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Cycle touring & bike leisure

EXPLORE ISĂˆRE BY BIKE: 18 SIGNPOSTED CYCLING ROUTES

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Interview : Bernard Thévenet

Going at your own pace in Isère

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André Vallini President of the Isère Departmental Council

Christian Pichoud

Vice-President of the Isère Departmental Council, President of Isère Tourism

sère is true cycling country. From the banks of the Rhône to the summits of the Oisans, there is every kind of terrain, for every kind of cyclist. In the northern part of the region, the rolling countryside is perfect for mellow outings, but more challenging adventures can also be had. To the south you’ll find the mountainous landscape of Vercors, Chartreuse, Belledonne, Oisans and Trièves. During the Tour de France, the dozens of high altitude cols here provide the setting for a wealth of sporting drama. This varied landscape is dotted with picturesque towns that provide perfect stopping points along the way. With hundreds of possible routes, the vast, beautiful department of Isère is perfectly suited for cycling. But it’s also a place where you can go at your own pace. Isère’s Departmental Council, in conjunction with the local cycle touring committee, has signposted 18 cycling loops from the north to the south of the department, for a total of nearly 850 km of riding. The routes vary in difficulty, so there is something for every type of cyclist. We’ve also sought to map out routes throughout the entire department, allowing you to explore all of the area’s riches. Now it’s your turn to hop on your bike and discover all that Isère has to offer! André Vallini President of the Isère Departmental Council

“ Cycling landmarks that can easily be reached in an hour or two ” Bernard Thévenet, two-time winner of the Tour de France (1975 and 1977), has called Isère home for many years now. He still enjoys cycling the department’s varied terrain, which offers outings for every type of cyclist.

ANGELIQUE SUREL/ LE DAUPHINE LIBERE

Welcome

Here, there is one thing you notice: lots of people ride bikes. It’s rare to find yourself pedalling alone.” During his outings, Bernard Thévenet often finds himself riding amongst a steady stream of anonymous cycling enthusiasts. “I only ride when the weather is good, but I always have a great time,” says the former champion. “I hate feeling like I’m racing, even though I do like to pick up the pace occasionally.” Given his pick of the department’s numerous cycling routes, the two-time winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné (1975 and 1976) says he especially enjoys the mountain roads of Belledonne, not far from his home in Saint-Ismier. “With a little bit of fitness, it’s a great ride, with lots of little cols often about a dozen kilometres apart. You have to know how to ride at your own pace, alone or as a group.” Bernard Thévenet appreciates the fact that in Isère, the geography allows for cycling outings of varying difficulties. “From Saint-Marcellin to Voiron, from Vercors to Chartreuse, and from the Oisans to North Isère, there is something for everyone,” says Thévenet, who has served as the director of the Critérium du Dauphiné cycling race for the past three years. “There is also a great network of bicycle paths around Grenoble, which makes it convenient to participate in the sport. And some of the landmarks of the Tour de France can be easily reached in just an hour or two. I have fond memories

Still passionate about cycling,

Bernard Thévenet enjoys exploring the roads of Isère. Pick one of the itineraries described in this magazine, and with a little luck, you might find yourself riding next to this famous champion.

A victorious Bernard Thévenet,

crossing the finish line of the GrenobleBriançon stage during the 1973 Critérium du Dauphiné. He won this race twice during his career.

ARCHIVES DL / LE DAUPHINE LIBERE

Christian Pichoud Vice President of the Isère Departmental Council President of Isère Tourism

of these places.” To name just a few: the Col de Port, often a stage on the Tour de France in the 1960’s; the Laffrey climb; and of course Alpe d’Huez, a spot that sees thousands of cyclists every year. This famous 21-switchback climb is a fixture on the Tour de France, and probably one of the stages that is best known worldwide. On 18 July 2013, the riders will make the challenging ascent not once but twice in a day. For the department’s cyclists, the climb is a source of pride and a notable sporting challenge. “Isère is real cycling country,” concludes Bernard Thévenet, who plans to spend his spring getting back into cycling shape before the Ardéchoise, the famous cyclo sporting event that he honours each year with his presence. Sixty-five year old Thévenet, known for having dethroned the great Eddy Merckx, is still fond of spending time on his bike. “Outdoor sports are really enjoyable. You just need to be safety-minded, and you should always wear a helmet.” So let your inspiration guide you as you choose amongst these 18 cycling loops, which have been mapped out by the Isère Departmental Council. And who knows, somewhere between the paths of Val d’Ainan, the banks of the Rhône in Vienne, Terres Froides, and the famous Oisans climb of Alpe d’Huez, you just might find yourself riding alongside this great champion.

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N FORMATIO IN E T E L P COM RE AT ISM IN ISE R U O T N O

Contents PAGE 3

INTERVIEW : Bernard Thévenet “ Cycling landmarks that can easily be reached in an hour or two ”

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CYCLING IN ISÈRE “ Taking it easy on two wheels ”

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On the banks of the Rhône, orchards and heritage From Antiquity to the Renaissance

Gateway to the Alps Calm and harmony

Flagstone country Precious stones From Vals du Dauphiné to the Pays des Couleurs Art, literature, and a hint of green The birthplace of San-Antonio Following in the footsteps of author Frédéric Dard

On the trail of Mandrin Forest and stone

The Chambaran forest Winding wooded roads

Saint-Marcellin country Nuts and cheese

DESIGN AND PUBLISHING

Le Dauphiné Libéré (SA) - 38113 Veurey cedex. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 71 00.

LE DAUPHINÉ LIBÉRÉ Editor-in-chief for magazines and development: Patrick Peltier Managing editor and coordinator: Georges Bosi Editorial secretary and coordinator: Séraphin Pétin Layout: Sylvie D’aloïa Production: Nathalie Pontet-Cailles-Vernaz Editorial staff: Jeanne Palay / Séraphin Pétin / Philippe Court and Isère Tourisme Translation: Eliza Sprecher ISÈRE TOURISM Director: Isabelle Pissard Director of communications and press relations: Yann d’Ascoli Project manager: Sophie Battaglia ADVERTISING: PUBLIPRINT DAUPHINÉ Managing director: Cyril Robert

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East balcony of the Vercors At the foot of the French Dolomites Trièves, gateway to Provence The majestic Mont Aiguille

The four lakes route Matheysine at its finest

Lac de Palandru tour Watery treasures Chartreuse cols and panoramic views Sound and silence The heights of Chartreuse and Grésivaudan Balcony with a view

From Méaudre to Autrans Vercors, northward bound

Quatre-Montagnes tour The Vercors Plateau

Lac du Verney tour Water and rock

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Alpe d’Huez, Col de Sarenne, Auris The legendary Alpe d’Huez

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PRACTICAL ADVICE

Photo credits: Alexis Chézières, Aymar de Virieu, B. Bodin, Christian Martellet/SMPSG, Collectif ITEM, D. Leroy, D.Fabbri/OT Lans en Vercors, Didier Junger, Eric Beallet/Oisans Tourisme, Gilles Cabella Balloide, Gilles Galoyer-Studio JamaisVu/Pays Voironnais, Henri Landeau, Images et Rêves.com, Isair, Jean Dufres/Chartreuse Tourisme, JL Rigaud/Chartreuse Tourisme, Karin Creuzet, Laget/Chartreuse Tourisme, Laurent Salino/OT Alpe d’Huez, Mark Buscail, Médiathèque EDF - B. Moyen, P. Risacher, Michel Battaglia, Michel Giraud, Nicolas Peillex/Walibi Rhône Alpes, Olivier Zanardi, Patrick Blanc, Pierre Jayet, Refuge de Gève, S.Charles/OT Villard de Lans, S.Serre/Bièvre-Valloire Tourisme, Strobel/Chartreuse Tourisme, Sylvie Chappaz, T.Thiebault/Sivom du Lac de Monteynard, Thomas Hytte/Vercors Tourisme, VDD Expansion. Infographics: Dauphiné Libéré Maps: Mogoma

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Published and distributed by the Dauphiné Libéré. Refer to the daily newspaper the Dauphiné Libéré for complete legal information. All rights reserved. Any form of reproduction, partial or complete, is forbidden without the consent of the publisher. Cover photo: Images et Rêves

Key to difficulties Expert Difficult Moderate Easy

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L’Isère et Cycling in le Isère vélo This year, Isère is offering something new for fans of cycling and bike tourism. Eighteen bike routes have been signposted throughout the department, providing a great way to explore the area’s cultural and culinary riches. The new routes account for a total of 850 kilometres of cycling enjoyment throughout this diverse region.

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any cyclists associate Isère with the mountains and the famous climb up to Alpe d’Huez, and thus with elite-level cycling. There’s some truth to this, but the department also offers gentler terrain that is just as enjoyable. The 18 new cycling routes mapped out and signposted by the Departmental Council are proof of this. The routes provide the opportunity to explore Isère’s natural, cultural, and culinary riches, but they don’t necessarily require Olympic stamina! This is thanks to the region’s widely varying terrain, which ranges from plains and gentle hills to mountainous areas. The north and west of Isère are generally characterised by rolling countryside, while the south and east offer steeper terrain. The new routes offer plenty of opportunities for stops along the way to enjoy a particularly nice view, taste a local specialty (after working up an appetite!) or visit an interesting church or museum (well-appreciated breaks!). Cycling is the perfect way to explore a region at a leisurely pace, and truly soak up its culture. And when it comes to logistics, many of the region’s hotels and restaurants cater especially to cyclists, happily providing bike storage, or a big plate of pasta in the middle of the afternoon! The itineraries are marked by signs featuring an image of a cyclist and the number of the particular loop, so there’s no risk of getting lost. Consequently, this magazine does not give precise details on the routes, but such information can be found on the website www.cyclo-alpes.com. In the pages that follow you will find plenty of information on tourist attractions, unusual local culinary specialties, and shops offering local products. All you need to do is pick out the routes that suit you best, and decide when you want to ride them. The loops can be done any time in the spring, summer, or autumn.

Taking it easy on two wheels

The Grésivaudan valley

doesn’t often look like this: peaceful, open, bucolic.

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L’Isère et Cycling in le Isère vélo EASY LIVING IN THE NORTH On the banks of the Rhône in the northwestern part of Isère, the city of Vienne and its ancient theatre certainly merit a visit. Other cultural highlights include the archaeological site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal, and the Roussillon castle. All of these attractions are linked by quiet little roads that wind through the region’s orchards. Also in the north, the loop around Bourgoin-Jallieu takes you through a peaceful natural landscape. You’ll discover the Montjoux pond, a haven of biodiversity. Further north, the medieval city of Crémieu retains much evidence of its glorious past. Visit the city’s 12th

century castle, ramparts, and 15th century covered market. Its flagstone roof is estimated to weigh 400 tons! Every year during the second week of September, the city hosts a festival that brings to life its medieval history. Consider visiting during the festival if you can. From Vals du Dauphiné to the Pays des Couleurs, you’ll follow quiet local roads through wooded countryside and farmland. Morestel, the picturesque “city of painters” is perched on a rocky promontory topped by a medieval tower. A little further south, there’s a route leading to Saint-Chef, the hometown of writer Fredéric Dard, creator of the famous literary character Commissioner SanAntonio. You’ll want to visit the abbey, which features one of France’s largest Roman frescos, a little-known cultural gem! In the west of the department, the Chambaran forest provides kilometres of quiet roads that wind through the canopy of trees, past numerous ponds. The area is a favourite spot for mushroom gatherers. At the foot of the Chambaran plateau in the Isère valley, the Saint-Marcellin area is home to several of Isère’s most famous culinary specialties, including Saint-Marcellin cheese, walnuts, and ravioli. It’s a great place to stop for a gourmet treat! Winding your way through the walnut groves that produce the famous AOC walnuts of Grenoble, you’ll arrive in the medieval village of Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye, which is known as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Further east, the turquoise waters of Lac Paladru, the fifth largest natural lake in France, invite cyclists to stop for a swim. Underwater archaeological excavations here have uncovered the remains of Neolithic and medieval civilisations. These internationally known discoveries are displayed at the Charavines Maison de Pays.

The many faces of Isère:

mountainous terrain to the south and east, rolling countryside to the north and west, all of which is accessible by bike. You’ll enjoy cycling through this magnificent landscape, from the legendary climb up to Alpe d’Huez (left) to the quiet roads that cross the shady plains (right).

TO THE SOUTH, NATURE’S CATHEDRALS Winding along the foot of the cliffs of the Vercors, route #9 offers a dramatic change in scenery. These splendid limestone cliffs are known as the “Dolomites of France.” Make sure to take your eyes off the road to admire the scenery! The next loop is located near Lac Montey in the region of Trièves, a sort of climactic crossroads between the northern and southern Alps. Here, the vegetation starts to take on a more southerly accent. The Vercors’s ever-present giant monolith, Mont Aiguille, dominates the landscape with its stately silhouette. Beyond the Drac river, the Plateau Matheysin overlooks Lac Monteynard and eventually leads to the Laffrey lakes, which are spread out along the length of Route Napoléon. There are two different cycling routes on the Vercors plateau. The first is located between Méaudre and Autrans. Here, the Molière ridge offers expansive, breath-taking views. The second loop winds around the Plateau des Quatre-Montagnes, with its alpine pastures and limestone summits. A little further east, the lakes of Matheysine are the perfect place for cyclists to cool off and take a break. Here you’ll also encounter an unusual geological feature, the Pierre Percée. This large natural arch was formed by erosion. From here, we move on to another mountain range: the Chartreuse. The Gorges du Frou and the Cirque de Saint-Même are particular highlights of this spectacular limestone lands-

cape. The region is also home to some notable cultural attractions, including the Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse church, which is entirely decorated with flamboyant frescos by Arcabas. The fantastic adventure continues between the Plateau des Petites Roches and Grésivaudan, at the foot of the mountains in the Isère valley. There are two remarkable castles on this route: Fort Barraux, one of the most impressive strongholds in the Alps, and Touvet, known for its 18th century gardens. Heading further into the Alps, between Belledonne and Grandes Rousses, the Eau d’Olle valley and Lac Verney offer a magical landscape of water and rock. And last but not least, there’s the legendary climb up to Alpe d’Huez, a highlight of Oisans cycling and the Tour de France. With its 21 numbered switchbacks, this is an itinerary that all bike touring fans dream of. Whether you consider bike touring to be a way of life or just a way to spend a summer holiday, there is a route here for you! Hard-core cyclists and contemplative pedal pushers alike will be charmed by this adventure through the heart of the region. Get ready to discover the green side of Isère!

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Loop 1 (On the banks of the Rhône, orchards and heritage)

THE WINES OF VIENNE

has brought about a revival of the fruity wines of the northern Rhône. With the same goals in mind, the association Vitis Viennae unites around 15 wine growers who are working to preserve the vineyards on the left bank of the Rhône, between Vienne and Chasse-sur-Rhône. Vitis Viennae Association: vitis.vienna@hotmail.fr www.vinsdevienne.com

From Antiquity to the Renaissance On this loop, plan to make a long stop to enjoy the cultural heritage of the city of Vienne. Then ride through the area’s orchards to reach the Château de Roussillon, the only Renaissancestyle castle in Isère.

