On the trails of the Tour de France

Are you passionate about cycling and watch the Tour de France on TV every year? This summer, why not experience the Tour differently and set off on the same routes on the loop trail from Annemasse? On your bikes: Ready, set, pedal!


“Easy mountain pass that is popular with local cyclists.”

Review of the Col de Saxel from Jay Dot, November 2022

This year, amateur and professional cyclists will be cycling along the routes of Haute-Savoie. They will be taking on the routes and mountain passes between Annemasse and Morzine. How about you? Do you feel up to trying out a section of their route as an exclusive sneak preview?
Don’t worry, the Tour de France routes are also all about exploring French regions. You can expect some sightseeing along the way!

#Getstarted at an easy-going pace

It’s nearly time to get on your bike. But before you set off, there are some things to check. Before leaving, check the condition of your tyres, brakes and chain. Have you got your repair kit? Great, but that’s just for the bike. Have you thought of everything you need for yourself? Water bottles, your picnic lunch? Perfect, your bags are ready. All that’s left to do is put your helmet on and you can go.
From Jean Monnet car park in Annemasse, go along the Avenue de l’Europe before then heading towards Bonneville. You’ll be riding alongside the Arve riverbed and then the Menoge for around three kilometres, before crossing Arthaz and heading towards the Route de Loëx.
It’s time to stop off for your first break near the chapel so you can explore this charming little village. The Loëx loop trail is perfect for a short ride through fields and forests at the heart of a sensitive natural area. In the midst of this plateau, surrounded by mountains, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Voirons, one of the cycling goals for the day. When you get back to the centre of the village, come and see the chapel up close. Can you see why it is so original? It has two layers of stained-glass windows, one indoors and one outdoors. Surprising, isn’t it?
Now it’s time to get back onto the Route de Loëx, to go back to the main road and carry on your way.

#Climb to the peak

Back on the D1205, follow signs to Findrol and then the Pont de Fillinges. It’s time for things to get more serious now with the climb up to Boëge and then the Col de Saxel. Keep going, once you arrive at the peak you can stop for lunch.
Have you just arrived in Saxel? You’ll need to go left and follow the Route de Voirons for 6 km. Trust us, it’ll be worth it in the end. Near the Monastère de la Transfiguration, take your picnic and go up the path to the peak. You’ve arrived at the Signal des Voirons, the peak of this authentic, wild mountain range. Take the time to admire the panoramic views all around you. Lake Geneva is right opposite you, in front of the Jura mountains. Behind you, the Vallée Verte is just below and Mont-Blanc stands proudly in the background. This is the real star of this superb scenery. The most difficult thing will be to choose which side to admire as you enjoy your picnic.
Once you’ve recharged your batteries, it’s time to ride back down the mountain pass. But before you start your descent, don’t hesitate to stop off at the Notre-Dame de la Gloire-Dieu monastery that was founded in 1967. The Sanctuary at the entrance to the monastery welcomes pilgrims and visitors. Statues, icons, medals, stoneware dishes etc. You can also admire the exhibition-sale of various objects made here by the nuns.

#Dive into history

Are you ready to head back down the Col de Saxel? To take on the descent, there’s no hurry, be confident. Don’t be afraid of picking up speed. Avoid using your brakes in the hairpin bends because this could cause the bike to slip. Brake just before the bends and then look ahead to the end of the bend to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. In the third bend, don’t miss the path off to the right. Follow the sign for the Circuit de la Vallée Verte, before crossing through the hamlet of Gros-Perrier. Then join onto the D35 that will lead you to Fessy.
On the left, the Château Saint-Michel d’Avully will certainly catch your eye. And that’s a good thing because this is our next stop before our last uphill climb and then the return ride back to Annemasse.
A keep, moat still filled with water, drawbridge, rooms decorated with wall paintings, etc. The château has been magnificently restored. This former fortified house was probably built in the 12th century on Roman ruins. It was the fiefdom of the lords of Avully before being acquired by the family of Saint-Michel and then Saint-François de Sales in the 18th century. It was damaged during the French Revolution and fell into ruin, then was purchased by Yvonne and Jean Guyon in 1970. Today, their children have taken over the maintenance and restoration work.
After this journey back through history, it’s time to get back onto the road and take on the climb up the Col de Cou. Don’t use up too much energy yet because you’ll be riding up a 7.4% slope for 7 km.
Once you arrive at the peak, you can admire the view across the Vallée Verte. Habère-Poche, Habère-Lullin, Villard, you’ll be crossing over the entire valley to get to Boëge. Then you’ll need to go back down the same way you came to get back to Annemasse where your adventure comes to a close.

A perfect getaway combining towns and mountains, suitable whether you have always been a passionate cyclist or you’re new to the scene. What are you waiting for? Come and try out a part of the stage 14 route!




This price includes admission to the Château Saint-Michel d’Avully.

From April to October

Notre Dame de la Gloire-Dieu Monastery
The exhibition-sale is open on Mondays from 1 pm to 4.30 pm, Tuesday to Friday from 12 pm to 5.30 pm and Saturdays from 1 pm to 4.30 pm.

Château Saint-Michel d’Avully
From 1 July to 31 August: open without prior bookings from Monday to Friday from 1.30 pm to 6 pm.
From 1 September to 30 June: call to make an appointment for a visit any day of the week.

Before departure

Check the condition of your tyres, brakes and chain. Make sure you bring everything you need for any minor repairs on your bike. Check the weather forecast.
Would you like to buy or hire a bike? A standard or electric bike? Check out our selection of bike hire companies.

During your ride

Don’t set off too fast. Take the time to warm up your muscles. Listen to your body, set yourself a regular, moderate pace and make sure you’re not out of breath. Be careful on downhill sections, go at your own pace.

Sensitive natural areas

This route crosses through sensitive natural areas such as Loëx plateau and Voirons ridge. Make sure you take all your rubbish away with you and leave the place exactly how you found it when you arrived.