Welcome to the adventure. Before we head out to bike across the Alps, you’ll meet your guides and fellow riders on the shores of Lake Geneva for some coffee and a selection of our favorite riding fuel. But there’s no honeymoon ride and the Mediterranean isn’t getting any closer, so we start with 12 kilometers of steady climbing—and this pass doesn’t even rate a name. The name-worthy climbs start with Col de Leschaux (an easy 12 kilometers at 3.7%) followed by the equally approachable Col du Frêne (8 kilometers at 2.7%). It’s a beautiful ride on narrow roads with incredible lake and mountain views. Tonight we’ll rest up at our country château in the heart of the Savoy Region.
Yesterday we climbed some hills; today we climb some mountains. The first 40 kilometers are pretty flat before we take on the slopes of the Col du Glandon, an epic 21-kilometer climb at 6.9% with the final two kilometers over 10%. If you choose the extra climb up the Col de la Croix de Fer, you’re not hallucinating: the town on the other side of the pass really is called Oz, though the road is not paved with yellow brick. We’ll end by pedaling up the most famous Col of them all, the Alpe D’Huez. At switchback 12 we check into our ideally-situated boutique cycling hotel, where people look at you funny if you’re not wearing spandex. Tonight we’re served a home-cooked meal catering especially to hungry cyclists!
After a breakfast fit for a professional cyclist, we head east. These are the roads that make the soreness worth it: one lane of crisp asphalt clinging to the edge of the Romanche Valley, and not a car in sight except for the support van. Our first real climb is the Col du Lautaret. Then there’s extra credit for anyone who wants to tag the summit of the Galibier. What’s another eight kilometers at 7% for some serious bragging rights? Descend down the valley towards Briançon, the last town before the Italian border. If you have the energy, visit the French fortified town to walk around and stretch your legs as you head to dinner on your own tonight.
We’re halfway through the trip. Your legs are sore. But the hump today is none other than the Col d’Izoard. This climb was the battleground for the epic rivalry between the legendary Italian, Fausto Coppi, and the French great, Louison Bobet, in the 1950s. It is also the highest point of our tour at 2,360 meters. We are heading south into the Maritime Alps where the passes aren’t household names but the riding is out of this world: no cars, just ribbons of pavement winding through pines and mountain pastures. This is exactly what we’ll experience on the Col de Vars before rolling into Villa Morelia for a relaxing afternoon by the pool or a much-needed massage.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: Briançon, Guillestre, Jausiers
Accomplished: 56 miles / 89 km, elevation gain: 2,021 meters
Accommodations: Villa Morelia
The Col de la Bonette is billed as the highest pass in Europe—which means we have basically no choice but to conquer this gentle (or perhaps not-so-gentle) giant. A one-kilometer warm-up prepares us for the 24-kilometer climb through Mercantour National Park. At its steepest, the gradient hits 15%, but it’s easy to distract yourself with the extraordinary views all around. The flying descent down the other side is equally as memorable: towns begin to look more and more Italian, and we start to feel the hint of a Mediterranean breeze. Tonight, we feast like locals on good, honest food served in an outdoor setting, then rest up for tomorrow’s final push.
Our last ride is nothing short of spectacular as we slice down one-way roads all the way to Nice. It’s easy to understand why pro riders flock here in droves—the city’s mountainous backyard makes a perfect training ground, and luxurious recovery is within easy reach. Take a victory lap around the harbor, have champagne on the beach, and check into our sea-view hotel. The afternoon is all yours: spend it blissed out on the beach or weaving through the bustling port before we celebrate our last evening like champions. Our journey across the Alps has earned us a platter of fresh fish, veggies, pasta, and olive oil—a culinary reflection of all the ground we’ve covered along the way.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Accomplished: 49 miles / 79 km, elevation gain: 1,180 meters
Accommodations: Hotel la Pérouse
Enjoy an easy morning and decadent breakfast at our hotel. Your guides will transfer you to the Nice airport or TGV train station as you head to your next destination.
DuVine itineraries may be subject to slight route changes, hotel substitutions, and other modifications.
Airport City: Geneva, Switzerland Pick-Up Location: Fraser Suites in Geneva Pick-Up Time: 8:30 am
Airport City: Nice, France Drop-Off Location: Nice airport or TGV train station Drop-Off Time: 11:00 am
Travelers Take Note
Our Journey tours are designed to reach small towns where hotel options are often limited and/or seasonal. Due to availability and routes, groups may sometimes be split between different properties, which are of the highest standard available in the area.
Any scheduled tour can be made private. Your group, your dates. Go Private
- Thoughtfully selected accommodations that reveal the true character of the region in ideal riding locations
- Luggage transfers
- Daily breakfasts, all lunches, and 5 cyclist-friendly dinners at our favorite local restaurants and renowned culinary establishments
- Nutritious energy snacks, hydration, and shakes to support endurance and recovery
- Local wines and beer with every meal
- Wine tastings and activities as outlined in the tour itinerary
- Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, parks, and all other exclusive events
- Gratuities for baggage, porters, and hotel service
- Top-of-the-line Cannondale carbon fiber road bike
- Complimentary DuVine gear, including a custom cycling jersey, DuVine t-shirt, water bottle, and drawstring bag
- GPS with pre-programmed route maps
- Expert bilingual guide with extensive cycling experience and local knowledge
- Support vehicle that follows the day’s route, distributes refreshments, and offers lifts
- Pick-up and drop-off before and after your tour from predetermined meeting points
- Laundry service provided mid-week
- Daily bike maintenance to ensure optimal performance