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he highlight of this route is the city of Vienne. Officially recognized as a “City of Art and History,” Vienne is home to more than 40 monuments and points of interest. Built to follow the contours of a hillside, the city’s ancient theatre was one of the largest of its kind in Roman times, and could seat about 13,000 spectators. It boasts magnificent acoustics, and is home to a world-renowned jazz festival that takes place annually in July. The Temple of Augustus and Livia is another monument to the city’s Gallo-Roman heritage. Built between 20 and 10 BC, the temple is especially well preserved because it was transformed into a church in the 5th or 6th century. The Saint-Romain-en-Gal archaeological site is one of the largest areas of Gallo-Roman ruins in all of France. Formerly linked to the ancient city of Vienne, the archaeological site is located at the heart of a seven-hectare park. Here you can explore the thermal baths, houses, shops, and workshops that have been revealed over the course of successive excavations. The majestic Cathédrale Saint-Maurice houses several relics of Saint Maurice. The cathedral’s varying architecture is evidence of the different stages of construction, from the 4th century to the Middle Ages, followed by the 19th century restorations. The Château de Roussillon, a registered historic landmark, is the only Renaissance style chateau in Isère. Its Italian elegance is the work of the illustrious architect Sebastiano Serlio. The chateau was commissioned by Cardinal François de Tournon, a personal adviser to François I.

Pear eau-de-vie

The region surrounding Vienne is well suited for growing Williams pears. Consequently, the area has developed a reputation for its excellent pear eau-de-vie, which is produced at the Colombier distillery in Villettede-Vienne. Surrounded by 100-year old trees and a magnificent pear orchard, the distillery is open to visitors upon appointment. You can taste and purchase the distillery’s eau-de-vie, as well as their poached pears and plain or spiced preserves… www.poire-colombier.com

Already renowned as early as the 1st century, the wines of north Vienne were brought up to date to suit modern tastes in 1995 by three friends : Pierre Gaillard, François Villard and Yves Cuilleron. These passionate wine enthusiasts decided to breathe new life into these wines by using modern techniques (natural vinification and aging in new barrels). Since the 1980s, their work

Temple of Augustus and Livia

Built to honour Augustus, this Roman temple is located in the Gallo-Romain part of Vienne. It is as famous as the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. Tel. + 33 (0)4 74 53 80 30 www.vienne-tourisme.com

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GENERAL INFORMATION

63 km

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Vienne’s ancient theatre

Starting point

Vienne

Total elevation gain

660

Min. elevation

162

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

435

Signposted route

Yes

A beautiful, open-air museum that transforms into a top-notch concert venue in summer. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 53 80 30 www.vienne-tourisme.com

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Saint-Romain-en-Gal archaeological site Covering several hectares on the right bank of the Rhône, this museum and archaeological site are among the most beautiful in Europe. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 53 74 01 www.musees-gallo-romains.com

Château de Roussillon

In 1564, this castle hosted the young King Charles IX, who signed the Edict of Roussillon here. The edict stated that for all of the kingdom of France, the new year would begin on 1 January. Tel: +33 (04) 74 86 72 02 www.tourisme-pays-roussillonnais.fr

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- La Ferraz, bed and breakfast. 39 route de Sonnay 38150 La Chapelle-de-Surieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 79 43 10. www.laferraz.com - Le Cyprès Bleu, bed and breakfast. 15 rue Julian Grimau 38150 Roussillon. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 29 71 68. www.lecypresbleu.com

Local specialties - Ferme de la Limone (farm), in Saint-Romain-de-Surieu: cheese. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 79 49 10. - Ferme de Montgay (farm), in Vernioz: cheese, yogurt, tomme daubée cheese spread. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 84 42 30. - Dominique Javon, beekeeper in Roussillon. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 29 73 97. - Henri Koch, beekeeper in Assieu.

Tel. +33 (0)4 74 79 42 44. - Le Clos du Mont Vinon, wine shop in Roussillon. Tel. +33 (0)9 79 71 48 64. - Domaine Mancosu, wine shop in Roussillon. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 86 60 73. - Le Mussi, shop in Roussillon selling local products. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 86 75 51.

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son Saint-Prix (museum) in Péage-de-Roussillon.

Tourist offices and information - Vienne tourist office. 14 cours Brillier - 38200 Vienne. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 53 80 30. www.vienne-tourisme.com - Roussillon tourist office - Place de l’Édit 38150 Roussillon. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 86 72 07. www.tourisme-pays-roussillonnais.fr

- Parc Municipal de Roussillon (municipal park). - Etang Municipal de Roussillon (pond and picnic area). - Saint-Lazare area, in Saint-Romain-de-Surieu (picnic area, spring). - La Madone, in Ville-sous-Anjou (statue of the virgin Mary, picnic area, panoramic view). - Nearby: Parc Municipal Beauregard (municipal park), Mai-

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Loop 2 (Gateway to the Alps)

Calm and harmony Just south of the town of Bourgoin-Jallieu, the pristine natural surroundings of northern Isère are the perfect place for a relaxing outing.

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he Musée de Bourgoin-Jallieu is a museum devoted to the area’s local heritage. It focuses on two themes: the textile industry, which forged the region’s manufacturing identity, and the work of post-impressionist landscape painter Victor Charreton. This is the only museum in the Rhône-Alpes region to present the history of printing on fabric, a specialized aspect of Lyon silk manufacturing. The museum explores the evolution of this regional industry over the past 200 years, from the earliest stamping techniques to the latest computerized technologies. Entry to the museum is free. The Montjoux pond nature reserve (‘Espace naturel sensible de l’étang de Montjoux’), located two kilometres from Saint-Jean-deBournay, is a haven of biodiversity. The area is teeming with numerous birds, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. In the spring and summer, the pond’s magnificent reed bed serves as a mating ground for water birds like crested grebes, coots, moorhens, and even the rare purple heron. From the embankment you can observe the various migrating birds. In keeping with the aquatic theme, but on a more playful note, the Moulin recreation area (‘Base de loisirs du Moulin’) is located in Meyrieu-les-Etangs. The 20-hectare outdoor area (including 9 hectares of water) offers activities like canoeing, kayaking, fishing, ping-pong, and miniature golf. There’s also a waterslide and lifeguard-supervised swimming area. If you’re looking for a change of pace, you

Base de Loisirs du Moulin

A 20-hectare recreation area in a charming setting, near Meyrieu-les-Étangs. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 59 30 34 - www.camping-meyrieu.com

- Château de Bonnevaux. Bonnevaux 38440 Villeneuve-de-Marc. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 59 38 89. www.chateau-bonnevaux.fr - Château de Césarges. A bed and breakfast in an exceptional setting. No evening meals. 770 chemin de Césarges - 38300 Maubec. Tel. +33 (0)4 37 03 08 22. www.chateau-cesarges.com

Places to take a break - Enjoy a picnic at the Moulin recreation area (Base de loisirs

Chartreuse mountains

From Eparres, there are excellent views of the Grand Som and the Chartreuse mountains.

Musée de Bourgoin-Jallieu This museum describes how the textile industry has contributed to the region’s identity. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 28 19 74 - www.bourgoinjallieu.fr

GENERAL INFORMATION D

24 km

Starting point

Meyrieu-les-Étangs

Total elevation gain

413

Min. elevation

377

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

523

Signposted route

Yes

B Difficulty

Étang de Montjoux

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The Montjoux pond nature reserve is home to a wide variety of bird and amphibian species. www.isere.fr

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

can leave your bike and go for a walk on one of the numerous hiking trails through this wooded area. You’ll encounter frequent ruins, evidence that the area was inhabited during prehistoric times. There are also hundreds of ponds that provide habitat for a remarkable variety of plant and animal species. The earthen construction techniques used in the area make the local villages and hamlets especially picturesque.

du Moulin) in Meyrieu-les-Étangs. Tel. + 33 (0)4 74 59 30 34. - Stop and clean your bike at one of the four washhouses in Sainte-Anne-sur-Gervonde. http://www.sainteannesurgervonde.fr/

Along the route - Bike repair : Store Bike, in Saint-Jean-de-Bournay (6 kilometres from Meyrieu-les-Étangs). Tel. +33 (0)9 81 93 07 22. www.storebike.fr - The company Time Sport, based in Vaulx-Milieu, manufac-

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Saint-Jean-de-Bournay tourist office. La gare 38440 Saint-Jean-de-Bournay. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 58 79 79. - Isère, Porte des Alpes. www.tourisme-ipa38.fr - Bourgoin-Jallieu tourist office, 1 place Carnot 38300 Bourgoin-Jallieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 93 47 50. www.bourgoinjallieu.fr

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tures high end parts for road and mountain bikes, including pedals, frames, forks, stems, and accessories. www.time-sport.com

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This delicious treat has been around for five centuries. It was invented in 1449 when the future king, Louis XI, made a stop in the city. To honour the Dauphin, the city’s bakers made a cake in the shape of a crown, using flour, milk, honey, eggs, and yeast. It wasn’t until the 19th century that a baker from Bourgoin had the idea to decorate the brioche with red

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and white sugar crystals, pralines, and sugarcoated almonds. Nowadays, this brioche is one of the symbols of Bourgoin-Jallieu. You can find them in all of the local bakeries.

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Loop 3 (Flagstone country)

Precious stones

Grottes de la Balme

On this ride through the northernmost part of Isère and the outskirts of Crémieu, you’ll encounter stone in all its forms, from medieval buildings and archaeological ruins to incredible caves. You can even visit a museum devoted entirely to flagstone.

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he medieval city of Crémieu is certainly worth a visit. You’ll explore the 12th century royal castle, strategically located on a high promontory, as well as the city’s imposing fortified 14 th century gates, majestic 15 th century covered market, and Augustinian monastery, which is built up against the ramparts. Further north, the town of Hières-sur-Amby features two main attractions: the local heritage museum, and the Larina archaeological site. Located in an 18th century flagstone parish, the museum explores the lives of the local inhabitants, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. You’ll discover their way of life, conflicts, and funeral rites. The museum displays some extraordinary archaeological discoveries, including weapons, jewellery, crafts, and burial objects. The artefacts are accompanied by maps, models, and reproductions to further your understanding. Located at the summit of the cliffs above the plains, the Larina archaeological site dates back to prehistoric times. Here you’ll find the remnants of a vast rural inhabitation dating back to the end of Antiquity and the Merovingian period. Fifteen years of digging has uncovered farm buildings, houses, a chapel, and a necropolis. Access to the site is free and interpretative placards explain the findings. The Grottes de la Balme caves tunnel through the cliffs of the Isle-Crémieu plateau, near a large bend in the Rhône river. They offer a surprising variety of geological features, including maze-like tunnels, potholes, an underground lake, and a tiered formation of small pools. There is also wealth of cave-dwelling animal life, including bats, of course. The Musée de la Lauze, in Annoisin-Chatelans, is a museum entirely dedicated to flagstone. It explores the geology of the stone, quarrying techniques, stonecutting, and its use in traditional architecture. Flagstone was also used in the construction of the village’s buildings and the museum itself. The historic quarries

LA FOYESSE This unusual brioche is a specialty of the Crémieu bakeries.

Enjoy an incredible underground journey through these caves, which are a veritable masterpiece of nature. Tel: +33 (0)4 74 96 95 00. www.grottes.biz

Use one pound of flour. Make a well in the mound of flour and add: 10 g of salt 25 g of sugar 4 eggs ½ cube of baker’s yeast ½ glass of lukewarm water Knead, add 300 g of softened butter, and knead again. Leave to rise for an hour and a half. Fold the dough and let it rise again for an hour and a half. Spread the dough into a pie-shape on a sheet of baking parchment and allow to rise another hour. Top the dough with bits of butter and coarse-grained sugar. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes and cool before serving.

that provided the stone are located nearby. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 11 28. www.auberge-de-larina.fr

GENERAL INFORMATION

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44 km

Starting point

Optevoz

Total elevation gain

474

Min. elevation

205

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

420

Signposted route

Yes

B Difficulty

Hières-sur-Amby The Larina archaeological site provides evidence that prehistoric humans also appreciated this hospitable area. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 95 19 10 - www.musee-larina-hieres.fr

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

Crémieu ramparts

These fortifications bear witness to Crémieu’s important military, religious, and economic history. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 90 45 13 - www.tourisme-cremieu.fr

- Val d’Amby hotel-restaurant. 2 place de la République 38118 Hières-sur-Amby. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 82 42 67. www.hotel-levaldamby.com - Les Léchères: gîtes. Le village - 38118 Hières-sur-Amby. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 82 42 67. www.hotel-levaldamby.com (the gîtes are part of the hotel). The two establishments listed above are approved by Gîtes de France, and specialize in hosting cyclists. They offer services like locked bike storage, bike washing, tools for small repairs, laundry, and special meals. These services are available upon reservation only. - La Bicyclette Fleurie, in Villemoirieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 90 06 55.

Local specialties

Flagstone-roofed washhouse

Flagstone was often used in the region’s traditional architecture, and can be frequently spotted in Crémieu.

In Crémieu: - La Chèvre Ry (farm): goat breeding, farm-made cheeses, direct sale of farm products. Tel. +(0)4 74 90 67 35. www.lachevrery.com

- Les Ursulines, microbrewery. 4 côte Chausson. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 60 35. www.biere-les-ursulines.com - Artisanal flour and pasta at the Duclos-Gonet farm. The farm is currently converting to organic. The grains are milled on site. La Levratière.14 route de Lyon. Tel. +33 (0)6 35 58 53 14. - Saveurs Paysannes- a cooperative of local farmers who sell their own products. 17 avenue Roland Delachenal. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 90 88 23 In Annoisin-Chatelans: - Les Ruchers du Bon Val, beekeepers. 144 chemin de la Prairie. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 85 14. www.lesruchersdubonval.com

Km

- Annoisin-Chatelans: in Chatelans there are public toilets and drinking water next to the bus parking area, across from the Auberge de Larina and the Musée de la Lauze.

Tourist offices and information - Crémieu tourist office. 9 place de la Nation 38460 Crémieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 90 45 13. www.tourisme-cremieu.fr - Montalieu-Vercieu tourist office. 5 place de la Mairie 38390 Montalieu-Vercieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 88 48 56. www.valleebleue.org

Along the way - Crémieu: a small push-button fountain provides drinking water. Place de la Nation, across from the tourist office. - Bike repair: Nino Cycles Rando. 21 cours Baron Raverat 38460 Crémieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 90 90 83. ninocycles2@free.fr

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Loop 4 (From Vals du Dauphiné to the Pays des Couleurs)

PÈRE LOUIS’S OSTRICH FARM Passionate about these unusual birds, Père Louis has established a breeding farm in Vézeronce-Curtin, not far from Morestel.

Art, literature, and a hint of green

Père Louis will take you on a lively, entertaining visit of his farm, teaching you all of the particularities of

From the painters of Morestel to the literary village of Brangues, this loop has a distinctive artistic and cultural note to it. And for cyclists, it’s like a country holiday!

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he Musée d’Aoste explores the history of Aoste during the GalloRoman era, a period of prosperity for the village thanks to its strategic location between Vienne and Italy. The exhibits outline the daily lives of the inhabitants, production activities, religious practices, and the crafts of the era, notably ceramics. The museum is home to a large collection of artefacts, thanks to the wealth of Gallo-Roman archaeological discoveries in the area. Built on a rocky promontory topped with a medieval tower, Morestel has attracted numerous artists ever since the 19 th century, and is known as “the city of painters.” You’ll want to visit the fortified section of the old city and the castle tower with its panoramic map. Other highlights include a magnificent flower garden landscaped to resemble a painter’s palette, a beautiful heritage tour, as well as tours of the city’s extensive flower gardens. Located in the canton of Morestel, the town of Brangues calls itself a “literary village,” since its history has been marked by two famous writers. This is where the Berthet affair took place, a historical event that inspired Stendhal’s novel Le Rouge et le Noir. This town on the banks of the Rhône was also home to writer Paul Claudel. His chateau is privately owned by members of the Claudel family, but his gravesite and its Japanese garden can be visited on local heritage days (‘Journées du Patrimoine’). The Claudel-Stendhal exhibition space is dedicated to these two writers and their connection to the village. On a more playful note, Parc Walibi, located in Avenières, offers a waterpark and other thrilling rides, all in a musical setting.

