For an overview map and details on every route I have cycled in the Pyrenées see here.
I really wanted to cycle this famous climb, but it didn’t fit into the schedule. Unless …. I added it as a second ride on Day 1.
Sometimes compared to Alpe d’Huez – it has very similar statistics (but Beille is a bit longer and has about 100 metres more climb). It has only appeared in the Tour de France four times – but every time the stage winner has gone on to win the Tour.
Pantani in 1998, Armstrong in 2002 & 2004, and Contador in 2007.
It was a bit crazy to do this while tired, and I knew it would hurt. I just wasn’t sure how much.
The climb is relentless and sometimes very steep. Much of the first part looks just like the photo below. Crazy hairpins extending upwards.
It was hot, and I went SLOWLY. But I was determined.
Plateau de Beille was listed by Le Cycle Magazine as one of the 30 most beautiful climbs in France
As I got higher, I enjoyed the ever improving views of this deserted climb (no cars, no towns, nobody).
As I reached the top I panicked. No Col sign!!!! No restaurant?
The top is the base for cross-country skiing, and in fact on the other side of the building I found a little restaurant. Phew!
After 3200 metres of climb today, this was one of the tastiest beers I have ever had.
It’s a superb climb, but without a sign at the top — definitely not legendary (yet – I will write the mayor).
Sometimes compared to Alpe d'Huez - Plateau de Beille has very similar statistics (but Beille is a bit longer and has about 100 metres more climb). A little less impressive than the Alpe ..... but a lot less traffic.
Quiet / No Traffic
Good job riding that climb, looks like a tough one!
Was hoping you could help me out – I’m looking to camp on Plateau de Beille for a couple of nights to catch this year’s TdF mountain top finish there. Are there places to just pitch a tent at the summit, and any chance there will be a bus from Les Cabannes to the summit or will we have to hike it?
Plateau de Beille is very sparsely populated after the firs kilometre. It would be simple to find a place to camp up the hill or on the top. LOTS of room at top.
To find a bus up? I doubt it.
Best of luck,
We’re planning on doing exactly the same as you, and intend to camp at the top with the throngs of others. The French are very good at picking up hitchers, so just stick a thumb out and you’ll get a lift up the hill…..we’ll be driving, so if we see any hitchers we’ll be sure to stop.
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Looking for a day in the Eastern Pyrenees, wondered if there was a circular route that would take in both the Plateau and Pailheres in a tough but do-able day?
sorry, I’ve yet to ride Pailhères
From Ax les Thermes is nice and quiet loop includes Pradel and Pailheres. It’s 85 km and 2600 hm. + Plateau de Beille that means 150 km and amost 4000 hm. You can also take Route des Corniches to Col de Marmare and next route D 613 via Belcaire but this one is even longer than first variant.
10 July 2017 – I rode this in the mist, shrouded in fog, sometimes only 30m visibility. There is now a sign at the top. I did not go much past the sign, the summit looked deserted, but like I said, visibility was very limited and very little traffic. During the ascent, hearing the cowbells in the shroud of mist was very cool, but it is open range, so watch for cows in the road during the descent.