Riding the French Alps is quite an adventure, with the imposing summit of Mont Blanc watching over you. We'll be exploring the roads from the northern part of the Alps all the way to the south, where the Alps gradually take on a more Mediterranean French flavor.
The northern part is also known as the host of three Winter Olympic Games and the home of the most renowned ski resorts in the world. Further south, the countryside, with its lavender fields, beekeepers, shepherds, cabinet makers and truffle pickers show that old traditions are very much alive. The French Riviera, on the other hand, showcases a glamorous coastal life with a rich cultural inheritance.
Roads and Riding
In general, alpine roads are among the best riding roads in Europe. They're challenging and twisty, coiling high up to mountain passes such as Col de I'Iseran, Col du Galibier, Col du Lautaret, Col de Vars and Col de la Bonnete. It's an excellent riding experience that will have you wanting to come back. Heading south through hilly landscapes, you end up at the French Riviera, experiencing beautiful scenery and amazing roads that are perfect for biking. It offers exciting trails to go along whilst taking in the French views.
Climate and Environment, When to Go
In the summer months, the northern French Alps enjoy a warm temperate climate with enough rainfall to keep the landscape green and luxuriant. The southern part of the French Alps is a generally dry area strongly influenced by the Mediterranean. Being drier, this part of Alps also benefits from plenty of sunshine throughout the year. This is one of the sunniest areas in Europe, with generally over 2500 hours of sunshine per year. Remember though, many of high altitude roads are best visited between June and September because the winter snow can have a tendency to linger around for months after falling.
The climate on French Riviera is purely Mediterranean. Thousands of hours of sunshine a year mean that your ride is unlikely to be rained out.
Sights, People, Food and Drink
This tour is a perfect combination of inspiring views of the jagged mountain peaks, challenging mountain passes, delicious Alpine cuisine, and a Mediterranean flavor. Riding all the best alpine passes includes some top points not to be missed. One of them, Chamonix' most distinctive landmark, is the Aiguille du Midi (3842 m). If you can handle the height, the 360-degree views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps from the summit are breathtaking.
The French are known as excellent hosts, taking their cuisine very seriously. Restaurants, accommodations and tastings are all chosen with the local cuisine in mind- experiencing the region's specialties, its wines, and eating the finest food of the area. This is as much a gourmet tour as a French Alps tour, with a touch of the glamorous French Riviera.
Facts for the Traveler
|Land area:||674,843 sq km
|National currency:||Euro, CFP franc|
|Religion:||31% Atheism, 26% Agnosticism, 25% Roman Catholic, 9% Muslim|
|Time zone:||Central European Time (GMT+1)|
|International dialing number:||Country code: 33, international access code: 00|
Tourists from most countries (EU, USA, etc) do not need visa. A valid passport is required only.
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