The Relaxed French Alps Tour
The perfect introduction to mountain riding
I fell in love with mountain riding by exploring the French Alps – and you will too, with this laid-back week-long tour that hits all the high points without hitting high daily miles. This trip puts all the most memorable passes into easily managed day-by-day routes, ideal for groups or pillion couples. It includes France's highest road and grandest gorge, plus many other spectacular scenic roads. However, this trip isn't about slogging your way from the port to the mountains wasting dull days on motorways: the ride to the Alps is packed with enjoyable flowing roads as well.
What’s included on the route? Each day’s route has recommended places to stop for coffee in the morning and afternoon, a suggested lunch stop and planned fuel stops.
How long is each day’s ride? Each leg of the tour is planned to be a full day in the saddle: check-out of the hotel and get on the road at 9am, getting to the next location at 5:30-6pm. That's with coffee stops and lunch - it's not an Iron Butt challenge but a nice, relaxed riding holiday. Saddle-time rating: six out of 10.
What are the highlights? There are a couple of literal high points: the highest pass in the Alps (the 2770m Col de l'Iseran) and the highest road in France (the 2082m Cime de la Bonette), but there are more spectacular roads to ride. The Gorges du Verdon, Col de la Machine, Cormet Roselend… every day is packed with great views and great places to stop – from quiet mountain cafes to historic towns. And that's just in the mountains. There's great riding on the way to and from the Alps as well.
Why nine days? The tour fits in with one week off work, taking a Saturday morning Eurotunnel and returning the following Sunday afternoon.
How is it supplied? You can simply download the GPX files and install them in your sat nav. Garmin or BMW Navigator users should download the complete file; TomTom users (or riders using a GPX compatible phone app like Calimoto, Scenic or MyRouteApp Navigator) should download the individual files. However, I strongly recommend getting the tour pack of day-by-day route notes and marked-up maps (not sold separately).
Download the tour
Garmin/BMW users should download the complete-route file. Individual day files should be downloaded for TomTom or GPX-compatible phone apps.