Col des Contrebandiers


We drove to beautiful lake Annecy to ride the bike path and found that it was closed due to the annual marathon. And the park beside the lake was a zoo, so we got on our bikes and went exploring the other way. And we discovered a great national park forest route up to a col that I had never heard of (Col des Contrabandiers — translated: Smugglers Pass). The blurb in the first photo points to where we biked and took the other photos below.


As we escaped the town we found this:


The road ends at the col.



But a 20 minute hike took us 200 metres higher and a view of the lake.

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Pingback: Cycling Challenge » Cycling » Top 5 Cycling Climbs — Lake Annecy

  2. Pingback: Leaving Annecy & Mont Veyrier: Le Col des Contrebandiers - Smugglers’ Pass « That Place Called Home

  3. Hi Will,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now although this is the first time I’ve commented – I have to say I’m impressed by your challenge and some (read: most) of the rides you do!

    I just spent 6 months living in Annecy and have spent quite a lot of time living on and off on the edge of Geneva – so since finding your site I’ve been looking at your posts more and more for inspiration for my own cycling adventures! I’m more of a ‘casual’ cyclist (I only have 1 bike 😛 – and it’s a mountain bike), but some of your easier climbs are within my range.

    Anyway, I see you have a trackback link (the one right above this comment) to my post on this climb you did in ’06, but I did it at the end of July this year. All the way up I was wondering why you recommended not using a road bike (every 100m my mountain bike seemed to weigh 1kg more) – I understood your recommendation on the way down though! Sadly someone decided to break the two posts holding up the col sign, but at least it’s still up there, leaning against a tree… Just wanted to say thanks for pointing out such a great route (and view) and good luck with the rest of the challenge!

  4. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your message.

    Yes I rode Contrebandiers again in Feb 2008 as well and saw the sign had been broken – the road seemed in pretty lousy condition then (the snow didn’t help). But it’s a great ride.

    Best of luck cycling and in your travels – Provence is a great place to cycle too and Avignon is close to the legendary Ventoux :)

    PS – I think the trackback is automatic as you linked here from your blog.

  5. Hi again Will,

    I’m guessing the road had degraded more since you originally did it – now to go down on a road bike you’d have to take it pretty slowly.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog – agreed, there are some great places to go in Provence, and as for Ventoux, I’m actually closer then my blog might make you think 😉 I’m staying a few km from Malaucene, so a great place to start from for Ventoux – except I don’t have my bike with me! I should be exploring parts of the Jura though in a couple of weeks, so expect some more trackbacks around then to some of your rides.

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