The Tarentaise Valley
Summer in the Tarentaise is usually glorious – warm days of 20-30C and cooler nights of 15-20C, and it’s a dry heat so there’s none of the uncomfortable stickiness that you often get in warm climates.
There’s so much to do that there really is something for everyone. You can choose to mountain bike, road cycle, hike, climb, play golf or tennis, swim, watch the Tour de France, indulge at the local wine fairs, or simply relax and soak up the sun.
There is an extensive activities programme for all the family at Tignes throughout the summer, with many activities using the My Tignes Open card. All guests staying in one of our chalets will be given a free My Tignes Open Card for the duration of their stay during the months of July and August.
At Sainte Foy, the Grand Plan chairlift will be open from July 3rd to August 26th to whisk you up to Plan Bois from where you can hike or mountain bike.
Also, why not try skiing on grass rather than snow on the blue Charmettes piste from Plan Bois?
So, why not have a change from the beach, come and enjoy the Alps in the summer time. There’s nowhere else we’d rather be.
Tignes & Val d'Isere
We love the summer months here as much as, or even more than, the winter ones! The weather is usually glorious – warm days of 20-30C and cooler nights of 15-20C, and it’s a dry heat so there’s none of the uncomfortable stickiness that you often get in warm climates. There’s so much to do that there really is something for everyone.
You can choose to mountain bike, road cycle, hike, climb, play golf or tennis, swim, watch the Tour de France, indulge at the local wine fairs, or simply relax and soak up the sun. There is an extensive activities programme for all the family at Tignes throughout the summer, with many free activities using the My Tignes Open card.
So, why not have a change from the beach, come and enjoy the Alps in the summer time.
Cycling in the Tarentaise
The Auberge sur la Montagne is THE cyclists’ hotel in the Alps – run by cyclists, for cyclists! Some of the best road cycling and mountain biking in the world is directly accessible from your doorstep. We have indoor bike storage, bike cleaning equipment and detailed hand out sheets with on and off road route plans and maps. Our outdoor hot tub has massage jets to get at your lower back, feet and knees – ideal after a day’s ride. Of course, our chalet guests profit equally from our knowledge and experience, as do our Auberge guests.
Much of the cycling here is, because of the nature of the terrain, physically demanding. At the valley floor, however, there are some lovely, undemanding rides suitable for all. As with the more serious rides, we have these mapped out and written up on hand-outs for our guests.
One of our favourites is the circuit from Bourg St Maurice to Aime. The outward leg descends the valley on quiet roads, surrounded by green meadows, with mountains all around. We stop at one of the riverside cafes for a coffee or lunch before returning on the car-free cycle-track beside the Isère river. You can stop to watch the white water rafting, or spend the afternoon by the swimming lake at Bellentre before returning to Bourg. It’s a route that’s suitable for all the family and takes an hour and a half or so, or less if you only go as far as the lake. Bikes can be rented in Bourg St Maurice.
- More experienced and active riders will find further information on the local terrain on the pages on Road Cycling, Mountain Biking and Cyclosportives.
- Don’t miss watching the Tour de France when it passes nearby during your stay. It’s a fantastic spectacle and great fun whether you’re a committed cyclist or not. You’ll find details on our dedicated Tour page.
- You’ll find lots more information about cycling in the Tarentaise, including routes and maps, on the Haute Tarentaise website (in French only) and on OpenRunner (in English) and on this leaflet.
Road cycling in the Tarentaise
The Auberge and Chalets sur la Montagne are the perfect base for a training holiday and we have many cyclists from around the world joining us for altitude work and for event preparation as well as for cyclotourisme. We are also the perfect stopping-off place if you’re touring in the area.
It’s there on the doorstep: mile after mile of some of the best road routes in the world. Some of the more famous local rides include:-
- The Col d’Iseran. 2764 meters altitude. About 1350 meters climb from the Auberge taking 4 hours for the round trip. Last passed in the Tour de France in 1992. (Aborted in the 1996 Tour because of snow!)
- Bourg St Maurice to Val d’Isère. About 1000 m.of climbing. The exact route of the 1996 Tour time trial and going straight past our Auberge. Berzin won the stage in under 50 minutes, the best I’ve ever done is 1 hour 20.
- Col du Petit St Bernard. 2188 m. altitude. A stunning ride with easy gradients taking you up to the Italian border (with fantastic Italian hot chocolate!). A 3-4 hour loop from the Auberge.
- Cormet de Roseland. 1968 m. altitude. The route of the 2002 Tour on its Aime to Cluses stage, and of the Etape du Tour that year too. We were 7500 of us, all getting jammed up on the Cormet’s narrow lower road. Also the descent route of the 1996 Tour, when Indurain cracked in the rain and Johan Bruyneel went over the precipice.
- Les Arcs. 2100 m. or 1850 m. The finish of the 1996 ride over the Cormet when Luc Leblanc pulled away and Indurain effectively lost the Tour. A 3-4 hour circuit from the Auberge.
- La Plagne. 2100 m. A winding route very similar to the climb to Alpe d’Huez. The tour finished here in 2002 after an epic day in 35 degree heat with all the Dutch going ballistic as Michael Boogerd, utterly Boogerd, hung on to his lead.
The list is endless! We have route plans for dozens of rides, with hand out sheets and maps to give you.
N.B. Chalet guests should allow an extra half hour to cover the 3kms/300m vertical to/from the Auberge.
There are some interesting, challenging and very well organised cyclosportives here throughout the summer. We’ll personally be riding most of them with you. We can handle entries for all events for our guests. Contact us for further details and exact dates.
