Col de Combe Blanche (or Vattay or Puthod?)

Col de Combe Blanche

The sign at the top said Combe Blanche. My book says Col de Puthod and Michelin maps says Col de la Vattay. Regardless it’s a fantsatic, steep, deserted climb in the Jura mountains.

Eric’s knee was a little sore and he wanted an “easy” ride. Easy for him means tough for mere mortals like me. So the plan was a big loop from Geneva up the Jura mountains and back.

The climb itself starts in the little village of Vesancy just east of Gex. It’s a tiny road starting from the centre of the village after the Church.

A well-paved little path through the woods – yet another beautiful, traffic-free, Jura road to nowhere.

And steep! Two of the early kilometres average 12% and 12.5%.

As we reached the Col, we decided not to go to La Vattay (a great cross-country ski centre) which would mean returning via the busy Col de la Faucille. Instead we turned right on a little dirt road into Switzerland towards La Dole.

Immediately we found cows – and the road I was searching for – A smooth paved route from Petit Sonnailley then past La Baudichonne back down to the village of La Rippe in Switzerland.

I had climbed this last fall – see here. Another steep, car-free, Jura road through the woods. With a perfect surface – fine for road bikes if you start down in La Rippe.

Near Col de Combe Blanche

From La Rippe, Eric found us a great route back that included long stretches of trails. All in all, a terrific loop that included crossing the Swiss / French border 6 times!

Steep - Road to Col de combe Blanche Eric makes a friend Tas de Bois Suisse


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Will, this isn’t the first great ride with you and I hope for many more of these. Funny to see that “THE HAIRPIN” is the first picture on your “la Baudichonne” blog. We are blessed to be able to ride around here.
    PS Did I make any more of my “pro” shots today?

  2. Eric – yep great ride.

    Your photography skills are really improving 🙂

    Unfortunately the hairpin photo from today was wrecked due to a smudgy lens.

  3. Great ride details and pictures as usual. I like Eric’s shot next to the cows. It made me think… you guys see so many cows… so who’s going to take the chance to get the first picture sitting on one. They look so calm just sitting there. Don’t you think you could just hop gently on their back really quickly? Good Luck! I looked forward to seeing who’s brave enough.

  4. Donald, sorry to kill the fairytale but those cows are sponsored by the local tourist office and are made out of plastic. Much easier as the farmers can leave them out all winter and after a simple wipe down they are ready for another summer. If you look closely you can even see the “Made in China” tag next to their ears.

    OK, I agree that it looks very calm and easy, but trust me they are big and strong and you do not want to get in their way. The cow that is standing up right behind me was actually lying down just earlier. But as I gently approached, trust evaporated and I had to use all my diplomatic skills to avoid a major stampede. Sorry, but I’m not brave (nor crazy) enough to try out your idea. What you see in the picture is possibly as close as I will get.

    PS We do our best to work “undercover” in order to be able to approach the cows as much as possible. I’m sure that if enough people ask, Will will be ready to post his COW BELL picture. Will???

  5. Donald,

    Nearby are actually warning signs saying to be aware of the cows and be careful ….. especially with a calf.
    But if one behaves the cows are friendly enough. God bless them. My new hobby may be to become a cow photographer.

    Unfortunately the cowbell pic will be a disappointment 🙂 Eric just wanted to make sure he could hear me as i am usually so far behind him.

    Cow bell

  6. At least 1 foreigner who integrated well in his new homeland.

    Will, if one of us needs a cow bell on our rides it is me…you have the GPS and the best sense of direction 🙂

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  12. Simon Aspinall on

    Thanks for the information here – this is a great resource for rides around the Geneva area! For this ride I followed your route from Meyrin and the return via Chalet Baudichonne. Good ride. The france – switzerland connection is only a 10 minute walk on a gravel track and the rest of the ride is paved – so this wasnt a problem to do on a road bike. On the return leg its prettier to follow swiss route 50 through the forest tracks. Thanks again.

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