The French Alps contain some of the best riding roads in Europe and this tour combines these with some spectacular sights. It is the ideal tour for both great riding and seeing lots of interesting places.
The tour features the Col de L´Iseran which at 9,068 feet is the highest pass road in Europe. The tour also includes riding Combe Laval, a dramatic road cut into the side of a cliff and the beautiful Verdun Gorge with its turquoise-green waters. We will be based at one hotel for 3 nights, at the heart of the best riding in the French Alps
We will also ride around the historic Monaco Grand Prix Circuit where you can follow in the tyre tracks of F1 legends.
Depending on where you are from, you could ride your own bike on the tour, or rent one from nearby Lyon (see ‘Rentals’ tab at the top of this page).
The tour officially starts in Geneva.
You can either 1, make your own way to Geneva on your own bike and meet us there, or 2, ride on your own bike with us from Folkestone, UK, leaving on Tuesday morning to get to Geneva Wednesday afternoon, or 3, you could fly to Geneva and rent a bike close to there. We can help with the arrangements for any of those methods if needed (let us know when booking). For specific information about renting a motorcycle for this tour, see the ‘Rentals’ tab at the top of this page.
However you choose to get to Geneva, you need to be at our hotel, with your bike, late afternoon on day 1 of the tour to meet your tour leader.
The terrific roads start almost as soon as we leave the hotel. Initially we ride north out of Geneva into the Jura Mounatins and ride our first pass of the tour, the Col de la Faucille. After riding south to Aix-les-Bains, the rest of the tour is spent in the French Alps. We ride the Col De Plainpalais (Col is the French word for Pass) before entering the wonderful Chartreuse Natural Regional Park and riding a number of passes there, including Granier and Cucheron. We stay the night on the western edge of the park
Incredible roads are included on the morning of day 3. These are set within the impressive Vercors Massif, a rugged section of mountains and plateau that combine breathtaking roads with stunning scenery. We ride some sections of roads that are cut into the sides of cliffs – fully paved and safe, but in a wonderful setting. The road we use to come out of the area is gloriously twisty. Further south we ride the Col de Cabre and then onto wonderful Sisteron, on the banks of the River Durance. We stay in the town centre, close to the magnificent Citadel and the impressive Rocher de la Baume, a huge rock outcrop.
On day 4 we ride from the spectacular scenery of Sisteron to the grandeur of the French Riviera and the contrast is very noticeable. The highlight of the day is riding through the Verdon Gorge, a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. The colour of the water in the river is a beautiful turquoise-green. We then join the Route Napoleon as we head to Grasse before entering Cannes and riding some of the Mediterranean coast road to Nice.
Another great day of riding awaits and we start by riding the corniche hills above Monaco. We will also ride into Monaco to then ride around the famous Monaco grand prix circuit where we ride through Casino Square, through the Mirabeau and of course the Hotel Square hairpin plus the tunnel straight. We then head further along the Mediterranean coastline before turning north into the main part of the French Alps, where fantastic col roads await. We ride direct to our hotel which will be our base for the next three nights.
For the next two days, we explore the French Alps, returning to the same hotel each evening. You can choose to take part in some, or all of the rides if you wish. The highlight of today is riding the Col de la Bonette, as we ride a total of 139 miles today on fabulous roads.
We continue riding great roads in the French Alps today – up to 165 miles worth if you would like to, or you can rest.
We head north on day 8 and in the afternoon, we ride the highest pass road in the Alps. First we ride the col de Vars and ride by the nearby ski resorts. Before lunch, we ride the Col D’Izoard and stop to look at its fantastic views. Another famous pass awaits us in the afternoon – the Col du Galibier which is often the highest point on the Tour de France cycle race. The Col de Télégraphe follows. Our final pass of the day is the Col de L’Iseran, which at 2,764 metres (9,068 ft), is the highest pass road in the Alps mountain range.
For our last day of riding, we start by riding the fabulous Cormet de Roselend followed by the Col des Saisies and the Col des Aravis. A few more cols follow before we join a motorway as we near the tour finish point in Geneva. The last day of riding on the tour see us journey back to Geneva, where we stay the night.
For those who rode to Geneva on your own bikes, you will start your journey home this morning. For those who rented motorcycles, you can either ride back to the Harley-Davidson dealership in Lyon today, or later depending on your onward travel plans. The tour officially ends after breakfast this morning.
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles.
Each day, we normally start riding at 8.30am sharp and cover in the region of 150 to 200 miles. We try to avoid motorways wherever possible and only use these when there is no real alternative. We take mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and of course find somewhere for lunch. Our plan is to normally arrive at that evening’s hotel by around 6pm.
We use good quality hotels – not super luxury and not bottom end, but mid-range – normally 3 and 4-star.
We ride at a pace to suit all of the riders. We stick to all speed limits in towns, but in rural areas we ride at, let’s call them ‘more appropriate’ speeds. We generally ride in staggered convoy on straighter roads.
As we have pre-booked hotels and a schedule to stick to, we ride in all weathers. During any exceptionally inclement weather, we will pull over for short periods. We could experience a range of different types of weather, so bring waterproofs, just in case.
Each of our tours has a difficulty rating and this tour is rated as ‘challenging’. That means this tour is for experienced riders only, with say, a minimum of five years of riding large motorcycles. You must have ridden on the right-hand side of the road before on many occasions and you must be comfortable with travelling in a group of riders and be able to keep a good pace within that group. We do not ride very fast, but at the same time, it is better if riders do not go too slowly. The route will include many twisty roads, plus many high mountain roads with many tight hairpin bends / switchbacks. There will be some sections of road with steep drop-offs at the side and no guardrail. If you or your pillion are at all uncomfortable at riding at height, then this tour is not for you. If you are from the USA, please note some of the roads you will be riding are significantly narrower and have tighter bends than in the USA. All roads are fully paved. While there is not much motorway riding on the tour, as a guide, the group will be riding at speeds of 75mph+ on motorways. You must be confident of riding in rain and on wet roads.
Each day’s riding will be around 9 hours, with breaks. You must be able to ride all day. If you are at all unsure if your riding ability is good enough for this tour, then you must contact us by telephone to discuss.