaders to get together and discuss the preparations for the week ahead.
2
Cycle Alpe d’Huez, Col de Sarenne and Balcons d’Auris
60 km (38 miles) - Elevation gain 1,550 m (max. incline 14%)
Our first ride is a real delight for bike enthusiasts. We start the week off with the mythical climb up the 21 switchbacks to Alpe d’Huez  - the climb starts in Bourg d'Oisans at 720 m and rises over 14km to a height of 1860 metres.  The first 4 bends are the hardest, with the steepest gradients at 14%, but once beyond this point you are well on your way to conquering the climb. ​After a rest and photo opportunity at the summit, we go over the majestic and untamed Col de Sarenne, before plunging into the Ferrand Valley along a lovely winding road.  The route then takes us on an ascent to the Auris balconies, offering a fabulous view over the Romanche Valley.  It will take your breath away if you have any left! (B,L)
3
Cycle Col de la Croix de Fer and Col du Glandon
80 km (50 miles) - Elevation gain 1,550 m
Today we tackle another Tour de France classic  - this stunning route to the Col de la Croix de Fer, will no doubt leave you with a lasting memory. ​At 27.5 km long with an average gradient of 4.8% and a maximum of 11.2%, the road up to the Col passes the largest dam in Europe 'Grand Maison' as it snakes its way up through the mountains.  Before reaching the summit at 2068 metres above sea level, we will take a short but worthy detour (2.5km) to pick up the Col du Glandon. A wonderful scenic route. (B, L)
4
Cycle Col du Lautaret and Col du Galibier
94 km (59 miles) - Elevation gain 1,920 m (max. incline 14%)
This is our longest and toughest day in the saddle as we tackle the mighty Galibier from the south via the Col du Lautaret.  This is where the monument to Henri Desgrange, the first director of the Tour de France is located. The Col de Lautaret is 34.2km from Bourg d’Oisans with an average gradient of 3.8% and a maximum of 5.9%.  The route does contain some tunnels up to 800metres in length. They tend to be lit but it is essential to take lights with you.  We pass through the hamlet of La Grave and the views of the glaciers are quite simple stunning. The summit of the Col du Lautaret at 2055m offers amazing views and there will be plenty of time to recuperate in the café and take the obligatory photo alongside the TdF giant cycles before tackling the final 8.5 km ascent to the col du Galibier. The steepest section is saved until the last 1km of the climb with gradients hitting an average of 12.1%. The views from the top are truly stunning and are well worth the effort. It’s not just the views that will leave you breathless, at 2,646m you will start to feel the effects of altitude that can be felt from 1,500m. (B, L)
5
Cycle Lac du Verney
63 km (40 miles) - Elevation gain 1,300 m (max. incline 8%)
This route will give us an opportunity to explore the Eau d’Olle valley.  From the small road along the bottom of the Belledonne mountains to Allemont we will enjoy magnificent views of the Grandes Rousses mountains and Lake Verney. The ‘Pas de la Confession’ road between Villard Reculas and Huez offers a wonderful panoramic view over the Bourg d’Oisans plain.  This ride provides the opportunity to tackle again the final 6 bends to the top of Alpe d’Huez as well as enjoying the full descent back to our base in Bourg. (B, L)
6
Cycle Route de la Roche and Les Deux Alpes
58 km (37 miles) - Elevation gain 1,200 m (max. incline 14%)
Today we will ride on one of the most spectacular roads of l’Oisans, the ‘route de la Roche’ that was opened in 1902 and provides wonderful views of the valley spread out below you.  This route provides the opportunity to go that little bit further and climb up to the resort of Auris en Oisans before a long descent down to Le Freney.  Following a photo opportunity at the Cambon dam we will start our final climb of the day to the village of Les 2 Alpes, which has a good choice of bars and cafes.  The climb from the dam is 9km long with an 8% incline on a wide and well-maintained road followed by a sweeping descent back down to our base at Bourg d’Oisans. (B,L)
7
Cycle Col d’Ornon, Villard Notre Dame and Villard Reymond
40 km (25 miles) - Elevation gain 1,100 m (max. incline 10%)
We finish our tour with a short day in terms of mileage but certainly no easy ride. Our route starts approximately 5 kms from Bourg d’Oisans, through the beautiful Lignarre valley before starting the climb to the Col d'Ornon. This climb is 11.1 km with an average gradient of 5.8% and a maximum of 8.6%. The road surface is good and the gradient is never too steep so it makes a perfect climb for tired legs. We then retrace our steps before turning to climb to two typical villages – Villard Reymond and Notre Dame.  Whilst a hard climb, the ascent of this spectacular road will remain an unforgettable memory with a much-needed coffee stop at the top.  The road then descends through three pitch-dark tunnels so care needs to be taken and remember to bring your lights. The afternoon is free to relax before our final group celebratory meal.  For those who are really keen there is one last opportunity to take on Alpe d’Huez! The guides will be loading the support van ready for their early departure the next day. (B, L)
8
Departure Day
For those departing from Geneva our transfer bus will leave at around 10.00. If you are on a morning flight you will need to arrange an early transfer or why not have an extra night in Geneva and leave the next day. (B)

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

9.8
Superb
8.5
Accommodation
10.0
Route & Rest Locations
10.0
Food & Refreshments Provided
10.0
Cycling Pace & Time in Saddle
10.0
Tour Guide & Support Crew
10.0
OVERALL SATISFACTION

Comments:

  • A-M. Pollock
    28 June 2019 at 10:52

    I enjoyed getting to the top of Col du Glandon!

    I would love to go on another trip with Simon and Julie.

    Accommodation
    Route & Rest Locations
    Food & Refreshments Provided
    Cycling Pace & Time in Saddle
    Tour Guide & Support Crew
    OVERALL SATISFACTION
  • N. Joss
    28 June 2019 at 10:51

    I enjoyed the challenge of this trip, and the great company.

    Simon and Julie are inspiring leaders.

    Accommodation
    Route & Rest Locations
    Food & Refreshments Provided
    Cycling Pace & Time in Saddle
    Tour Guide & Support Crew
    OVERALL SATISFACTION
  • P. Lubelski
    28 June 2019 at 10:48

    This trip was superb!

    Simon and Julie were excellent leaders. I most enjoyed managing the cycling demands each day in such wonderful surroundings.

    Accommodation
    Route & Rest Locations
    Food & Refreshments Provided
    Cycling Pace & Time in Saddle
    Tour Guide & Support Crew
    OVERALL SATISFACTION
  • S. Campbell
    28 June 2019 at 10:45

    I did the NC500 with Simon and Julie last year and was very impressed with their leadership skills. When I saw that they were leading this trip I decided to book it. I think Simon and Julie are some of the best leaders that I’ve experienced. They are very
    supportive and caring without being smothering.

    I was expecting the trip to be tough but manageable and that was how it turned out. I enjoyed the amazing scenery and the great sense of achievement in getting up the cols.

    Accommodation
    Route & Rest Locations
    Food & Refreshments Provided
    Cycling Pace & Time in Saddle
    Tour Guide & Support Crew
    OVERALL SATISFACTION

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TOUR DATES

BOOK A PLACE ON THE FRENCH ALPS CYCLE TOUR

Please click on your preferred tour dates below and you will be taken to our secure booking form. If you prefer not to book online, you can download a booking form and post or fax it to us. Please read the Booking Conditions carefully before completing the booking form. We require a completed booking form plus the appropriate deposit before your reservation can be confirmed. Note your booking is with High Places Ltd an ATOL and ABTOT bonded tour operator.
BOOK 19-26 JUNE 2022