- mid July: L’Iserane Your chance to ride the mythical Col de l’Iseran at 2770m from Val d’Isere at 1850m to Bonneval sur Arc at 1850m on the other side of the Col, without any hassle from passing vehicles as the road is closed for the event.
- mid July: L’Arvan Villard A really welcoming event in the Maurienne valley with some daunting climbs around the Col du Glandon which regularly features on the Tour. 130 kms distance/ 3650 meters vertical climbing or 95 kms/ 2350 m. Combine your participation with viewing the Tour de France at the Auberge the following day.
- end July: La Madeleine A challenging event from La Lechère over the Col de la Madelaine – so following a route frequently travelled by the Tour de France. 135kms/ 2800m or 75 kms/ 2200m
- early August: La Bourgui Another really welcoming & friendly event. La Lechère to Les Mènuires with a flat first dozen kilometres 127 kms/ 3000 m. or 80 kms/ 1600 m.
- early August: Cyclo Coeur This is a lovely event for all the family which takes place at Bourg St Maurice each summer. There are races for all levels and abilities from experts to beginners and children. The event raises money for handicapped people.
- Every Weds in July & August: La Cyclo’Courch. Try to beat the record of 42’30” set by Alejandro Valverde during the 2005 Tour de France for this climb of 17.5kms and 1200 m vertical at Courchevel.
We’re in paradise for mountain bikers! All around us is some of the best off road bike terrain in the world. If you’ve come bike-less, suitable equipment can be rented locally.
The Grand Plan chairlift at Sainte Foy will be open from early July to end August to whisk you up to Plan Bois from where you can mountain bike further up, or down on one of the specially marked trails.
In July and August the lift systems also operate in Les Arcs, Tignes and La Rosière with bike carrying racks on the chairs – opening up a wealth of downhill possibilities.
We have suggested routes written out and mapped up on hand-out sheets for our guests.
A small selection of routes:-
- Col du Petit St Bernard to Seez. An open descending ride, suitable for everyone. It starts at the Hospice du Petit St Bernard and follows the old Roman road, now a dirt track, down to the beautiful village of St Germain. A short ascent followed by a more technical section of single track to Seez. About 1100 M descending, and 200 metres ascending. 2- 3 hour ride.
- Tarentaise descent from the La Thuile to Bourg St Maurice. Crossing the Isère river below the Auberge and following the stunning river gorge down to Villaroger. Changing to wooded single track and ending on open pathway into Bourg St Maurice. About 500 m descending. 2 hour ride.
- Le Monal. This is a protected village with the most stunning views across the Tarentaise valley into Mont Pourri and its hanging glaciers. The route starts at the Auberge, climbs to Ste Foy ski station and cuts across the mountain side ascending on wooded paths. The route opens out with a gently descending pitch across to the village. A varied menu of downhill options from Le Monal back to the Auberge. A day’s ride depending on the options taken.
- Le Planay – Plan Bois, Ste Foy. A perfect introduction to Ste Foy mountain biking with a good wide path climbing to Plan Bois through the woods, views right down the valley and towards Italy, an interesting non-technical descent to Le Planay past the 17th century Chapel of St Guerin. Undulating grassy traverse to Ste. Foy followed by a choice of difficulty for the final descent to the Auberge.
Tour de France
The Tour de France is quite a spectacle for cyclists and non-cyclists alike with all the publicity vehicles passing ahead of the riders, throwing out gifts to the waiting crowds. The atmosphere on the mountain climbs is particularly special and this year the Tour is passing through Bourg St Maurice on two consecutive days.
For cyclists the Auberge sur la Montagne is an ideal venue to experience the excitement of the Tour combined with riding some of the legendary local climbs.
Non-cyclists are welcome too and will have plenty to occupy them – shopping in the local markets, hiking, paragliding, white water sports, swimming, sunbathing – although they are bound to get caught up in the excitement when the Tour passes through.
We’re really excited to announce that the Tour is climbing the Col d’Iseran and passing through Brevieres on July 26 2019 before finishing at Val Claret! The following day the final mountain stage before the finish in Paris climbs the Cormet de Roseland and passes through Bourg St Maurice before finishing at Val Thorens. The Tour winner is very likely to be decided on one of these stages.
Our supported Cycling Holiday week from Sunday July 21st to Sunday July 28th 2019 coincides with the Tour visit to Tignes and Bourg St Maurice. The week will include daily rides with vehicle support of some of the big local mountain Cols, including those that the professionals will be riding in the Tour a couple of days later, such as the Petit St Bernard, Col du Pre, Cormet du Roseland, and Col d’Iseran.
Friday 26 July – Stage 19 – St Jean de Maurienne – Tignes – 123km
The journey through the Alps continues with a dynamic stage that will take the riders to the summit of the 2019 Tour at the Col de l’Iseran (2 770m) that will only be reached for the eighth time in the history of the Tour and the second time by its south side which is the toughest one. It is precisely when going up towards the highest road pass in Europe that Louison Bobet had bid farewell to the Tour in 1959 but also where Claudio Chiappucci took off before winning in Sestrières in 1992.
Saturday 27 July – Stage 20 – Albertville – Val Thorens – 131 kms
The last alpine stage will be a grande premiere: it will indeed be the third finish above an altitude of 2 000 metres, which has never occurred in the history of the Tour. Before the final climb to Val Thorens, a first battle should take place at the Cormet de Roselend. The total ascent of the day will be 4 450 metres.
Click here to see the full 2019 route