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: Albertville (KM 9) up to Le Bourget du Lac (KM 73)

The EuroVelo 17 cycling route, usually known as the Rhône Cycle Route, spans over 800 km from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean coast, following the Rhône. Two millennia of history and rich heritage await, from Alpine panoramas to the Camargue beaches, from the iconic landscapes of the Côtes du Rhône vineyards to those of southern Provence. You can even use it to go from stage 13, near Culoz at the foot of the Colombier, to stage 18 in Belley, the historic and religious capital of the Bugey natural region. All in three days by bicycle and boat: after leaving Seyssel, on the edge of Ain and Haute-Savoie, cyclists are invited to continue their nature-filled ride towards Chanaz, the little Venice of Savoy. This lovely village, from where you can board a cruise on Lac du Bourget, the largest natural lake in France, is well worth a stop. Overlooking the lake, Hautecombe Abbey is the final resting place of the Princes of Savoy. The Tunnel du Chat takes riders back to Chanaz, on the way to Belley. Once the ride is done and dusted, why not taste a few Bugey wines (in moderation) while waiting for the peloton to arrive?


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: 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 1.7


Chantemerle Castle
Construction: 12th and 13th centuries.
Style: medieval castle (ruins).
History: centre of the castellany of La Bâthie, the castle, mentioned in 1196, was rebuilt in the 13th century and adapted to firearms in the 14th century. Around 1263, the local archbishopric, in conflict with the Count of Savoy, decided to erect the castle of La Bâthie, around which it completely reorganised a castellany. The castle, consisting of a round tower, the old keep, and an imposing square tower, remained the summer residence of the bishops of Moûtiers until the Revolution. Abandoned, it was bought back and restored by the region in 1988.



Km 9.2


Albertville is located at the crossroads of valleys and on one of the largest ski areas in the world (Pays du Mont-Blanc and Tarentaise). Thirty years ago, Albertville hosted the Winter Olympic Games with 64 nations present and 1,801 athletes for 57 events, 18 of which took place in Albertville. Thanks to this global event, Albertville has developed numerous infrastructures that enable it to host major sporting and cultural events. Albertville has been awarded the Land of the Games label and is recognised as a Games preparation centre thanks to a training strategy based on altitude and the valley. Within the framework of Paris 2024, the National Olympic and Paralympic Committees can call on the expertise and know-how of this region. The new mountain jobs campus, which hosts professional training organisations, is part of this dynamic, which shows that the Games are still alive in Albertville. The town has become a regular stop for the Tour de France, which has stopped here five times in the last ten years. French riders always shone in Albertville: in 2012, Pierre Rolland took advantage of the dynamic format of the stage to win in La Toussuire-Les Sybelles. In 2016, Romain Bardet pulled off a coup on the approach to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc to win the stage and take second place overall. In 2018, Geraint Thomas took the Yellow Jersey at La Rosière and never let it go again. In 2019, Vincenzo Nibali avenged a failed Tour by winning a short stage to Val Thorens, shortened by 70 km due to bad weather. Egan Bernal had, that day, definitively consolidated his Yellow Jersey. The Olympic city is a good place for the Colombian, who won the Tour de l'Avenir in 2017 by winning the stage Albertville-Sainte-Foy. Last year, Albertville served as the launch pad for a stage that ended at the summit of the Granon, where Jonas Vingegaard asserted his supremacy. In 2021, the peloton set off from Albertville towards Valence, where Mark Cavendish won the 33rd of his 34 stage victories in the Tour.  

Henry Dujol Olympic Park
Albertville was transformed by the Games. The Olympic Park and the Dôme cultural centre were built for the Games, as well as the Henri Dujol Olympic Stadium, renamed after the former mayor of Albertville from 1971 to 1995. In the centre, the 53-m Olympic mast (bronze coloured) around which the opening and closing ceremonies took place in February 1992. Many people remember the dancers of choreographer Philippe Decouflé (1961) swinging from this mast during the opening show, hanging from elastic bands. The speed skating events were also held here (the ring has since been transformed into a football and athletics stadium). Nearbý the Totem indicating the directions and distances to the other Olympic venues from Albertville. After the games, the park waś reconverted into a sports ground (football, rugby, fitness trail, archery) and retained some of the Olympic equipment. Next to it́, the Olympic Hall where figure skating events were held and the Short-Track (110-m long, 81-m wide, 25-m high, 8,600 m2 of surface, by the architect Jacques Kalisz). Today it is an ice rink and a climbing wall (the largest in Europe...) As for the 8-metre cauldron, with a diameter of 4.7 metres, designed by Philippe Starck, and lit by Michel Platini on 8 February 1992, it was installed nearbý.

