Road cycling holiday accommodation in the Southern French Alps

Beautiful cycling routes

Road Cycling Southern Alps

road bike croix de fer

AlpBase is surrounded by mountain cols and beautiful cycling tours, the most famous of which is the Col de Lautaret (2,057m) regularly used in the alpine section of the Tour de France, as well as local events such as the Giro d'Italia, and the Luc Alphand Sportive.

Other killer cols around us include the Col du Galibier (2,642m), one of the highest in France, and the very long Col d'Izoard (2,360m) enough to satisfy the leanest and meanest!

I have ridden every month except December and January here in the Hautes Alpes. It's a huge area and the centre of Alpine road cycling. That's why the Tour de France comes through this region every year. Enjoy!

The Vallouise Valley, where is located, lies right in the heart of the Pays Des Ecrins. This is just one sector of nine that make up road cycling in the Hautes Alpes. These sectors are all rideable using us as your holiday base. Each sector has as many as four day long rides and everything from easy 1 hour rides right up to full blown 8 hour marathons!

We are a cycling family so most of our accommodation includes safe and secure bike lock ups. Plus we are always on hand for support or information, whether you have a problem with your own bike or you want to hire one.There are many terrific itineraries you can do but the one below can be done from the doorstep of any of our chalets or apartments:

Col DeIzoard, 2360m
Time: 6-8 hours depending on fitness and which way round you go!

The hard way round: From Vallouise head down towards Guillestre via back roads and then take the road up into the Queyras. Take off up towards the Col D'Izoard as you approach Chateau Queyras (1345m). From Arvieux (1563m) it is sometimes quite steep on the south side with climbs up to 14%. The surface is perfect on the north side, but not nearly as good on the south, so it makes sense going from the south over this pass and all the nice views are on this side, like the famous Casse Deserte landscape.

The south side is dramatically different from the north side of this pass and clearly separates the Southern French Alps from the Northern Alps. Here you can experience both worlds on the same climb. The Casse Deserte – the strange, colorful and stony landscape on the higher reaches of the south side - is a major tourist attraction. This landscape goes all the way up to the pass itself. Once at the Col you have a great descent down to Briancon then take the Route Des Espagnols back to Prelles, then side road to Les Vigneaux ad eventually Vallouise. World Class tour - no question!

N.B. Don’t forget you can secure your bikes safely at any of our chalets or apartments

You can take children from age 6 on pretty much all of the itineraries in the Hautes Alpes. You just need to be realistic in terms of where you start and finish from.

Even in the height of summer there are plenty of quiet side roads that lead to beautiful viewpoints and pass spectacular mountain scapes.If you get stuck just ask us for advice and suggestions.Now read the AREAS notes for some inspiration!

In terms of biking the Hautes Alpes region, where we are based, is split into 9 regions:

There are a number of classic col rides in this sector. Here are three of them:

Col Du Lautaret, 2058m
This ultra classic climb starts in Briançon (1204m) and is almost flat for many kilometers, but after Le Monêtier-les-Bains (1477m) it is a more pronounced climb to the pass. There is often head-wind up this side to the pass. If you continue on past the Col you reach La Grave with the spectacular mountain peaks of the Ecrins massif, including the highest, La Meije and many others, looming high overhead. The main problem with this pass is the heavy traffic as it is a main through route into Italy. There is water in Le Monêtier-les-Bains, which is a good place to fill up at.

Col Du Galibier, 2642m
For this col you can again start in Briançon. The climb starts properly in St. Michel-de-Maurienne (712m) and passes by Col du Télégraphe (1566m) where it is downhill to Valloire (1430m). From Valloire it is fairly steep all the way up to the pass. It is however never steeper than 12%. This pass is only rivaled in popularity by the Passo dello Stelvio/Stilfser Joch in Italy. No high mountain pass has gained such a prominent place in the history of the Tour de France as the Galibier.

It is difficult to find a cyclist interested in mountain cycling that has not been here already. The popular cyclist event La Marmotte also lets ordinary cyclists compete over this (and other) mountain passes each year. It is quite beautiful (around the higher area) and quite hard as it is a long ascent from any direction. Water can be found for example at Valloire on the north side and at Col du Lautaret on the south side. There is much traffic down in the Maurienne valley and also up to the Col du Lautaret on the south side.

Col Du Granon, 2413m
The climb starts just a few kilometers outside Briançon in the direction of Col de Lautaret at Chantemerle (1356m).


There are many cyclosportive events in this area. Here are some of the best:

La Serre Che Luc Alphand is super fun.
I do it every year. Details on their website:

La Marmotte - it's huge (6,000+ riders), its brutal (I've done it twice and suffered a lot both times!!), but it is THE race in the Hautes Alpes.
Details on this website:

The Risoul Vauban. It's up and down a lot but not very long - less than 120Km. but it still hurt me!
Details on their website:,152.html

L'ELDORADO DU VELO - If you are cycling in July or August you can apply for your free cycling top if you ride the 5 classic cols. On certain days they shut the roads to traffic so you can ride the classic cols in this region without ANY traffic! See the dates when these rides take place at this site:

LE BREVET DES 5 AIGLES - If you ride the 5 classic cols within a 7 day period you can apply for your certificate - Le Brevet des 5 Aigles!
Contact the Serre Chevalier Tourist Office on 0033 492 24 98 98

I start riding around Mid March when it is nice and sunny but you could ride all year round.

Why? Because this area is so dry - 300 days of sunshine a year - and the roads are so clear that people train here all the year.

If it is cold up in the mountains less than an hour's drive will put you in Provence where you can definitely ride all year round.

For the famous alpine cols I would leave it until May or June because although most are open, cols like the Galibier can still be blocked into early June.

Check out this website to see if the alpine col you want is open:;=cols.php?ALPS


Visit a local Tourist Information Centre and pick up a free copy of the Hautes Alpes bike brochure - "Cyclo et VTT itineraries partages Cols mythiques.
You can get a copy from their website:

We have them in all our AlpBase rental accommodation - an invaluable guide MAPS

The Hautes Alpes is split into a whole series of IGN maps. You can order them here:

With all of our accommodation rentals we offer free use of our maps and guidebooks

Our local mountain bike only hire shop is La Montagne Blanche in Vallouise La Casse. Owner Chris Trevallion and his team of French and English speaking experts are always on hand with advice, a nice smile and often a free cup of coffee. 10% off if booking through AlpBase:

The most technical and best road bike hire shop is in Briancon - Cycles and Sk. Stephane is the owner and his Bike hire and cycle shop is close to the Casino near the centre of town:

N.B. Don’t forget you can secure your bikes safely at any of our chalets or apartments. And we provide free use of guidebooks and maps. To book any of our chalets go to Accommodation


Choose from a wide selection of high quality chalets and apartments ideal for familes and/or groups of friends.

How to find us

AlpBase, Southern French Alps