Aside from skiing, the French Alps are renowned for their amazing cycling routes. Biking enthusiasts will find no end of adventure in this hot spot for both road cycling and mountain biking, with challenging climbs, great views, and flatter valleys for all abilities.
But what are the best destinations to explore the French Alps on two wheels? If you’re wondering where to stay while cycling in the Alps, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we will be focusing on cycling routes in the French Alps. We will be going over some of our favourite destinations for cycling, as well as how to find bike-friendly accommodation for your stay. Read on to find out more…
Bases in the Alps for cycling
If you love sport and action, then Morzine is the perfect place for a cycling holiday. Being a popular area with the Tour de France, cyclists from around the world come to test themselves on some of the most challenging climbs, while for mountain bikers the expansive trails here offer a variety of levels.
Cycling enthusiasts will also find many bike rental shops such as Torico dotted around the area. These will also help with repairs to your own bike if needed.
Great weather paired with stunning scenery makes Annecy our next top pick for cycling spots in France.
There is great access to many routes around the lake, including the 43km Lake path. Stop at the beaches along the way and enjoy a picnic on this family-friendly ride. But watch out for the traffic, as part of the itinerary goes along the main road.
Alternatively, you can head into the mountains and try some of the many world-famous climbs that surround the city. For example, the itinerary from Annecy to Col de la Forclaz is a real treat for advanced cyclists. After a steep ride up to the top of the Col de la Forclaz, you can take a well-needed break at one of the restaurants, and watch the paragliders taking off over the lake!
The mountains around Chamonix become a magnet for cyclists during the summer months. A great base for cycling in the French Alps, the resort is also very close to Italy and Switzerland, making it an ideal destination if you want to visit Lake Geneva as well.
Experienced mountain bikers will find plenty of challenge, as many of the trails are steep and technical. The resort is home to the famous Col des Montets which will take riders across the border into Switzerland. If you’re less advanced, you will also find a variety of other trails for all levels.
Bikes can be taken on many of the lifts, and on the Mont Blanc Express train, which links Switzerland to the Vallée de l’Arve via Chamonix. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the many tours starting from Chamonix. Be sure to choose your itinerary depending on your experience and time available; the tourist office is a great place to start when looking for routes and advice.
4. Resorts in the Aravis
One of France’s best-loved ski domains, the breathtaking Aravis mountains are home to various hidden gems for cyclists. The area has actually seen the Tour de France pass through in the past, making it a hot spot for road cycling.
One great itinerary to try is the Col de la Croix Fry route from Thônes to Manigod. Be sure to stop at the restaurant-boutique Lo Garajo along the way – an OVO team favourite!
Another popular cycling track is the Col des Aravis. Featured in the Tour de France over 40 times, the 19 km trail offers stunning views of the Mont Blanc from the heart of the Massif des Aravis. This is a must-try for cycling enthusiasts at an advanced level.
Discover our chalets in the Aravis
The snow may linger on the summits in the summer, but the rest of the mountains around Méribel are transformed into a huge playground for cyclists in the area. The lifts are still available and are adapted to take bikes on, so you can arrive at the top of your trail with fresh legs!
If you’re staying in the area, be sure to try the Col de la Loze route. This cycle path is a huge attraction in the area, and was also featured in the Tour de France. There are four different itineraries to try to experience the route in a different way:
- The Discovery Loop
- The Large Loop
- Les Allues- Méribel to Col de la Loze
- Brides les Bains to Col de la Loze
There are also masses of other routes in the area, including great mountain biking routes.
Cycling accommodation in the French Alps
Cycling holidays are becoming increasingly popular. With more people trying new activities and exploring nature, you will find many chalets in the area with adapted facilities for bicycles.
We would therefore recommend, when staying in the French Alps, to look out for bike-friendly accommodation. Things you should look out for include garage storage, ample washing facilities to wash your clothes and cycling equipment, as well as a repair area and great access to cycling routes.
Looking for cycling accommodation in the French Alps?
Discover our selection of bike-friendly chalets located throughout the French Alps for your next road cycling trip.