Really was superb. Extremely well organised, Gavin and Merv were informative, friendly, helpful and not once looked bored or annoyed (which I'm sure they must have been at points!). The whole experience was wonderful. The vans were a God send and the fact that Merv and Gavin had prepared fruit etc at each stop really was a huge boost, as was their general encouragement.
Since 1952, L’Alpe d’Huez has featured regularly and famously in the Tour de France. With its 21 hairpins and hard-fought infamous battles, it’s arguably the most famous climb in cycling and when the Tour visits, the village of Alpe d’Huez becomes the very epicentre of Tour de France festivities. Winners of a L’Alpe d’Huez stage have their name added to one of the hairpin signs, to be revered by infinite numbers of ‘normal’ cyclists who challenge themselves up this climb year on year. For Tour de France supporters, nowhere else offers the same opportunity for full Tour immersion: over half a million people are expected to descend on the mountain for just this one Tour de France week in July. For many companies, the chance of getting accommodation in Alpe d’Huez are nil, but we have nurtured our hotel relationships for many years and as a result, we have secured the Hotel Le Chamois in the centre of the resort for 3 nights. This hotel’s prime location could not be better for lapping up the ambience (hysteria?!) of the summit stage ending and for manoeuvring to within arm’s reach of the pros at the start of Stage 13 the following day. Throw in a barbecue lunch on the sun terrace of the hotel with big screen TV coverage of the approaching riders and a spectator’s Tour de France experience could not get much better … This is not just any Tour de France holiday – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
During the week you will also have the chance to ride most of the classic Tour de France climbs of the Maurienne and Oisans valleys, including the Galibier, Croix de Fer, Madeleine and the modern classic of the Lacets de Montvernier … not forgetting L’Alpe d’Huez itself (up to 3 times). The serenity of the neighbouring mountains to Alpe d’Huez will be the perfect compliment to the hype of the Tour.
This is a ‘Classic Cols’ style cycling holiday, so each day we offer a variety of ride options to suit cyclists with a range of fitness levels and aspirations. You really can ride the climbs at your own pace and with two support vehicles, we will never be far away with that much needed morale boost, snack, top up of water or other assistance.
For more information, including room share options with different price tags and discounts, please read our Trip Notes and for the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Departure Dates & Prices
We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts off trip costs (not including extras such as single rooms or bike hire):
- Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of your holiday for our 5% Early Bookers discount.
- Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards
- Get a group of 10+ people together for a 10% Group discount
- Please note there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday. However, an additional £105 discount is available if you’re happy to share a triple room for 3 nights at the hotel Chamoix. Enquire for availability!
Day 0: Travel Day
We offer morning and afternoon transfers (at specific times) from Geneva Airport (GVA) to our start hotel in Saint Jean de Maurienne, a journey of about 1hr 30 min.
There will be time to assemble your bike or set up your hire bike before a briefing and hearty dinner with the group.
Those on the morning transfers will have the opportunity to warm up the legs with a ride up to the ski station and Tour de France stage ending of La Toussuire (1702m).
Classic route: La Toussuire: [36km with 1150m ascent] [Ride Profile]
Day 1: Montvernier, Chaussy and the Madeleine
Saint Jean de Maurienne is a Mecca for road cyclists from all around the world and today you’ll find out why.
The gravity-defying stack of hairpins of the Lacets de Montvernier is a classic and a Marmot Tours favourite that is bound to put a smile on your face. This leads nicely into the Col de Chaussy (1533m) which is a ‘characterful’ climb with spectacular views to ease the pain of the few punchy sections.
Following a nice lunch, retiring back to the hotel to find a TV for some Tour viewing is a good option, or for those with energy left to burn, you will be seriously tempted to take on the Col de Madeleine (2000m)
Day 2: Télégraphe, Galibier and L'Alpe d'Huez
Your main objective today is the Col de Galibier (2642m) which features in the 2022 Tour de France route twice and is steeped in Tour history. Starting down at 550m, it is a climb full of variety and character as you rise out of the industrial valley floor, through lush forests to the Col de Télégraphe (1566m). After a little respite in the ski station of Valoire you continue through open moorland and spectacular mountain scenery, motivating you onwards and upwards to the Col.
What goes up must come down and your efforts are rewarded with an incredible 50km (yes, 50km!) descent down to Le Bourg d’Oisans. With 21 bends and our hotel at the top, this is our first opportunity to take on the infamous L’Alpe d’Huez.
