The Top 10 Cycling Routes

Riding the most gruelling leg of the Tour de France circuit is the ultimate cycling challenge for many amatuer cyclists the world over. Less than 30 minutes from the Col du Tourmalet mountain pass, Le Belvedere puts you at the heart of this infamous leg of the Tour de France circuit. With private ensuited rooms, multiple living areas and well equipped kitchen, Le Belvedere is a popular choice for cycling groups looking for a convenient, comfortable and well appointed base from which to experience the ultimate cycling challenge.

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1. Col du Tourmalet

Col du Tourmalet (2193m), via Luz-Saint-Sauveur. As a ride from the house, via D921 and Soulom, it’s a steady gentle climb up the D921 to Luz, then on to the Tourmalet after a fortifying coffee stop. Don’t forget to stop for waffles (gauffre) at Chez Frank, at the ski station after Bareges! This a return, up and down the south side of the Tourmalet. Great descent! Watch out for sheep.

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2. Col des Tentes

Col des Tentes (2208m), via Luz-Saint-Sauveur and Gavarnie. This would be a full day from A-G. With our own van/driver, we started from Luz, and returned to A-G. A long gentle climb to Gavarnie, then a decent hike up to the col, past the Gavarnie ski station. Stop for crepes in Gavarnie, and keep an eye out for marmots on the climb. Return the same way.

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3. Luz-Ardiden

Luz-Ardiden (1720m), via LSS. Another decent, if shorter, climb is to the Luz-Ardiden ski station via LSS for an easier day from A-G. Excellent views at the top of your ascent via the switchbacks. Good road surface (2015) for the excellent descent, at least as far as the village. Watch out for cowpats!

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4. Hautacam

Hautacam, via A-G. Another famous TdF climb and a short day from the house via A-G. Cycle on past the ski station to the peak and enjoy a decent coffee and lunch at the café there. An enjoyable descent, but watch out for traffic as the roads through the villages are narrow. Note – take the second D100, to the left after the roundabout (ie. not the D100A). The first is scenic but longer.

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5. Col du Soulor

Col du Soulor. A long and moderate climb from the house via the D918. If you have transport at the far end, continuing via D918 to Col d’Aubisque to a late lunch in Laruns, or Eaux-Bonnes, is an excellent ride. Aim for a clear day, as the continuing route is cold and tricky in the fog.

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6. Route du Spandelles

If you want a loop ride via Col du Soulor, then from the house via Gez and the Route du Spandelles is a good day out. In spring 2015, the road to Col de Spandelles was closed to cars but OK on a bike. Just watch out for nasty pot-holes during the climb. Not one to descend safely! An narrow descent from the col to the D126 and the town of Ferrieres follows, and then a long steady climb on D126 up to Col du Soulor for lunch. Return home via D918 – a long downhill run, enjoyable but not dramatic.