The Tour de France and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift on the move for cycling as a means of transport

On the road

Closest KM: Flumet, KM 13

Crossing the French Alps from north to south by bicycle may seem like a daunting challenge, with routes and gradients reserved for the fittest of the fit or those with a powerful electric-assist bicycle! That is certainly true if you take the Route des Grandes Alpes®, with about 30 passes on the menu, including the Col des Saisies and the Cormet de Roselend, which appear on the map of stage 17. Riders who want to follow in the slipstream of the pros and tame these Alpine giants will either need to become lean, mean climbing machines or locate the electric-assist charging stations (nearly fifty along the route). For those who would rather avoid too much climbing, the P'tites Routes du Soleil® offer a gentler alternative that follows the pre-Alpine massifs (Chablais, Chartreuse, Vercors and Diois) before reaching the Mediterranean from the heights of Provence. Many options, one outcome: the trip of a lifetime.


Departments: Ain, Allier, Ardèche, Cantal, Drôme, Isère, Loire, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Métropole de Lyon, Savoie, Haute-Savoie.
Population: 8 million
Prefecture: Lyon
Area: 69,711 km2
Specialities: Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône and Savoie wines, Lyon specialities (quenelles, cervelles de canut, saucisson.), potée auvergnate, Savoyard specialities (raclette, fondue, tartiflettes, diots, crozets), cheeses (beaufort, reblochon, cantal, bleu d'Auvergne, Salers, saint-Nectaire...), green lentil of Le Puy, waters (Evian, Thonon, Volvic) verbena, chartreuse.
Sports clubs: Olympique Lyonnais, AS Saint-Etienne, Clermont Foot 63, Grenoble Foot 38 (football). ASM Clermont, Lyon OU, FC Grenoble, Stade Aurillacois, US Oyonnax (rugby union), ASVEL Villeurbanne (basketball), Chambéry (handball), Brûleurs de loup Grenoble, Pionniers de Chamonix (ice hockey)
Competitions: women's football world cup, ski competitions (critérium de la Première neige in Val d'Isère), Tour de France passes, Critérium du Dauphiné.
Economy: (8e European region) high-tech industries, automotive (Berliet), metallurgy, rubber, plastics, chemicals, electronics, food processing, textiles, digital, banks, universities, administrations, viticulture. tyres (Michelin). Design. New technologies (Inovallée) Winter and summer tourism. 
Festivals: Fête des Lumières in Lyon, Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon, quais du polar in Lyon, biennale du design in Saint-Etienne, classical music festival in La Chaise-Dieu
Tourist sites: old Lyon and Croix-Rousse, Puy-en-Velay cathedral, Lake Annecy, Chambéry castle, winter sports in Isère, Savoie and Haute-Savoie, Cantal, thermal resorts, Auvergne volcanoes. Caverne du Pont d'Arc. Castle of Grignan. Bastille of Grenoble. Vulcania. Parc des Oiseaux.
Websites and social networks:


