Rolling alpine meadows, Savoyard cows and their cow bells, picnics by the lake, stomach-churning hairpin bends and breathtaking descents . . . What are you waiting for? Get on your bike and explore the beautiful Rhone Alps this summer.
Here are three of the best mountain biking routes:
Hairpin bends at 2000m
Lovers of Mountain roads are in luck with this 684km route with 16 passes reaching from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea passing through the Alps. Fully open June to October, everyone follows their own pace and the best method is to stop often and admire the fantastic views offered from passes, some of which are at more than 2000m at their highest point. Along the way you'll pass authentic mountain villages and natural treasures. If you have a strong stomach, admire the views from the sharp, hairpin bends. Most cylists stick to one or two staging points, such as the 80km stretch between Thonon-les Bains and Grand Bornand which takes one day to cycle.
Savoyard cows and their cowbells
This cycle track follows the left bank of the lake over 36km from Annecy to Ugine. With the lake on one side and mountains or meadows on the other, the views never disappoint. Formerly a railway track, this trail is relatively flat. It's also easy to leave the track and find swimming places or villages. The track has direct access to the Marquisats free beach and to both beaches at Sevrier if you fancy a swim. Or go explore the villages of Sevrier, Saint-Jorioz, Duingt and Doussard. Then, back on your bike for more Savoyard cows and their cowbells. At the beginning or end of your day don't forget to stroll round the old town of Annecy and take a cruise on the lake.
Train up and cycle down
Often called the most beautiful railway of the Alpes, the Chemin de Fer de la Mure, climbs up the mountain between the cliffs of the Vercors and the Oisans ranges. The train opens up access to the plateau of Matheysine to explore by foot or bike. Take your bike onboard the train and you have two options at the top. For the most experienced, take the descent along the Lake Pierre Chatel and Lake Pètichet, with a stop at the belvedere Olivier Messiaen and its awesome view of the lake of Laffrey. Or, for a more leisurely cycle, follow the roads and pathways, stopping for a picnic and swim in the lake.