Les Lacets de Montvernier and Col du Chaussy

If hairpin roads are what you are after then this route is a must. This ride route sets off from Saint Jean de Maurienne and will see you ride the stunning balcony road leading to the village of Montvernier. This stunning road took six months to construct in 1934 and connects the small village to the main valley road.

Les Lacets de Montvernier

This road was first included in the Tour de France in 2015 which put this amazing feat of engineering on the world map. All up there are 17 hairpin turns to negotiate over just 2kms / 1.2mi. The gradient stays steadily around 8% the whole way. In France it is common for each hairpin to be slightly flatter in gradient, allowing for some respite. However, this is not the case on this small climb so keep it in mind when you set out. You will still have another 1000m/3280ft of climbing left to get to the summit of the Col du Chaussy. Once you reach the small chapel at the summit you can enjoy a limited view of the hairpins you have just ridden up. If you want a better perspective of all those switchbacks there is a dirt track that will take you right to the cliff’s edge for a more impressive view.

Col du Chaussy

At the summit, you will continue onwards to the Col du Chaussy. The Lacets de Montvernier forms the first part of the actual climb so you are well on the way already. The ride to the top will take you through alpine meadows where you can often spot grazing herds of cows. You will also enjoy great views across the valley just before reaching the summit where the balcony road is perched on a cliff’s edge. All up this is an amazing ride and one not to miss out on if you are in the area.

Suggested cycling route

Distance: 46km / 28mi

Start elevation: 574m / 1881ft

Max elevation: 1533m /5030 ft

Metres climbed: 1382m / 4602ft

Metres descended: 1382m / 4602ft

Categorised climbs: 1

Food and water

There are several small villages along this route where it is possible to refuel with food and water. This includes the village of Pontamafrey which is at the very start of the climb.

The villages are all quite small so be mindful that depending on the time of day you ride, services may not be open. We generally always make sure to take extra food and water with us from the start to make sure we don’t run out!

Highlights

  • The road of Les Lacets de Montvernier really needs to be seen to be believed. Perched on a cliffs edge, it is one to savour.
  • Enjoy breathtaking views on the climb of the Col du Chaussy as the road winds along a cliff edge close to the summit.

Climb statistics and gradient profiles

Gradient profile for Lacets de Montvernier from Pontamafry

Les Lacets de Montvernier

Length: 3.4km/ 2mi

Average gradient: 8.2%

Start point: Pontamafrey

Elevation at top: 733m / 2406ft

Gradient profile for Col du Chaussy from Pontamafrey

Col du Chaussy

Length: 13.3km / 8.2m

Average gradient: 7.6%

Start point: Pontamafrey

Elevation at top: 1533m / 5030ft

Discover our comprehensive guide to Cycling in the French Alps

The ride is just one of many great cycling routes you can complete in the French Alps. This region of France is very popular with cyclists who want the challenge of riding in the mountains.

If you are not familiar with the cycling available in the French Alps, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:

  • a map of the French Alps with climbs and towns marked
  • where to base yourself whist on your cycling holiday
  • cycling hotels and lodges
  • bike hire outlets
  • getting to and from the main transport hubs in the alps – including public transport connections
  • non-cycling attractions and activities in the region

Click here to see a list of cycling routes available in the French Alps.