5 Best Cols to Climb in France
It’s certainly no secret that France boasts some of the most beautiful and captivating landscapes on earth. It also happens to be home to some of the world’s most incredible bike adventures, perhaps the most famous being the Tour de France. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional cyclist to experience the noteworthy climbs of this grueling race. For those seeking a climb that will test your legs and mind until the sweet reward of reaching the top, France is the place to ride with a variety of cols certain to please any cycling enthusiast.
There are five cols in particular that top the list, you will find all of them in our “challenging” tours and Tour de France tours !
The last Alpine mountain ridge before the Rhône plain, this climb is particularly challenging because of its height and the elements cyclers face here. Nicknamed the “Giant of Provence”, it’s sometimes referred to as the “windy mountain” and is considered one of the toughest in the region. It can be climbed by 3 routes and has appeared in the TDF 14 times, 8 of which were stage finishes at the summit. Cyclers can conquer this challenge either by guided or self guided tour.
One of the Tour de France’s most famous mountain climbs, this is actually one of the least difficult. It certainly has its challenges, however, as this climb features 21 switchbacks and can also be tackled via self-guided and guided tours. Watch for both the Tour de France and the Etape du Tour to visit this mountain. For those interested, we offer VIP tours and entry to the Etape.
Col du Galibier
This pass is considered one of the toughest Alpe cols in cycling history mainly because it can only be reached after the Col du Télégraphe or the Col du Lautaret and has an ascent of 34.9 km long over which some 1,924 height meters are climbed. The Col du Galibier is one of the features in our Alps Cols Trophy Tour, together with the Alpe d’Huez, the Col du Glandon and the Col de la Croix de Fer.
Col du Tourmalet
Situated in Midi-Pyrenees, this mountain is one of the most famous climbs in the Tour de France. Bikers who make it to the summit will see a statue of famous cyclist Octave Lapize sitting atop his bike. The Etape du Tour rode this mountain in 2010, for which we offered a tour.
Also situated in Midi-Pyrenees, this ascent starts from Argelès Gazost. Because it is unusual in its varying ascents and descents, this climb poses quite a challenge to those who take it on, though certainly a worthwhile one. It is one of the harder climbs we feature in our tours !
If a cycling adventure is on your itinerary, France is the place to go to experience the very best ! Most of these cols are offered in guided and self-guided tours and all have been climbed numerous times by the pros in the Tour de France. Additionally, all five have been rated “Top 20 Most Climbed Cols” by Climbbybike.com. If you are a sport addicted and want to challenge yourself by climbing those mythical cols, just ask our tour assistants.