Population: 862,000
Prefecture : Annecy
Sub-prefectures: Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, Thonon-les-Bains.
Number of municipalities: 279
Area: 4,388 km2
Specialities: AOC/AOP cheeses: Reblochon, Abondance, Tomme, Tome des Bauges, Beaufort, Chevrotin, Emmental of Savoy, Raclette. Savoie AOC wines, Ayze, Royal Seyssel, Roussette de Savoie. Other labels: Berthoud (STG), Savoy appels and pears (IGP). Specialities and traditional dishes: Génépi, Crozets, Tartiflette, perch fillets (lake fish), diots, blueberry pie, Savoyard fondue, potato fritters, honey, bidoyon (artisanal cider), gentian. 
Sports clubs: headquarters of the French ski federation. Football Club Annecy, GFA Rumilly Vallières (football). Thonon Evian Grand Genève Football Club. FCS Rumilly (rugby union). US Annecy Rugby. Black Panthers of Thonon-les-Bains (American football). Annecy CSAV Handball. Annemasse Basket Club. Chamonix Elite Hockey Club "Les Pionniers". Pays du Mont Blanc Hockey Club. Haute-Savoie Nordic Team
Competitions and major events: Kandahar-World Cup Alpine Skiing (Chamonix Mont Blanc Les Houches). Greenweez Maxi-Race (Annecy). Alps Bike Festival (La Clusaz). Mountain Bike World Cup (Les Gets). Climbing World Cup (Chamonix Mont Blanc). Megève international show-jumping. Evian Championship (golf). Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (Chamonix). Biathlon World Cup (Le Grand Bornand). Telemark World Cup (Samoëns and Saint-Gervais-les-Bains). High'Five Festival (Annecy). Rock the pistes (Portes du Soleil). Critérium du Dauphiné. Ski mountaineering World Cup (Flaine). Grande Odysée Savoie-Mont-Blanc. Tour de l'Avenir. Tour des Pays de Savoie
Heritage: Lake Geneva, Mont Blanc and Aiguille du Midi, Lake Annecy. Castle of the Sires of Bonneville. Castle of Clermont. Plateau des Glières (national necropolis). Montenvers train (Mer de Glace) and Mont Blanc tramway. Castle of Ripaille. Aravis pass. Village of Flottins. Pont des Amours (Annecy). Father Christmas' hamlet. Annecy Castle. Quail Bridge. Basilica of the Visitation. La Tournette. Col de la Forclaz. Abbey of Abondance. Cachat bar of Evian waters. Castles of Allinges. Baroque chapels of St-Gervais. Aulps Abbey. Thermal baths of St-Gervais Interpretation centre of the contraband in the mountains
Festivals: International Animation Film Festival (Annecy). Montjoux festival. Guitare en Scène (Annecy). Nomade Reggae Festival. Rock'n'Poche. Megève International Jazz Festival. Pleins Feux Festival. Village des Flottins. Morzine Harley Days. Musilac Mont-Blanc. Radio Meuh Circus Festival. Mont-Blanc Humour. Paradisio Annecy. Les Grandes Médiévales in Andilly
Main tourist sites: Lake Annecy, Annecy Castle, Mont Blanc and the Sea of Ice, Aravis, winter sports resorts of Chamonix, Saint-Gervais, Megève, Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz.
Economy: watchmaking (Cluses), screw-cutting, mechanics (Dassault, Alcatel), agriculture and agri-food (Reblochon milk production, tome, Evian water), mountain tourism, sports industry (Dynastar, Salomon, Mavic). Outdoor Sport Valley Cluster, for the economic development of the outdoor sector. Major facilities (Rochexpo, etc.)
Websites, etc.  / / /    

Rich in heritage, extraordinary landscapes, quality agriculture and culinary specialities, Haute-Savoie is an attractive department with an established quality of life. It is thanks to the diversity of its territory that Haute-Savoie is able to make the most of it: mountain landscapes, exceptional lakes, dynamic valleys, etc. From the north to the south of the department, inhabitants and visitors alike benefit from and enjoy a remarkable living environment. 

Haute-Savoie is a true cycling region and since 1947 has provided 21 Tour de France stage towns and 30 of its mountain passes have been ridden by the Tour.

Since 2021, the Haute-Savoie Departmental Council has implemented a genuine policy in favour of cycling. Whether it is in supporting the projects of its 279 communes through the "Savoir rouler" operation set up for schoolchildren or thanks to the hosting of numerous cycling events, Haute-Savoie is fully committed to the practice of cycling.

Km 1.9


Stage town for the first time
Municipality of Haute-Savoie (74)
Population: 2,100.
Specialities: fondue, raclette, polenta, croziflette, farcement, péla. Reblochon, tomme from Haute-Savoie. Personalities: Jean-Pierre Raffarin (former Prime Minister, has a residence there), Claude Masse (cartographer).
Sports: skiing, winter sports, canyoning, rafting, hiking.
Events: MB Race (mountain biking), L'Echappée Rando, La Crève-Cœur (cross-country skiing), La Comblorane (running). Loups du volant. Rando des Gourmets.
Economy: tourism. Winter sports (Combloux 360° mont-blanc France).
Festivals: Festival of the Fanfares (Brassbands) of Haute-Savoie. Festival of regional gastronomy and heritage.
Nickname: The Pearl of the Alps (Victor Hugo)
Labels: Ville fleurie (***). Listed tourist resort. Family Plus. Charming village resort. Grand domaine and Montagne douce resort.
Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta: /


Km 4.5


Formerly part of Megève and now a commune in its own right, the locality is best known for its most famous guest, popular French singer Michel Sardou. Demi-Quartier is, along with Taillepied (Manche), the only French commune whose town hall is located in another commune: in this case it is on the church square in Megève.


