Route des Grandes Alpes by bike
Waytypes of the cycle route
Surface of the cycle route
Which direction to ride the Route des Grandes Alpes®?
Most riders opt to cycle north to south, but the Route des Grandes Alpes® is just as interesting tackled south to north. Did you know, for example, that the some 18,000m of shift in altitude along the whole main route are harder going south to north, as the climbs are shorter that way?
Six to eight days of cycling
To complete the most direct route, 720km in length and involving 18,000m of positive shift in altitude, count six to eight days of cycling. However, you can of course make up your own journey, making use of the main route plus its six alternative stages. In total, including main route + alternative stages, there are 26 stages classified either as Difficult or Very Difficult… but these are made very much easier if you use an e-bike (in French, a vélo à assistance électrique, or VAE).
Additional alternative stages
Every year, we aim to add enticing alternative stages that answer specific criteria, for example adding safety or interest for cyclists. One example: the alternative stage via L’Alpe d’Huez and the Col de Sarenne pass, which ticks all the boxes:
- Cyclists thus avoid the dangerous stretch shared with motorized traffic along the trunk road between Bourg d’Oisans and Chambon Lake.
- Cyclists can then tackle the iconic 21 hairpin bends up to the ski resort of L’Alpe d’Huez.
- The views from the Col de Sarenne and over the Oisans mountains are magnificent.
So, now you know – the Route des Grandes Alpes® is a challenge that will help you move mountains!
Easier with e-bikes!
To make the route more accessible to a wider number of cyclists, there are recharging points for e-bikes (vélos à assistance électrique, or VAEs, in French) dotted along the way, roughly every 30-40km. This means that people with different levels of fitness and experience can enjoy the adventure together if heading out as a group, some using conventional bikes, others e-bikes. Riding an e-bike makes tackling major mountain passes manageable, offering cyclists a good balance between effort and enjoyment!
Thonon-les-Bains / Morzine-Avoriaz
This is the first or last stage on the Route des Grandes Alpes®, depending on the direction in which you tackle the [...]
Morzine-Avoriaz / Cluses
This second stage of the Route des Grandes Alpes® ends or begins, depending on the direction of your itinerary, a [...]
Cluses / Le Grand-Bornand
On the menu on this stage is a climb worthy of a Tour de France… of which there are very many along the Route des [...]
Le Grand-Bornand / Beaufort-sur-Doron
This Route des Grandes Alpes® stage between Le Grand-Bornand and Beaufort-sur-Doron passes via La Clusaz, Val [...]
Alternative section Le Grand-Bornand / Lescheraines
The " Lake Annecy " variant of the Route des Grandes Alpes® ! We propose you a new itinerary, by the Marais pass, the [...]
Variante Lescheraines / Beaufort-sur-Doron
This is a beautiful linking stage on the Route des Grandes Alpes®, marked by the crossing of the Bauges Range, with [...]
Beaufort-sur-Doron / Bourg-Saint-Maurice
A magnificent Route des Grandes Alpes® stage, taking you between the Beaufortain area and the Tarentaise Valley via [...]
Bourg-Saint-Maurice / Val d'Isère
A transitional stage it may be, but what an ending it provides, coming from the north, as, once you’ve ridden past [...]
Alternative stage Bourg-Saint-Maurice / Saint-François-Longchamp
This stage includes the iconic switch from Tarentaise to Maurienne Valley, via the Col de la Madeleine (1993m). This [...]
Alternative stage Saint-François-Longchamp / Valloire
This beautiful stage links two Maurienne resorts. It involves tackling the 18 hairpin bends up to Montvernier, along [...]
Val d'Isère / Val-Cenis
Head out to conquer one of the giants along the Route des Grandes Alpes®, the Col de l’Iseran pass (2764m)! A summer [...]
Val Cenis / Valloire
Yes, this is a linking stage on the Route des Grandes Alpes®, but not any old linking stage, as here you ride along [...]
Alternative section Val-Cenis / Oulx
This is an alternative section along the Route des Grandes Alpes® that takes you briefly across into Italy. Its first [...]
Variante Oulx / Briançon
An innovation along the Route des Grandes Alpes®! You can of course take the classic route via the Col du [...]
Valloire / Briançon
If riding south from Valloire along the Route des Grandes Alpes®, you’ll soon understand why the Maurienne’s [...]
Alternative stage Val-Cenis / Saint-Jean-d'Arves
Here’s a stage set entirely within the Maurienne Valley along the Route des Grandes Alpes®, giving you the chance to [...]
Alternative stage Saint-Jean-d'Arves / L'Alpe d'Huez
This stage takes you to the Col de la Croix de Fer pass (2064m) and up to L’Alpe d’Huez (1850m), with 21 hairpin [...]
Variante L'Alpe d'Huez / Briançon
This route we’ve chosen between Le Bourg-d’Oisans and Briançon, going via L’Alpe d’Huez, enables cyclists to [...]
Briançon / Guillestre
Depending on the direction in which you’re tackling the route, this iconic stage is either the first or the last on [...]
Guillestre / Barcelonnette
This Route des Grandes Alpes® stage links the Queyras and Ubaye areas, and the counties of Hautes-Alpes and Alpes de [...]
Alternative stage Guillestre / Barcelonnette
This alternative stage takes you from the Route des Grandes Alpes® to Serre-Ponçon Lake… a stage leading to the [...]
Barcelonnette / Valberg
A lovely 77km-long stage that includes taking on the Col de la Cayolle pass (2326m), one of the wildest along the Route [...]
Alternative stage Barcelonnette / Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée
A lovely Route des Grandes Alpes® stage crossing the Mercantour National Park, sticking very close to the Italian [...]
Alternative stage Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée / Saint-Martin Vésubie
This section of the Route des Grandes Alpes®, linking the Tinée and Vésubie Valleys, runs alongside the mountain [...]
Valberg / Saint-Martin Vésubie
A superb stage on the Route des Grandes Alpes®, with grandiose landscapes, views to the Mercantour’s summits, vast [...]
Saint-Martin Vésubie / Sospel
This Route des Grandes Alpes® stage covering the Vésubie Valley and Haut-Pays Niçois takes you over the Col de [...]
Sospel / Nice
Now here’s an unforgettable day’s cycling! Coming from the north, with your legs feeling the effects of tackling [...]