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Trip Overview

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Spectacular bicycling from Geneva to Nice on a fully-supported, guided bicycle vacation.

Join ATG as we follow this classi, Route des Grandes Alpes, starting in Geneva and following the spine of the Alps. This guided, fully-supported bike tour ends on the sunny shores of the Mediterranean sea. We have modified this scenic route to take advantage of spectacular villages and smaller roads, creating what is sure to become one of your most memorable bicycle vacations.
  1. Highlights

    The Route des Grand Alpes was conceived by the Touring Club de France in 1911 by incorporating the spectacular high-altitude roads that were constructed to provide military access to protect the Franco-Italian frontier. This tour was designed with climbers in mind:

    • Ideal for cyclists who love to climb! Climb 24 classic Alps cols
    • Ride the highest col in Europe: Col de la Bonette.
    • Largest vetical climb in France - Col du Galibier via Telegraphe.
    • Enjoy the remote and scenic roads of the Maritime Alps.
    • Sample excellent wines and delicious cuisine at quaint restaurants where only the locals dine.
    • Our small group offers a more relaxing and enjoyable travel experience.

    You will be cycling many of the roads and passes that define the Tour de France, both this year and past years. You will climb some of the area’s best-known cols, including Glandon, Croix de Fer, Madeline, Col du Telegraphe and Galibier There are three , two-night stays so you can enjoy the best cycling each area has to offer. Along with challenging rides, this area boasts renowned wineries, delicious Savoyard cuisine and gorgeous lake and mountain villages.

    The route stops in captivating Annecy, with its winding canals, weekly markets and myriad of outdoor activities, and concludes in beautiful Provence and Cote d'Azur with rolling hills, vineyards and flower-filled meadows.

    Climb 24 of the Classic Alps Cols!
    This bicycle tour includes some unforgettable climbs, including the Col du Marais, Col de la Croix-Fry, Col des Aravis, Col de la Colombiere, Col de Leschaux, Col du Frene, Col de Tamie, Col de la Madeleine, Col du Glandon, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier, Col du Lautaret, Col d’Izoard, Col de Vars, Col de la Bonette, Cal d”Allos, Col de la Cayolle, Col des Champs, Col de la Couillole, Col Saint-Martin, Col de Turini, Col de Castillon, and finally , Col de la Madone. Feel the rush of summiting these epic cols!

  2. Details
    Airport Arrival/Departure City
    Geneva/Nice

    Average Daily Mileage and Terrain
    Ride an average of 60 to 70 miles, with 4,000 to 8,000 feet of climbing. There are a variety of route options on most days.

    Weather
    Curent weather information.


    What’s Included
    • Lodging in quaint, welcoming inns and hotels.
    • Hearty, cyclist-friendly breakfasts every day.
    • Most dinners (four-course, including wine).
    • Full van support, snacks and drinks on the ride each day.
    • Experienced tour guides, and daily detailed maps and route notes.
    • Transportation and luggage transfers during the tour.
    • Gratuities for transfers, hotels and restaurants.
    • Custom ATG bike jersey and souvenir map with tour route.

    What’s Not Included

    • Airfare and travel insurance.
    • Lunches are on your own, so you have maximum flexibility in your day.
    • Non-group dinners on the free evenings. This gives you a chance to try the restaurants of your choice.
    • Bikes are not included, but are available for an additional fee.
    • Personal services, including laundry, telephone, hotel minibar charges, etc., are not included.
  3. Itinerary
    1. View List Item Profile
      Day 0, Geneva
      Arrival day. You can assemble your bike, relax and visit Geneva. Consider arriving a day or so early and take a trip to Chamonix and visit the Aiguille du Midi.
    2. View List Item Profile
      Day 1, Geneva to Annecy
      Ride: 35 miles/2,850 ft.

      Relaxing warm up ride to Lake Annecy. Spend the afternoon visiting the medieval village of Annecy or relaxing by the lake or extend your ride. Welcome dinner together.

      Annecy, known as "Venice of the Alps" for its quaint canals, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Located on the shores of Lake Annecy, the village offers an ideal location to meander through the historic old town, hike or bike along the lake, ride the scenic mountain roads, and enjoy local raclette cheese and fondue.
    3. View List Item Profile
      Day 2, Annecy Loop Ride
      Ride Options: 61-81 miles/4,089-7,489 ft

      After some easy riding along Lake Annecy shore, we'll climb a lightly traveled road up Col du Marais (8 miles/1,284 ft). We'll have a fast, easy descent to Thones for a snack before climbing Col de la Croix Fry (7 miles/2,805 ft), included in the 2004 Tour de France. It's all downhill back to Annecy from there, or you extend your ride. Dinner on your own at one of the many cafés in Annecy.

      Optional Riding: Climb Col des Aravis (3 miles/1,200 ft) and enjoy fantastic views of Mt. Blanc, or Col de la Colombiere (7 miles/2,200 ft). Both climbs were included in the 2006 Tour de France.
    4. View List Item Profile
      Day 3, St. Jean de Maurienne
      Ride: 70 - 82 miles/5,300-10,000 ft.

      Our ride begins with a gentle climb and scenic views of Lake Annecy, and up Col de Leschaux (6 miles/1,215 ft). We'll follow quiet country roads to Col du Frene, descend into the Val d'Isere, and continue along rolling terrain to our hotel in St. Jean de Maurienne. Dinner together.