Km 4.9


In the canton of Sallanches, Megève is situated on a pass separating Val d'Arly from Val d'Arbon. Its important tourist development dates back to the 1910s when the Rothschild family decided to make it one of their holiday resorts. Their aim was to build a French competitor to the prestigious Swiss resort of Saint-Moritz and to create a resort becoming the symbol of the French art de vivre. Megève was highly coveted from the outset, with the greatest crowned heads having stayed there. Today, Megeve is internationally renowned as one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world. Megève, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Combloux, La Giettaz, Cordon and Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce form a domain of 162 slopes: the "Evasion Mont Blanc" domain. This area has more than 450 km of slopes with exceptional panoramas and a permanent view of Mont Blanc. Megève is the birthplace of some of the greatest names in French skiing, from Émile Allais, a true legend of the resort who died in 2012 at the age of 100, to the Duvillards (Adrien, Henri), who between them have countless titles and victories. In 2016, Megève hosted a Tour de France time trial won by Chris Froome. Last year, it was Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen who crowned a strong start to the Tour by winning in a suspenseful final. The resort organised two grand départs of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1996 and 2004) and in 1998 Richard Virenque won a stage from Challes-les-Eaux.


Km 9.9


More famous skiers in Praz-sur-Arly: Patricia and Claudine Emonet, and giant slalom specialist Thomas Fanara.



Population: 439,750
Prefecture: Chambéry
Sub-prefectures: Albertville, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Area: 6,028 km2
Specialities: Raclette, tartiflette, fondue, crozets (square-shaped pasta made from buckwheat flour), diots and pormoniers (pork sausages cooked in white wine), Saint-Genix (brioche with red pralines), Savoy cake, chocolate truffles, bugnes (doughnuts), génépi (mountain plant liqueur), Savoy cheeses (Tome des Bauges, Beaufort.)
Sports clubs: Chambéry Savoie Handball (D1)
Sporting events: World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel 2023. Men's Handball World Championships 2017, World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette in August 2015, Critérium de la Première neige in Val d'Isère and FIS Ski World Cup in Courchevel (annual), Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré (annual, in June).
Main tourist sites: Hautecombe Abbey (on the banks of Lake Bourget), Castle of the Dukes of Savoy (Chambéry), Esseillon barrier forts (Haute Maurienne), Vanoise National Park, Bauges and Chartreuse regional nature parks, Lake Bourget, Lake Aiguebelette, etc.
Festivals: Musilac in Aix-les-Bains, Les Estivales en Savoie in Chambéry, Le Grand Bivouac in Albertville, Les Arcs European Film Festival
Economy: tourism, agri-food, eco-industries, mountain industries, composite materials, information and communication technologies, metalworking
Websites and social /

Km 17.1


Considered the cradle of Val d'Arly, nestling between Mont-Blanc, Beaufortain and Aravis, the ski resort of Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe is a village with an authentic family feel, where nature has remained unspoilt and local culture has been preserved. The Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe ski area, surrounded by Mont Reguet and Mont Rond, is part of the Espace Diamant and its 192 km of pistes shared with 4 other village resorts: Crest-Voland/Cohennoz, Flumet, Praz-sur-Arly, and les Saisies/Hauteluce. This village in Val d'Arly is a land of skiers: Jacqueline Rouvier, Catherine Quittet and Roger Rossat-Mignod all come from here, as do Nicolas Burtin in Flumet and Patricia Emonet and Thomas Fanara in Praz-sur-Arly.

