French Alps 2023

As this summer slowly draws to close, and the days get shorter, we’re looking anxiously to get some great trips scheduled for you for next summer – something to look forward to during the cold winter months.

The second of two summer holidays we have planned – a week’s glorious fun and cycling in the Vercors region in France! The area features dramatic river gorges and ancient roads snaking their way through limestone cliffs, offering spectacular views of the Alps to the East, onto the flatter valleys and rolling alpine meadows of the East and lavender fields to the South – a hint of the neighbouring region of Provence.

For those seeking glory, the region has many cols, some of which have featured in the TDF over the years, including the famous Col de Madeline and grueling 21km switchback of the Col du Rousett; however, unlike the high Alps, the cols of the Vercors average a friendly 5-7%, making them achievable for any Rouleur!

With quiet, well surfaced roads and pretty villages, the area is popular with cyclists, and is set to be our playground for the week, promising to offer something for everyone.

Our base will be the pretty town of St. Jean-en-Royans, at 240m elevation on the eastern side of the Vercors. The classic rides tend to climb either the Gorges de la Bourne or Goulets, returning via a descent of the Combe Laval – one of most spectacular balcony roads in France. For those quieter days, the lower lying terrain to the east of St. Jean and the Isère river offer quiet roads through pretty hamlets, flanked by walnut groves, sunflowers, cherry & apricot trees – as well as the stunning aqueduct at St. Nazaire and awe inspiring magnificence of St. Antoine de l’Abbaye, in one of France’s most beautiful villages.

For anyone who doesn’t feel this is quite enough to offer, the world famous climbs of Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux can be found 1.5 and 2hrs away respectively – well within the grasp of a day trip!

Our host will be Velo Vercors, run by former Londoner Teresa Dunne, now welcoming cyclists from around the world. It offers a mix of self-catering gîtes and B&B accommodation, for up to 21 people, and lots of communal areas and an honesty box fridge stocked with beer & wine – what more could any Rouleur wish for!

Indicative pricing is £780 (€935) for a two-bedroom / £880 (€1050) for a three-bedroom gîte for the week, so it should work out at about £100-150 per person for the week, plus the cost of getting there. We’ll confirm exact pricing and availability once we have enough interest.

Location & How to get there:
By road: approx. 8.5hrs drive from Calais
By rail: Eurostar from St Pancras to Valence TGV (25mins drive) or Saint-Hilaire – Saint-Nazaire (11min drive) , via Paris or Lille. Approx. 5.5-6.5 hrs total.
By air: Lyon Airport – 1h 20 mins or Grenoble Airport – 50min
(transfers available if arriving by rail/air)

Hope to see you there! Visit our Meetup page for more details.

Adam/Team RPR

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