Key Features

  • Well suited for families
  • Amenities close by
  • Wide range of summer activities
  • Suitable for all levels of skiing / snowboarding
  • Ski in, ski out
  • A 10 second ski to the lift
  • Access to over 400km of pistes
  • Terrific snow record
  • Ski school meets close by
  • La Plagne a 4 minute cable car ride away
  • Breathtaking views

 

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Cycling

Summer in the Alps - Riding the Grand Cols of the Tour de France

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Vallandry, in the heart of the Tarrentaise and at the gateway to the Savoie National Park, is a perfect mountain base for cyclists who want to explore the fantastic terrain and tackle some of the awesome Cols made famous by the Tour over the past 100 years. From the apartment, there are 4 Cols which can be explored as part of a day’s itinerary, with a further 3 that can be combined in various ways and ridden with perhaps an overnight stop planned at one of the many fine mountain hostelries that provide a warm welcome for cyclists. The owners have cycled all of the Cols and can provide advice and suggested itineraries to suit all ability levels (including advice for support crews, as necessary). The apartment has secure parking as well as storage areas for bikes and kit. The local town of Bourg St Maurice is recognised across the region as a centre of cycling excellence with many hire and repair shops to choose from, if required. Vallandry is over 5000 feet above sea level, so a day cycling down to Bourg and then up and around Arc 1800 or Arc 2000 and back to base is an ideal way to acclimatise and get used to the thin air and gradients. Then comes the real fun…..

A Grand Day Out – The 4 Cols

Below are very brief descriptions of the four main rides that are within easy striking distance of Vallandry.

Col de Petit St Bernard

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Description

As a starter for novice mountain climbers, this is the ideal ride to begin your holiday with. Climbing out of Bourg St Maurice on the road signposted to La Rosiere, the road is a good one with many hairpin bends, but with gradients that are generally not too steep and that are shaded with pine forest until you approach La Rosiere. Here the road steepens after the village as you head for Italy and the giant St Bernard dog that marks the Franco-Italian border. Stop to take in the stunning views of the whole Mont Blanc Massif in front of you before heading off down the steep gradient to the picturesque Italian village of La Thuile where there are some excellent lunch stops, or picnic areas if you prefer. Depending on your level of fitness, you can tackle the return climb (steep) or take the bus and ride back down into Bourg from the top.

Cormet de Roselend

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Description

A simply stunning ride taking in the high altitude reservoir and visiting the beautiful town of Beaufort. From the main roundabout close to the station in Bourg, take the signs for Roselend and Beaufort. The 25 kilometres up the Cormet have some stunning views although the gradient is quite steep in places. At the summit, there are great photo opportunities of the reservoir and surrounding mountains before taking the shorter descent into Beaufort – a charming and bustling town in the heart of the Beaufortain department, surrounded by a spectacular backdrop of steep mountain terrain. Following a hearty lunch at one of the many restaurants in the centre of the village (the Tartiflette comes highly recommended), there are two routes back to home. For the intrepid cyclist, via Ugine, Albertville and the RN90 (+ side roads as the RN90 is classified as motorway until you are past Moutiers) is one way back, the alternative simply being the return ride up to the Cormet and back down to Bourg – our preference, if only for the return views.

Col de la Madeleine

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Description

Madeleine is a true challenge and, along with the famous Col de L’Iseran, a very tough climb. It regularly features on the Tour and was a decisive stage in 2013, as fans of Chris Froome will recall. That ascent was from the south side, whereas our route starts on the north side near La Lechere and the memorably named village of Pussy. It is possible to ride down to La Lechere from Vallandry via the RN90 through Moutiers. However, a word of caution – you will need to exit the main road just before Moutiers town centre as the road becomes a motorway (as the owner knows to his cost). The signage is not good and the bikes prohibited sign is easily missed as you are whizzing down the hill at 60kph +. The route through Moutiers is also quite complex and a good sat nav is very useful. The climb from La Lechere, past the road for Pussy, is long and steep. For the really intrepid adventurer, at around half way up (1100 metres) there is a detour to Lac de la Grande Lechere. A simply beautiful ride, although it adds 6-7kms and about 500 metres to the climb. The views back over the Mont Blanc massif are spectacular and at the summit, the weary cyclist will note the altitude is exactly 2000 metres, making the climb unique from more than one view point. The route down via St Francois de Longchamp to La Chambre takes in some charming hostelries for lunch before tackling the return journey. If you have a support crew, this is one ride where you will be glad to see them at the bottom of the southern descent !

Col de L’Iseran

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Description

From Vallandry via Bourg St Maurice, this is the toughest test in the Savoie. The mighty Iseran still has a special place in the mountain cyclist’s challenge list, as despite the Col de Ia Bonette’s rather spurious claim to be the highest pass in Europe, the last 90 metres to the Cime de la Bonette is a bit of a cheat as it goes round in a circle before re-joining the road down. Iseran has now slightly changed description to the highest road pass in Europe. Enough of the semantics. From Landry, at the foot of the hill down from Vallandry, it is a relentless 40km 2000 metre climb with the last 12k from Val D’Isere being especially tough. Your reward is not at the summit, which is a bit of a windswept disappointment, but in the ride down into the Bonneville Valley. Words can’t adequately describe the scenery on the descent – just do it (and, ideally, meet the support crew in the charming mediaeval village of Bonneville for a well-deserved rest and drinks).

There are many, many more less well-known rides in the Savoie and these have the advantage of being less busy than the popular Cols. The advice is to just go off and explore. A great day out for families and those with an aversion to hills is the flat cycle track around beautiful Lake Annecy. Starting at Faverges, or anywhere you fancy along the full route (which goes all the way to Albertville) this is a gentle day of cycling with stops to take a dip in the Lake at certain points. Annecy itself, despite the crowds in high summer, is a must visit place to wander around the old town and watch the world go by. Take a good bike lock !

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