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18-05-2023 | Herman Nekkers

7 reasons to visit cycling hotspot Brides-les-Bains

For many Europeans, France is still the most popular vacation country for cycling. And with good reason, 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.

Col de TougneteCol de la Tougnète

When talking about cycling in the French high mountains, most people mainly think of areas such as area Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux or Tourmalet. 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.

Cycling in the mountains booming. The Les 3 Vallées area is aware of this and they are now developing into a five-star cycling hotspot. It makes sense that the SD Worx Cycling Team has chosen Brides-les-Bains as the permanent location for their training camps. Tour director Christian Prudhomme is also a big fan of this new cycling area.

We give you 7 reasons to choose Brides-les-Bains for your next cycling trip or summer vacation.

1. A unique new cycling area

Les 3 Vallées has been busy in recent years building a completely new cycling area that is unique in the world. By asphalting existing gravel paths new roads and cols are created. And the great thing is: they are only accessible to cyclists (piste cyclable)! The routes run through remote areas giving the feeling of a mountain bike ride. They are also working on an e-bike plan so that even less trained cyclists can go up. Last year I visited this area and was surprised by the results.

Col de la Tougnete
Col de la Tougnète

What has been planned and realized?

  1. Col de la Loze (2304m) from Courchevel and Méribel. This one is completely finished.
  2. Col de la Tougnète (2400m). The road from Les Menuires will be completed in 2022. I wrote extensively about this. The road from Méribel is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024.
  3. The Les Menuires - Val Thorens route. This road is completely realized, read the report.

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

Col de la Loze
Frank on the Col de la Loze

The Col de la Loze opened in 2019. From Brides-les-Bains it is 22 kilometers of climbing. Until Méribel you're riding on the normal road. Then the car-free section of 7 kilometers begins. The route is very irregular and has peaks of up to 20%. You won't need navigation, because from valley to summit everything is perfectly marked.

The side via Courchevel is also easily accessible from Brides-les-Bains. This climb is also car-free for the last 7 kilometers.

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

3. The Tour de France passes by

Tour de France

On July 19, the 17th stage of the Tour de France passes by. It can safely be called the queen stage with four tough cols including the Col de la Loze. The finish is scheduled at the Courchevel airport. If you spend the night in Brides-les-Bains, the choice becomes a difficult one: will you watch the steep flanks of the Col de la Loze or the finish line? Both locations are perfectly accessible.

The next day you can experience the start of the next stage in nearby Moûtiers.

All stage info can be found on the website of the Tour.

4. The Gran Fondo Col de la Loze

Col de la Loze

Some days earlier, on July 16, the Gran Fondo Col de la Loze will be held. A fairly new gran fondo of 117 kilometers with a whopping 4377 meters of elevation. The riders will climb the Col de la Loze from both sides and the finish is at the summit. It doesn't get any better. There are several shorter routes as well.

If you book an accommodation including a visit to the Tour then the entry ticket is free. On the website of the gran fondo you can find all the information.

5. Numerous legendary cols in the area

Cormet de Roselend

In addition to the Les 3 Vallées cycling project, there are other legendary climbs within easy reach, such as:

And dont't forget the hidden gems:

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

6. Spending the night in the valley

Lesson 1 for your mountain cycling trip: find a location in the valley. After all, you don't want to end every 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 sit down after a nice day of cycling.

7. Perfect holiday destination

Brides les Bains

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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