Km 28.4


The resort, often visited by the Tour, is a stronghold of cross-country and downhill skiing, and in particular of the Piccard dynasty, whose eldest son Franck was crowned Olympic Super-G champion in Calgary in 1988.   During the Second World War, the Col des Saisies became a refuge for the Resistance. On August 1, 1944, under the code name "ebonite", the largest parachute drop of weapons ever made by the Allies for the Resistance took place: 78 flying fortresses from London dropped 899 containers of weapons for the 3,000 men of the Savoy maquis. Before the development of winter sports, the pass was essentially a vast alpine pasture. The area has been urbanised since the 1970s, culminating in the organisation of biathlon competitions during the Albertville Olympic Games. The Espace Diamant ski area is shared with the villages of Les Saisies, Crest-Voland, Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe and Flumet. The ski area has 192 km of downhill runs and 146 km of cross-country runs and is served by 85 ski lifts.  

Km 28.4


Rated as a 1st category climb, Col des Saisies has been ridden thirteen times by Tour de France riders (excluding the ascent of the Bisanne in 2016 on a slightly different route). The last time it was yackled, in 2021, Dutchman Wout Poels was in the lead. A year earlier, it was Switzerland's Marc Hirschi who was leading at the top of a climb approached by the other side. In 2017, in the Tour de l'Avenir, Egan Bernal won a stage that handed him the race leader's jersey. The Colombian has since confirmed his promises.  

Km 39.8


This pretty village in the Beaufortain is the home of Marie Bochet, four-time Paralympic skiing champion in Sochi in 2014 and Pyongcheang in 2018, where she was the flag-bearer for the French team. A twenty-time world champion, she has won Olympic gold in all five alpine skiing disciplines (slalom, giant, Super-G, downhill and combined). Above the village is the resort of Bisanne 1500, where the peloton passed through in 2016 (Rafael Majka in the lead) and in 2018 (Julian Alaphilippe).

Km 45.6


Overlooking the Doron River, the remains of Beaufort Castle, built on the ruins of a Roman villa around the 10th century, bear witness to Beaufort's long history. Owned by the Beauforts, the King of France and then the House of Savoy, it was occupied by various religious congregations from the 16th century until the present day.  Famous for having given its name to a cheese, Beaufort is also the birthplace of the family of writer Roger Frison-Roche. It was here that he discovered the love of the mountains that inspired all his work before settling in Chamonix.      

Le Beaufort
The "Prince of Gruyères", Beaufort is a smooth, ivory to pale yellow cheese with an extremely fine, fruity flavour. This pressed, cooked cheese is made from the milk of Tarine or Abondance cows that graze the mountain pastures in summer. More than 10 kilos of milk are needed to make one kilo of Beaufort. Once removed from the mould, the cheeses are matured in a cellar for 5 to 12 months, regularly turned over and rubbed with a mixture of salt and cheese rind called "morge". Although the region's monks and farmers have always produced cheese, Beaufort appeared towards the end of the 17th century. Already highly regarded in the mid-eighteenth century, it found its identity around 1860 when two carpenters from the Beaufortin invented the wooden rings that surround it. It has had an AOC since 1968.

Km 66.7


Linking the Beaufortain valley and the Mont Blanc massif, Cormet de Roselend has been climbed 13 times by Tour de France riders since 1979. The last rider to lead the way at the summit was Nairo Quintana in 2021. In 2019, it could not be ridden because of a mudslide that forced the neutralisation of the stage before the scheduled finish in Tignes. 

