Tour de France, Stage 12 – Isère

Text read by Mary Peters

Geneviève cycles through mountains to show us some breathtaking landscapes.

Welcome to Grand Colombier you leave the Rhône Valley and discover the summit of Grand Colombier, which dominates the valley and Lake Bourget. The area is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and biking trails.

The Col de Grand Colombier (the pass) is one of the steepest passes in France. It is one of the major stages in the Tour de France. Coming from Bugey, the gradient is 20%.

This is the view from the top, looking down on the river Yenne and onto the village of Culoz.

Bugey has its own AOC wines. There are some 500 hectares of grapes that are used to make red and rosé wines. Activities include dog sledge rides in winter, snowshoe excursions, climbing.

In 1999, Bugey started to cultivate truffles. In the 19th century, the truffle rose could be found in the region. Now, a group of mushroom lovers began growing black truffles and selling them in a local truffle market.

Vercors Regional Nature Park

The Nature park straddles two Departments,  Drôme and Isère and covers 206.8 ha. It is an alpine landscape and the Grand Veymont rises to an altitude of 2,341 metres.

The park is rich with natural treasures, wild and stunning landscapes, limestone cliffs, deep gorges, chasms and caves. Green valleys, mountain pastures and forests.  All to impress the tourists and the locals.

In this exceptional area, you find diverse flora and fauna. Many animals live here, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds. Especially the Alpine ibex, like our friend here. Protected plant species and orchids also grow in this park.

Do outdoor activities in this park and if you are lucky, encounter some local wildlife.

The Route Napoléon is a 325 km long tourist road. It passes through pretty villages and scenic mountain countryside. Napoléon used this road to make his way from Elba back to Paris.

Château de Vizilles is full of history. It was important because the Assembly of the Three Orders of the Dauphiné met there on the 20th July 1788. It became known as the Assembly of Vizilles and was the first step in the events that led to the French Revolution in 1789. This castle was also the summer residence of the French Presidents from 1925 – 1960. Today it houses an interesting museum on French history.

La Tour du Pin is a town located between Lyon and Grenoble. It has been a strategic town since the Gallo Roman era because it is located on the Road connecting Lyon, Vienna and neighbouring Italy. Today, it is possible to admire many architectural remains that trace the entire history of the town.

Villard des Lans

This is a winter and summer sports resort located at the foot of the Grand Moucherolle in the Vercos Regional Nature Park. It is a popular family destination all year round. Many sports activities for children and adults. You can also go to the Heritage House to learn about life in the mountains.

Just a hop, skip and a jump and we will be in Grenoble. See you there.