Springtime in the Bauges

One of my favourite local rides is a 100 km loop around the Bauges Massif. The quiet country roads, free of cars and other cyclists, the dramatic scenery on the climb up to Mt Revard, and even a lively boulangerie make this ride a treat. Although a warning – the backside of the Massif is generally cooler than the weather in Annecy so be warned if doing the ride in spring or winter… as I found out one day when I got stuck climbing in the snow!

Starting from Lake Annecy, start the ride by climbing up Col de Leschaux. I generally take the route nearest the town, from Sévrier. It’s an easy climb – around 4% average for 13 km Coldeleschaux – and a great introduction to Annecy. It can even be done on a mountain bike or hybrid, and you will be rewarded with lake and valley views.

From the intersection, I take the pretty country road to Bellecombe en Bauges before heading towards Lescheraines. From there, another pretty little country road, via St Francois des Sales which will start the winding climb up to Col de Planpalais. It’s about 8 km at 6% but the overall climb from St Francois des Sales all the way to Mt Revard is much longer. Once you reach the plateau of Col de Planpalais – one of the many Nordic ski stations that dot the Parc Naturel des Bauges –  it’s only another 8 km at an average 4% till you reach Mt Revard. The views are stunning as you approach, the rocky mountains to the left along the Planpalais plateau, while at the summit, a café sits almost precariously atop a cliff overlooking Aix-les-Bains.

You’re rewarded for your efforts with a long, fast descent to Montcel. At this point,

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The view from Mt Revard over Aix-les-Bains

I usually take the little shortcut to the right
to Montcel and then turn right towards Sainte-Offange for another little quiet side road to loop back in the direction of Annecy. After a nice flat, rolling section, take the road to Cusy. This is where I normally stop at the local Boulangerie, which saved me once when I was bonking, and another time when I was recovering from borderline hypothermia. And they make a delicious tropezienne.

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Pont de l’Abime

A quick bite and you’re back on the Annecy – Aix-les-Bains road, a fairly popular cycling route. But once out of Cusy, you’ll see what makes it to lovely as you cross the Pont de l’Abime over a deep gorge at and wind up the kind of road you see on cycling brochures to Gruffy.

By this time, you’re less than 20 km

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The gorge at Pont de l’Abime

from Annecy and you’ve done all the hard work. Don’t follow the cycle route but take the short climb to Quintal as one final piece of work. If you’re still feeling fresh then you can continue on up to the road to Semnoz and enjoy a sharp descent home. But be warned, this is a 4 km climb that is frequently in the double digits. If, like me, you’re ready to head home by this point, then follow the D5 back to town from Quintal. Remember to take the D5 towards Sacconges at the roundabout to avoid the traffic and shopping centres in Seynod.

A great ride in most weather but especially delightful in spring.

For more detailed info: https://www.strava.com/activities/578943710

3 thoughts on “Springtime in the Bauges

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