Given the amount of climbing today, our Classic Route starts with a lift to the top of the Col du Télégraphe and there is also the option of a lift up to L’Alpe d’Huez.
Our accommodation for the next 3 nights is the comfortable and welcoming Hotel Le Chamois in the heart of Alpe d’Huez.
Classic route: Galibier + L’Alpe d’Huez [85km with 2370m ascent] [ride profile]
Challenge route: Télégraphe + Galibier + L’Alpe d’Huez [110km with 3370m ascent] [ride profile]
Easier route: Galibier [71km with 1270m ascent]
Day 3: Roadside TDF Experience
Today the Tour de France peloton takes on the Lacets de Montvernier and the Galibier ahead of the challenging gradients of the Col du Granon.
We plan to be by the roadside to experience the race. Depending on how much riding you want to do, this could be in the upper section of the Galibier (2642m) or as they speed around a hairpin as they descend past the Col du Lautaret (2058m).
Wherever you watch the tour, there is some great riding to be done over the Col de Sarenne (1999m) and up, through La Grave, with views into the Écrins National Park. After the riders pass by, catching the stage finish on TV from a cafe on the Col du Lautaret is sure to round off the experience before heading back to our hotel in L’Alpe d’Huez over the Col de Sarenne (1999m).
For those wanting an easier ride, there is the option of descending to join a cliff-hugging balcony road that edges its way up the Oisan valley to the barrage of Lac Chambon. From here, you can climb up to the Col de Sarenne (1999m) before descending back to our hotel bar to watch the entire stage on TV.
Classic route: Sarenne E + Lautaret [93km with 2230m ascent] [ride profile]
Challenge route: Sarenne E + Galibier + Sarenne S [113km with 2900m ascent] [ride profile]
Alternative route: Auris balcony road + Sarenne S [50km with 1600m ascent] [ride profile]
Day 4: Watch the TDF stage finish on L'Alpe d'Huez
Today you will be at the very heart of the action! Watching the Tour de France live from L’Alpe d’Huez is a goal for anyone even vaguely interested in cycling.
Your day is very flexible so you can get out of it exactly what you want and there is no need to even look at your own bike if you want to focus on the Tour festivities! However, it might be nice to descend (carefully) down to Le Bourg d’Oisans and then head back up L’Alpe D’Huez to lap up the ambience of the 14km long street party. Assuming that you make it past ‘Dutch Corner’, it is well worth heading to the stage finish to see the scale of this mobile roadshow.
Back on the sun terrace of the hotel (150m from the road and 1km from the actual finish) you can enjoy the Marmot Tours BBQ lunch and live TV coverage (with English commentary) of the approaching riders.
The show starts in earnest about 2 hours ahead of the riders when the elaborate publicity caravan fills the mountainside with blaring music, throwing out Tour de France memorabilia ranging from hats & washing powder to saucisson! A brief moment of calm follows until the arrival of helicopters heralds the approach of the pros and all the spectators go nuts! Need we say more …
TDF 2022 – L’Alpe d’Huez [29km with 1130m ascent] [ride profile]
Day 5: Stage 13 start in Le Bourg-d'Oisans
In order to get a complete picture of the Tour de France, you really need to watch a stage start! The whole thing is geared up for spectators, with pros going out of their way to come and meet their fans. Riders have to sign in and are introduced to the audience before the inevitable final bike checks and line up. Finally it goes quiet as each rider prepares for the day’s challenges that lie ahead.
After a leisurely morning, we roll down ‘the hill’ to Le Bourg-d’Oisans to watch the start of the Tour de France Stage 13.
It is then time to turn our back on the worlds greatest cycling race and head for the serenity of la Croix-de-Fer (2067m). The gradients are generally kind but there are a few cheeky sections. However, the scenery is varied and there is a great café half way up! From the col, you descend down into St Jean de Maurienne, where it all began 5 days ago.
Yet again there are options for those wanting more. The first detours up to the remote and beautiful Col de Mollard (1630m). The second is the much feared TDF stage ending of La Toussuire (1705m), which has historically always been a bit of a battle ground for the polka-dot jersey.
Day 6: Departure Day
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. We will transfer you back to Geneva (1hr 30min) in the morning and afternoon, with a smile on your face and a load of kudos!
Watching the TDF on TV will never be the same again!