      Climbing Option: Col de la Madeleine (12 miles/4,946 ft).
    5. View List Item Profile
      Day 4, St. Jean de Maurienne Loop Ride

      Ride Options: 37-63 miles/5,000-10,000 ft

      Today, you'll have a choice of a shorter or longer ride option. The group ride will tackle the Col de la Croix de Fer (19 miles/4,946 ft) and enjoy a downhill grade over the Col du Glandon and back to our hotel. Dinner on your own.

      Climbing Option: Col de la Madeleine (12 miles/4,946 ft).

    6. View List Item Profile
      Day 5, Briancon
      Ride: 47 miles/7,100 via Col du Telegraphe & Galibier

      Today is the day you've been training for! We'll conquer the Col du Telegraphe (7.5 miles/2,717 ft) and Galibier (11 miles/4,033 ft) – a spectacular day of climbing in the Alps. After the summit, it's all downhill to Briancon. Dinner together.

      Briancon, the highest town in Europe is a great fortress town, walled and fortified by Vauban, and it's really something to see. The town has two parts: the lower town is at the junction of the Durance and Guisane rivers and the upper town is the walled area at the top, fortified by Vauban and including the Fort du Chateau fortress at the peak.
    7. View List Item Profile
      Day 6, Barconelette
      Ride: 60 miles/7,386 via Col d’Izoard and Col de Vars

      Quickly burn off your breakfast this morning as you ascend Col d’Izoard (20km/3,742 ft.) Stop for an espresso and a snack before your second big col of the day the Col de Vars (19.4km/3644 ft.) then it's all downhill to Barcelonnette where we'll stay for two nights. Dinner together.

      Challenging Option:  Colle dell’Agnello   (2008/2011 Tour de France)
    8. View List Item Profile
      Day 7, Barconelette- Loop Rides

      Ride: 74 miles/11,000 ft 
      Shorter options are available.

      Challenge yourself on the Col de Bonnette (14.3 miles/5,189 ft, 6.6% average) or  ride the famous "grande boucle" (big loop) that includes Col d'Allos, Col des Champs and Col de Cayolle. The grande boucle (74 miles/11,000 ft) includes some of the most challenging climbs in the Alps. Dinner together.

    9. View List Item Profile
      Days 8-11, Maritime Alps and the Mediterranean Sea
      Our route travels through the scenic Maritime Alps, along some of the most dramatic roads in France. On the final ride into Nice, we'll climb Col de la Madone along Lance Armstrong's famous training route. We'll follow a spectacularly scenic road perched high above the Mediterranean and enjoy a final descent to our seaside hotel in Nice.

      Hotels
      This trip offers three, two-night stays so settle in and relax without packing every day!

      Ride Summary
      Day 1: 35 miles/2,850ft
      Day 2: 61-81 miles/4084- 7.489 ft
      Day 3: 70-94 miles/5,300-10,300 ft
      Day 4: 37-63 miles/5,000-10.000 ft
      Day 5: 47 miles/7,100 ft
      Day 6: 60 miles/7,386 ft
      Day 7: 39-74 miles/5,500-11,000 ft
      Day 8: 52 miles/6,789 ft
      Day 9: 49 miles/8,159 ft.
      Day 10: 59 miles/4,200 ft.

      Total: 509-614 miles/57,284-75,276ft
  4. Slideshow
  5. Reviews
    Read Reviews of Adventure Travel Group's Guided Bicycle Vacations

    "The Alps trip was incredible. Gary and Lise are the best guides we have ever toured with. Their knowledge of France and attention to every detail made this trip unforgettable. The rides were epic and the food was delicious, but what we didn't expect were the first-class accommodations each night. If you dream about riding the most legendary climbs in France, then this trip is for you!"
    Dave and Anne Simonson, San Diego, CA

    "The Alps tour was an absolutely amazing experience. Gary and Lise knew every inch of road from start to finish to maximize the enjoyment of riding some of the classic Tour de France stages. The trip started on the shores of Lake Annecy and ended in the beautiful vineyards and lavender fields of Provence. Every day offered plenty of options for challenging, scenic and fun rides with time to explore the unique towns and sights of the French countryside. The small inns and hotels provided a comfortable place to call home during the trip as well. I would recommend ATG and this tour to anyone, especially those interested in challenging themselves on the French Alps."
    Nick Clements, Fort Collins, CO

    "We consider ourselves relatively knowledgeable when it comes to cycling holidays, having taken six previous cycling trips to Europe. Our 2008 Alps tour with Adventure Travel Group was the best. Gary and Lise are consummate professionals. They were keenly aware of our comfort, safety and always attentive to our needs. Their command of the route details was exceptional and made for great rides. Gary and Lise are the kind of individuals you would like to hang out with. Their love of travel and adventurous spirit are irresistible. We are looking forward to our next tour with ATG."
    Gordon and Patti Chiang, Larkspur, CA

    "Cycling in the French Alps with Gary and Lise was challenging, rewarding and enjoyable. It was the experience of a lifetime."
    Jeff and Paul Nelsen, Boulder, CO
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Trip Summary

Ability-Advanced

Duration
A: 11 days/10 nights
B:  7 days/6 nights

Price per Person
A: $4,195
B: $3,595
Tour Dates
A: June 3-14, 2015
     Sept 10-21, 2015

B: June 3- 9, 2015
     Sept 10-16, 2015

Riding
Average of 60 to 70 miles daily along lakes, vineyards and spectacular mountain passes. Climb 5,000-10,000 feet daily, with options to ride more or less.

Routes and Abilities
Coaching/Training