Cycle the French Alps: Road Cycling

This trip takes you from the Jura Mountains to the mighty French Alps


8 days

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Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. This trip takes you from the Jura Mountains to the mighty French Alps as you ride through the same terrain as the Tour de France. Earn your bragging rights as you conquer the legendary climbs of the Croix de Fer, Col d’Izoard and the true legends of the...

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This tour is operated by

Intrepid Travel


Day 1Aix-les-Bains
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where and when exactly it will take place. If you can't arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Your leader will also collect teh optional food/drink kitty at this meeting. If you arrive early, check out the Roman ruins, Temple of Diana, the town hall or the belle Chateau de la Roche du Roi. If you have brought your own bike it is a good idea to assemble it today to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. There are 3 bike shops in Aix (plus nearby Chambery) but please note most close around 5pm on a Saturday and don't open Sundays or Mondays. If you are looking for an early cycling challenge the nearby Dent du Chat (12kms at 10%) or Mont Revard (25kms at 5%) are options, but we recommend saving your legs for the days ahead – you’ll need them! Please see the Transport section of our Essential Trip Information notes for details of how you can make your own way to Aix-le-Bains from either Paris or Geneva. For those that have brought their own GPS device (e.g. Garmin) we can upload each day's ride directly to your device so that you never get lost no matter how fast (or slow) you are.
Day 2Aix-les-Bains
After a quick bike check, set off on your first ride. Start by finding your cycling legs on a ride that loops around the beautiful Lake Bourget. This route traces the contours of the Jura Mountains high above the Abbaye d'Hautecombe, a 12th-century royal burial site, on one side and comes full circle back to Aix-les-Bains along the low lake road under the towering Bauges Massif on the other. While there is a bit of climbing to be done this is a pretty relaxing first day, with a couple of coffee stops along the way. Those looking for a stronger challenge can instead cycle up the snaking road to the nearby Col du Grand Colombier, which makes for a fairly rigorous climb (97 km long; 1850 m elevation gain). Note that this ride is unsupported; your leader stays with lake loop ride. Cycling distance: approx. 55 km / 34 miles, flat on one side of the lake and undulating on the other, with approx. 900m / 2950ft of elevation gain.
Day 3La Chambre
Experience the sublime Lacets de Montvernier, which is often described as one of the most beautiful roads in professional cycling. Today's ride is the longest of the trip, but also fairly flat (compared to the mountains at least!) for the first 55kms before you hit your first real climb. Start in a southeast direction, we avoid the busy roads by cycling around Chambery then climb up to the tiny hamlet of Saint Georges d’Hurtieres before dropping down besides the L’Arc River and our first views of the Alps themselves. From here you make the gentle climb along the valley to the Lacets de Montvernier. This famous stretch of road features 18 hairpin bends, 17 of which take place within 2 km, making it a cyclist's dream. The climb up to the village of Montvernier is quite short (3.4 km) but it's certainly spectacular! Once at the top, it's time for fun as we cycle further along the ridgeline then enjoy the first proper descent of the journey on the flowing curves down to Hermillon. Let your brakes cool then cycle back along the valley to the small town of La Chambre. Be sure to eat a hearty meal tonight at a local French restaurant to fuel up for the challenges ahead. Cycling distance: approximately 110km / 68 miles, lightly undulating for the first 55kms then a constant (but gradual) uphill to the Lacets, with approx. 1790m/ 5870ft of overall elevation gain. Feature climb/s: Lacets de Montvernier
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Trip title

Cycle the French Alps: Road Cycling

Trip code



Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019


Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. This trip takes you from the Jura Mountains to the mighty French Alps as you ride through the same terrain as the Tour de France. Earn your bragging rights as you conquer the legendary climbs of the Croix de Fer, Col d’Izoard and the true legends of the Co...
Read more




Active Adventures,Cycling


Bicycle,Support vehicle,Bus

Physical Rating


Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the terrain and weather adding to the physical effort. As a general rule, the more prepara...
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Joining point

Hotel Campanile

Joining point description

Hotel Campanile is located 4 km from the centre of Aix-les-Bains. The hotel has a restaurant and terrace on site as well as free Wi-Fi. The modern rooms are equipped with tv, tea and coffee making facilities and a private bathroom.

Joining point instructions

Aix-les-Bains can be easily accessed by train from either Paris or Geneva. FROM GENEVA: take the TER96642 (towards Valence-Ville) from Geneva's main Cornavin train station and get off at Gare d'Aix les Bains-Le Revard. This journey takes approximately 1hr and has no changes. See
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Finish point

Hotel des Princes

Finish point description

Hotel des Princes is located in Chambery's Old Town, near the le Château des Ducs de Savoie. It offers air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV and free WiFi.

Finish point instructions

TO GENEVA - TRAIN: There are direct trains (TER 96613) to Geneva's centrally located Cornavin Station that take approx. 1hr 20mins. A second class ticket should cost you around EUR28. To book, see From here you can either take a train (7mins, EUR7) or bus #5 (25mins, C...
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Important information

1. Bicycle hire is not included in your trip price. Please advise us if you wish to hire a bike at time of booking and provide your height so we can organise a suitable sized bike. See the Transport section of the Essential Trip Information for bike details. 2. Bike helmets are compulsory on this tr...
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Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of t...
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We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the gro...
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Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specif...
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Why we love it

Experience the sublime Lacets de Montvernier – often described as one of the most beautiful roads in professional cycling

Is this trip right for you

Although this is a group trip, the differing levels of cycling fitness are more pronounced in the mountains. There will be times when you are likely to be riding on your own (but safe in the knowledge that the support vehicle and group leader are never too far away). We provide downloadable files fo...
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All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or l...
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Money matters

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European coun...
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What to take

PACKING On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage i...
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A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use...
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After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

Emergency contact

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below: For general contact details please use the following page: While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday exper...
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Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing ...
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The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and...
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Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used ...
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Transport notes

INCLUDED BIKES Due to the specialist nature of this trip bikes are not included on this itinerary. You can either hire a bike through us or bring your own. HIRING A BIKE THROUGH INTREPID: Bike hire can be arranged at an extra cost, please ask your agent at the time of booking. We ask for your hei...
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Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When trav...
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Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and pr...
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Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important tha...
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Hotel (7 nights)
Cycle the French Alps: Road Cycling