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northern French Alps / Alpes du Nord

Description on Bikely: pretty farmland +vineyards + mountain views accessed from a key city of Savoie. From the city of Chambery a bike path goes south out to mostly quiet roads through farms and vineyards -- but it has some sections with significant high-speed traffic, and one notably dangerous intersection. Views of three mountain groups each with a different character: Bauges, Belledonne, and Chartreuse, including a great angle on Le Granier peak. Some sections follow the official Lac St Andre bike route - (which avoids much of the high-speed traffic and the tricky intersection). This route not checked by me since 2007.

Description on Bikely: pretty vineyards + farms + mountain views in the Isere river valley south of Chambery on mostly quiet roads -- though several high-traffic intersections and short road sections. A couple of sections on packed dirt (which I rode on my skinny-tire road bike, but I think they're avoidable anyway). A couple of significant hill climbs -- which lead to great views from up on the side of the valley. Connects with the official Lac St Andre bicycle route from the city of Chambery.
This route not checked by me since 2008.

Description on Bikely: beautiful varied route with big views on mostly quiet roads and an interesting bike path alongside the Isere river -- first half big views on a long "balcony" above the north side of the valley while riding through quiet mountain villages, then a long descent into the city of Bourg-St-Maurice. Return to city of Aime on bike path with interesting curves and river views. Some long climbs in the first third of the route, but nothing really steep (not much steeper than 6% grade). Roughly this route is shown on an "official" Savoie bike route website, but in 2007 we didn't find many signs for it actually out there on the road.
This route not checked by me since 2007.

Provence

description on Bikely.com:
one of the most spectacular road-bike climbs + descents anywhere. Great views of sea + rocks in three directions. Has very steep sections at west end coming up from Cassis. For more info see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/fr -- also see notes on labels on map, click on Show, select Cue Sheet. Loop goes from Cassis to la Ciotat on the Route des Cretes and returns on the D141 + D559 -- so two major climbs: one steep, one moderate. Route des Cretes is sometimes closed for high winds. Sharon + I first rode it in 2006, then checked it on a rainy day again in 2009.

22km / 14Mi loop :: one steep climb of +250m, another moderate climb almost +200m, plus some other ups + downs.

see also [ more detailed report | photos ]

pleasant 40 mile loop thru villages + vineyards of famous wine area, and around the Dentelles de Montmirail hills near Mont Ventoux. Mostly quiet roads, about 5-6 significant climbs on the loop. For more info and connections to other routes see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/fr. Check special notes on map labels + cue sheet -- click on Show, select Cue sheet. Sharon and I rode it in November 2009.

GPX file with all tracks (A + B below) + key waypoints for GPS navigation

see map on Bikely | notes on Bikely

for single overall track in GPX or KML format, can download those from Bikely map

loop passes thru Beaumes-de-Venise > Vacqueyras > Gigondas > Seguret > Roaix > Vaison-la-Romaine > Entrechaux > near Mont Ventoux > Malaucene > near Bedoin > Caromb > Beaumes-de-Venise

A - west side - [ map on Bikely | notes on Bikely | GPX | Google Earth KML ]

B - east side - [ map on Bikely | notes on Bikely | GPX | Google Earth KML ]

route names on Bikely:
* Montmirail A: Beaumes-de-Venise Gigondas Vaison-la-Romaine
* Montmirail B: Vaison-la-Romaine Malaucene Beaumes-de-Venise

see also [ more detailed report | photos slideshow on Picasa ]

more stories + photos

  • update on driving on roads in France: toll roads : 2010

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