Bike roadbook Drôme-Geneva
This itinerary crosses the most beautiful landscapes of Drôme provençale, the Val de Drôme, the PNR of the Vercors, Trièves, Matheysine, Grenoble, the PNR of the Chartreuse, Chambéry, the Lac du Bourget, Chautagne, the Vuache Mountain and the plain of Geneva, and uses only low-traffic country roads and bike paths.
In 430 km, 9 stages and about 7,600 m of cumulative + height difference, these "bike roads" between Montélimar/Livron Viarhôna and Geneva, follow as closely as possible the GR®965 and offer a "return to Geneva" through the hinterland. They were implemented by the Association Sur les pas des Huguenots et Les déjantés du Trièves.
The presentation of each recommended stage as follows.
Étape 1 : Montélimar – Le Poët Célard
48 km • cumulative height difference +678 m / -215 m
In Montelimar, the "door of the south of France" we leave the ViaRhôna in the direction of the perched villages and the lavender fields of the Drôme provençale. Head East to reach Le Poët-Laval, one of the most beautiful villages in France and Dieulefit, to discover some of the region's traditional handicrafts, notably ceramics and pottery but also some foodstuffs such as the "Picodon", a famous local goat cheese and lavender honey.
Étape 2 : Le Poët Célard – Saillans
28 km • cumulative height difference +647 m / -864 m
This stage is linking lavender fields and vineyards, between the scattered Protestant cemeteries that mark the landscapes of the Pays de Bourdeaux and the isolated chapels of the Pays de Saillans. The foothills of the Forest of Saoû, a real natural jewel and the Col de la Chaudière, allow us to reach the valley of the Drôme…
Étape 1bis : Livron – Saillans
42 km • cumulative height difference +285 m / -116 m
From the ViaRhôna at the Rhône – Drôme confluence in Livron-sur-Drôme, we head East via the "Vélodrôme". We discover several perched villages, as many historical witnesses of this valley strongly marked by its Protestant past and the wars of religion…
Étape 3 : Saillans – Châtillon-en-Diois
51 km • cumulative height difference +1 236 m / -588 m
The Roanne Valley gives access to the “country of steep slopes” where the villages are built on the rocky spurs overhanging abysses. Turn after turn, through narrow roads cut in the rock, we go up in the scenery of a breathtaking geological show…
Étape 4 : Châtillon-en-Diois – Mens
49 km • cumulative height difference +1 141 m / -878 m
The descent, on the Isère side of the Col de Menée, offers us a stunning view on the Prealps and the Trièves plateau, a kind of natural fortress, which has given its character to the landscapes and the inhabitants of this region. <span '="" id="s2_2">At the end of the 16th century, Mens, the historic capital of the plateau, was nicknamed the little Geneva of the Alps…
Étape 5 : Mens – Vizille
55 km • cumulative height diffrence +830 m / -1 211 m
Crossing the Drac river and ascend to the town of La Mure is the major challenge of the day. Leaving this old mining town, the route turns into a pleasant walk along the natural lakes of Laffrey. At the end of the stage we descend by small roads in the Romanche valley to reach Vizille.
Étape 6 : Vizille – Saint-Bernard-de-Touvet
51 km • cumulative height difference +1 591 m / -952 m
A stage with the profile of a «roller coaster» which ends on the Plateau des Petites Roches (Regional Natural Park of the Chartreuse) in a charming mountain village, overlooking the Grésivaudan valley and offering an exceptional panorama over the summits of Belledonne, Vercors and Mont-Blanc.
Étape 7 : St-Bernard-de-Touvet – Aix-les-Bains
57 km • cumulative height difference +385 m / -1 042 m
Leaving Fort-Barraux, historically located in the border area between the Dauphiné and the territories of the Dukes of Savoy, we travel the Abysses and the vineyard of Apremont. <span '="" id="s2_2" style="font-size: 1em;">A «Green Avenue» leads us to the city center of Chambéry and bypass the Bourget lake to reach Aix-les-Bains with its shimmering and romantic shores.
Étape 8 : Aix-les-Bains – Frangy
51 km • cumulative height difference +591 m / -514 m
By the road that runs along the Lac du Bourget we enter in the Chautagne region, a land of vineyards, marshes and poplars. In the past, the river was navigable until Seyssel and was an undeniable means of transportation, for both people and goods.
Étape 9 : Frangy – Genève
45 km • cumulative height difference +523 m / -470 m
We turn around the Vuache plateau.<span '="" id="s2_2"> After crossing the border in Chancy, the ViaRhôna guides us through the Geneva vineyards to Geneva, high place of the Reformation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries which today houses the International Museum of the Reformation (MIR) as well as several international institutions.