Km 85.5


From the capital of the Upper-Tarentaise, in winter you have to climb to the resort of Les Arcs to take full advantage of winter sports. Numerous events attract visitors: the 2001 ski world cup, the French speed skiing championships and the French ski joëring championships. Bourg Saint Maurice is also an ideal starting point for mountain walks. The town is also a stage town for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) and the Trace des Ducs de Savoie (TDS). Bourg Saint Maurice also attracts water sports enthusiasts thanks to its international white-water base, where top-level competitions are held, particularly in canoeing and kayaking. The birthplace of former finance minister Hervé Gaymard (1960), chef Guy Martin (1957, 2 stars at the Grand Véfour in Paris), Jean-Frédéric Chapuis (1989, 1st French world skicross champion, Olympic champion at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, three-time World Cup winner) and many other alpine skiers. The town has hosted the Tour de France on four occasions. In 1939, it was the finish line for the first individual uphill time trial in the Tour de France, with the Iseran on the 64-km route. The winner was Sylvère Maes. In 1996, it was another time trial that led to the downfall of Miguel Indurain, who had been dropped the day before on the climb to Les Arcs. In 2009, Sandy Casar won a stage from Martigny. Finally, in 2018, Bourg-Saint-Maurice was the starting town for the 12th stage, won at l'Alpe d'Huez by Geraint Thomas.  

Les Arcs resort
Founded in 1968, Les Arcs is a ski resort that is perfectly integrated into its environment. Since then, it has grown steadily (Arc 1800 in 1974, Arc 2000 in 1979, Arc 1950 in 2003) to become one of the most popular resorts in Tarentaise, with 200 km of pistes and links to Villaroger and La Plagne. The resort was listed as a 20th Century Heritage Site in 1999. In 1996, the resort hosted a stage of the Tour de France, won by Luc Leblanc.

Km 90.8


La Plagne-Tarentaise was created in 2016 by the merger of the communes of Bellentre, La Côte-d'Aime, Mâcot-la-Plagne and Valezan. Like most of the villages in the Tarentaise region, La Plagne-Tarentaise is notable for its Baroque religious heritage.  2009 world slalom silver-medallist Julien Lizeroux and 2009 world champion and Olympic half-pipe medallist Kevin Rolland are both members of the La Plagne club and have links with the municipality.

Km 98.4


This Tarentaise town is best known for the La Plagne winter sports resort, whose ski area covers the communes of Aime-La Plagne, Champagny-en-Vanoise and La Plagne-Tarentaise. The Grande Plagne ski area offers 225 km of pistes. The resort was founded in 1961 by the then mayor of Aime, Pierre Borrione, to save the valley, which could no longer survive on farming alone. In 1992, La Plagne hosted the luge and bobsleigh events at the Albertville Olympic Games. Four stages of the Tour de France finished in La Plagne in 1984 and 1987 (Laurent Fignon won), 1995 (Alex Zülle) and 2002 (Michael Boogerd).

Km 105.7


It will be the first time that the peloton has climbed it, having been unable to do so in 2019 when the Albertville-Val Thorens stage was cut short due to the weather.

Km 125.5


Stage town for the 3rd time
Municipality of Savoie (73)
Population: 3,500 (Moutiérains)
Specialities: crozets au gratin, beaufort cheese, Savoy wines, fondue.
Personalities: Michel Vion, Alexis Pinturault, Joël Chenal, Frédéric Covili, Julien Lizeroux, Laura Gauché (Alpine skiing).
Sport: alpine skiing, ES Tarentaise.
Events : 1992 Albertville Olympic Games.
Economy: skiing, tourism. Commerce, construction, university hospital.
Festivals: Street Art Festival, Alimenterre Festival. Painting and sculpture festival.
Labels : village étape,
Websites / FB / Twitter: / /


Km 125.8


This commune was formed in 2016 from the merger of the communes of Salins-les-Thermes and Fontaine-le-Puits. Based in Salins-les-Thermes, the Grands Bains de Salins thermal pool is one of the largest pain-relieving thermal pools in France. Stemming from the Salins springs, this naturally warm thermal water improves peripheral blood circulation, increases blood flow and balances blood pressure. The salinity of this thermal water is close to that of seawater, making it easier to bear weight, reducing pain and improving joint mobility.