On the road

GENERAL INFORMATION

47 km

Brangues

C

The church steeple stands tall in the village that captivated Paul Claudel and inspired one of Stendhal’s most notable novels. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 80 32 14. http://claudel-stendhal.com

these little-known birds. You can purchase ostrich eggs (nourishing and decorative) as well as meat, pâté, dry-cured sausage, and gift baskets. How trendy! RN 75 - 38510 Vézéronce-Curtin. Tel. + 33 (0)4 74 80 15 38 or +33 (0)6 82 67 49 79.

Starting point

Les Avenières

Total elevation gain

375

Min. elevation

205

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

413

Signposted route

Yes

Difficulty

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Morestel

The historic village of Morestel is an integral part of the area’s cultural heritage. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 80 19 59. www.morestel.com

Walibi

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

Bed and breakfasts offering bike storage and special meals for cyclists. - La Chaumine Dolomoise, Christiane and Antoine Gasser. 217 rue du Champ-de-Mars - 38110 Dolomieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 90 33. - La Paumanelle, Corinne and Rémi Chavanon. 498 route du Saint-Martin - 38630 Corbelin. Tel. + 33 (0)4 74 83 77 72. www.lapaumanelle.com

Musée d’Aoste

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Tel. +33 (0)8 20 42 64 36. www.walibi.com

This museum provides information on the large ceramics factory built by the Romans in Aoste. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 32 58 27 - www.mairie-aoste.fr

Local specialties Farm products - Ferme La Bardelière, Nicole and Marc Martin Cordier. 725 route de la Chèvre - 38630 Corbelin. Tel. + 33 (0)4 74 88 96 70. www.la-bardeliere.com - Ferme de la Colline, Marie-France Girerd. 597 route de la Renouillère - 38630 Corbelin Tel. +33 (0)4 74 88 91 11. - La Gentilhommiere, Chemin de la Coche 38510 Sermérieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 80 21 49. - Verte Campagne, Harlé Julien. Cessenoud 38510 Le Bouchage. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 80 05 73. Apples, apple juice, pears, walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnut oil, honey, jam, cheese, dry-cured sausage, Sabodet sausages. Wine - Cave Gonon (wine seller). La Côte des Marais - 38490 Granieu. White wine (Chardonnay and Jacquères), red wine

(Gamay and Pinot), rosé, and sparkling wines (white and rosé). Tel. + 33 (0)4 76 31 80 63. - Domaine Meunier (vineyards), Martine and Béatrice Meunier. 81, rue du Mont Dolet - 38510 Sermérieu. www.domainemeunier.free.fr Wines of the Balmes Dauphinoises : Chardonnay, pinot gris, rosé, Gamay pinot, whites and rosés using traditional methods. Visits of the vineyards are possible upon request. Snails - Escargots de Bordenoud, Mr. & Mrs. Simand. 280 rue des Escargots - 38890 Vignieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 92 56. Cooked snails: Burgundy style or with Roquefort, cassolettes, verrines.

Bread and flour - Le Moulin D’Arche - 38390 Bouvesse-Quirieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 88 61 61. www.moulindarche.com. 26 types of breads and pastries baked using techniques developed from the observation and repetition of traditional methods. - La Ferme de la Glycine, Andréas Gorecki. 2577 route d’Olouise - 38510 Sermerieu. Thursdays from 4 to 6:30 PM. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 80 59 92. - Au Four et au Moulin, Mr. Hecq. Le Moulin d’Arche 38390 Bouvesse-Quirieu. Bakery open Tuesday through Sunday. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 88 61 61. www.moulindarche.com

Along the route Panoramic views not to miss: - Morestel: the medieval tower with panoramic map, views of the Bugey region and the Alps. - Vasselin: Mont Gerlandes. - Passins: the esplanade of the church, offering views of the Bugey and Savoie regions. - Cycl’Oxygene: bike sales, maintenance, and repairs. Z.A du Lantey - 38510 Passins. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 27 22 57. - Drinking water is available at the Halles de Morestel. - In Morestel, shelter can be found at the covered market area at the Place des Halles. Bike racks available at the tourist office (at the foot of the old city).

Tourist offices and information - Avenières tourist office. 110 avenue Général JacquesGuillermaz - 38630 Les Avenières. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 33 66 22. www.otlesavenieres.fr - Morestel tourist office. 100 place des Halles 38510 Morestel. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 80 19 59. www.morestel.com

From one historic or recreational area to another.

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Ronde d’un art du monde

Loop 5 (The birthplace of San-Antonio)

A modern art tour featuring a series of outdoor installations that you can visit throughout the town. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 14 87

Following in the footsteps of author Frédéric Dard

Musée du Tisserand Dauphinois This historic textile-weaving factory has been transformed into a lively, interesting museum. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 08 99. www.batie-montgascon.com

Gently rolling terrain leads from the village of Saint-Chef, home of writer Frédéric Dard, to La Tour-du-Pin, with its remarkable church and modern art tour. Cyclists may even be treated to views of Mont Blanc.

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rédéric Dard, author of a series of crime novels featuring the famous Commissioner San-Antonio, was born in Jallieu (now known as Bourgoin-Jallieu) in 1921. His dying wish was to be buried in the cemetery of Saint-Chef. He spent part of his childhood in this village, and returned here often to regain energy. The Musée de Saint-Chef is devoted in part to his work. You’ll also want to visit the rest of the village and the abbey. The abbey church of Saint-Chef is a remarkable example of French religious heritage. Its 12 th century Roman frescos are among the most lavish and best conserved, but perhaps the least known to the general public. The frescos cover the entire interior (nearly 100 m²), from the gold and blue mosaic floor to the arched ceiling. In La Bâtie-Montgascon, the Musée du Tisserand Dauphinois explores the history of weaving in the Dauphiné in the 19 th century. This former textile factory has been renovated to provide 700 m² of exhibition space, which is filled with hand and mechanical looms that are in perfect working order. The church in La Tour-du-Pin is notable for its two triptychs, one of which is a 16 th century representation of the crucifixion. Listed as a historic monument, this Renaissance work has long been attributed to a student of Dürer. The other triptych, a modern work by the painter Arcabas, is entitled “Visit from the Three Kings,” and depicts the Magi worshipping Jesus. In the same geographical area, an outdoor art tour called Ronde d’un Art du Monde features modern art installations located in the communities of Faverges-de-la-Tour, Rochetoirin, Saint-Jean-de-Soudain and La Tour-du-Pin.

A

Abbaye de Saint-Chef

GENERAL INFORMATION

28 km

Starting point

Rochetoirin

Total elevation gain

256

Min. elevation

343

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

449

Signposted route

Yes

D

The Saint-Chef abbey is decorated with exceptional Roman frescos that date back to the 12th century. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 92 59 92. www.saint-chef.fr

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- La Grimaudière, rural gîte with bike storage. Corinne and Serge Paris, 33 route de Saint-Pierre, Hameau Reculfort - 38110 Rochetoirin. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 54 96 or +33 (0)6 79 62 76 66. http://www.gitelagrimaudiere.com. - Les Vieux Pétrins, bed and breakfast. Bike storage and special meals for cyclists upon request. Michèle Mens, 557 chemin de la Croix des 3 Mulets 38110 La Bâtie-Montgascon. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 88 85 63. www.lesvieuxpetrins.fr - Le Clos de La Tour, gîte and apartment. Bike storage but no meals. Ms. Jas and Ms. Besançon, 34 boulevard Gambetta - 38110 La Tour-du-Pin. Tel. +33 (0)6 74 27 98 45 and +33 (0)6 21 80 28 32. www.leclosdelatour.fr

Regional products

Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 07 97 / +33 (0)6 60 96 35 77. - Gaec de Reculfort and Yann Moine. Beef and poultry. 5 route de Reculfort - 38110 Rochetoirin. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 01 83. - Ferme de la Cassole, Frédéric and Karen Jacquet. 30 chemin de la Cassole - 38110 Saint Didier de La Tour. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 83 98. www.fermedelacassole.typeprd.fr Saffron - La Ferme des Roseaux. 432 chemin du Combabelot 38110 Saint-Jean-de-Soudain. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 58 13. - Le Mas du Lossert. 355 chemin du Lossert 38110 La-Chapelle-de-La-Tour. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 30 94.

Along the route

Chocolate - Le Miron de La Tour du Pin: these artisanal chocolates are blended with praline, almond paste, and candied lemon, and covered with a thin layer of nougatine. Available in the local pastry shops.

Panoramic views: - Rochetoirin - Dolomieu - Faverges-de-la-Tour (Gorges du Pissoud)

Farm products - Ferme Desvignes, Monique and Serge Desvignes. Milk, cheese, poultry. 36 route de la Vuisset - 38110 Rochetoirin. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 16 84. - Chèvrerie de Fontenailles (goat farm), Anne Riberger Guilbaud. 69 route de Fontenailles - 38110 Rochetoirin. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 88 86 78 / 06 11 64 49 05. - Chèvrerie de Mauchamp (goat farm), Christophe and Nathalie Goutagny. 440 route du Vieux four Mauchamp 38110 Saint-Clair-de-La-Tour.

- Rochetoirin: Étang de la Fricolière (pond) - La Chapelle-de-la-Tour : Étang de Chantillin, Étang de la Feuillée, Étang des Écherolles (ponds) - Faverges-de-la-Tour: Gorges du Pissoud

Natural scenic areas

Tourist offices and information

Tour-du-Pin triptych These two works of art were created 450 years apart, but their artistry is timeless, so they blend together seamlessly. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 14 87.

WINES OF THE BALMES DAUPHINOISES The product of a long tradition, the wines of the Balmes Dauphinoises are a pleasant surprise to wine lovers.

Until the mid-18th century, Isère was home to extensive vineyards, especially in the north of the department. On the sunny hillsides surrounding Saint-Chef, the tradition lives on with the vineyards that produce the wines of the Balmes Dauphinoises. Noël Martin is among the local wine growers. His vineyard grows around thirty different grape varieties (chardonnay, pinot noir, gamay, etc.), and uses traditional winemaking techniques. Another grower, Nicolas Gonin, has chosen to plant only local varieties (altesse, mondeuse, persan, etc.), “in order to obtain wines with more complexity and aging potential.” He also hopes to

breathe new life into the old varieties. His vineyard received organic certification in 2012. - Domaine Noël Martin, Mont de Trieux, 38890 - Saint-Chef. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 92 52 64. http://domainenoelmartin.fr - Domaine Nicolas Gonin, 945 route des Vignes - 38890 Saint-Chef. Tel. +33 (0)6 10 39 25 15. www.vins-nicolas-gonin.com

- La Tour-du-Pin tourist office, Place Antonin Dubost, Les Halles - 38110 La Tour-du-Pin. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 97 14 87. - Saint-Chef tourist office, Place de la Mairie - 38890 Saint-Chef. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 27 73 83. www.saint-chef.fr

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Loop 6 (On the trail of Mandrin)

THE MUSHROOMS OF CHAMBARAN

Forest and stone

The Chambaran forest is famous for its mushrooms, especially in the area surrounding Toutes Aures col. The most common species include boletus, and black, golden and funnel chanterelles. While the best season is certainly autumn, some mushrooms can be found earlier in the season. Summer boletus, for example, are found at the foot of oak and beech trees from June to September. Nicolas Grandclaude, chef at L’Atelier Grandclaude in Marnan, is a real mushroom lover: “I love hunting for mushrooms in the Chambaran forest. I’m also lucky

Located at the edge of the Chambaran forest, which served as a hideout for the famous smuggler Mandrin, this route is perfect for exploring the unique architecture of Roybon, and the Chateau de Bressieux.

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he historic town of Roybon charms visitors with its stone houses, red brick Saint-Jean-Baptiste church, and Statue of Liberty. The village is proud of its replica of Lady Liberty, which was a gift from Bartholdi to his friend Sainte-Romme, both prominent figures in the local community in the early 20 th century. When you visit Roybon, stop by the tourist office to get a copy of the booklet Mémoire des Galets. Near the village, Lac de Roybon (Lake Roybon) offers a recreation area with beaches, playgrounds, and picnic sites. Access is free. The lake is regularly stocked with trout, and fishing is authorised year round, except for the first and third Fridays of every month. The Madone Notre-Dame-des-Vents (statue of the Virgin Mary) stands on a hill above Saint-Michel-de-Saint-Geoirs. In the Middle Ages, a fortified castle overlooked the village, but today only the name remains: Le Château. In the area where the castle once stood, a statue of the Virgin Mary was erected in 1954. A stronghold for one of the most powerful fiefdoms of medieval Dauphiné, the Château de Bressieux played a notable role in the history of the province. Today, the red brick towers are still standing. From the top of the tallest tower, there are panoramic views of Chambaran, Bièvre, and Vercors. In the village, a small museum describes the history of human inhabitation of Bressieux, from prehistoric times up until modern day. A scale model shows the brick fortress as it appeared when it was built. In the town of Saint-Siméon-de-Bressieux, the glass-roofed Girodon silk factory is also worth a visit. Built by a Lyon silk manufacturer, the factory includes two buildings linked by a glass-roofed area. It employed nearly a thousand people and operated until 1934.

GENERAL INFORMATION

57 km

Soierie de Girodon

Located in Saint-Siméon-de-Bressieux, this silk factory employed nearly a thousand people. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com

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C

Château de Bressieux

A

Starting point

Marnans

Total elevation gain

933

Min. elevation

396

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

714

Signposted route

Yes

Difficulty

B

The local red bricks used to build the castle give it a bright glow. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 20 07 34. http://bressieux38.free.fr

to know several mushroom hunters who sell to me, so I can cook with them regularly in my restaurant. I use them in several different recipes, including small savoury biscuits, a cream of mushroom dish, and boletus sautéed with Parmesan and beef stock. These dishes add woodland flavours to my autumn menu.” You can also buy mushrooms at the Viriville and Roybon outdoor markets. Atelier Nicolas Grandclaude. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 28 71. www.ateliergrandclaude.com

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- Gîte de Château Rocher, in Roybon, at the heart of the Chambaran forest. In the 14th century, the area was used to harvest timber for the glass-making industry. This 40-hectare property is located in the middle of the vast Chambaran forest plateau. Gîte available for groups only. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 20 98. www.gite-isere.com - Château des Ayes, gîte in Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs. Located at the edge of the Chambaran forest, this historic residence was built in 1883. It offers a natural setting in a 1.5 hectare wooded park. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 93 58 32. www.chateaudesayes.fr

Local specialties

Madone de Notre-Dame-des-Vents

The statue sits on top of a promontory overlooking Saint-Michel-de-Saint-Geoirs. You can’t miss it!