Km 24.5


Aiton Fort
Construction: 1875 to 1880
Characteristics: it is a second generation Séré de Rivières fort, designed for a garrison of 351 men and 16 guns including two mortars and a single flanking gun. Its role was to protect the confluence of the Isère and Arc valleys, located opposite the town of Chamousset.
History: the fort was built on the site of the ruins of an episcopal palace. After the Algerian War, the fort became an army disciplinary centre, whose sinister reputation led to its closure in the 1970s.
Current use: it was decommissioned in 1984, then acquired by the municipality in 1986 and redeveloped. Housing was built on the barracks as well as a panoramic restaurant, and the town hall was installed there.

Km 34.2


Miolans Castle
Foundation: 11th century
Style: medieval castle
Characteristics: the castle was designed for defensive purposes and was protected by four successive ditches and 3 drawbridges, combined with 5 staggered gates to break the enfilade.
Trivia: transformed into a state prison from 1564 to 1792, the fortress counted the Marquis de Sade among its most famous prisoners.
Current use: privately owned by the descendants of former Savoy prefect Eugène Guiter, who bought it in 1869 to restore it, the castle hosts cultural events and is partially open to visitors.  
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1994  

Regional Nature Park of the Bauges Massif
This park, created in December 1995, covers 85,600 hectares and includes 65 municipalities with 56,500 inhabitants. It protects impressive limestone cliffs as well as beautiful landscapes of forests and mountain pastures. These mountains are home to a remarkable flora and fauna: 1,300 plant species, 150 species of nesting birds, 9 species of amphibians... On 17 September 2011, the Park was awarded the Geopark label for the Bauges massif. This label, supported by UNESCO, promotes sustainable tourism and economic development by enhancing the geological wealth of the massif. The gateway towns are: Aix-les-Bains, Albertville, Chambéry, Ugine, Rumilly and Annecy.

Km 44.7


Located in the combe of Savoy. Former military capital of the Duchy of Savoy and historical capital of the Savoy vineyards. Montmélian is a pioneer in solar energy: it has been the French solar energy champion since 2004 and has been awarded the European Citer'gie EEA label. In 2015, Montmélian was the starting point for a stage of the Dauphiné won in Saint-Gervais by Chris Froome.  

Morens Bridge
Listed as a historical monument in 1985. Located between the communes of La Chavanne and Montmélian, this stone bridge was built between 1671 and 1685 by architect François Cuénot.  

Km 50.3


A white wine, Chignin obtained its AOC in 1973. This appellation covers part of the municipal area, i.e. 830 hectares. Its production is 8,000 hectolitres. The commune is part of the geographical area of production and transformation of Bois de Chartreuse (Chartreuse Wood), the first AOC of the wood sector in France.  

Towers of Chignin 
Built in 1876 on the ruins of the medieval castle of La Biguerne, the sanctuary of Saint-Anthelme overlooks the vineyards and watches over the entrance to the Combe of Savoy. Also Tour de la place or Tour des archers.

Km 53.9


Between the Chartreuse massif and the Bauges massif. A spa and tourist resort renowned for its ENT and gynaecological cures with the most sulphurous waters in Europe. The thermal baths were opened in 1874, following the discovery of sulphurous water in 1841. The town hosted three stage starts of the Dauphiné at the turn of the century.

Km 57.3


This residential suburb of Chambéry, which became the third most populous town in the agglomeration and the sixth in the department, hosted the start of a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2016, won in Vaujany by Chris Froome. 

Km 58.8


Prefecture of Savoie. City of Art and History. The old town is made up of a large number of old mansions (15th-16th century) belonging to the Savoy nobility, small medieval alleys, colourful and narrow facades (a tax introduced in the 14th century was calculated on the width of the facades), and trompe l'oeil decorations. Chambéry has hosted the Tour de France three times, with starts in 1996 and 2010, and a finish in 2017 that saw Rigoberto Uran win. The town has also hosted the Critérium du Dauphiné 16 times. However, it was in 1989 that the greatest cycling feat was achieved in the city, with Greg LeMond's victory in the world championship ahead of Dimitry Konyshev and Sean Kelly, a few months after his second Tour victory. Already in the rainbow jersey in 1983, LeMond gave the name of Chambéry to one of the bike models he marketed thereafter.  

Fountain of the Elephants
Listed as a historical monument in 1982. Historically known as the Colonne de Boigne (Column of Boigne), it is also nicknamed "Les Quatre sans cul" (The Assless Four). Erected in 1838 in honour of General De Boigne, the fountain is today one of the most famous monuments in the city. The fountain is 17.65-m high and is made up of 4 cast iron elephants. It houses a bronze statue of the general.  