Km 130.4


A spa town linked to the Three Valleys by a cable car, Brides-les-Bains combines skiing with its mountain wellness facilities. The 600 kilometres of pistes offer skiing pleasure for all levels. Brides-les-Bains is France's leading spa for slimming and is a village where health care and dietetics come together to achieve results. With its recently renovated and enlarged thermal spa, Brides is a bubble of well-being at the gateway to the Vanoise National Park, whatever the season. As the site of the Olympic Village during the Albertville Games in 1992, Brides-les-Bains was able to take advantage of the new infrastructure to develop. In 2019, Brides-les-Bains was the starting point for an uphill stage of the Tour de l'Avenir to Méribel, won by Australian Alexander Evans.

Km 146.7


Méribel has a real architectural and rural specificity. The resort is spread over some fifteen villages, from Les Allues to Méribel-Mottaret, and boasts a unified architectural style. Peter Lindsey, a Briton looking for a new place to ski following the Anschluss, fell in love with the site and decided to invest in 1938 on the advice of ski champion Emile Allais. He built the first chalets and facilities at Mussillon and named the resort Méribel for pronunciation reasons. Built in harmony with nature (with few trees cut down) and using local materials, the chalets use stone, wood and slate to create a real architectural unity. The Altiport district, developed in the 1970s, illustrates the resort's philosophy. The chalets in this historic district comply with the specifications. Heading down the valley, you'll find the Route des Chalets and the Route de la Renarde, two roads leading to Méribel. Numerous chalets surround these roads, including the one built by Charlotte Perriand, an architect and decorator renowned in the design world.  

Chalet Perriand
Style: contemporary.
History and features: in 1938, Scottish major Peter Lindsay travelled the French Alps in search of a new site to found a resort, and chose the Allues valley. For the interior design, Lindsay called on Charlotte Perriand in 1939. Work at Méribel resumed in 1946. She built her chalet, known as her refuge, on a 3,000 m² plot of land at an altitude of 1,600 metres. Externally, it blends into the landscape. The chalet plays on the contrasts between the thick stone walls and the lightness of the glass walls that open up the façade, on the second level on the east and west gable walls and on the ground floor and first floor on the south side.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 2016.  

Km 159.4


In 2019, Méribel-Cœur des 3 Vallées and its neighbour Courchevel opened a pass closed to motorised traffic and dedicated to road bikes, Col de la Loze, which links the valleys of Bozel and Les Allues and reaches an altitude of 2,304 m, making it the seventh highest pass in France and the third highest in Savoy after the Iseran and Galibier. Before 2019, Col de la Loze was a ski slope in winter and a mountain bike trail in summer. Today, the ascent is via a 7-km greenway starting at 1,673m and culminating at 2,304m, reserved exclusively for bicycles from May to November. Slopes of over 20 pc. Breathtaking views of Mont Blanc. The route then reaches Courchevel 1850. In 2020, Miguel Angel Lopez won here for the first time in the Tour de France, while Primoz Roglic dropped Tadej Pogacar in the finale. Despite having recently been tarmacked, Col de la Loze was not totally new as it was the entire 23.5-km 8th stage of the2019 Tour de l'Avenir. It was here that Australian Alexander Evans won and Norwegian Tobias Foss took the leader's jersey he kept until the end. The flagship race of the U23 calendar had already made a stopover in Méribel the previous year, allowing Tadej Pogacar to make a name for himself. In 2016, the Critérium du Dauphiné visited the resort built by Le Corbusier: Thibaut Pinot sprinted past Romain Bardet after a great two-man breakaway.

The Alps offer much more than just skiing opportunities. With picturesque villages, sprawling greenery and waterfronts - this area of France is an appealing destination all year round. On the border with Switzerland, towns like Annemasse also provide the perfect base for exploring Lake Geneva.
Of course, there's plenty for those arriving in search of snow - after all, this is home to the famous Mont Blanc. Popular ski resorts include Morzine and Courchevel, where you'll find an array of winter sports as well as charming Alpine chalets and plenty of apres-ski.
Meanwhile, the colourful towns between the peaks come to life when spring flowers bloom in window boxes and sunlight reflects off the water of lakes and canals. Take a boat trip, swim or try paddleboarding. You'll even find beautiful beaches dotted around the shorelines.

Top places to visit in the French Alps:

1. Annemasse
2. Morzine
3. Courchevel
4. Annecy
5. Yvoire

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