Mont du Chat – Col du Chat Loop


Le cycle magazine once called this possibly the most difficult climb in France. Maybe an exaggeration, but wow, this is difficult stuff, especially in the heat/humidity.

This is a great, quiet loop. Returning via Col du Chat, while only 638 metres, leads to fantastic views high above Lac du Bourget.

This post describes the east side of Mont du Chat. In 2017, the Tour de France and Dauphiné will climb the equally ferocious west side – see here.


Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. I guess today was as warm/hot and humid as when we did Grand Colombier-Biche, but then (luckily) without the rain at the end. Looks like your week in Italy as not gotten you tired, rather the opposite.

  2. Hi Mark

    Le Cycle magazine is a very good French cycling magazine. Every issue they feature a big Col. Currently, they have a great “special edition” profiling the the most beautiful routes in France”

    Web site is pretty sparse. They used to sell old issues but the link seems broken. The “30 most beautiful climbs” was a special edition in 2005. Perhaps sending them an email via the contact form would work.

  3. I’ve done both climbs for several years running now. Some say that the Belvedere du Mont du Chat is the hardest short climb in the French Alps. In fact, Chambery and environs has to be the best cycling spot on earth. Parc Du Chartreuse, Parc des Bauges, Lac du Bourget, Mt. du Chat, an the Verde Route through Chambery make this place ideal.

  4. Denis Jouglard on

    Just done mont du chat today,the steepest climb in the french alps,in the same region you can as well try the col du Granier from Chapareillan not bad as well!If you like steepness there is as well the climb to Chamrousse from Sechilienne through col Luitel,and if you cycle near Grenoble you can cycle up to the Bastille hill(you might tear your handlebars on that short one)

  5. Awesome climb, on your recommendation i cycled from Annecy over the Semnoz down to Aix Les Bains and up Mont Du Chat. Fantastic challenge and a real lung buster. Took in Le Revard on the way home for good measure.

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  9. An update for anyone wishing to do this climb – climbed in late August 2016 and there were some road works going on the D42 (Le Bourget du Lac side). Suggest you go UP this side because the road works were leaving some loose gravel (it will clear in time obviously) and I think it would be a little dangerous to descend through it, as you can barely see it.

    There were also some random loose rocks on both sides that have fallen from the sides of the road – some as big as a tennis ball. So keep your eyes open. It is a steep descent.

    If you do it in the morning you’ll be mainly in shade for the ascent from Le Bourget du Lac.

  10. I set off to do this route on the way out to the Etape du Tour a couple of weeks ago. The climb to the Mont du Chat was excellent (and I love the cafe with a view – big thanks to my son) but the Col du Chat was closed to bikes since the Tunnel du Chat is currently closed to cars and they are being rerouted over the col. I therefore came back via the Col de l’Epine (also excellent).

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