Castle of the Dukes of Savoy
Foundation: first built in the 11th century, then modified several times during the 13th century and completed in the 15th century.
Style: Medieval, with Gothic additions
Characteristics: huge building designed in an irregular quadrilateral, from which stands out a square keep flanked by a turret, a high semi-circular tower and a high chapel.
History: the castle underwent several fires in the 18th century and from 1800 onwards the first prefects undertook work. When Savoy was annexed to France in 1860, it was conceded free of charge to the department: a major restoration requested by Emperor Napoleon III was carried out, including a new wing and a monumental staircase for the half-round tower.
Current destination: assigned to the services of the Savoie Prefecture, the Savoie Departmental Council and the Savoie Academy.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1881

Km 66.1


Its medieval castle (15th to 17th century) has been a listed monument since 1979. It is private and cannot be visited. Singer Grégory Lemarchal, winner of the French Star Academy who died of cystic fibrosis at the age of 23 in 2007, is buried in Sonnaz.

Km 73.9


On the shores of the lake that bears its name, Le Bourget owes its reputation to the presence of the castle of the Counts of Savoy, who stayed there between the 13th and 15th centuries. Today, it is a small tourist and student town boosted by the Savoie Technolac technology park and Chambéry airport. In 2015, a stage of the Dauphiné started from Le Bourget and saw Nacer Bouhanni win in Villars-les-Dombes.  

Lake Bourget
The largest natural lake in France with a length of 18 km, the Lac du Bourget is surrounded by the Massif de l'Épine, Mont du Chat, Chambotte, Mont Revard and the Bauges. Sung by the greatest poets, it offers nautical and bathing pleasures in water that can reach 26°C in summer. Lake Bourget offers shimmering and romantic shores at Aix-les-Bains. On the other side, from Le Bourget-du-Lac, the wild coastline runs alongside the wooded mountains of the Dent du Chat. To the north, along the Savières canal, you can discover the Chautagne region, its hills and its poplar groves. To the south, you will be enchanted by Le Bourget-du-Lac and Chambéry, a city of Art and History.  

Mont du Chat
Partly located in the commune of Le Bourget-le-Lac, Mont du Chat rises to 1,497 m. The Tour de France has climbed it twice, the first time on the western side in 1974, in the 10th stage between Gaillard and Aix-les-Bains. Raymond Poulidor attacked 4 km from the summit and took more than a minute from Eddy Merckx, but the Belgian, thanks to an extraordinary descent, came back to win the sprint in Aix-les-Bains. In 2017, it was Warren Barguil who came on top first and solo. Richie Porte crashed in the descent and was taken to hospital. 

Km 77.7


Situated on the western shore of Lake Bourget, at the foot of Mont du Chat, Bourdeau has a pretty medieval castle, remodelled in the 19th century and recently restored for private use, where George Sand and Alphonse de Lamartine stayed. The former wrote and set her novel Mademoiselle la Quintinie here. The latter, who liked to rest at the entrance of the cave that now bears his name, wrote his most famous poem, The Lake, about Lake Bourget.

Km 80.7


There are several castles or fortified houses in the commune. The castles of Chevelu, Champrovend and La Forêt controlled the trade route through the Col du Chat, while the others - Bergin, Gémilieu, Monthoux, Prélian, La Plattière - were on the ancient Gallic salt route. Of all these castles, most of which have become farms, only one, that of La Forest (14th century), is listed as a Historical Monument.

AIN (01)

Population: 654,000 (Andeans)
Prefecture : Bourg-en-Bresse
Sub-prefectures : Nantua, Belley and Gex
Area: 5,762 km 2
Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Heritage: Royal Monastery of Brou, Ars Basilica (Ars sur Formans), Bird Park, the House of Izieu, medieval town of Pérouges, Allymes Castle, Ambronay Abbey, Bresse Museum, now called Domaine des saveurs-Les Planons, as well as 38 sites labelled as sensitive natural areas.
Specialities: Bresse poultry (the only AOC-AOP poultry in the world), Bresse cream and butter, Bugey wines, cheeses (Comté, Bleu de Gex, Morbier, etc.), Dombes fish, pike quenelles with Nantua sauce, Bresse pie, Perouges pie, etc.
Main sports clubs : US Oyonnax (rugby union), JL Bourg (basketball), USBPA (rugby union), FBBP01 (football).
Major competitions:
Cycling Tour de l'Ain. Bourg-en-Bresse international show-jumping (CSI 4****). Bourg Open de l'Ain tennis Grand prix. Ain'ternational Rhône-Alpes Valromey Tour (International junior 1 and 2 team event). Mondial de Quad de Pont-de-Vaux. La Forestière UCI. La Bisous, l'Aindinoise (Gran Fondo)
Culture: Ambronay Baroque Music Festival. Spring in Pérouges (music). The musicals of the Parc des oiseaux. Comics festival in the Ain. Brass festival in Dombes. Oh! Bugey festival. À la folie pas du tout. The great AOC - AOP - IGP market. Entretiens de Belley (gastronomic event)
Economy: 1st industrial department in France. In January 2019, the Department of the Ain launched its Origin'Ain label to promote its many skills (250 companies). Numerous international competitiveness clusters (Plastic Valley, Alimentec, the Ain Plain Industrial Park, etc.)
Websites and social networks:  / / Facebook : @Departement01 / Instagram : @ain.le.departement / Twitter : @Departement_AIN / Youtube : Département de l'Ain

