Mt. Ventoux

5 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

bonjour mes amis-
i know that any number of our members have climbed this (on bikes and otherwise). if i qualify for paris-brest-paris and complete it, i would like to take a shot at riding it solo while i'm in france in august.
i would appreciate any info folks would be willing to give me regarding routes, location, accomodations nearby, transportation to the area, etc.
thank you.
bonne chance et bon route!

Anonymous's picture
Tim Casey (not verified)
a good climb


For France you might want to check out this camp. I've heard great reviews and they are cheap and very good.

And locally, try Whiteface Mtn. in NYS or Mt. Washington in NH.

Ride well, ride helmeted.


Anonymous's picture
bill strachan (not verified)
mt ventoux plus+

ok, i've decided to expand my search for a decent french mountain to climb other than mt ventoux.
what would be considered the 3 toughest climbs in the 100 year history of the TdF? gives me more options for fun after paris-brest-paris.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
In the mountains

Try L'Alpe D'Huez. That is supposed to be a legend. I've not tried it myself, but it is definitely one of the greats and is an Hors Category (out of category) climb. There is a village at the top, which is a ski resort, but there is no descent on the other side. This climb comes off the N91 road, which runs between Briancon and Grenoble, the largest city in this region, with fast railway connections to Paris.

You could also try the Col du Galibier, riding from north to south, another Hors Category. You would actually start with the smaller Col de la Telegraphe, which is a Category 1 climb, that then gives you a small descent, before you hit the Galibier itself. I've only ridden the Col du Galibier the other way round from south to north, starting from the medieval fortress town of Briancon, heading northwest on the N91 road, which goes to Grenoble. This climbs the Col du Lauteret, a fairly modest climb of about 12 miles, taking you to a height of about 2,000m. At the summit, there are a couple of cafes and you turn right onto the Galibier (road No902) itself, and continue climbing to a height of 2,635 metres, which is getting on for around 9,400 feet above sea level. The two combined - Col de Lauteret and the Col du Galibier - make an Hors Category climb. It is long and is basically about 30kms of constant uphill.

It's worth stopping at the top of the Galibier and admiring the view, as you will have a very clear view of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, to the north, north east.

When we did it in mid to late September 1999, there was about a foot of wet snow at the top of the Galibier, although the narrow road was clear. It was firm enough for us to put our front wheels in and use it as a bike stand, and we had to wait as a shepherd herded a large flock of sheep over the mountain, coming from the other direction.

The descent is spectacular, going the other way and quite hair-raising. CHECK YOUR BRAKES FIRST, and look out for cows in the road on the lower levels of the descent. Hit one of those at 40 mph plus and you will be coming home feet first.

You then go through a village called Valloire, then climb the Telegraphe, which from south to north is an easy Cat 2 climb and then descend into Saint-Micheel-de-Maurienne.

From there, try turning left onto the N6, which runs through a river valley and beside a railway line and motorway (A43) and is flat for about 8 miles, past a small industrial park and right onto road No 76 into La Chambre, about a mile. Turn right and you are at the foot of the Col de la Madeleine, another Hors Category climb, which goes to a height of 2,000m. La Chambre is approximately 300m above sea level. For my money, this is the prettiest of the Alpine passes I've seen. When I rode it, I had a Golden Eagle circling above me, and when I got to the top, I was looking down on the Golden Eagle. There is a heavily over-priced cafe at the summit. You also get good views of Mont Blanc from the top of this climb and can look back at the Col du Galibier.

La chambre has a nice little hotel, which is cheap, right at the foot of the Col de la Madeleine. I can't remember what it was called. But we paid around $25 a night for a room there as it was after the European summer school holidays and ahead of the ski season. The Alps are popular with hikers in the summer. If you go in September, you don't have to worry about booking accommodation in advance anywhere in the French Alps and the rates are really cheap, but you run the risk of some passes being closed to early snowfalls. I would suggest you try the first half of September. We were nearly stopped from going over the Galibier because of the snow, but they reopened it just after we got to the top of the Lauteret.

Good luck. Enjoy!

Anonymous's picture
Jeff (not verified)
Major climbs website

I climbed Ventoux twice last summer, once with an NYCC group on race day, and once with a Breaking Away tour, and it is a very difficult, but amazing climb.

The towns nearby are Bédoin -the official start of the southern (Tour de France) route, Vaison-la-Romaine -with very nice Roman architecture and history, and Nyons -famous for having arguably the best olives in the world. All are within a warmup ride to Mont Ventoux.

For an excellent guide to most of the climbs in Europe, check out
This site has all of the info about each climb that you would ever need to know before suffering through one of them...

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

Mount Ventoux is the most difficult climb on the Tour. After Ventoux, Col du Galibier is probably the second toughest, but since its location is not suited for a mountain top finish, it does not get the reputation it deserves. Col d'Izoard is probably the third toughest, followed by Col de Tourmalet. Alpe d'Huez is not a particularly difficult climb, but its location with a summit ski resort has made it ideal for mountain top finishes, hence its acquired fame. Its also more of a pure climber's climb, whereas Galibier is more suited to power climbers. Putting it in perspective, Ventoux takes Armstrong about 52 minutes to climb, Alpe d'Huez 38 minutes. If you want to know what Alpe d'Huez is like, you don't have to go too far -- the Memorial Highway to the summit of Whiteface Mountain in New York's own Adirondacks is similar to Alpe d'Huez in difficulty (Alpe d'Huez is 7.9% for about 8.5 miles, Whiteface is 8.4% for 8 miles). There is a race to the summit of Whiteface on June 21 at 6:00PM. You can register online for it at

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