Most of the groups whom I provide accommodation for and ride with that come over to Bourg d’Oisans are very much focussed on getting up the ‘big name’ cols – Galibier, Glandon and Croix de Fer (as well as of course Alpe d’Huez). While this is entirely understandable - as it’s why they’ve chosen to come here rather than somewhere like Provence, for example, there are many other ‘unknown’ rides very close by that offer up some impressive scenery, quiet roads, and often a sleepy village at the end of the climb.
The road up to Villard Reymond is one such climb. I rode up there earlier this week (and before I get too self-righteous, I had actually forgotten what a nice climb it is, and was only going up there as I was KOM hunting! More on that in another blog entry I think…)
It’s a turning up a small road, part way up the Col D’Ornon, and I doubt that anyone who didn’t know the area would ever go up there. It’s tougher than the Col d’Ornon, with some steeper sections as well as being more vertical climbing. The road winds up into a valley adjacent to the Col d’Ornon, with the the village of Villard Reymond at the top at 1600 metres alititude. If you fancy a 5 minute walk (or a ride on a slightly gravelly road) then you can continue on and get to the top of the ridge, with views down on Bourg D’Oisans in the next valley. If you’re brave enough (given the road conditions are good) you can keep going, and the road continues to Villard Notre Dame – the village in the mountains directly behind Bourg d’Oisans.
Once you’ve taken your fill of the view, and assuming you haven’t carried on towards Villard Notre Dame, you can drop back down into the village where a gite also serves drinks and food made from local produce – you can even try a ‘biere artisanal’ if you fancy! The best part is that they have a nice terrased area, just the job for relaxing with a little refreshment before you decide to head on back down.