Between Lyon and Geneva, the Department of Ain is distinguished by its diversity of natural landscapes and a rich historical and architectural heritage. Ain is above all a generous and preserved nature where water is omnipresent. The Dombes and its thousand ponds (created by man in the 14th century) constitute one of the most important wetlands in France, a refuge for an extraordinary diversity of birds. Lakes, rivers and waterfalls enhance the mountainous areas of Bugey and Pays de Gex, which offer a playground for hiking, Nordic activities, golf and cycling. It is here that the highest peaks of the Jura Massif can be climbed. The culinary tradition of Ain is intimately linked to its land and its agricultural and wine-making know-how. Nine products of excellence (AOC / AOP) and the talent of great chefs are the pillars of a local gastronomy renowned internationally: Bresse poultry, Nantua sauce, Dombes frog legs, etc. The geological, cultural and architectural heritage traces 150 million years, from the Jurassic period to the industrial era of the 20th century. In Bourg-en-Bresse, the Royal Monastery of Brou is one of the jewels of flamboyant Gothic architecture. Listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, the medieval town of Pérouges rivals the flower-filled town of Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne and the many picturesque villages in the Ain countryside in terms of charm. Ain is also a land of cycling: plains but also mountains and hills are terrains for all kinds of cycling. The Grand Colombier pass is particularly popular with cyclists looking for a challenge. Ain also offers greenways such as the Viarhôna and the Viasaona for example. It is also the leading French department in terms of the organisation of cycling events (more than 160 each year).

Km 111.4


The manor of La Forest has been listed as a historic monument since 2005. The church of Saint-Pierre has been listed as a historic monument since November 1939. The commune also contains the Hoteaux cave (a prehistoric site with burials dating back to 15,000 BC), the Gothic chapel of Egieu, as well as the remains of a tower, with a statue of the Virgin, of the 11th century château, a castle built in the 11th century and dismantled in 1601.

Km 124.3


Situated at the end of the Albarine gorges, the small town is packed on each bank, also occupying the steep slopes that dominate the church. The hydraulic power and the proximity of Lyon (about 60 km) explain the establishment of workshops where many workers worked. The bridge that spans the Albarine river in the village dates from 1765. Roger Pingeon's parents lived in Tenay, where the future winner of the Tour de France learnt the trade of plumber (see Plateau-d'Hauteville).

Km 137.5


The town is known for having been an important railway junction, hence the presence of a railwayman's museum, but also for having been awarded the 1939-1945 War Cross at the Liberation, and for having earned its nickname "Ambérieu la Rebelle". The town's swimming pool has been named after Laure Manaudou, the Olympic 400 m champion from the Athens Games, who spent her childhood in Ambérieu, as did her brother Florent, Olympic champion in the 50m freestyle in London in 2012. The town has been a stage town for the Tour de l'Ain several times and hosted the start of a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2013. A few hours later, it was Edvald Boasson Hagen, then a Sky rider, who won the sprint in the Rhone town of Tarare ahead of Michael Matthews and Gianni Meersman.

Km 152.8


Pont-d'Ain, which has an imposing 15th century castle, remodelled in the 19th century and now owned by a private company (listed as a historical monument in 2004), is also the birthplace of former midfielder for Saint-Étienne, PSG and the French national team Dominique Bathenay (20 caps). He is best remembered for his shot on the bar in the 1976 European Cup final, which Saint-Etienne lost to Bayern Munich.

Km 169.9


Ceyzériat was twice a stage town in the Tour de l'Ain, in 2003 and in 2020, when Andrea Bagioli took the laurels.

Km 174.4


Castle of Jasseron
Construction: 10th century.
Style: medieval.
History: Richier de Coligny, becoming a monk in the abbey of Saint-Claude, donated the castle to this monastery. In 1300, the abbey gave up its rights and Jasseron remained in the Coligny family before being entrusted to the Count of Savoy Amadeus V. The castle then passed from hand to hand, and for a time belonged to the Duke of Lesdiguières, but by the beginning of the 17th century it had become a ruin.
Characteristics: a horseshoe-shaped keep erected on the attack side commands a quadrangular enclosure. The dwellings are organised around a courtyard. To the south, a vast bailey is surrounded by braces reinforced by square and hexagonal towers, possibly dating from the 14th century. The castle of Jasseron represents the classic type of the bipartite motte-and-bailey castle. It includes an artificial truncated cone-shaped mound and a large bailey. In the latter, the remains of a medieval priory and the foundations of a chapel remain.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1927.

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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