Église de Roybon Completed in 1880, the church was constructed using local materials, including bricks and rounded stones. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com

La Liberté de Roybon Roybon has its own Statue of Liberty, just like New York! www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com

- Le P’tit Barru: a goat farm in La Forteresse. Farm products and milking demonstrations. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 91 30 45 or +33 (0)6 26 37 34 65. - Gaffe de Chambaran: these rustic macaroons are sweetened with chestnut honey and filled with a thin layer of berry compote. A real treat for your taste buds ! Available at Boulangerie Jaume, in Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs. - Les Jardins du Mareytang, in Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs: fruits, vegetables, oils, lentils, spring and autumn bedding plants. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 65 44 65. www.jardinsdumareytang.fr - Auberge du Château, in Bressieux: a restaurant in a bucolic

setting at the foot of the ruins of a feudal castle overlooking the vast Bièvre plain. The cuisine varies seasonally, and emphasizes local products. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 20 91 01. www.aubergedebressieux.fr

Along the route - Col de Toutes Aures: panoramic views, picnic tables, panoramic map. - Saint-Paul-d’Izeaux: visit the town’s remarkable fountain. - Camp de César, in Plan: located at the highest point of a hilly area separating the Isère valley from the Bièvre plain, this vast fortified settlement is thought to have provided refuge for Caesar at one point in time. - Tools for minor bike repairs are available at the tourist offices of Roybon and Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs.

Tourist offices and information - Roybon tourist office, 40 Place du Maquis de Chambaran 38490 Roybon. Tel. +33 (04) 76 36 25 86. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com - Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs tourist office, 21-23 Grande rue Octave Chenavas - 38590 Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 25 86. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com

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Loop 7 (The Chambaran forest)

PRODUCTS FROM THE ABBEY

Winding wooded roads

The immense Chambaran nature reserve is the highlight of this route. Other remarkable landmarks include the beautiful Roman church in Marnans, and the church bells of Châtenay, which are the oldest in France.

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he Chambaran nature reserve, in Saint-Pierre-de-Bressieux, is one of the largest in France, with a total surface area of 240 hectares. The reserve’s 35 kilometres of trails allow you to observe a variety of animal species in their natural habitat, including red deer, fallow deer, wild sheep, roe deer, wild boar, and birds. There are three ponds within the reserve (Fond Coully, Fontrouge and Étang Neuf), making the area a perfect spot to fish for carp, pike, and perch. Built in 1862, the Eglise de Châtenay features neo-Gothic construction. The church houses a rich collection of liturgical objects made of cast iron, as well as mural paintings. The steeple contains a set of 19 bells, which are registered as a historic monument since they are the oldest in France. The bells ring every Saturday from 6:00 to 6:30 PM, from mid-June to midSeptember. The Roman church of Saint-Pierre-de-Marnans, located in Marnans, dates back to the 12 th century. A registered historic monument, the church is one of the Dauphiné’s most notable Roman structures. Every year, the festival “Les étés de Marnans” welcomes artists to exhibit their works in this simple historic church. The village of Roybon, the veritable capital of Chambaran, is nestled in the heart of an immense forest, against the backdrop of the Vercors mountains. The local architecture is quite distinctive, since nearly all of the houses built within the last century feature walls made of rounded stones. The stones were gathered from nearby riverbeds and fields. During the era of frequent wars between the principalities of Savoie and Dauphiné, numerous fortified constructions were built along the border between the two areas. This was the case for the village of Roybon, which is located at the centre of what was once the royal forest of Chambaran. The forest sat on the border of the Dauphiné until 1355. The ramparts of Roybon had three gates, called Porte de Romans, Porte de Saint-Vallier, and Porte de La Côte-SaintAndré. Near the village, the Lac de Roybon features a recreation area with beaches, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Entry is free. For fishermen, the lake is stocked with trout on a regular basis.

Six kilometres from Roybon, the Abbaye de Chambaran (Chambaran Abbey) is home to a community of Trappist nuns, who have long had roots in the Chambaran area, across from the Vercors mountains. Until 2003, the abbey produced one of the region’s best cheeses. While they no longer make cheese, the community sells a variety of products made in other moAbbaye de Chambaran

GENERAL INFORMATION

18 km

Église de Châtenay

C

This church’s bell tower has 19 bells and is the oldest in France, making it a historic monument. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com

nasteries, including cheese, pâté, beer, wine, honey, chocolate, cakes, pain relieving balms, soap, etc. The abbey’s shop is open every day except Tuesday, from 10:30 to 11:45 AM and from 2:45 to 5:00 PM, and on Sundays from 11:30 AM to 12:15 PM and from 2:45 to 5:00 PM. www.chambarand.fr

Starting point

Marnans

Total elevation gain

275

Min. elevation

363

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

612

Signposted route

Yes

Difficulty

B

Église de Marnans

A

This church is one of the gems of Roman art in the Dauphiné. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com

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Chambarans forest The best times of day to observe the animals are in the morning and evening. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 20 14 93. www.parcdechambaran.fr

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- Camping de Roybon: located at an altitude of 520 metres, this campground is bordered by a lake and river, and features a swimming pool. It’s perfect for nature lovers, fishermen, outdoor sports enthusiasts, and families on holiday. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 23 67 (from April to October). www.campingroybon.com - Bonnoît hotel-restaurant, located in the heart of Chambaran, in Viriville. The setting is calm and agreeable. The restaurant’s traditional cuisine varies according to season, with young goat in the spring, and game in the autumn. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 54 41 85. http://hotel-restaurant-bonnoit.jimdo.com - La Dupré, bed and breakfast in Roybon. Located at the trailhead for the marked walking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 28 99. la.dupre.pagesperso-orange.fr

Local specialties

Lac de Roybon The perfect place to cool off and take a break.

- Auberge le Bon Roy, in Roybon: restaurant with weekday lunch specials featuring ingredients from the Chambaran area. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 38 11 74.

Atelier Nicolas Grandclaude, in Marnans. The restaurant’s menu changes regularly in order to offer seasonal products. Calm setting. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 28 71. www.ateliergrandclaude.com

Along the route - Drinking water is available in Marnans and Viriville. - The route passes through the Chambaran military camp (access forbidden other than on signposted itineraries). - Beautiful views of the Vercors between Marnans and Roybon.

Tourist offices and information - Roybon tourist office, 40 Place du Maquis de Chambaran - 38490 Roybon. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 25 86. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com - Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs tourist office, 21-23 Grande rue Octave Chenavas 38590 Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 25 86. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com

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Loop 8 (Saint-Marcellin country)

SAINT-MARCELLIN: NUTS AND RAVIOLI The Saint-Marcellin region is home to several of Isère’s culinary highlights.

Nuts and cheese

- Saint-Marcellin is a small, round, creamy cheese made from cow’s milk. There are two types of SaintMarcellin, which differ depending on how they are aged. The more traditional dry version (‘sec’) is firmer, while the softer, creamier version (‘moelleux’) is the result of a longer aging process. www.fromage-saint-marcellin.fr - Labelled as an AOP (controlled origin) product since 1938, Grenoble walnuts are grown in the Isère valley. Three varieties of walnut merit the AOP label: the parisienne, the mayette, and the franquette. These

Winding through walnut groves against a backdrop of the Vercors mountains, this route leads to the splendid medieval village of Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye. The itinerary also features some more unusual attractions, like the calcified moss of the La Sône botanical gardens, and riverboat rides on the Isère.

T

he medieval village of Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye is one of the treasures of Rhône-Alpes heritage. Discover the majestic gothic abbey, built between the 13 th and 15th centuries, and wander through the narrow medieval streets. Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye is also home to a departmental museum, located in the building that once housed novice members of the religious order of Saint Antoine. The museum presents the history of the village, as well as that of the abbey and its doctor-monks. The museum also houses the works of painter Jean Vinay. Not far from Saint-Marcellin, the village of Chatte is home to an unusual curiosity: a model train garden. Around 30 model trains run through a natural decor made from rocks and plants. There are scenes representing prominent local figures and nearby buildings, like the Saint Antoine abbey. Not far from here, the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes (garden of petrified fountains) of La Sône is a botanical garden built around formations of calcified moss, featuring a 30metre waterfall. The garden is home to 600 plant species from all over the world. Unique decorations are integrated into the aquatic setting. Not far from the garden, you can take a boat ride up the Isère river on the Royans-Vercors riverboat. As it passes Saint-Marcellin, the river becomes wide and calm. The reed beds on the riverbanks teem with aquatic birds, and the Vercors mountains provide an aesthetic backdrop for it all.

walnuts can be eaten plain or with cheese or chocolate. Local pastry and restaurant chefs use Grenoble walnuts for a variety of dishes and desserts. www.aoc-noixdegrenoble.com - Saint-Marcellin ravioli, (‘ravioles,’ in French) are small squares of pasta dough filled with cheese and herbs. This local speciality is found on dinner tables all over France. They cook very quickly; one minute in boiling water is sufficient. A good place to buy them in Isère: Ravioles du Dauphin, in Chatte. www.ravioles-du-dauphin.com

Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye Considered to be one of the most beautiful medieval villages in France. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 44 46. www.tourisme.pays-saint-marcellin.fr Regional museum : Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 40 68 - www.musee-saint-antoine.fr

GENERAL INFORMATION

51 km

Starting point

Roybon

Total elevation gain

677

Min. elevation

274

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

713

Signposted route

Yes

Difficulty

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Bateau à roue Royans-Vercors

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

Savouret bed and breakfast, 1 bis rue du Mollard 38160 Saint-Marcellin. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 64 93 56. www.chambres-d-hotes-du-savouret-st-marcellin. com

Along the route - Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye has numerous fountains and picnic areas. You can take a break from your bike to enjoy the shade of the linden trees in the large courtyard. - Etang de Dionay (Dionay pond): this calm pond is a fisherman’s paradise, and the perfect place to take a nap under a tree. - Chatte: the views from the Saint-Philomène chapel are complemented by a panoramic map. - Saint Marcellin: picnic area and drinking water. - Promenade de Joud, above Saint-Marcellin (can be reached from the city centre): picnic area, views of the Vercors, small animal park.

Take a relaxing cruise on this riverboat and learn about the fauna, flora, local architecture and boating history of Isère. Trips leave from La Sône. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 64 43 42. www.bateau-a-roue.com

- Saint-Vérand: panoramic map at Notre-Dame-desChamps, statue, scenic views. - The D20B is a scenic road that winds through the Chambaran forest, while also offering views of the Vercors. - Col de Toutes Aures means “all horizons,” certainly in reference to the col’s strong winds, which may come from any direction. So make a quick stop to admire the scenery, but don’t stay too long!

Tourist offices and information - Roybon tourist office; 40 Place du Maquis de Chambaran - 38490 Roybon. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 36 25 86. www.tourisme-bievrevalloire.com - Saint-Marcellin tourist office, Maison de l’Économie, 7 rue du Colombier - 38160 Saint-Marcellin. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 38 53 85. www.tourisme.pays-saint-marcellin.fr

Jardin Ferroviaire de Chatte Jardin des Fontaines de La Sône

A unique and refreshing botanical garden. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 64 43 42. www.jardin-des-fontaines.com

This model train garden contains miniature scenes from the local area, complemented by abounding plant life. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 38 54 55. www.jardin-ferroviaire.com

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Loop 9 (East balcony of the Vercors)

FLAVOURS FROM THE FARM

At the foot of the French Dolomites

Owners Nathalie and Dominique welcome you to their farm Le Chemin des Saisons, in Gresse-en-Vercors. A wide variety of farm products are available for purchase, including eggs, farm-raised lamb, and products from the garden. Highlights include a vast assortment of homemade syrups (nettle, mint, lemon balm, queen-of-the-meadow), jams, herbal teas, aromatic plants and oils (chives, basil, coriander, etc.), and pesto made with wild garlic or chives. In the summer you can purchase vegetables every Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00 noon. Nathalie also teaches cooking classes using wild plants and flowers. You can

On this route, mother nature is queen. Highlights include the majestic east face of the Vercors, the Hauts-Plateaux nature reserve, an astronomical observatory, and an incredible natural eternal flame.

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ocated in the community of ChâteauBernard, the family-oriented Col de l’Arzelier ski area features a cable car with panoramic views. Open in the summer, this lift whisks you to the foot of the splendid cliffs of the eastern Vercors, also known as the “French Dolomites.” The cliffs are located opposite the mountain ranges of Belledonne, Oisans, and Dévoluy. The cable car also provides access to downhill trails used for mountain biking, all-terrain wheelchair riding, and all-terrain scooters. Located in the Gresse-en-Vercors community forest, in the woods of Fayolles, the elevated walkways of Odyssée Verte® take you on an unusual adventure through the tree canopy. The experience is educational rather than athletic (no climbing harnesses needed). Open since 2012, Odyssée Verte is set against a backdrop of the majestic east face of the Vercors. Gresse-en-Vercors is the gateway to the HautsPlateaux du Vercors nature reserve. Covering 17,000 hectares, it is the largest reserve in metropolitan France. Gresse-en-Vercors is also the starting point for hikers heading to the top of the highest summit in the range, the Grand Veymont (2,341 m). Gresse-en-Vercors is home to an astronomical observatory equipped with a large, 350 mm diameter telescope. This equipment makes it possible to observe space beyond our solar system, as far as millions of kilometres away from the earth. On the outskirts of Miribel-Lanchâtre, in the community of Gua, you’ll want to visit an incredible natural wonder, the fontaine ardente (‘fountain of flames’), a natural source of gas that causes flames to emerge from the ground. It is one of the seven wonders of the Dauphiné. At one point in time the flames actually emerged from the waters of a natural spring, but changes in the surrounding terrain destroyed the natural basin that held the water, so today only the flames remain, the product of the burning of gas that seeps from the ground.

even hire the farm’s donkeys, Matchou and Pitchou, for outings of a half an hour or longer. Dominique, a certified trekking guide, offers overnight trips on the high plateaus of the Vercors. And on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, guided farm visits are the perfect way to learn more about mountain agriculture. The farm also has two rural gîtes, for those considering a longer stay in this restful setting. Le Chemin des Saisons. Le Serre Monet 38650 Gresse-en-Vercors. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 93 20. www.lechemindessaisons.com

Fontaine Ardente

GENERAL INFORMATION

44 km

Considered to be one of the seven wonders of the Dauphiné, this natural eternal flame amazes hikers.

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Starting point

Saint-Barthélémy

Total elevation gain

1154

Min. elevation

624

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

1221

Signposted route

Yes

Difficulty

D

<5%

m 1400

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On the road...

…with a stunning backdrop. Make sure to take your eyes off the road!

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Balcon Est trail

Local products

Tourist offices and information

The farmers and artisans of Trièves are firmly devoted to organic products, including cheese, vegetables, meat, and beer. Look for the fruits of their labours at local farms and outdoor markets. www.trieves-tourisme.fr

- Col de l’Arzelier tourist office 38650 Château-Bernard. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 72 38 31. www.col-de-larzelier.fr - Gresse-en-Vercors tourist office. L’église 38650 Gresse-en-Vercors. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 33 40. www.gresse-en-vercors.fr - Monestier-de-Clermont tourist office. 103 bis, Grand-Rue - 38650 Monestier-de-Clermont. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 15 99. www.monestierdeclermont.com - Trièves tourist office. Rue de Breuil 38710 Mens. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 84 25. www.trieves-tourisme.fr

Along the route

Or “East Balcony,” is the name of the trail that weaves along the base of the limestone cliffs known as the “French Dolomites.”

Gresse-en-Vercors The Grand Veymont, the highest point in the Vercors, looms imposingly over the village.

