The Route Des Grandes Alpes 2017 Cycling Holiday
(Guided or non-guided)
July 30th to August 6th 2017
The Route des Grandes Alpes is a fully supported 658km multi-day cycling adventure through the Alps from the shores of the Cote d’Azur to Lake Geneva in 7 days.
You will conquer a great variety of classic cols en route and you will stay in a different Alpine town every day and distances average about 120 kilometres per day. Your exclusive Route des Grandes Alpes road book produced by ‘100 Greatest Cycling Climbs’ author Simon Warren is included.
The construction of the route started in 1909 by order of the French Touring Club. The construction of the route was not only an opening to the outside world for the mountain people, but also an opportunity for the upcoming tourism to discover this area with great cultural and natural heritage.
With the opening of the French motorways, the route has lost most of its importance as a traffic connection from north to south, making the Route des Grandes Alpes a spectacular road cycling route.
To make things even more attractive, some adjustments were made in 1995 to replace the traffic heavy valley of Chamonix with the Col de la Colombière and the Col de Aravis.
Now you have the chance to ride these historic and breathtaking scenic routes.
Cols and climbs:
On the 2017 Route des Grandes Alpes you will conquer the following Cols and ascents:
- Col de Turini
- Col de la Bonette
- Col de Vars
- Col d’Izoard
- Col du Lautaret
- Col du Galibier
- Col du Telegraphe
- Col d’Iseran
- Cormet de Roselend
- Col des Aravis
- Col de la Colombiere
Flights and airport transfers:
On Sunday July 30th we will come and collect you from Geneva airport. From the UK there are many different flight options available.
Guided or non-guided....
We offer 1 guided and fully supported week from Sunday July 30th until Sunday August 6th. Our experienced guides will make your experience the best that it can be. If this doesn’t suit you then we also offer the option to book a self-guided week where we make all travel arrangements for you but you take care of your own transport.
About the Hotels:
*** Grand Hôtel Le Florence Nice – Arrival Night:
The fully-renovated Grand Hôtel Le Florence offers all the services of a 3-star character hotel in the very centre of Nice. The rooms are all non-smoking and offer air-conditioning, 66cm LCD TV with 18 digital + 14 foreign channels, free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and in the rooms, safe, mini-fridge, bathroom with hair dryer and Organic welcome products.
There’s a public pay car park (Nice Etoile) opposite. The hotel was awarded the European ECOLABEL as a reward for its efforts to protect the environment (waste sorting, renewable energies, ecological products, etc.). In keeping with this environmental approach, there are two beehives on the roof and the hotel shares the honey with their guests!
The hotel has a secure room for bike storage and the hotel proprietors are used to receiving cyclists and triathletes who visit Nice for the many sports events that take place there.
*** Hotel Blainon Auron – Night 1:
Completely renovated in 2012, the 3-star Hotel Blainon has 19 rooms, a lounge, a dining room / tea-room and a wide terrace opening onto the main square of the village.
The hotel is situated right in the very heart of Auron. Whether for a short or a long stay, you will be welcomed by the new owners Florence and Tity.
All rooms are renovated and have their own en suite bathrooms, and WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
*** Hotel Le Vallon in Vars – Night 2:
A Vars in the high Alps (Southern Alps), inside the area of Forest Blanche (Vars Risoul 180 km of ski runs) in the ski-lift of St. Mary at the foot of the famous track of Olympic you will find the Vallon, the calm and comfort of a traditional mountain chalet-hotel run by youth of the country.
This 3 star hotel with a family atmosphere brought together all the ingredients for a successful holiday in a village resort.
*** Hotel de La Poste in Valloire – Night 3:
This scenic chalet-style hotel is a 2-minute walk from downtown Valloire. Down-to-earth rooms have traditional wood furnishings, along with modern touches like free WiFi and 42-inch flat-screen TVs. En suite bathrooms have showers or tubs. Some rooms add balconies with lounge chairs, indoor seating areas, and desks.
*** Hotel La Toviere Val d’Isere – Night 4:
The 3 star Hotel La Toviere is located at the entrance of the exclusive mountain village of Val d’Isere. Warm, relaxed rooms feature private balconies, wood-panelled walls, flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, minibars, and tea and coffee-making facilities. Some add mountain views.
The rustic gourmet restaurant offers mountain vistas whilst you enjoy the bar and the breakfast buffet. Leisure facilities include a Turkish bath, a sauna and a fireplace lounge, plus a sports shop.
You will stay here with breakfast and evening meals included.
