Experience some of the most famous Tour de France climbs in Provence and the Southern Alps for yourself on this challenging six-day cycling tour, from Mont Ventoux to Alpe d’Huez. Cycle up the “Giant of Provence,” spin through the peaks of the Alps, and explore French country towns, all accompanied by scenic natural views to help you keep your pace up along the way.

Highlights

  • Cycle up routes followed by the Tour de France
  • Climb the 21 hairpin bends to Alpe d’Huez
  • Explore the towns of Sault, Guillestre, and Briançon
  • Take in views of Lac de Serre-Ponço

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mazan Mazan
Day 2 Mazan to Orpierre Orpierre
Day 3 Orpierre to Embrun Embrun
Day 4 Embrun to Serre-Chevalier Monetier-Les-Bains
Day 5 Serre-Chevalier to Alpe d’Huez L'Alpe d'Huez
Day 6 Depart Alpe d’Huez  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mazan

Avignon
Avignon church

Welcome to Provence! Your adventure starts in the small village of Mazan, within an old medieval center protected by a circular wall of buildings.

If you're arriving by train, a transfer can be arranged from the Avignon station. If you get in early, take some time to explore the tree-lined cobblestone streets of Avignon as well.

Day 2: Mazan to Orpierre

Ride up the Mont Ventoux, the Giant of Provence
Ride up Mont Ventoux, the "Giant of Provence"

Start your ride with the classic Tour de France section up Mont Ventoux via Bédoin this morning. The ever-changing gradients will challenge you until you exit the forest, where the exposure to the elements atop the “bald mountain” will keep you on your toes.

Stop and pay your respects at the Tom Simpson monument, then push yourself to the summit. Follow the scenic road down through Sault, past quintessential Provençal lavender fields. You’ll soon reach the Dauphinés, the pre-Alps where you’ll encounter minor climbs, the Col de l’Homme Mort, and the Col de Macuègne. Follow the twists and turns along river valleys and through the ups and downs of the region until you enter true Alpine territory. Tonight, you’ll rest up in Orpierre, a medieval town nestled against mountain walls.

Cycling distance: 67 miles (106 km)

Total climb:  10,455 feet (3,185 m)

Day 3: Orpierre to Embrun

Serre-ponçon's lanscape by OT Embrun
Serre-Ponçon's surrounding landscape

Make your way between the mountains and rows upon rows of vines on today's ride. You'll ride through ravines and along La Durance river; look around for a glimpse of Chateau de Tallard and the dome-topped Ceuse as the road starts to rise. Hamlets dot the valley ahead, but you’ll hug the mountains and pedal uphill, enjoying the views over Lac de Serre-Ponçon as you head to tonight's end destination at Embrun.

Cycling distance: 64 miles (104 km)

Total climb:  6,390 feet (1,950 m)

Day 4: Embrun to Serre-Chevalier

Climb the Col D'Izoard like our group Bevan in 2011
Triumph after a climb up the Col D'Izoard 

Keep following La Durance, past the fortified town of Mont-Dauphine. You will be led to Guillestre, an authentic Alpine community where you’ll find flowers and fountains in every square. Then begin your climb starting with the slope of Gorges de Guil, up to the Col d’Izoard, a Tour de France climb filled with hairpin turns and summit views.

Stop at the summit at a small cycling museum that pays tribute to Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet, and other cycling legends. The rest of the way will be easier, as you follow the road down to Briançon, a valley city nestled beneath the protection of Fort Vauban, and onward to your accommodations in Serre-Chevalier.

Cycling distance: 52 miles (83 km)

Total climb:  7,750 feet (2,360 m)

Day 5: Serre-Chevalier to Alpe d’Huez

Climb up Alpe d'Huez today!
Climb up Alpe d'Huez

Keep an eye out for glaciers in this popular ski destination. Follow part of the eastern climb to the Col du Lautaret, but bypass it on your way to the town of Bourg d’Oisans. Once you reach the town, you may want to take a break to muster your energy for the 21 hairpin bends up to Alpe d’Huez. Watch for the names of previous stage winners at each turn for inspiration on your ascent.

Cycling distance: 46 miles (73 km)

Total climb:  7,905 feet (2,410 m)

Day 6: Depart Alpe d’Huez

Careful on your descent from Alpe d'Huez
Descent from Alpe d'Huez

Descend back down from Alpe d’Huez on the final day of your tour. Transfers can be arranged to help you make your way home or on to your next adventure.

Map

Map of Provence & Southern Alps Cycling Tour - 6 Days
Map of Provence & Southern Alps Cycling Tour - 6 Days