Odyssée verte Tel. +33 (0)6 47 55 75 87. www.onf.fr/odysseeverte

- Saint-Barthélémy-du-Gua: fountains in the village. - Col de l’Arzelier: view of the Deux Soeurs, public toilets, snack bars, pub, grocery. - Saint-Andéol: scenic views along the Vercors east balcony road, fountain at the entry to the village, picnic area. - Col des Deux Soeurs: scenic views from the Vercors east balcony road. - Hameau des Petits Deux: fountain in the village. - Gresse-en-Vercors: bike repairs and rental (Grillet Sports). - Saint-Guillaume: fountain in the village, bar, grocery, restaurant. - Le Vernay (summit of the col): magnificent views, picnic tables, panoramic map. - Miribel-Lanchâtre: fountain in the village.

Col de l’Arzelier Tel. +33 (0)4 76 72 38 31. www.col-de-larzelier.fr

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Loop 10 (Trièves, gateway to Provence)

TWO SPECIALITIES The carré de Trièves and the bouffette de Mens

The majestic Mont Aiguille

The carré de Trièves is a square-shaped cow’s milk cheese made by the Mont Aiguille dairy. This soft cheese should be eaten young, after a maximum of three weeks of aging. Rooted in the local heritage thanks to its name, the cheese also features an image of Mont Aiguille on the package. The Mont Aiguille dairy is certified organic. Products are available for purchase in the dairy’s shop. Laiterie du Mont Aiguille. Z.A. La Croisette 38930 Clelles. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 09 47

Trièves has a strong regional identity, defined by the imposing presence of Mont Aiguille, but also by the blend of vegetation characteristic of both the northern and southern Alps. The region is known for its laid-back lifestyle, which was appreciated by writer Jean Giono. And the Terre Vivante centre in Mens offers proof of Trièves’s ecological outlook.

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ont Aiguille is a symbol of Trièves. This fascinating, giant Vercors monolith is one of the seven wonders of the Dauphiné. The conquest of the peak in 1492 is said to be the earliest known example of mountaineering. The monolith can be reached from Chichilianne, Saint-Martinde-Clelles (a hamlet of Trézanne), and SaintMichel-les-Portes. This particular cycling route offers varying views of the mountain’s different faces. Espace Jean Giono, in Lalley, is a cultural centre dedicated to writer and Provence native Jean Giono. He often spent time in Trièves and the region played a notable role in his life and work. A permanent exhibit entitled “Giono’s Trièves,” describes his inspirations, the people he encountered, and his close ties with the area. Mens, the veritable capital of Trièves, abounds with history, thanks to its medieval village and historic covered marketplace, which is evidence of the days when the town hosted a large fair that attracted inhabitants from all over the region. Other highlights include the Café des Arts, a registered historic landmark, and the two bell towers belonging to the Catholic and Protestant churches (Trièves was historically a Protestant stronghold). The Trièves museum, located next to the Protestant church, aims to inspire visitors to explore the region, and provides key information on the area’s heritage. The community of Mens is also home to Terre Vivante, a centre devoted to hands-on ecology. The extensive gardens are a haven of biodiversity, and the different themed itineraries are perfect for family strolls. The centre also features an exhibit focusing on various ecological home construction techniques.

The bouffette de Mens, a registered trademark since 1926, also has a strong regional heritage. The secret recipe for these cream-filled sponge cakes dates back to the 19th century. The cakes are made in just one Mens pastry shop, La Bouffette de Mens. Nonetheless, these treats are sold all over France, in several European countries, and even in the United States! La Bouffette de Mens. Place de la Mairie 38710 Mens. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 63 24. www.la-bouffette.com

GENERAL INFORMATION

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Mont Aiguille Its eye-catching, lofty silhouette rises skyward like an obelisk from the high plateau of the Vercors.

Starting point

Clelles

Total elevation gain

830

Min. elevation

589

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

1109

Signposted route

Yes

Difficulty

m 1300

<5%

<7%

<10%

<15%

>15%

1100 900

51 km

Lodging

Terre Vivante

This outdoor ecology centre features an abundance of flowers and vegetables, including numerous heirloom varieties. Learn how to garden without pesticides. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 80 80 www.terrevivante.org

Café des Arts This historic spot was once a meeting place for members of the resistance during World War II. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 68 16.

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On the road…

…with Mont Aiguille as an everpresent landmark.

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- Les Écuries de Cornillon, equestrian gîte in Cornillon-enTrièves. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 32 21. http://trieves-tourisme.fr - Les Engrangeous, bed and breakfast. Rue du Bourg 38710 Mens. Tel. +33 (0)6 07 69 00 34. www.lesengrangeous.com

Local specialties - Artisanal beers: Brasserie du Mont-Aiguille. Z.A La Croisette - 38930 Clelles. www.brasseriedumontaiguille.com - Artisanal beers: Brasserie du Trièves. Place du Vercors 38710 Mens. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 06 51. - Wines: Vignes et Vignerons du Trièves. Place de la Halle 38710 Mens. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 90 19. www.vignerons-trieves.com - Whisky: Domaine des Hautes Glaces, a farm-distillery located in Saint-Jean-d’Hérans (at the Accarias col). This farm produces a line of organic single malt whiskeys made from grains that are grown and processed on the premises.

A whiskey with true local heritage! Tel. +33 (0)9 50 29 92 77. http://hautesglaces.com - Trièves is home to numerous organic producers (meats, cheeses, vegetables, jams, honey, grains, etc.) You can buy their products at outdoor markets, in grocery shops, or directly from the farms themselves.

Along the route - Clelles: there is a sheltered area and a fountain in the town square if you need to take a break. There are also several fountains on the small streets of the village. - Le Percy: a pretty, perched village with 360° views. - Monestier-du-Percy: fountain in the town square. Bike rental and instruction: Triavel. Tel. +33 (0)6 32 66 32 07 - www.triavel.fr - Saint-Maurice-en-Trièves: fountain in the town square. - Lalley: fountain in the village square. - Lalley-Avers: nice views of the Grand Ferrand. - Tréminis (Chateau-Bas): fountain in the village square. - Tréminis (l’Eglise): fountain in the village square, splendid

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views of the Grand Ferrand and surrounding summits, picnic tables next to the sports field. - Saint-Baudille-et-Pipet: nice view of the Obiou, fountain in the village square. - Menglas: excellent 360° views of the Obiou, Mont Aiguille, Grand Veymont, Grand Ferrand). - Mens: fountains and service station with high pressure washing equipment.

Tourist offices and information - Mens tourist office. Rue du Breuil - 38710 Mens. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 84 25. www.trieves-tourisme.fr - Clelles tourist office. Place de la Mairie - 38930 Clelles. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 43 09. www.trieves-tourisme.fr

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Loop 11 (The four lakes route)

fire upon his Emperor, fire now!” Moved with emotion, the king’s soldiers lowered their arms and rallied behind Napoleon. An equestrian statue commemorates this event.

Matheysine at its finest

Musée Matheysin Prairie de la Rencontre

The site of a decisive moment in the history of Napoleon I.

Located at an altitude of 900 metres, Plateau Matheysin offers magnificent natural scenery and several beautiful lakes, including those of Laffrey and Monteynard. History has also left its mark on the area, from a notable visit by Napoleon to the coalmines of La Mure.

T

he Laffrey, Petichet and Pierre Chatel lakes welcome swimmers, windsurfers, and paddle boaters, providing a calm place to take a dip when you’re not pedalling. Nearby, the turquoise waters of Lac du Monteynard are perfectly suited for windsurfing and kite surfing. At the far end of the lake, two dizzying suspension bridges connect the mountain biking and hiking trails of Trièves and Matheysine. Scenic cruises are also possible aboard the restaurant boat La Mira, which is docked in Savel. In La Mure, the Musée Matheysin recounts the region’s rich past, illustrating its history with archaeological findings, documents, and personal accounts. Some significant events in the history of La Matheysine include a tragic episode during France’s Wars of Religion, a notable visit by Napoleon in 1815, and coal mining that continued until 1997. The Mine Image museum in La Motted’Aveillans also delves into the area’s mining past. This authentic underground mine has been converted into a museum that plunges you into the daily life of the gueules noires, as the soot-faced miners were known. The Pierre Percée natural arch is located not far from La Motte-d’Aveillans. Formed by erosion, the limestone arch is one of the most amazing geological curiosities in Isère. The formation is one of the seven wonders of the Dauphiné. The community of Laffrey is home to a historic site known as the Prairie de la Rencontre. Upon return from the island of Elba, Napoleon headed towards Paris to reclaim power. On 7 March 1815, he arrived in Laffrey and found himself face to face with troops sent by Louis XVIII to arrest him. Napoleon advanced towards the troops on his own, crying out, “If there is a soldier amongst you who wants to

This museum is located in the heart of La Mure, in a historic building called La Maison Caral. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 30 98 15. http://musee.matheysine.com

Pierre Percée

Located on a grassy hillside, this 3 metre high natural arch is visible from afar.

GENERAL INFORMATION

57 km B

Suspension bridges These dizzying bridges span the wide gap above Lac du Monteynard. Not for people with vertigo! www.lac-monteynard.com

Starting point

Mure (La)

Total elevation gain

855

Min. elevation

638

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Max. elevation

1077

Type of riding surface Signposted route

Yes

D Difficulty

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La Mine Image Mining museum Tel. +33 (0)4 76 30 68 74. www.mine-image.com

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Bateau de la Mira

Boat rides. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 34 14 56. www.la-mira.com

THE MURÇON OF LA MURE Murçon is an anise-flavoured sausage made from ground pork combined with larger chunks of pork, and flavoured with caraway seed. To cook the sausages, start them in a pot of cold, unsalted water before bringing to a boil. They are traditionally eaten with potatoes. This recipe may have been brought to Matheysine by Polish miners. The sausages can be purchased in the shops of La Mure, or at the traditional Monday morning market, which dates back to the year 1309.

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- La Maison du Bonheur, Hameau de Pellenfrey -38350 Saint-Arey. Tel. + 33 (0)4 76 81 17 01. www.lepellenfrey.fr - Hôtel Murtel, Coteau de Beauregard, boulevard Fréjus Michon - 38350 La Mure. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 30 96 10. http://www.hotel-murtel.com

Local specialties - Bergerie de la Pierre Percée (sheep farm). 3 rue de la Pierre Percée - 38770 La Motte-d’Aveillans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 30 67 37. - La Fromagerie des Lacs, in Villard-Saint-Christophe. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 83 04 47. Organic cow’s milk cheeses (fresh and aged). - Brasserie Matheysine, in Nantes-en-Ratier (brewery).

Tel. +33 (0)9 52 81 24 86.

Along the route - The beaches of Laffrey, Pétichet, and Mayres-Savel are refreshing places to take a break. - At the intersection of the D116 road and the road heading down to the beach, there are beautiful panoramic views of Lac du Monteynard and the Vercors. - In La Motte-Saint-Martin there are views of the La Motteles-Bains chateau (privately owned), once part of a hot springs resort. - The section of road between La Mure and Laffrey offers magnificent views, with the mountain of Taillefer visible to the east, and the summits of Connex and Sénépy visible to the west. The immense mountain pastures of Sénépy are

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a protected area. From June to October, nearly a thousand heifers graze here. - The section of road between La Motte-d’Aveillans and Mayres-Savel provides unique views of the eastern foothills of the Vercors. - There are a variety of shops in La Mure (including a bike shop) as well as fountains providing drinking water. - From La Mure, you can make a short detour to the Ponsonnas bridge to have a go at bungee jumping (or just watch). Thrill seekers jump from the rail of the bridge into the Gorges du Drac!

Tourist offices and information - La Mure tourist office, 43 rue de Breuil - 38350 La Mure. Tel. + 33 (0)4 76 81 05 71. www.ville-lamure.com

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Loop 12 (Lac de Palandru tour)

BEERS AND JAMS

Watery treasures

La Frivole is a microbrewery specialised in hand brewed stock ales. Their unfiltered, unpasteurised beers are brewed using traditional and environmentally responsible methods. After brewing, the beer is stored in underground cellars, which gives it clarity and a delicate flavour. The brewery makes a pale ale, an amber, a stout, and their famous green beer, which is a pale ale infused with Chartreuse liqueur. La Frivole, Tel. +33 (0)6 19 85 36 76

Lac de Paladru, a watery sapphire in a setting of greenery, is the centrepiece of this route. Along the way you’ll also come across various archaeological and historical gems, like the Charavines museum and the Château de Virieu.

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ac de Paladru is the fifth largest natural lake in France. This glacial lake is also known as the lac bleu (blue lake) for its vibrant colour. The water temperature often reaches 25° in the summer, making for excellent swimming. Most of the beaches are located in the communities of Charavines, Montferrat and Le Pin. Lac de Palandru is also a popular spot for rowing, paddle boating, and fishing. The lake’s charm is enhanced by the surrounding wooded hillsides, which rise to an altitude of 800 metres. The lake has also been the source of some incredible archaeological discoveries. Underwater excavations have produced remnants of both Neolithic civilisation and inhabitations dating back to around the year 1000 AD. These internationally renowned discoveries are displayed in the Lac de Palandru archaeological museum, located in Charavines. Not far from the lake, the community of Pin is home to a beautiful old barn called the Grange Dîmière. Dating back to the 17 th century, the building was once part of the Sylve Bénite Carthusian monastery. Now a registered historic landmark, the barn originally served to store tithes and other payments made in kind, as well as the local harvests. Today the building provides a beautiful setting for contemporary exhibitions and performances. Dating back to the year 1000 AD, the Château de Virieu, in Virieu-sur-Bourbre, is another splendid remnant of the past. You can visit the castle’s sitting rooms, bedrooms, chapel, kitchen, and French gardens. Not far away, the Virieu family also built the Château de Pupetières in Châbons. Constructed in the 13 th century and then destroyed during the French Revolution, the castle was rebuilt in neo-medieval style by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who also supervised the restoration of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. The multi-coloured glazed tiles and interior décor are evidence of the decorative arts revival that took place during this period. This fanciful spot inspired the writer Lamartine and the painter Jongkind.

