Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. Time to think about your summer cycling plans.
I know exactly what I am doing in August. I am cycling the French Alps, as I have done several times before. Why? I go because it is incredible and it is one of the most beautiful things I have done. This summer, I invite other women (sorry guys) to come with me. However, if you cannot go with me, you can do your tour, and I will give you some tips.
You may have seen the Alps on the Tour de France, but like most things, watching something on TV doesn’t compare to being there. In adherence between watching cycling in the Haute Savoie region and riding there is like eating a slice of simple store-bought apple pie and eating a hot piece in a wing mode that your grandmother baked – it’s just something very special. . The Italian and Swiss Alps flank the French mountains, and cycling anywhere is both breathtaking and challenging.
Some of the most famous and difficult climbs in all the Alps are L’Alpe d’Huez and Galibier. However, they are not the most picturesque. The Tour de France organizers often choose the upgrades because they are wide enough for cars and spectators, but there are many more beautiful and less popular climbs. They are more easily accessible if you are based in a city and explore that area. Some larger cities include: La Clusaz, Le Grand Bournard, and Megeve. From here, you can catch some great cols.
For example, the Col des SaisSizesa beautiful little-traveled pass with very little traffic and beautiful scenery leads to a ski resort and then descends again. Also nearby is the Col du Petit St. Bernard, right on the border between Italy and France, with great views of the south face of Monte Blanc.
One of my favorites starts in the village of St. Jean de Sixt and goes up the Col d’Arpettz. It’s a 60-mile loop over the Col d’Arade Aravisthe Arpettaz. The road to Arpettaz is narrower at the back, but you will see impressive mountainous scenery, including wildflowers, farms, and horses. If you climb the Col d ‘Aravis, you can access many other smaller climbs, including the Col d’ Croix de Fer. At the top of the Aravis, you will hear the sound of cowbells and you will be able to enter a small chapel. On a clear day, you can see Mount Blanc. You can also buy local foods.
Recharging, French style
The Haute-Savoie region is famous for its fondue and tartiflette (potatoes au gratin with cheese and meat). Both dishes are made with Reblochon cheese, the region’s specialty. And of course the wine is good too.
The closest international airport is Geneva, Switzerland, about 40 minutes from the French Alps. (Note: Geneva airport has a French and a Swiss side). You will need to rent a car to get to the mountain villages.