Col des Prés

Col des Prés Col des Prés Col des Prés Col des Prés

The Climb (from Chambery): 19.5 kms (12.1 miles) Ascent: 950 metres (3,115 feet)

Chambery is one of those French Alps towns that is made for cyclists. Down low, there is a very well developed network of cycling paths – and on all sides are fantastic climbs into the mountains.


Pré means meadow in French – so Col des Prés clumsily translated means “mountain pass of the meadows” (which makes sense as at the top it opens up into alpine meadows).

I started outside Chambery to minimize the first few busyish kilometres. After St Jean d’Arvey, it’s becomes a very nice wide-open, quiet road, that winds up the side of the mountain.

Col des Prés

I hadn’t expected to get lost, but I came to an intersection with no signs and took the “up” road, not remembering there was a descent in the middle of the climb. Fortunately, this led to a superb little detour through the woods and a couple of tiny villages. No harm no foul.

While a fair bit of snow near the top, the roads were perfectly cleared. On the descent I considered detouring to Col de Planpalais – but my legs told me to call it a day.

Note: There is also a Col du Pré, a fantastic climb above Beaufort.


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill. More enthusiastic than talented, my 2014 Challenge is to cycle 50 great rides, slowly.


  1. Will,
    Is this your idea of a reco ride ride?
    Clearly you weren’t pushing hard enough up La Vuache ;)
    Undomesticated Domestique

  2. Pingback: Col du Frène – Bauges Alps Loop

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