La Tarentaise region of the French Alpes offers an extraordinary location for both Mountain biking and Road cycling. Access by plane from Lyon or Geneva and by train and motorway right to the heart of the valley make this an extremely simple area to get to with your bikes. The region runs along the Isere river valley and comprises of a number of huge mountain resorts made famous for skiing in the winter and a couple of large valley towns.
Road Cycling – The region is also a popular for road cyclists, with classic routes such as the Col de l’Iseran (2764m), the highest paved road in the Alps, Col du Petit Saint Bernard (2188) and the Cormet de Roseland (1968m). In addition, spread along the valley are a number of well maintained resort access climbs to explore. The valley floor and balcony roads provide the perfect recovery day rides, to explore a number of beautiful villages and hamlets throughout the area.
Ideal for families wanting to get their first taste of cycling in the Alps, located on the 12km stretch between Bourg St. Maurice and Aime is a flat paved piece of road dedicated to cyclists, rollerblades and pushchairs.
As well as bike related sports, the region offers hundreds of other activities to keep families, children happy for the duration of your holiday. Open air swimming pools, rafting, paragliding, summer luge, summer skiing (Tignes), hiking, swimming lakes and of course skiing throughout the winter.
Mountain Bike – With a large concentration of high altitude resorts, with modern lift systems most are embracing the explosion in popularity of all forms of mountain biking. Many resorts have now adapted their lift system to encourage mountain bikers with bike parks and mountain bike only trails crisscross the region.
Vast networks of interlinking resorts such as the Trois Vallee and the Paradiski offer massive amounts of varied terrain and trails to explore. Links from the valley such as the Arc en Ciel from Bourg Saint Maurice and the Moutier Meribel gondola extend the riding possibilities below the skiable level through the single track forests on the lowers slops leading to the valley.
Tignes/Val d’Isere located at the end of there valley has focused much of its attention on developing a huge selection of manmade downhill tracks with loads of interesting, jumps north shore and huge berm sections. As with most places in the Alpes single track is everywhere, but often shared with walkers, so attention must be taken during busy periods. The area is service by 5 chairlift and gondola as well as uplift services from satellite villages, all of which are FREE during the summer.
Saint Foy Tarentaise is for those who love natural, flowy, breaks off single track. Similar to the winter, this resort, with just a handful of chairlifts is ideal for those who love to head back country with a full backpack and a map.
Les Arcs is home to some of the best cross country, single track and downhill trails in France. With an altitude drop of over 2000 meters and trails all the way into Bourg St. Maurice, the area promises trails for all level and style of rider.
La Plagne – The altitude range is from 2739m down to 690m. Recent development have seen huge advances for mountain biking in the highest parts of the domain, through the village sites, right down into the valley and along the banks of the Isère river. The area and altitude range accessible from both the summer lift system as well as free busses provides a vast area for mountain bikers to explore.
Other popular resorts in the region include Courchavel, Meribel and Val Thorens (Les Trois Vallee) and La Rosier
Guide to road cycling in the Tarentaise – Thanks to www.Saintefoy-Tarentains.com
Download Tignes/Val d’Isere MTB trail map – Thanks to http://public.tignes.net
Download Saint-Foy-Tarentaise MTB trail map – Thanks to www.saintefoy-tarentaise.com
Download Les Arcs Mountain Bike Trail map – Thanks to www.lesarc.com
Download La Plagne Mountain Bike Trail map – Thanks to www.la-plagne.com
Download Meribel/Les 3 Vallees Mountain Bike Trail map – Thanks to www.mountain-summer.meribel.net