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25-06-2022 | Herman Nekkers

5 reasons to visit cycling hotspot Brides-les-Bains

For many Europeans, France is still the most popular vacation country for cycling. Rightly so, it is relatively close, there is a great diversity of landscapes, the roads are good and the climate is excellent. Brides-les-Bains is the perfect base for cyclists with a unique new concept. SD Workx, the best team in women's cycling, has also discovered Brides-les-Bains.

When it comes to cycling in the French high mountains, most people think mainly of well-known areas such as the Alpe d'Huez area, Mont Ventoux or Tourmalet. That makes sense, because they are excellent places to stay as a cyclist. However, there is a new cycling hotspot that is rapidly gaining popularity: Brides-les-Bains/Les 3 Vallées. This may well become the place to be for cyclists in the coming years.

Les 3 Vallées

This area is known as the largest ski area in the world. Like other winter sports areas, Les 3 Vallées is looking for other sources of income, especially in the summer. Cycling in the mountains has been booming in recent years, partly because of the rise e-bikes. The area is therefore developing as a five-star cycling hotspot. And like everything here, they only think big.

We give you 5 reasons to choose Brides-les-Bains for your next cycling trip or summer vacation.

Team SD Worx

It is not without reason that the best women's team at the moment, Team SD Worx, has entered into a partnership with Brides-les-Bains in order to hold training camps and altitude training here. "Brides-les-Bains is also called the cycling basecamp in Les 3 Vallées, as many climbs start from here. So you start here the climbs to Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens and you can climb the Col de la Loze from two sides. The foot of the Col de la Madeleine and the climb to Valmorel are also just around the corner." Read the full publication (Dutch only).


1. A unique new cycling area

Les 3 Vallées has been busy in recent years creating a completely new cycling area that is unique in the world. By asphalting existing gravel paths, new roads and new cols are created. And the nice thing is: these are only accessible to cyclists (piste cyclable)! The roads run through remote areas which gives the feeling of a mountain bike ride. Also, an e-bike plan is being worked on so that even non-trained cyclists can go up here.

What has been planned and realized?

  1. Col de la Loze (2304m) from Courchevel and Meribel. This one is completely finished.
  2. La Tougnete (2400m). Last year, the road from Les Menuires was realized. We wrote about this in detail. It is expected that the route Meribel-La Tougnète in the summer of 2022 will be ready.
  3. Les Menuires - Val Thorens. This road is already largely finished. We expect the entire route to be realized in 2022.

2. The Col de la Loze, the most difficult climb in France

The Col de la Loze opened in 2019 and is the first col of the new cycling project. From Brides-les-Bains it is 22 kilometers of climbing. Up to Meribel you ride on the regular road. After that, the car-free section of 7 kilometers begins. The route is very irregular and has peaks up to 20%. Navigation is not necessary, because from valley to top everything is perfectly indicated.

The other side via Courchevel is also easily accessible from Brides-les-Bains. This side is slightly less difficult on paper, but that is very relative.

The challenging Granfondo Col de la Loze by Brides-les-Bains is organized on July 17 and has a number of side events in the days before. A week of preparation and getting used to the altitude is an excellent place to do it.

Everyone who has ridden the Col de la Loze agrees: this is without doubt the toughest climb in France. This one belongs on your palmares!

3. Numerous legendary Tour cols in the area

In addition to the new cycling project, there are also other legendary climbs from the Tour de France within reach. The most famous names are Col de la Madeleine, Cormet de Roselend, Col du Pré, La Plagne, Col de l'Iseran, Col du Petit-Saint Bernard and Val Thorens.

Furthermore, the area has some lesser-known gems, such as Notre Dame du Pré, Pralognan la Vanoise and the Col du Joly.

Check out the complete overview at Climbfinder or our route collection at Komoot.

4. Staying in the valley

First Lesson for your cycling trip: find a location in the valley. After all, you don't want to end each day with the same climb. Brides-les-Bains is the most beautiful and cozy place in the valley. All the climbs in the area are easily reached by bike. At the numerous hotels, restaurants and bars you can collapse after a beautiful day of cycling.

5. Perfect vacation destination

In addition to being a cycling hotspot, Brides-les-Bains also has a lot to do in other areas. It is therefore a perfect location for a family vacation. And combining the vacation with your family with cycling, what could be better?

Things to do? A selection of all activities:

  • Hiking
  • Via ferrata/Climbing
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking/Rafting/Canyoning
  • Paragliding
  • Riding
  • Zip-line
  • Golf
  • Museums
  • Festivals

For a complete overview, check out our region page.

For accommodation, click here. Or visit Booking.com or Trivago.

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