La Ville des Glaciers and Les Arcs 2000


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A superb day climbing in the French Alps. The plan was for two long, beautiful, but not too steep, climbs.

Starting from Bourg-St-Maurice, I started up the south side route to Cormet de Roselend.

But after 13.5 kms I turned off to explore the little road to La Ville des Glaciers – I’d wanted to check this out for quite a long time. Beautiful. Another great little detour off the Route des Grandes Alpes.

I was able to get above the town to about 1870 metres before the road turned to gravel. It’s certainly possible to go much higher – a future hiking or mountain biking project.

La Ville des Glaciers

The end of the road above La Ville des Glaciers:

Road to La Ville des Glaciers

After descending the beautiful Roselend hairpins back to Bourg-St-Maurice, it was time to cycle up to Les Arcs.

A Perfect Hairpin?

We have skied here a lot and love the 1950 village. At about 1800 metres is the most amazing gourmet restaurant – in the middle of no-where. It’s Doreen’s favourite and was her cycling goal while I did my two climbs.

The route to Les Arcs is never steep, but it’s a long way. There are milestones showing the distance and grade up to Les Arcs 1800. To 2000 is much further as the route goes around the mountain, with a few flattish kilometres.

Near top of Les Arcs 2000

After meeting Doreen at her feast (wow was she happy!), I did the last few steeper kilometres to the top. I suddenly found myself in the middle of a cyclosportive. I shamelessly crossed the finish to cheers heading immediately to the great French-Irish pub ‘Les Belles-Pintes” for a beverage.

Perfect day.

Col du Sabot
Col des Aravis and above to Col de l'Arpettaz

About Author

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


  1. Tom, Sorry I don’t know the name of the restaurant. But it’s just after the small downhill and first of two avalanche overhangs (basically tunnels) as you approach Les Arcs 1950. It’s at a right turn and not completely obvious from the road. It’s around the other sode of the mountain from Les Arcs 1650 and 1850.


  2. Pingback: The Glacier du Varet – above Les Arcs : Cycling Challenge

  3. That is some spectacular scenery captured on those photo’s! I have mainly cycled though Tuscany but have participated in cycling events in UK and France too but this is one route I have not done yet but will love to try one day.The photo’s even remind of some parts of Tuscany as well.

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