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Geneva to Paris-not Paris to Geneva. Have I made a mistake?

BeamoBeamo Posts: 5
edited April 2013 in Tour & expedition
Hi, long time reader, small time poster after some advice (reassurance?)

I've been looking to do my first small tour this year and thanks to a late night bottle of Rioja and too much time on the Easyjet website couple of months ago, me and my brother in law are now committed to cycling from Geneva to Paris in 5/6 days at the end of May (my flights have been booked and we're meeting some family the end so there's no getting out of it...).

The daily mileage doesn't really concern me (apart from the first 15 miles or so out of Geneva which look almost vertical...) what's worrying me at the moment is the lack of information/opinions/tales about other people having done it.

There's a few websites/blogs that recount people's experiences of cycling from Paris to Geneva but I can't find anyone that talks about doing it the other way around. There are a few companies and charities advertising the route as well but they all start in Paris. Am I missing something?

I'm not quite settled on the route yet but there's no getting away from the climb out of Geneva, is it that bad no one considers it or is there a massive constant headwind I'm not aware of?



  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    I don't know any reason why one couldn't ride Geneva to Paris. I’ve ridden from Geneva to Champagnole, which I can imagine might be your route.

    I was in Geneva around midday on a workday and I found the traffic in the city heavier than I would have liked, and to a degree on its outskirts too, as far as Gex. So starting on a Saturday or even better a Sunday is probably better.

    By Gex you’ll have climbed about 200 m, but it’s there that the climb up the Col de la Faucille properly begins, about 700 m in 11+ km. Presumably that’s what you consider “almost vertical”.
    The first two-thirds is at 5.6% but the last third is markedly steeper, with 7.7% average and one or two short steeper stretches. But generally the climb is okay, with a good surface and regular gradients, not constantly fluctuating ones. I was told that on workdays, there can be occasional truck traffic, but I didn’t really encounter any.

    There are several good places to stop and admire the view and, just over the halfway distance, there is a stone monument with a potable water spring where you can top up your bottles if necessary. About 9 km up, there is a parking area for hikers and that’s probably the best place to admire the view for the last time – at the pass top there isn’t the same vista.
    Thereafter, the 25 km ride to Morez is downhill all the way, and a real joy.
    There's an awkward climb out of Morez for about 7 km, but the rest of the 23 km to Champagnole is more or less downhill.
  • culverwoodculverwood Posts: 256
    I have one of those plastic contoured maps of the Jura which is what you hit first out of Geneva. It looks like a cheese slice on its side with a hard climb (up the rind) but a long gentle decent the other side. Obviously there are obstacles but that is the general trend. I cycled the other way and was glad when I got to the top of the decent from Sainte Croix that I did not have to cycle up that particular hill.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 6,005
    knedlicky wrote:
    I was in Geneva around midday on a workday and I found the traffic in the city heavier than I would have liked, and to a degree on its outskirts too, as far as Gex.
    Incidentally, if you like blue cheese, there is a particularly good (pungent) one called Bleu de Gex. By itself it will make your fridge smell French. I bought some in the cheese shop in Thonon, which, curiously, also stocked Quicke's Farmhouse Cheddar, which is made about 10 miles from where I live.

    Sounds like a nice ride - I particularly like big climbs followed by long gradual descents - if you get a tailwind, that's getting pretty close to heaven for me.

    Good luck with it all.
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