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Alpe d'Huez region & general travelling advice

saunaboysaunaboy Posts: 116
edited February 2011 in Road beginners
Hi all,

Not sure whether this is the right forum but since I'm a beginner I can't think of anywhere better!

Me & the Mrs are off to Switzerland in August on first holiday with bikes. Taking the ferry from Newcastle to Holland, then getting train from there via Basel. Spending a week in Geneva with mates & using that as a base.

Apart from some rides in the Geneva area (Alps & Jura mountains are within easy reach) we plan to get the train to Grenobleduring the holiday to tackle the Alpe d'Huez. The thing I need to get some advice on is general travel & accomodation round those parts.

1) can we stay in Grenoble & get to the Alpe easily enough? Or do we need to stay closer? Our usual weekend runs are 60-70 miles.

2) What's accomodation like round there in summer, should I be booking now?

3) What's the general deal with hotels? Are they ok with people staying with bikes? I'm guessing they're used to it round those parts.

4) Trains - can you take a whole bike on there or will we have to dismantle them again from Geneva?

5) What's biking like on the roads there? Nutters, English-type resentment of everything on two wheels or is it the paradise that it looks?

Ideally, if anyone can recommend a place to stay & flag up any potential spanners in the works I'd be very grateful.

Thnaks very much!!!


  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    All I can answer is number 5.

    Yes, it's the paradise that it looks.
  • I'd stay a bit closer than Grenoble if I were you - it's a bit of a trek from there. I've stayed in a village called Vizille (Hotel Sanda, very basic, but nice and cheap), which is quite pretty and about 25k from the Alpe (from memory) along a valley. You could stay nearer still, maybe in La Rochetaillee, which is very nice.

    Most hotels are fine with bikes - they are used to them! You probably should be looking to book now - you certainly won't find anything now at Tour de France time!

    It's a stunningly beautiful area. Have fun.
  • Butterd2Butterd2 Posts: 937
    2) I stayed in Bourg d'Oisans at the bottom of the Aple, which was very nice.
    3) Yes they pretty much expect it, we turn up with 20-30 bikes and always get them stored somewhere, most places have bike sheds.
    4) I've always carried mine bagged on trains and that has never been a problem.
    5) They will even overlook the fact that you are English if you are on a bike. It's fantastic.
    Scott CR-1 (FCN 4)
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  • inseineinseine Posts: 5,786
    Like Butterd2 said. Should be now problem with accomodation since these places are much more packed in winter but I'd book beforehand and of course the earlier the more choice. Bourg is nice and every other shop is either a bike shop or a restaurant so what's not to like?
    Some of the roads round there are very busy so I wouldn't recommend being too far away, but once there it's easy to find quite roads. Also 60-70 miles at home are not the same here so the nearer to the alpe the better if that's your goal, since once you've climbed it desecended the other side (if that's your plan) and got back to the start it's already a fair ride.
  • Grenoble and back is an easy ride. It is a 500m gain from Grenoble to the bottom of the Apl. However this is over 50km so not that tough and the last 10 miles or so is flat. The bonus is you will hardly need to pedal on the trip home. Food in grenoble is 10 times more varied than out at Borg.

    Take your time on the ride out enjoy the scenery and you will not regret it If you stay in bourg you will need to ride about 10 miles back toward Grenoble to warm up for the climb anyway
    Racing is life - everything else is just waiting
  • saunaboysaunaboy Posts: 116
    Thanks for all the help ! Fair to say I'm looking forward to it...!!!

    In training for it big time now.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Once out of Grenoble, the ride up to Bourg is pretty pleasant and certainly isn't too daunting if planning to ride the Alpe. That said, if going that far, I'd also take in the chance to ride a few of the other Cols rather than limiting yourself to just L'Alpe. As long as you avoid LeTour / LaMarmotte / Oisans bike week there's plenty of accommodation in the area. Be prepared for all conditions, even in summer it can go from driving rain/snow in the morning to blazing sunshine in the afternoon.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • peejay78peejay78 Posts: 3,378
    staying at bourg d'oisans or near gives you easy access to the following:

    deux alpes
    alpe d'huez

    i'd strongly recommend you stay there or thereabouts.
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