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Alternative section Val-Cenis / Oulx Route des Grandes Alpes by bike

71,41 Km
4 h 45 min
Very difficult
Alternative section Val-Cenis / Oulx
Val-Cenis
Oulx
This is an alternative section along the Route des Grandes Alpes® that takes you briefly across into Italy. Its first stage links Val-Cenis, the main resort of the Haute-Maurienne Vanoise area, to Oulx, in the province of Turin, in the Italian region of Piedmont, going via the Col du Mont-Cenis pass. On the menu are magnificent views, Mont-Cenis Lake and the Musée de la Pyramide, explaining the pass’s history, the forts of Exilles and Ronce, and the charming little towns of the Susa Valley… not forgetting Italian mountain charcuterie, pasta, cappuccini and more!
2528 m 2206 m

From Val-Cenis to Oulx via the Col du Mont-Cenis

Route North / South

↗ 1466m ↘ 1795m

This stage, some 60km in length, presents just one obstacle – the Col du Mont-Cenis pass (2081m). You set out on the first hairpin bends leading up to it immediately on leaving Val-Cenis. You need to tackle a 683m shift in altitude over the 10km to the pass. Then follows an extensive, much gentler, flatter area where Mont-Cenis Lake is located, set in the midst of a memorable landscape. Next, going down a few bends, you cross the Italian frontier in the early stages of the long descent to Susa, the drop in altitude measuring 1774m over the 38 km from the pass. To get from Susa (503m) to Oulx (1100m), you have around 25km to cycle, with some positive shifts in altitude.

Route South / North

↗ 1795m ↘ 1466m

The stage starts peacefully, with a long descent between Oulx (1100m) and Susa (503m). From Susa, the climb to the Col du Mont-Cenis, via the lake of the same name, with grandiose landscapes all around, requires stamina, as you rise 1774m in altitude along the 38km! Once over the pass, a descent of some 10km leads you down to Val-Cenis.

Don’t miss

  • Haute-Maurienne Vanoise: this area, on the edge of the Vanoise National Park, includes six resorts: Aussois, Bessans, Bonneval-sur-Arc, La Norma, Val Cenis and Valfréjus, plus the little town of Modane. All told, it offers a concentrated selection of what such mountain areas can offer by way of things to see and do!
  • Musée de la Pyramide du Mont-Cenis: this architecturally bold museum allows you to discover the fascinating history of the pass. Also wander around the Alpine Garden stretching from the foot of the pyramid to Ronce Fort.
  • Ronce Fort: ordered by the Kingdom of Italy between 1877 and 1880, at 2886m in altitude, Italy wishing to ensure its control of the pass. 
  • The Susa Valley: one of the most beautiful Alpine valleys in the Italian region of Piedmont, highlights including the medieval town of Susa and its Sacra di San Michele Abbey and Exilles Fort, as well as Oulx, a village of 3,000 inhabitants at the junction of the two main Alpine routes linking Italy to France, one via the Haute-Maurienne Vanoise area, the other via the Briançonnais.

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