*** Hotel Calgary in Les Saisies – Night 5:
Hotel Le Calgary’s friendly, sporting atmosphere, warm family welcome, great comfort, and discreet, attentive, quality service make it a traditional chalet where guests feel at home and return time and again.
Add to that its bar, restaurant and naturally lit, heated indoor swimming pool with sauna, Turkish bath, and Jacuzzi.
*** Cote Sud in Thonon les Bains:
Nearby Lake Geneva, Switzerland and the Alps, discover and enjoy an ideally and blissful quiet place.
Since 1989, Madame Dareys and her staff welcome you with warmth and kindness. The Hotel is located at the entrance of Thonon-les Bains from Geneva or Annecy-Annemasse.
The hotel has 48 rooms with all modern conveniences (complete bathroom, TV, telephone) and comfortable bedding. A large private car park is at your disposal just in front of the hotel. The hotel reception is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Your stay here will be with breakfast and evening meal included.
Planned itinerary for the fully supported package:
Below is a day-by-day travel itinerary for the Route des Grandes Alpes 2017.
Sunday July 30th:
Please arrange your own flight to Nice.
On arrival you will be met by our representatives we will operate airport transfers for the short distance to our hotel in Nice. We will eat at the hotel this evening. During the evening meal there will be a welcome meeting which will explain in detail about the tour and you will also have the opportunity to meet your fellow riders and reps.
Our itinerary will be as follows:
Menton to Auron (131.4km)
Auron to Vars (83.6km)
Vars to Valloire (115.3km)
Valloire to Val d’Isere (105.3km)
Val d’Isere to Col des Saisies (88.4km)
Col des Saisies to Thonon-les-Bains (133km)
Monday July 31st – Menton to Auron - 131.4km:
We will take you & your fully assembled bike to Menton for the start of the route. We will head north towards Sospel. After leaving the town of Sospel we will be heading towards the Col de Turini, your first mountain pass. The pass was featured in Top Gear when the presenters went in search of the greatest driving road in the world.
After leaving Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée we travel up Gorges de Valabres towards Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée following the river Tinée. We will turn out of the Gorge to the ski resort of Auron is located on the territory of the commune of Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée.
Tonight we will stay at Hotel Eccureuil in Auron.
Tuesday August 1st – Auron to Vars - 83.6km:
Click to view the Route.
We start the day off with a nice descent to Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée. We start the climb of the Col de la Bonette – Restefond 2715M Restefond 2802M Bonette loop. From the south, the climb starts at Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée.
On the ascent of the Col de Restefond from the summit you will pass through the derelict village of Camp des Forches which has been left as a monument.
On your descent of the Col De Restefond towards Jausiers you will pass Casernes de Restefond, an old military building. We will continue up the valley following the Ubaye River in the Mercantour National Park.
After we leave the valley floor and start the ascent of Col de Vars. After the summit we will have a descent to the village of Vars Sainte-Marie.
Tonight we stay at the Hotel Le Vallon in Vars.
Wednesday August 2nd – Vars to Valloire - 115.3km:
Click to view the Route.
We start the day off with the continued descent of Col de Vars. Before we reach the outskirts of Guillestre where we travel up the valley along side the river Guil.
After 20km we leave the canyon and start to climb the Col d’Izoard. Trees make place for the Casse Desert; this is an extremely rugged area which some describe as a lunar landscape. Approximately 2km from the summit you will see the Coppi / Bartali memorial. After the summit we will have a 20km descent into the town of Briançon. Briançon has often hosted starts and finishes of stages of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Dauphiné Libéré.
We leave Briançon and start the climb of the Col du Lautaret. This col was carved out by a glacier, this explains the easy gradient of the slopes by which it is attained. At the summit of the Col du Lautaret the Col du Galibier, you will find a monument to Henry Desgrange the first director of the Tour de France. Every time the Tour de France climbs the Col du Galibier a wreath is laid on the memorial.
Tonight we stay at the Hotel de La Poste in Valloire.
Thursday August 3rd – Valloire to Val d’Isere - 105.3km:
Click to view the Route.
We start the day off with the ascent of the Col du Télégraphe. At the Col du Télégraphe we find another fort: the Fort du Télégraphe, also called Fort Berwick. It previously accommodated a telegraph to send messages between France and Italy.
Bonneval-sur-Arc is also the highest commune in France, considering the average height, which is 2713M. The village itself is situated at an altitude of 1850M. After the village of Bonneval-sur-Arc we start the climb of Col de l’Iseran. With its 2770M it is the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps. It connects the valleys of the Isère River and the Arc River between Val-d’Isère in the north and Bonneval-sur-Arc in the south.