Château de Virieu

An ancient castle against a backdrop of blue and green. Tel.+33 (0)4 74 88 27 32. www.chateau-de-virieu.com

GENERAL INFORMATION

27 km

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or +33 (0)9 51 93 00 40. The Vergers de Louisias farm in Charavines is listed as a historic landmark. Constructed in 1805, the buildings feature earthen walls and thatched roofs. Today the farm offers delicious homemade products made from the orchard’s fruits (natural jams cooked in copper pots, candied quince, fruits in syrup, etc.) as well as seasonal fruits (strawberries, raspberries, plums, vineyard peaches, etc.). Vergers de Louisias. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 66 14

Starting point

Charavines

Total elevation gain

267

Min. elevation

497

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

615

Signposted route

Yes

C

Châbons

Difficulty

<5%

m 700

<7%

<10%

<15%

>15%

600 500 400 0 1

2

3 4

5

6

7

8

9

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Km

Château de Pupetière This beautiful spot inspired the writer Lamartine and the painter Jongkind. Tel. +33 (0)6 14 30 27 31. http://pupetieres.jimdo.com

Archaeological museum Tel. +33 (0)4 76 55 77 47. www.museelacdepaladru.com

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- Les Balcons du Lac, bed and breakfast (bike storage available). Le Pin Plage - 38730 Le Pin. Tel. + 33 (0)4 76 06 68 82. www.balcons38.e-monsite.com - Hostellerie du Lac Bleu, hotel and restaurant (bike storage available), 10 rue Principale - 38850 Charavines. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 60 48. www.lacbleu.fr

Local specialties

Grange dîmière This beautiful historic barn houses temporary exhibits. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 60 31. www.paysvoironnais.info

Lac de Paladru

- The Hôtel des Bains restaurant, in Charavines. Good wine selection, excellent seasonal and local cuisine, terrace shaded by linden trees. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 60 20. www.hoteldesbains-charavines.com - Boutique Bigallet, in Virieu-sur-Bourbre. Aperitifs, liqueurs and syrups. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 88 25 13. http://www.bigallet.fr/index.htm - Gaec Entre Fure et Tour. Purchase cheeses directly from the farm. 260 rue de la Caserne - 38850 Charavines. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 64 59. - Gaec La Croix des Clochettes. Purchase goat cheeses directly from the farm. Le Grand Bilieu - 38850 Bilieu. Tel. +33 (0)6 83 49 73 05. - Allon Zoo Champ. A wide variety of the farm’s products are available for purchase. 40 impasse Touvier, La Vé-

ronnière - 38620 Montferrat. - Jardins du Banchet. Purchase seasonal vegetables directly from the farm. 14 chemin de la Montagne 38850 Bilieu. Tel. +33 (0)6 79 75 58 02 and +33 (0)6 68 23 96 63. www.lesjardinsdubanchet.fr

Along the route - Le Bois d’Amour : a 600-metre walkway at the edge of the lake. Picnic tables, toilets, benches, and wooden playground equipment for children. - 38850 CharavinesBilieu. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 60 31. - La Véronnière: lakeside recreation area with snack bar (weekends in May, June, and September, and every day in July and August), volleyball court, and ecological toilets. - 38620 Montferrat. Tel. + 33 (0)4 76 06 60 31. - Natura Vélo: mountain biking centre, bike washing station, air pump for tires. 245 rue des Bains - 38850 Charavines. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 35 64 98 or +33 (0)6 23 33 15 90. www.naturavelo.com

Tourist offices and information - Charavines tourist office, 230 rue des Bains 38850 Charavines. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 60 31. www.paysvoironnais.info

A calm and refreshing spot.

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Loop 13 (Chartreuse cols and panoramic views)

CHARTREUSE LIQUEUR... …in all its forms

Sound and silence

Even though this liqueur is actually produced in Voiron, and not in the Grande Chartreuse monastery, it is inextricably linked to the mountain range and the monks. It has been produced by Carthusian monks since the 18th century, using a secret recipe that includes approximately 130 different mountain plants and flowers. Today, a variety of different liqueurs are sold: yellow, green (sweeter, with a lower alcohol content), herbal elixir, etc. The liqueur is also used in other products, including chocolates. The Chartreuse

This ride through the Chartreuse regional park features a variety of natural wonders, including the Gorges du Frou and the Cirque de Saint-Même. And there are cultural landmarks as well, like the Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse church and the Grande Chartreuse museum.

T

he Gorges du Guiers Vif are called the Gorges du Frou below the dizzying section of road known as the Pas du Frou (‘the awful place’ in the local patois). The Pas du Frou looms 150 metres above the Guiers Vif river, the natural boundary between Isère and Savoie. The road, which clings to the side of the sheer cliff, connects the towns of Saint-Pierred’Entremont and Saint-Christophe-sur-Guiers. Looming over the Gorges du Frou, the ruins of the Château de Montbel (2 km round trip detour) sit on a promontory that provides expansive views of the Chartreuse. This was the second fiefdom of the lords of Entremont, until it became the property of the Carthusians, who were chased out during the Revolution. The site eventually became the property of the French state, before being abandoned. The Cirque de Saint-Même (8 km round trip detour) is one of the most frequently visited sites in Chartreuse. Four large waterfalls tumble down the 500 metre cliffs of this impressive natural cirque. The waterfalls are fed by groundwater from the Guiers Vif river. Bring good walking shoes so you won’t miss out on the 1½ hour hike to visit the waterfalls. Another highlight of Chartreuse is the Eglise de Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse, a church and museum dedicated to contemporary religious art. The church is entirely decorated with the works of the painter Arcabas. The superb, brightly coloured frescos were painted over a period of 30 years. They are a major work of contemporary religious art. The Musée de la Grande Chartreuse is located near the monastery in Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. This museum provides key information about the Carthusian Order, thanks to new exhibits featuring films, audio guides, and personal accounts. The site inspires silence and contemplation.

chocolates of Chocolatier Petit, in Saint-Laurent-duPont, are particularly well known. Chocolate makers Isabelle and Emmanuel Petit offer guided tours of their kitchens, which include the opportunity to taste their creations. You’ll learn all the details of the chocolate making process, from the cocoa beans to the subtle blend of chocolate and Chartreuse. www.chartreuse.fr www.chocolatier-petit.com

Ruins of the Château de Montbel

This strategic location offers stunning views.

Cirque de Saint-Même

The waterfalls add an element of sound to this magnificent setting.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Musée de la Grande Chartreuse Visit this museum to get a glimpse into the silent life of Carthusian monks. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 60 45. www.musee-grande-chartreuse.fr

Lodging

- Au Pré Chardon, bed and breakfast (bike storage and rental). 935 route de Saint-Étienne-de-Crossey - La Rossetière - 38960 Saint-Aupre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 55 37 19. www.auprechardon.fr - La Ruche à Gîter, group gîte. 2743 route de la Ruchère 38380 Saint-Christophe-sur-Guiers. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 38 21 - www.la-ruche-a-giter.fr - Hôtel le Saint-Pierre. La Diat - 38380 Saint-Pierre-deChartreuse Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 65 79 www.lesaintpierrehotel.com - Le ValOmbré, bed and breakfast. Chemin du Grand Logis - 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse Tel. +33 (0)4 76 53 20 74 - www.le-valombre.fr - Beau Site, hotel-restaurant. Le Bourg - 38380 SaintPierre-de-Chartreuse Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 61 34 - www. hotel-lebeausite.fr

Local specialties

Église de Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse This church is decorated with the life’s work of the painter Arcabas. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 65 01 - www.saint-hugues-arcabas.fr

- L’Abeille Gourmande. Beekeeper. 104 chemin du Lavoir - 38500 Saint-Nicolas-de Macherin. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 55 31 32. - Farm products sold at the farm of Maud Charat and Cédric Barnier. 1056 route de Miribel - 38960 Saint-Aupre. Tel. +33 (0)6 87 43 44 08. Goat and cow’s milk cheeses, beef and veal. - La Ferme Pajon (farm). Le Villard - 73670 Saint-Pierred’Entremont. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 26 28 74. Artisanal goat cheese. - L’Essaim de Chartreuse. Saint-Même-d’en-Haut - 73670

Saint-Pierre-d’Entremont. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 65 88 08. Honey and other products from the hive, spice cake, sweets, candied fruits. Documentary on beekeeping in the mountains. Guided tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 PM in July and August. - Les Petits Jardiniers. Herb and medicinal plant gardens. Plant-based syrups, herbal teas, aperitifs and cosmetics. Les Guillets - 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)6 85 52 76 20 - www.petitsjardiniers.com - L’Agneau des Égaux. Les Égaux - 38380 Saint-Pierre-deChartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 65 04. www.lesclarines.cabanova.fr Organic sheep farm. - Safran de Chamechaude (saffron cultivation). Brévardière - 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 60 49. www.safrancham.fr. Products for sale all year round. Guided visits and tastings in the autumn. - La Ferme de Brévardière. Inn, picnic lunches, saffron cultivation. Brévardière - 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 60 49 - www.brevardiere.fr - L’Art et la Manière. Le Bourg - 38380 Saint-Pierre-deChartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 65 88 08. A cooperative of local artisans and farmers. Wood crafts, leather, mohair, jewellery, paintings, pottery, honey, soap, jams, syrups, herbal teas. - Ferme de Plantimay – Livestock farming, Montbéliard cows and goats. Les Roberts - 38134 Saint-Joseph-de-Rivière Tel. +33 (0)4 76 55 25 26 - www.ferme-plantimay.fr

Along the route

awful place’ in the local patois). This dizzying section of road looms 150 metres above the Guiers Vif river, forming the natural border of Isère. The road connects the towns of Saint-Pierre-d’Entremont and Saint-Christophe-sur-Guiers. - Col du Cucheron. Elevation: 1,138 metres. Views of the Entremonts valley. - Route des Gorges du Guiers Mort: scenic road from SaintPierre-de-Chartreuse to Saint-Laurent-du-Pont. - Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse: square in front of the community centre with panoramic map, at the Place de la Mairie. You can also stop for a drink at one of the village’s bar-restaurants. List available at www.chartreuse-tourisme.com. - Picnic area at the Notre-Dame de Saint-Laurent-du-Pont chapel. Nice views of the entire valley.

Tourist offices and information - Voiron tourist office. 30 cours Becquart-Castelbon 38500 Voiron. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 05 00 38 www.paysvoironnais.info - Saint-Pierre-d’Entremont tourist office. Maison Intercommunale - 73670 Saint-Pierre d’Entremont. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 65 81 90. www.chartreuse-tourisme.com - Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse tourist office. Le Village 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 62 08. www.chartreuse-tourisme.com - Saint-Laurent-du-Pont tourist office. La Vieille Tour, Place de la Mairie - 38380 Saint-Laurent-du-Pont. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 06 22 55 - www.chartreuse-tourisme.com

- Les Gorges du Frou and the Pas du Frou (meaning ‘the

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Loop 14 (The heights of Chartreuse and Grésivaudan)

THE WINES OF GRÉSIVAUDAN

Balcony with a view

The Grésivaudan valley, located just a short distance from Savoie, is also wine country. In Bernin, winemaker Thomas Finot produces quality wines made from local grape varieties, including Verdesse en Blanc, Persan and Etraire de la Dhuy. Finot also grows some widely known varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Viognier. This young, environmentally responsible

This route from the Isère valley to the Plateau des Petites Roches offers beautiful scenery and excellent views of the Belledonne range. Along the way you can also visit a chateau, a fort and a traditional paper mill, and ride a steep funicular railway.

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he Petites Roches funicular railway climbs from the town of Lumbin, in the Grésivaudan valley, to Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet. This is one of the oldest scenic railways (1924), and also one of the steepest (83% below the tunnel). The dizzying climb offers magnificent views, especially of the Belledonne, Chartreuse, and Bauges mountains, as well as of a nearby waterfall. Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet is a mecca for aerial sports, so paragliding pilots can also be spotted riding the funicular. Every year in September, the area hosts the Coupe Icare (‘Icarus cup’) and the International Aerial Sports Film Festival. In 2013 the event will celebrate its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion, more than 10,000 paragliding pilots from all over the world will take to the skies to perform a poetic, ethereal display for some 80,000 spectators. Standing guard over the Grésivaudan valley, Fort Barraux was once one of the most prestigious strongholds of the Alps. The fort was commissioned by the Duke of Savoy, and built on French territory in 1597 by Ercole Negro. It was taken over in 1598 by Constable Lesdiguières, acting under the orders of King Henri IV. Vauban overhauled the fort in the late 17 th century. It has been the property of the community of Barraux since 1988, and is a registered historic landmark, as it provides a well-preserved example of fortified architecture. The Château du Touvet also has a rich history. Originally a medieval fortress surrounded by towers and moats, it was transformed into a decorative chateau in the 18 th century, and adorned with remarkable interior décor. The chateau features splendid 18th century gardens and a variety of fountains and pools, including a staircase fountain fed by the waters of the Chartreuse. The descendants of the same family have lived in the chateau for five hundred years, but it is open to the general public. Also in the Grésivaudan area, the Moulin de la Tourne paper mill is located in the community of Les Marches, not far from the route. You’ll discover the history of paper, the process of artisanal papermaking as it is still practiced today, and the evolution of different printing techniques.

Les Marches

Moulin à Papier de la Tourne

C

GENERAL INFORMATION

51 km

D

winemaker takes meticulous care of his vineyards, and uses traditional vinification methods to ensure that his wines are the true expression of the fruit and terroir. Domaine Finot: Tel. +33 (0)4 76 72 43 67 or +33 (0)6 84 95 21 44. www.domaine-finot.com

Chapareillan

Barraux

Starting point

Chapareillan

Total elevation gain

1203

Min. elevation

276

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

1062

Signposted route

Yes

Pontcharra

Take a guided tour of this paper mill to learn about traditional papermaking techniques. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 28 13 31. www.moulin-a-papier.com

Saint-Marie-du-Mont La Flachère Saint-Marie-d’Alloix Saint-Vincent-de-Mercuze Le Touvet

B Saint-Bernard-du-Touvet

A

Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet

Difficulty

m 1200 1000 800 600 400 200

<5%

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

<7%

<10%

40

<15%

45

>15%

50 Km

Fort Barraux

Tel. +33 (0)6 37 63 02 95. www.fort-barraux.fr

Château du Touvet

For the gardens alone, this 18th century chateau is worth a visit. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 08 42 27. www.touvet.com

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- Hôtel Au Pas de l’Alpette. Bellecombe - 38530 Chapareillan. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 45 22 65. www.alpette.com

Funiculaire des Petites Roches

You’re sure to be thrilled by this steep funicular railway! Tel. +33 (0)4 76 08 00 02 www.funiculaire.fr

Local specialties - Jean-Roch Ferté, producer of a wide range of honeys that vary in taste and colour. 88 route du Col de Marcieu - 38660 Saint-Bernard-du-Touvet. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 08 32 45. - Guy Tournoud Vins de Savoie, wine tasting and sales. Bellecombe - rue Basse du Château Fort 38530 Chapareillan. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 45 22 05. - L’Escargot de Chartreuse (snails). Bellecombe 38530 Chapareillan. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 45 27 23.

Along the route - Panoramic views of the entire Belledonne mountain range from the small chapel at the Col de Marcieu. - Views from the ruins of the Bellecombe chateau in the hamlet of Bellecombe: 180° panorama of the Bauges mountains, Mont Blanc, and the Belledonne range. You

can picnic at the paragliding take-off area near the Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet tourist office (toilets and drinking water available) and watch the paragliders take off. Numerous cascades and waterfalls plunge from the Chartreuse mountains down into the Grésivaudan valley, so the piedmont villages all have beautiful public fountains.

Tourist offices and information - Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet tourist office, 102 route des Trois Villages - 38660 Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 08 33 99. www.chartreuse-tourisme.com - Pontcharra tourist office, 21 rue Laurent Gayet 38530 Pontcharra. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 97 68 08. www.gresivaudan-tourisme.com

Dent de Crolles

With its characteristic tooth-like silhouette, this emblematic Chartreuse summit is visible far and wide.

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Loop 15 (From Méaudre to Autrans)

GRATIN DAUPHINOIS recipe courtesy of Régis Aribert of the hotel-restaurant La Buffe, in Autrans

Vercors, northward bound

Ingredients: 3 kg potatoes 1 L milk 1 L fresh Vercors cream salt Preparation: Peel the potatoes, and cut them into 1 to 2 mm slices. Mix the milk and cream and bring to a boil. Salt the mixture to taste and add the sliced potatoes. Cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes.

This refreshing outing in the north of Vercors Regional Park offers breath-taking views from the Molière ridge, as well as an unusual geological curiosity in the form of a crack in the ground that exhales cool air.

