Col de Cenise


Don’t confuse Col de Cenise with Col du Mont Cenis – much further south on the French / Italian border


Col de Cenise is a big, quiet, cycling climb on the edge of the north French Alps, squeezed between the challenging Col de Solaison, and the more famous Col de la Colombière.

Starting from the village of Thuet, it shares the first steep ramps of the road to Col de Solaison.

Much of the lower third of the climb passes through the Gorges du Bronze. It’s a fun, tight, narrow road – sounds of the torrent, and a couple of nearby waterfalls.

Gorges du Bronze

Gorges du Bronze

At Mont-Saxonnex, the route turns up, onto a small, and quiet road that first heads past the tiny ski station, and then through high alpine farms – you will see cows (probably on the road).

Giving calves distance

After 15 kilometres or so, at 1580 metres altitude, the paved road ends. From here, it is a very, very bumpy farm track to the col.

Unpaved last kilometre

Unpaved last kilometre

Precisely at the Col (1724 metres) were several horses with wigs.

Horses with wigs

Horses with wigs

The far side descends to Le-Petit-Bornand. The top stretch is not paved, and the entire descent is very, very steep. For details climbing from this side, see here.

After descending, I joined the main road below. TIP: after a couple of kilometres, veer right at Termine (marked on map) to join a quiet cliff road that runs above and parallel to the principle road. Soon, I took another right and turned up a sometimes tiny road, often rising at either side of 20%, until I reached Plateau d’Andey. Then a fast descent through the woods down to the start.

A terrific loop, on quiet roads, with plenty of cows. 😉



8.5 Very Good

A big, quiet climb in the same massif as Col de la Colombière.

  • Views 8
  • Difficulty 8.5
  • Quiet / No Traffic 9
  • Fun Factor 8.5
  • User Ratings (1 Votes) 8.9

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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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