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Ideas for France in May

venstervenster Posts: 559
edited January 2017 in Tour & expedition
It's that time of year where I start to think of next years trip to France in May.

Traditionally we stay near Bourg so we're local to all the big climbs in the area. We've done this for about the last 5/6 yrs and fancy a change so need some advice on where to go...

The criteria is:

- Ideally mobile home camp site or a chalet, definately not camping, - we like self catering with a degree of comfort

- A handful of decent/famous climbs nearby - although we're not mountain goats, so epic all day rides are out of the question

- Within a day's driving of could be N.Italy (too far?) or stay in France - I can get by in French, clueless with Italian !

- Does it need to be Alps? Think Pyrenees might be too far...

What could you suggest?


  • Die 26150 - about halfway between Alpe D'H and Mont Ventoux, also near enough to Col de la Bonette to do in a day with car, but there's so much varied riding round there (24 cols over 1000m within a day's ride), you might not bother to go far afield. Lots of stuff on my blog - 600 miles on autoroutes from Calais - doable in 9 hours.
    This place is always popular:
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,088
    Do you usually go in May? If so you are probably already aware that some of the high cols are still closed. I found this out a few years ago when I went over during the last week of May. I made the mistake of thinking it was nearly summer and everything would be open - far from it. Still had a great time though. Can't recommend the B&B I used highly enough - Le Petit Catalan in Bourg d'Oisans, but I realise a B&B might not be what you are after. They do a cracking evening meal as well, very sociable with all the guests round a big table, superb food and really nice people.
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  • Oh yes, May, col de la Bonette will be closed still, under snow, in all likelihood, at 2802m. The highest cols can still be shut at the beginning of June. One of the troubles with the Alps proper is that with a limited number of viable routes, it can get very limited if some of those are shut.
  • andcpandcp Posts: 645
    Hi Venster,

    We stayed here this year: ... one_A.html

    A days drive from Calais, and it was ideal for us; there were 8 of us and it worked out cheap enough. 10 minutes walk into Saint Jean de Maurienne (20 on the way back up the hill) and in the middle of some of the most iconic climbs of the Alps. It's not a tourist town but not unpleasant - has bars, restaurants, bike shops, supermarkets etc. Pierre, the owner, is a lovely bloke and very helpful, and has installed secure bike storage. We're probably going back there soon.
    As others have said though, watch for the weather.
    "It must be true, it's on the internet" - Winston Churchill
  • sherersherer Posts: 2,445
    I stayed in Menton last year and did Col De La Madone, also easy riding over to Poggio and Cipressa. No massive climbs but great weather and some decent riding over there. Can also ride over to Monaco and also Col D'Eze from Paris Nice. Loads of pros in the area too
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,238
    If I was you, I'd head for Valkenburg in Holland, and follow the sign posted routes out of the Amstel Gold Café. Weather should be perfect for it.

    If not, same would apply for Oudenaarde in Belgium and the Tour of Flanders routes.

    France wise, I would say take some Ryanair flights down to the Pyrenees, and stay in Luz St Sauveur and bag some cols - only problem is, as already mentioned, which cols will actually be open in May?

    The Vosges area is pretty nice, and some good climbs and tour mountains there. I guess the snow may have gone by May, particularly as the climbs are not as high. - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • venstervenster Posts: 559
    Hi again.

    Sorry for my 'rudeness' in not replying but I've been on holiday!

    We're looking to France, in the hope that the weather will be milder the further south we go - so that would rule out Holland etc.

    As for the really high cols, not too worried if they're closed - might look at around Annecy, as I've been before and the hills weren't too steep. Will definately look at Menton and the Vosges - its hard to ignore that fact though that we can go back to same place we always go for £180 for the week between us.....
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,238
    South of Holland in May, should be nice weather! - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • venstervenster Posts: 559
    Booked up to go to Annecy in the end - got a week in a 3 bed mobile home for £180 !
  • xacasarxacasar Posts: 13
    Basque country (south west of france), in may could be up to 25°C, plenty of climbs around Biarritz & excellent food.
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