Tonight we stay at the Hotel L’Avancher in Val d’Isere.
Friday August 4th – Val d’Isere to Les Saisies - 88.4km:
Click to view the Route.
We start the day off with a descent of to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. As we descend Col de l’Iseran to Bourg-Saint-Maurice we will see the Lake Chervril (Tignes reservoir).
After leaving Bourg-Saint-Maurice, we start the ascent of the Cormet de Roselend . Just after the summit you will see the Roselend Reservoir.
After the summit we have a descent to Beaufort. After the town of Beaufort we have a 3km ride along the valley floor before we start climbing the Col des Saisies.
Tonight we stay at the Hotel Calgary in Les Saisies
Saturday August 5th – Col des Saisies to Thonon - 133km:
Click to view the Route.
We descend into Notre Dame de Bellecombe and continue the descent into the town of Flumet, where we start the climb of the Col des Aravis. On the highest point of this mountain pass, there is a little chapel devoted to Saint-Anne for the protection of the travelers passing by.
We descend into the village of Saint-Jean-de-SIXT, an authentic alpine village with lots of little farms. After passing through the road starts to climb again. Heading to the town of Le Grand Bornand, a ski resort which owes its name to the river which runs through it. This is where we start the Col de la Colombière 1613M
After the descent of the Col de la Colombière we get to the town of Cluses. We travel up the valley arriving in Morzine, the most northerly of the French Alpine resorts. This charming town is dominated by chalets spread across a river gorge.
After Morzine we will travel up the canyon, we pass the Aulps Abbey which is a former Cistercian monastery located. After another 10km we reach the Gorges du Pont-du-Diable (Devil’s bridge canyon).
The winding roads through the Vallée Verte (French for green valley). Rock formations, green bushes and trees provide some shadow against the hot sun. We continue up the Vallée Verte to Thonon-les-Bains, a small town at the shore of Lake Geneva. To the South, we can see already the snowy peaks of the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the Alps.
Lake Geneva, formed by a retreating glacier, has a crescent shape that narrows around Yvoire on the southern shore. It can thus be divided figuratively into the “Grand Lac” (Large Lake) to the east and the “Petit Lac” (Small Lake) to the west.
Tonight we stay at the hotel Cote Sud in Thonon les Bains
Sunday August 6th:
Short transfer from the hotel to Geneva airport for your return flight. Please book your flights to depart after 11am.
Fully supported Route des Grandes Alpes – Sunday 30 July until Sunday 6 August:
£1100 per person based on sharing a room with 2 single beds
£250 supplement for the sole occupancy of a single room
Self guided Route des Grandes Alpes – tell us your dates
£680 per person based on sharing a room with 2 single beds
£250 supplement for the sole occupancy of a room
What is included:
- The Route des Grandes Alpes Road Book by Simon Warren with daily route cards, maps and GPX files
- 7 Nights at various good quality Alpine hotels
- 7 Evening meals and breakfasts
- Nightly secure bike storage
- Packed lunches on riding days
Included with the fully guided week only – Sunday 30 July until Sunday 6 August:
- Airport transfers from Nice airport and to Geneva airport
- Support vehicle throughout with support of our rep and mechanic
- Luggage transport
- A Sports Tours International cycling jersey made by Santini – More information
- Travel insurance – please visit our insurance page
HOW TO BOOK:
Click on the green button below.
At time of booking we require a non-refundable deposit per person plus any applicable entry fee. The balance of your travel package must be paid, at the latest, 12 weeks before departure to avoid the cancellation of your trip.
Please click here for our full booking conditions.
Single travellers and twin to share:
We welcome single travellers on our tours and holidays as it is a great way to join a like-minded group of people and you will make lots of new friends. If you would like to join our group as a single traveller we can offer you two options. A single room or if you want to avoid the single supplement then you can make use of our ‘twin to share’ option. We will pair you up with another traveller (of the same sex) and you can enjoy the event without having to pay extra.
General, visa, passport and health information:
For passport and visa information, please check the relevant section on this page.General Travel and health Information for your destination is available on the FCO website. Please note that this information relates to UK passport holders only and that other nationalities should refer to their own authorities for this information.
For details of specialist sports travel insurance for our travel packages, please visit our insurance page. You must ensure that your travel insurance policy covers you to participate in cycling events. There is additional information about our other Concierge Services on our special web page.