A

bove Autrans, the Alpage de la Molière (meaning ‘well-watered alpine pasture’) is a traditional grazing spot for heifers. It is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species (orchids, marmots, chamois, deer, black grouse). The area is listed as a Natural Zone of Ecological Interest. A couple of extra kilometres of uphill riding takes you to the Molière ridge, where you’ll be rewarded by superb panoramic views of the mountains of Belledonne, Chartreuse, Écrins, and even Mont Blanc. Just a little ways downhill you’ll come to the Plateau de Gève, a legendary spot for Nordic skiing. In the summer, the area transforms into a beautiful meadow surrounded by forests. You can stop for a meal at the Refuge de Gève, and relax in the storvatt, an outdoor, wood-fired Scandinavian hot tub. It’s the perfect way to relieve muscle soreness! Also in the community of Autrans, the Olympic ski jumps are a reminder of how the 1968 Winter Games transformed this village into a mecca for Nordic skiing. The ski jumps (70, 56, and 20 metres) are still used today, and carry on the long tradition of ski jumping in Autrans. A synthetic surface also makes it possible to use the jumps for summer training. There is a panoramic map at the summit of the 70-metre jump. Uphill from Méaudre, the Trou Qui Souffle (‘blow hole’) is actually a crack in the ground that exhales cool air from the depths of the caves below. This vertical tunnel is the entrance to a vast underground network of caves that channel the waters of Val d’Autrans-Méaudre to the opening known as the Goule Noire, where the waters flow into the Gorges de la Bourne.

Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and top with more cream. Cook in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes. Régis Aribert’s recipe is unique since it calls for simmering the potatoes with the milk and cream, which makes the dish deliciously creamy. Another particularity is that the recipe does not call for cheese. Instead, the dish’s golden colour comes from reducing the cream. La Buffe, Tel. +33 (0)4 76 94 70 70. www.la-buffe.fr

GENERAL INFORMATION

14 km A

Refuge de Gève

Autrans

Mountain hut Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 33 89 . http://refugedegeve.com

C

Starting point

Méaudre

Total elevation gain

149

Min. elevation

980

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

1072

Signposted route

Yes

B Difficulty

D

<5%

m Lans-en-Vercors

Méaudre

1

2

3

4

5

6

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

- Arcanson. Les Gaillardes - 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 23 51. www.arcanson.com Arcanson’s charming 3-star gîte offers warmth and hospitality. The in-house chef will regale you with the flavours of his favourite dishes. He blends the art of fine cuisine with a selection of exquisite ingredients and local products. The result is healthy, refined cuisine that pleases sports enthusiasts and sophisticated palates alike. Arcanson also offers a bike area where you can wash your bike, fill your tires, and do maintenance (additional fees apply). - Gîte Camino, route de Charande Eybertière 38250 Autrans. Tel. +33 (0)6 47 13 30 39 www.gite-camino.com.

Local specialties

Crêtes de la Molière

After the long climb, you’re rewarded with views all the way to Mont Blanc!

Val d’Autrans

Several farms in the area still practise traditional mountain agriculture.

<15%

12

13

>15%

1100

900 0

The peaceful, green countryside stays cool even in the summer heat.

Used in winter and summer alike, these ski jumps were constructed in the village for the 1968 Grenoble Olympic Games.

<10%

1000

Cycling near Autrans

Autrans Olympic ski jumps

<7%

- Ferme la Bourrière. La Bourrière - 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 94 27 02. Purchase cow’s milk cheeses directly from the farm (bleu du Vercors-Sassenage, Saint Marcellin, brique, and raclette cheeses, dulce de leche, fromage blanc). - Ferme La Colombière. Meillan - 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 35 21 20. Purchase cow’s milk cheeses directly from the farm (bleu du Vercors-Sassenage, SaintMarcellin, fromage blanc, Gruyère, etc.). - Chèvrerie du Châtelard - La Rue - 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 50 67 75 www.chevrerieduchatelard.com. Purchase goat’s milk cheeses directly from the farm. Certified organic. - Ferme des Colibris. Les Arnauds - 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 94 29 18. Direct sales of Vercors farm-rai-

sed meats. Certified organic. - Ferme des Marmottes, (farm tours + afternoon snack). Les Gaillards, route de Méaudre - 38880 Autrans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 73 40. - Le Fromager du Vercors (tours and tasting). Route de Méaudre - 38880 Autrans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 94 71 00. www.fromage-vercors.fr - Laboratoires Deva: floral elixirs. www.lab-deva.com. For sale at Saveurs des Plateaux du Vercors. Route de Méaudre - 38880 Autrans.

7

8

9

10

11

14 Km

top of the hill after leaving Autrans, near the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Tourist offices and information - Autrans tourist office. Rue du cinéma - 38880 Autrans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 30 70 . www.autrans.com - Méaudre tourist office. Le village - 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 20 68. www.meaudre.com Vercors Tourism. http://vercors.fr/

Along the route -The Chemin du Calvaire, at the heart of the village of Méaudre. A series of crosses marks this path, which was the site of an annual religious procession until 1955. At the path’s highest point there are views of the geological feature known as the Méaudre-Autrans syncline fold. - Picnic and recreation area in the centre of Méaudre. The picnic tables on the banks of the Méaudret river are the perfect place for a break. Recreation area, swimming pools, wading pool and play area for children. - Vers Corps Aqua Soins (spa). Les Farlaix, 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)6 20 82 80 80. www.vercors-bien-etre.com. Perfect for a relaxing break. Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, outdoor hot tub. Reservations required. - Fountains in the Autrans and Méaudre village squares, and at the Autrans Maison des Sports (also public toilets). - A good place to take a break: the summit of the Autrans ski jumps (panoramic map). - The panoramic view not to miss: from kilometre 10, at the

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Loop 16 (Quatre-Montagnes tour)

CHEESE: BLEU DU VERCORS-SASSENAGE

The Vercors Plateau

Located at an altitude of 1,000 metres, the forests and meadows of the Vercors Plateau extend to fill the landscape between the limestone summits. You can learn more about the area by visiting the local heritage centre in Villard-de-Lans, and the Vercors regional park visitor’s centre in Lans-en-Vercors. Also in Lans-en-Vercors, discover a unique museum that offers a little magic for the child in all of us…

L

ocated in the former town hall in the centre of Villard-de Lans, the Maison du Patrimoine (local heritage centre) presents the history of the Quatre-Montagnes area. The centre focuses on two different themes: daily life (agriculture, crafts), and the historical events that have impacted the region (WWII Resistance, Olympic Games, the development of tourism, etc.). The museum also hosts temporary artistic and heritage exhibits. Just a few kilometres away, Corrençon-enVercors is the last village before the HautsPlateaux du Vercors nature reserve. Here you can temporarily trade your bike for a golf caddy and enjoy the 18-hole golf course, which is surrounded by meadows and forests. Also take the opportunity to visit the Eglise de Lans-en-Vercors, which features an 11 th century bell tower that is a registered historic landmark. The bell tower is evidence of the village’s long history. For many years this was the largest community on the plateau, until it was overtaken by Villard-de-Lans. On a more playful note, the resort-village of Lans-en-Vercors is also home to Magie des Automates, a museum of mechanised puppets in fanciful settings that are sure to enthral children and adults alike. With the push of a button, each scene comes to life with sound, lighting, and movement: a chamois climbing a mountain, a circus trainer cracking his whip for a group of pink panthers, crocodiles playing rock and roll, teddy bears exploring the caves of Choranche… It’s truly magical!

Corrençon golf course Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 80 42. www.golfdecorrencon.com

Magie des Automates For the child in everyone! This exceptional museum of mechanised puppets is located in Lans-en-Vercors. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 40 14. www.magiedesautomates.com

from the freezer, separate them, and plunge them in the boiling stock. Use a skimmer to remove them from the stock once they have floated to the surface. Serve them into four shallow bowls. Add a small ladleful of the stock to the cream mixture, along with the walnuts. Season with pepper, stir, and spoon the mixture over the ravioles.

The Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage is used in numerous recipes, including ‘ravioles au bleu,’ and Vercouline, a raclette made with blue cheese. Magasin de la Coopérative Vercors Lait (dairy cooperative). Route des Jarrands, 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 33 21 www.vercorslait.com

This blue cheese has been certified as an AOC (controlled origin) product since 1998. In order to adhere to AOC standards, the cheese can only be produced with milk from three different breeds of cattle: Montbéliarde, Abondance, and Villarde. The latter, a local heritage breed that has been revived by certain farmers, is known for producing very rich milk. The cheese must be aged for at least 21 days. In the summer, the cows graze in pastures; in the winter they are fed with hay cut in the Vercors regional park.

Recipe for ‘ravioles’ with Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage Ingredients for 4 people: 250 g Royans ravioles 20 cl heavy cream 1 poultry stock cube 80 g walnuts 80 g Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage (AOP) Salt, pepper Before starting, place the ravioles in the freezer to make it easier to separate the layers. Cut the cheese into small cubes, removing the rind. Heat the cream over a low flame and add the cheese; allow the mixture to melt, stirring often. Boil the poultry stock cube in a pot of lightly salted water. Remove the ravioles

Église de Lans-en-Vercors Dating back to the 11th century, this church’s steeple gives you an idea of the community’s long history.

42Grenoble km

Autrans

Vercouline recipe Ingredients: 200 g Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage per person Potatoes Grenoble walnuts Slices of local dry cured and cooked ham Slice the cheese and melt the slices with a raclette maker. Pour the melted cheese over the potatoes and ham. Serve with a Châtillon-en-Diois wine.

GENERAL INFORMATION Starting point

Méaudre

Total elevation gain

564

Min. elevation

938

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

1223

Signposted route

Yes

C

Lans-en-Vercors D

Méaudre

A

Villard-de-Lans

Maison du Patrimoine

Learn about the daily life of the inhabitants of the Quatre-Montagnes plateau from the late 19th century up until today. The museum is located in Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 17 31. www.villarddelans.com

Riding on the QuatreMontagnes plateau with the limestone summits of the eastern Vercors ridge in the background.

B

Corrençon-en-Vercors

Difficulty

<5%

m 1300 1200 1100 1000 900

- La Taiga (hotel). 150 rue des Jeux Olympiques - 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 15 40 - www.lataiga.com - Les 4 Montagnes (inn). 505 avenue du Général de Gaulle 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 91 02. www.les4montagnes.com - À la Crécia (bed and breakfast, evening meals). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 46 98. - Le Camp des Découvreurs. Lodging in platform tents and tepees, meals. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 53 42 75. - Domaine du Traffet, in Lans-en-Vercors. Tel. +33 (0)9 61 35 75 19 www.domainedutraffet-vercors.com

Local specialties - Le Hérisson (shop selling artisanal dry-cured sausages). 64 avenue des Francs-Tireurs - 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 93 24. - Ferme des Jalines (farm selling cheese, dairy products, jams). Hameau des Lombards - 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 94 94.

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

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- Ferme des Nobles (farm selling artisanal pork products). Hameau des Nobles - 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 38 02 90 82.

Along the route - Fountains with potable water in Villard-de-Lans: *coming from Méaudre, in the hamlet of Jarrands *in the centre of Villard: at the church, next to the tourist office, and below the town hall gardens. - Extrem’Evasion, in Lans-en-Vercors. Bike sales, rental, and repairs. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 27 38 67.

Places to take a break - In the Gorges du Méaudret, along the river between Méaudre and Villard. - Relax at Villard’s aquatic recreation centre and spa (sauna, steam room, jacuzzi). Chemin de la Patinoire 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 50 13. - Picnic tables and public toilets available at the Lans-enVercors tourist office. Free Wi-Fi area in the village centre.

Km

take the time to turn around and admire the magnificent Vercors range. - In the hamlet of Geymonds: nice views, picnic tables, public toilets. - Panoramic map in the Glénat parking area, in the centre of Villard-de-Lans.

Tourist offices and information - Autrans tourist office. Rue du cinéma - 38880 Autrans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 30 70 - www.autrans.com - Méaudre tourist office. Le village - 38112 Méaudre. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 20 68 - www.meaudre.com - Lans-en-Vercors tourist office. 246 avenue Léopold Fabre - 38250 Lans-en-Vercors. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 42 62. www.lansenvercors.com - Villard-de-Lans tourist office. 101 place Mure Ravaud 38250 Villard-de-Lans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 95 10 38. www.villarddelans.com Vercors Tourism, http://vercors.fr/

Panoramic views not to miss - Halfway between Villard-de-Lans and Lans-en-Vercors,

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Loop 17 (Lac du Verney tour)

FARCIS DE L’OISANS This Oisans dish was traditionally made at the end of winter, when food was scarce. Preparation and cooking time: 2 hours

Water and rock In the valley of Eau d’Olle, between Belledonne and Grandes Rousses, the natural landscape is worthy of a postcard. The waters of Lac du Verney add an aquatic element to this rocky, mineral universe.

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he 75-hectare Lac du Verney is shared by the communities of Allemont and Oz-en-Oisans. Formed by a hydroelectric dam, the lake offers a host of enjoyable aquatic activities in a mountain setting, including paddle boating, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing, and Optimist sailing. The waters of the lake mirror the mountain ranges surrounding the Eau d’Olle valley. These mountains can be reached by way of the Glandon and Croix-de-Fer cols. The Hydrélec museum, located in Vaujany, presents the history and features of this dam, which functions in conjunction with the Grand-Maison dam, located upstream. There is also information on related subjects like different types of energy sources and new technologies. The museum is currently closed for renovation, and will reopen in autumn 2013. The Musée du Rivier, in Allemont, is divided into two sections. One part of the museum is devoted to ibex, while the other section covers the history of Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory’s plane crash on 14 November 1944, above Rivier d’Allemont. The section of the Rivier museum devoted to ibex is called the Maison du Bouquetin. It provides a detailed study of this emblematic animal, which was nearly extinct by the late 19th century. Today, ibex have been reintroduced in various mountain ranges in France. You’ll learn about their morphology, habitat, diet, social behaviour, and predators. There is also information on how the ibex population was restored, and the related scientific studies in the Belledonne range. The various themes are presented in the form of modern exhibits, with films, games, posters, and mountain outings. The other part of the Rivier museum, Espace York Mallory, tells a dramatic true story. In November 1944, the great British Air Marshall Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory was killed in a mysterious plane crash above Rivier d’Allemont. Leigh-Mallory had commanded Allied aviation during D-Day in Normandy. This bit of history is illustrated with a documentary film featuring various interviews. The museum also displays parts of the plane and its cargo. The victims of the crash are buried in Rivier d’Allemont’s small cemetery.

Ingredients for 4 to 6 people: 800 g to 1 kg stale bread, cubed 1 kg salt belly pork 1 sausage (600-800 g) 50 g butter 100 g onions 500 g leeks 100 g flour 1 kg potatoes salt and pepper

Cook the pork and sausage separately in boiling water. Chop the onions and the white part of the leeks and sauté them in butter. Add about 2 litres of cooking water from the pork to the onion-leek mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour this mixture onto the cubes of stale bread, and wait for the bread to absorb the liquid. Squeeze the damp bread into egg-sized dumplings, and roll them in flour. Place the dumplings gently in the cooking water for the pork or sausage. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Boil the potatoes separately. Serve 2 or 3 dumplings per person with a piece of pork, slices of sausage, and a couple of potatoes. Today this festive dish is served in certain gîtes and restaurants, accompanied by a salad.

Musée Hydrelec A museum dedicated to the history of hydroelectricity. www.musee-edfhydrelec.fr

C

GENERAL INFORMATION

16 km

D

Vaujany

Rivier-d’Allemont Riding toward the Glandon and Croix-de-Fer cols.

