Biking In The French Alps. What Is The Best Month?

Some Tips And Opinions On When To Go, What to Consider and How to Plan Your Bike Tour in The French Alps.

riding in the alps

So you’d like to go biking in the French Alps and you’re wondering what month would be best to plan your bike tour? We often recommend the month of June. Here are a few of our ideas and opinions why:

  • The available season is relatively short due to many of the famous mountain passes being closed due to snow during the late fall, winter and early spring.
  • Depending on what passes you’d like to ride, this can determine when you should go. For example, if climbing the Col du Galibier is essential during your trip, you shouldn’t really plan on going before June. In May, for example, you might be able to ride most of the way up, but the last few kilometers will probably still be covered in snow or even if not, the road might be closed due to avalanche danger. Play it safe and don’t ride past the barriers, even if the road appears to be ok. Or play it even safer and plan your visit for the summer.
  • Alternatively, climbing Alpe d’Huez is possible almost all year, because the road leads to the ski resort and therefore is frequently cleared of snow. Not that you’d necessarily want to climb it in the middle of winter, but if you are traveling in the spring or fall, you can feel pretty confident that the road will be open for you to ride. Be prepared though for dramatic changes in temperature as well as the onset of a heavy storm. These are the mountains, so you should always be prepared for all weather conditions, no matter what time of year.
  • If your goals include several different alpine passes, a bunch of the famous Tour de France climbs, and covering a bit of ground, as we do in our Bike Tour in the French Alps, you might want to consider the month of June. Of course the weather can be good in July and August, although noticeably warmer. You will also have to contend with the peak tourism season and the Tour de France. Keep in mind that most of Europe will be on vacation in August, so road traffic will be at its fullest and accommodations will be at a premium. July is synonymous with the Tour de France. If you’re not trying to see the race, you should plan accordingly to avoid the massive crowds. Of course if you are trying to watch the Tour, here are a few of our tips to watch the Tour de France in person.
  • If June just doesn’t fit your schedule, we’d recommend September as well. The summer crowds have left, the weather is still very nice and the snow should still be at least a few weeks away.
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