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Route des Grandes Alpes cycling trip

A trip from the shores of Lake Geneva to Briançon by Bike

  • Mountains
  • Nature & Discovery

Cyclist friends and lovers of long distance itineraries, this one’s for you! From Thonon-les-Bains to Briançon, 370km of roads, punctuated with 8 passes among the highest of the French Alps, inviting you to travel across regions of exceptional natural heritage. The highlight of your trip: Passing through the Col de l’Iseran, the highest paved pass in Europe.

Ref : 11

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Thonon les bains Briançon

Day 1 - Thonon - Saint-Jean-de-Sixt

Once the tyres are pumped and the canteen filled, it’s time to leave Thonon-les-Bains and take to the road for the first stage of your trip. Begin by pedalling along the route des Grandes Alpes and very soon you will have crossed the 4 passes that link the mountains of Savoy with those of Upper-Savoy. Pause for the obligatory photo break at the gorges du Pont du Diable (the walls of which reach  heights of up to 60 metres) or at Avoriaz before spending a night in the Saint-Jean-de-Sixt area.

  • Distance : 93 km
  • Duration : 7h10
  • Altitude + :1601 m
  • Altitude - :418 m

Day 2 - Saint-Jean-de-Sixt - Bourg-Saint-Maurice

Leaving Saint-Jean-de-Sixt the following day, cycle  to the Col des Aravis, with a panoramic viem on Mont-Blanc Continue your ride to Beaufort, at the foot of the Cormet de Roselend. Admire the impressive reliefs, particularly the Roc du vent before proceeding to the Chapieux, openned-door on the high-mountain of Beaufortain, before finally arriving in Bourg Saint-Maurice.

  • Distance : 90 km
  • Duration : 8h10
  • Altitude + :1985 m
  • Altitude - :696 m

Day 3 - Bourg-Saint-Maurice - Avrieux

This stage takes you rthrough the heart of the Vanoise National Park. Here, grandiose landscapes (50,000 ha) remain fragile ecosystems where some 1,000 species of flower grow and where ibex, chamois and marmotte roam. You will pass through Tignes and Val-d’Isère. The  Col de l’Iseran  (often snow-covered), which links the valleys of Tarentaise and Maurienne, is without question one of the  most beautiful of the Alps. Don’t miss out on Bonneval-sur-Arc, chosen as the most beautiful village in France, on your way to Avrieux.

  • Distance : 102 km
  • Duration : 7h10
  • Altitude + :2749 m
  • Altitude - :809 m

Day 4 - Avrieux - Briançon

If you have the time, go for a ride to the Esseillon Fortifications, an impressive stepped set of fortifications, before heading to the centre of Modane and then escaping to the wilderness around Valloire.
The mythical Col du Galibier is now coming, with its moon landscapes (be careful, the tunnel is forbidden for cyclits)
You will arrive tired but happy in ideally situated Briançon. Its city of Vauban retains the delightful allure of a medieval village, with its maze of lanes and pretty gardens at an altitude of 1,326m.

  • Distance : 88 km
  • Duration : 7h30
  • Altitude + :2643 m
  • Altitude - :720 m

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