Oz-en-Oisans B

This part of the Rivier museum will teach you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the majestic ibex. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 79 83 06. www.allemont.fr

Allemond

Total elevation gain

329

Min. elevation

714

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

883

Signposted route

Yes

Allemont

Difficulty

A

Alpe d’Huez Villard-Reculas

Maison du Bouquetin

Starting point

Huez

<5%

Base nautique du Verney

Local specialties

This water sports centre is a great place to go paddle boating!

Lac du Verney Located in a stunning mountain setting, this lake is one of the highlights of the Eau d’Olle valley.

- La Ferme du Rivier: goat farm in Rivier-d’Allemont, run by Cécile Strauss and Philippe Manuel. 695 route des Cols 38114 Allemont. Tel. +33 (0)4 56 03 70 10 or +33 (0)6 27 34 18 19. This farm is one of the stops on the Oisans Route des Savoir-Faire. They produce a variety of goat cheeses

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3

4

5

6

7

PRACTICAL INFORMATION - Auberge La Douce Montagne (inn). 450 route des Fonderies royales - 38114 Allemont. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 79 82 40. www.ladoucemontagne.com. Relax in the peaceful garden after a day of cycling. Located not far from the cols of Croixde-Fer, Ornon and Glandon, and the climb up to Alpe-d’Huez, La Douce Montagne is an ideal starting point for cyclists. In the summer, the inn offers special services for cyclists, including an afternoon pasta buffet. - Auberge de La Cure (inn). Le village - 38114 Oz-en-Oisans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 79 89 27 - www.aubergelacure.com - Campgrounds in Allemont and Rochetaillée.

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900 700

Lodging

<7%

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9

10

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16 Km

(River Town, Vierdon, Tomme Pouce, Géode, Génép’coillote, fromage blanc, etc.). Cécile and Philippe have managed the Rivier d’Allemont community farm for five years now. They appreciate having visitors and enjoy explaining their daily lives tending to their herd of alpine goats. Open to the public. Regularly scheduled activities are held in conjunction with the Route des Savoir-Faire. - La Ferme des Bisons de l’Oisans, Didier Girard. Rochetaillée - 38520 Le Bourg-d’Oisans. Tel. +33 (0)6 74 91 23 18. Bison meat and products, lamb raised in alpine pastures. Member of the Oisans Route des Savoir-Faire.

- Restaurants along the route: several in the village of Allemont, La Guinguette on the shores of Lac du Verney, and Auberge de La Cure in the village of Oz-en-Oisans.

Along the route

- Allemont tourist office. 400 route des Fonderies royales - 38114 Allemont. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 71 60 www.allemont.fr - Oz-en-Oisans tourist office. Oz Station 38114 Oz-en-Oisans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 78 01 www.oz-en-oisans.com Oisans tourism: http://oisans.com/

- Views of the lake from the road. - Parc des Tilleuls : 200-year old linden trees, fountain with potable water, picnic table. - Base Nautique (aquatic recreation area, open in July and August). Water and bike washing station in the summer at the Planteys parking area. - Grocery shop in Allemont.

Additional information - www.bike-oisans.com: a website dedicated especially to cycle touring in Oisans (lots of practical information including routes, col openings, bike shops, etc.). - www.route-savoir-faire-oisans.fr : a website dedicated especially to Oisans farmers, artisans, and museums that are committed to the local culture.

Tourist offices and information

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Loop 18 (Alpe d’Huez, Col de Sarenne, Auris)

CROZETS DE L’OISANS

The legendary Alpe d’Huez

Crozets de l’Oisans are a great dish for cyclists and a good alternative to pasta. This specialty is completely different from the Savoie version of the dish. Crozets are typical of the Dauphinois mountains, since they require only flour, potatoes, dairy, and eggs. It used to be that the local inhabitants had to find ways to feed their families all year round with just these basic ingredients. They did their best to provide a little variety! Many families ate Crozets every Friday, since it was traditionally the day when they didn’t eat meat. Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour and 10 minutes.

A landmark of the Tour de France, the famous Alpe d’Huez climb is also the opportunity to explore a remarkable archaeological site, take in spectacular panoramic views from a 3,300metre summit, visit picturesque Oisans villages, and cycle a high mountain road.

H

uez, the oldest village in the community, features steep, flower-lined lanes that give it special charm. In the same area, the unique Brandes archaeological site is home to ongoing excavations and a medieval silver mine. From the Col de Sarenne (1,999 m), you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Oisans and the glaciers of La Meije, as well as four alpine lakes (Lac Besson, Lac Noir, Lac Faucille and Carrelet), which mirror the surrounding summits. Ride the Alpe d’Huez cable car up to the summit of Pic Blanc, at an altitude of 3,330 metres, and you’ll be treated to exceptional panoramic views of the surrounding area. To visit the Cascade de Pont Ferrand, take a right onto the unpaved road halfway between the col and Clavans-en-Haut-Oisans. Besse-en-Oisans is a classic Oisans village. Its traditional stone and wood architecture has earned it a spot on France’s register of historic buildings. Make sure to visit the Maison des Alpages and the artisanal bakery (4 km from the route). Both are members of the Oisans Route des Savoir-Faire, an association dedicated to promoting local heritage. You can also visit Mizoën, a perched village overlooking the Chambon dam, which is also on the route. “Route de la Roche,” the mountain road between La Balme d’Auris and La Garde-enOisans, is one of the most spectacular roads in Oisans. It offers superb panoramic views of the Bourg-d’Oisans plain.

View from Pic Blanc Ride the cable car up to Pic Blanc at the summit of the Alpe d’Huez ski area, and enjoy stunning views of Mont Blanc, the Meije, the Aiguilles d’Arves, Massif Central… www.alpedhuez.com

GENERAL INFORMATION

56 km

Starting point

Bourg-d’Oisans (Le)

Total elevation gain

1969

Min. elevation

721

Type of riding surface

Road

Max. elevation

1982

Signposted route

Yes

B A

C

Difficulty

D

m 2000 1900 1600 1300 1000 700

Col de Sarenne

After a tough climb, you’re rewarded with a superb panorama.

<5%

0

5

10

15

20

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Lodging

Oisans is great cycling country. Most tourist accommodations offer special services for cyclists, including bike storage, workshops for repairs, route information and maps, suitable meals, laundry, etc. - Bourg-d’Oisans: numerous campgrounds and other types of accommodation. http://bourgdoisans.com - Huez-en-Oisans: L’Ancolie, two-star hotel. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 11 13 13. www.hotel-alpes-huez.com - Alpe d’Huez: all types of accommodation (except for campgrounds). www.alpedhuez.com - Clavans-le-Bas: Auberge du Savel (inn). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 25 28. www.aubergedusavel.com - Gîte En Cloriet. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 27 03. http://clavans.com - Mizoën: Le Panoramique, 3-star hotel. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 06 25. www.hotel-panoramique.com - Le Freney-d’Oisans: Auberge du Freney (inn). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 79 16 29. http://oisans.com. Also, Le Cassini, 3-star hotel. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 04 10 - www.hotel-cassini.com - Auris-en-Oisans: Auberge de la Forêt (3-star hotel in the hamlet of Les Cours). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 06 01. www.aubergedelaforet-oisans.com

Brandes archaeological site Located at an altitude of 2,000 metres, this rich deposit of argentiferous lead was mined for 200 years, up until the 14th century. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 11 21 21. www.musee-alpedhuez.com

Local specialties

Mizoën

Located at the mouth of the Ferrand valley, this village overlooks Lac du Chambon.

Mash 5 cooked potatoes and mix them with 4 eggs and some salt. Gradually add flour and lukewarm water to make a stiff dough. Roll the dough into long logs and cut them into small cubes; these are the crozets. Poach them for a half an hour in a generous quantity of salted boiling water. Stir from time to time with a wooden spoon, drain. In a casserole dish, alternate layers of crozets with layers of Gruyère cheese. Top the layers with cream or melted butter. Heat in the oven until warm and serve piping hot. Crozets are also served at the Auberge du Savel in Clavans-leBas, and in restaurants in Besse-en-Oisans.

Besse-en-Oisans

This Oisans village is a real gem. The houses and streets are reminiscent of a bygone era.

Local farmers: - Villard-Reculas: La Chèvrerie, goat farm run by Clément Marais. Goat cheeses. Tel. +33 (0)6 73 16 53 19 - clementmarais@live.fr (3 km from the route). - Bourg-d’Oisans: Gaec Chèvrerie de l’Éterlou: goat farm

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35

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>15%

km

run by Gaëlle Paul and Arnaud Botte. Goat and cow’s milk cheeses. Member of the Oisans Route des Savoir-Faire. Tel. +33 (0)6 25 78 32 83 (1.5 km from the route).

- Le Bourg-d’Oisans: numerous businesses (restaurants, snack bars, bars, bakeries, grocery shops). http://bourgdoisans.com

Along the route

Panoramic views not to miss

Fountains with drinking water: - La Garde-en-Oisans, switchback 16, in the church square. - Huez: in the village. - Alpe d’Huez: Place Paganon (near the tourist office). - Clavans-le-Bas: on the way out of the village, near the auberge. - Mizoën: on the way out of the village. - Le Freney-d’Oisans: in the village of Perrier. - Les Chatains (Auris-en-Oisans): in the village, just below the road - La Carte-d’Haute (La Garde-en-Oisans): next to the road.

- View from switchback 7, Saint-Ferréol. - Col de Sarenne (view of the glaciers of La Meije). - “Route de la Roche,” between Auris-en-Oisans and La Garde-en-Oisans (panoramic view of the Bourg-d’Oisans plain).

Places to take a break - La Garde-en-Oisans, switchback 16: Les Gorges de Sarenne (snack bar-restaurant). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 07 85. - Huez: L’Ancolie (restaurant). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 11 13 13 ; Maison d’Huez (grocery shop). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 79 26 75. - Alpe d’Huez: numerous businesses (restaurants, snack bars, bars, bakeries, grocery shops) www.alpedhuez.com - Clavans-le-Bas: Auberge du Savel. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 25 28. - Mizoën: Les Ors de Mizoën (grocery shop). Tel. +33 (0)6 01 97 05 15. - Le Freney-d’Oisans: Auberge du Freney. www.aubergedufreney.com - Le Cassini (bar). Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 04 10; convenience store at the Avia petrol station. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 04 44.

Additional information - www.bike-oisans.com: a website dedicated especially to cycle touring in Oisans (lots of practical information including routes, col openings, bike shops, etc.). - www.route-savoir-faire-oisans.fr: a website featuring Oisans farmers, artisans, and museums that are dedicated to the local culture.

Tourist offices and information - Bourg-d’Oisans tourist office - 38520 Le Bourg-d’Oisans, quai Girard. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 03 25. http://bourgdoisans.com - Alpe d’Huez tourist office - 38750 l’Alpe d’Huez, Place Paganon, Quartier du Vieil Alpe. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 11 44 44. www.alpedhuez.com - Besse-en-Oisans tourist office - 38142 Besse-en-Oisans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 20 54 - www.valleeduferrand.com - Freney-d’Oisans tourist office - 38142 Le Freney-d’Oisans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 05 82 - www.lefreney-d-oisans.com - Auris-en-Oisans tourist office - 38142 Auris-en-Oisans. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 80 13 52 - www.auris.fr Oisans Tourism. http://oisans.com

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Practical advice

Ten tips for easy riding With cycle touring, slow and steady wins the race. A minimum of advance preparation can save you a number of headaches, whether they might be physical or equipment-related. Here are ten pieces of advice to keep you pedalling safely on the roads of Isère. I. WEAR A HELMET Use your head when you’re cycling: wear a helmet! Safety is obviously the goal; this piece of gear will help protect you in the case of a bad fall. And of course aesthetics matter as well. No cycling outfit would be complete without a helmet! For an extra measure of safety, note your blood type on the inside label of your helmet.

II. EAT Once you’ve started pedalling, you’re probably going to be at it for a couple of hours. Between the summer sun and the hills of Isère, your body is going to need hydration and calories to make up for what you’ve lost. Fill up your water bottles (with water or a sports drink) and remember to eat (granola bars, etc.) in order to keep your muscles happy.

III. PREPARE Use the information provided in this magazine in conjunction with an IGN or Michelin map, and have a look at the website www.cyclo-alpes.com. If you get lost, the extra kilometres and elevation gain can add up quickly, and your legs may not appreciate it. Also get in the habit of letting a family member know where you’ll be riding.

IV. DRESS FOR SUCCESS No, we don’t mean that you need to wear business attire, but riding up to Alpe d’Huez in nothing but shorts, a tee-shirt, and flip flops is probably not a good idea. Consider the surrounding region. The south of Isère is quite mountainous, and temperatures can drop dramatically as you ride. Wear proper cycling shorts, a jacket, gloves, and adequate shoes (with cleats, if possible).

V. PACE YOURSELF Don’t overdo it. If you go into overdrive on one section of the route because you feel like you have the thighs of Eddy Merckx, you’ll probably pay for it on the way back. Pay attention to suggestion number III; pace yourself and choose your route

according to your level of fitness. You’re better off enjoying yourself than struggling.

VI. REPAIR Remember to bring basic tools like a set of hex keys (as part of a multi-tool or separately), a set of tire levers, a spare tube, patches, and a pump or a can of fix-a-flat. These tools will help keep you from ending up stranded alongside the road, but you should still check your bike before heading out, including the cables, gears, brakes, and the air pressure and condition of your tires, etc.

VII. ADAPT Compact, triple, double… Choose gearing that is suitable for the region’s numerous cols. We recommend that you use a triple chainring that goes from 52 to 30 teeth, and a 13-28 tooth cassette. Also remember to make yourself visible to drivers, especially later in the day. Lights are never a bad idea. Finally, make sure to adjust your bike for maximum comfort (saddle and handlebar height).

VII. RESPECT This isn’t the Tour de France; the roads you’ll be riding will be open to car traffic. Traffic laws apply to all users, at all times. Respect other users just as you would like them to respect you. Make sure you are visible to drivers late in the day and when riding through tunnels. Deciding to make a fast breakaway right in the middle of the road might surprise your riding partners, but it will also probably surprise the drivers behind you! Isère also has lots of bike paths, so make good use of them.

IX. PERSEVERE Cycling requires a minimum of effort and patience. If you aren’t a regular cyclist, your muscles may complain a bit after your first outing, but this is normal. Give your body the time to adapt to the physical effort and cycling position. Don’t forget to warm up slowly and persevere. Once you’ve gotten into the swing of things, you’re sure to have fun!

X. ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY The Isère region boasts a wide variety of terrain, scenery, cultural riches, and natural treasures. Novice cyclists and veterans alike should remember to look up from their handlebars and take in their surroundings. The splendid plains, lakes, and mountains at the heart of the Alps are sure to leave you with lasting memories. Just don’t try to take pictures while you’re riding! Take the time to stop.

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Be l l e d onne

Chartreuse

VerC ors

oisa n s

- © AlexAndre Gelin

Visit Isère ! Trièves, Grésivaudan, Bièvre-Valloire, Voironnais,Vals du Dauphiné, Pays Viennois, Sud Grésivaudan, Matheysine, Isle Crémieu : 9,000 kilometres of blazed hiking trails.

Profile for Alpes ishere

Explore Isère by bike: 18 signposted cycling routes  

The new routes account for a total of 850 kilometres of cycling enjoyment throughout this diverse region.

Explore Isère by bike: 18 signposted cycling routes  

The new routes account for a total of 850 kilometres of cycling enjoyment throughout this diverse region.

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