Beaufort: Five Great Cycling Climbs in Cheese CountryBy Will • May 22nd, 2008 • Category: Cycling, Reviews
Famous for the eponymous cheese, Beaufort is one of the best bases for fabulous climbs in the north French Alps.
This quaint little town surrounded by mountains is on the Route des Grandes Alpes and provides incredible challenges on quiet stunning roads in all directions.
This is cycling country and just off the main square is a HUGE map of all the various cycling routes in the area. The tourist office provides fantastic route cards (example on left) for more than a dozen rides ranging from family friendly down low to giant alpine loops for the super strong.
Of note, probably the best known climb in the area – Col des Saisies – doesn’t make my top 5 (click here for info on Saisies).
Here are my top 5 climbs from Beaufort. At the bottom of the page is an interactive map of all 5 routes.
This is in large part a summer “To-Do” list for me as I have only climbed
the first 2 of these 5 climbs all 5.
#1 – Cormet de Roselend
Cormet de Roselend has been in the Tour de France 9 times, most recently in 2007 when Rasmussen was the first over the top. Part way up at the Col du Meraillet is a huge lake created by a dam creating a superb environment.
The Climb: 20.5 kms (12.7 miles); Ascent: 1,240 metres (4,070 feet)
#2 – Col du Pré
This is one of two climbs that the tourist office calls “mythic.” This is a much steeper alternate route up Cormet de Roselend. The Col is above the alpine lake – see photo for the stunning view. Descending the Col you can cycle right over the dam and join the Roselend route at the Col du Meraillet.
Of course the stats are even bigger if you do include Roselend.
The Climb: 13 kms ( 8.1 miles); Ascent: 960 metres (3,150 feet)
#3 – Cormet d’Areches
I really want to climb this route. Note, the last three kilometres require a mountain bike – but you can join a path on the other side and descend all the way to Bourg St Maurice – returning via the south side of Cormet de Roselend would make a pretty epic route.
The Climb: 19.7 kms (12.2 miles); Ascent: 1,400 metres (4,590 feet)
#4 – Col du Joly
A long steady climb through a quiet valley to high summit. Apparently there is very good hiking from the Col.
The Climb: 23.1 kms (14.4 miles); Ascent: 1,260 metres (4,130 feet)
#5 – Signal de Bisanne
This is the other “mythic” climb. It shares the same mountain as Col des Saisies but goes much higher and is much steeper. A monster.
The Climb: 14.5 kms (9.1 miles); Ascent: 1,230 metres (4,035 feet)
For more “Top Five” Climbs articles see the following:
- My Top 5 Cycling Climbs from Lake Annecy
- Alpe d’Huez – 5 different rides
- 5 Big Climbs – a To-do List
- Barcelonnette – Cycling Paradise
Click “View Larger Map” at bottom for a clearer view of climbs.