Date: Wednesday, July 14 2010
From/to: Chambéry to Gap
Type: Medium mountains
Start town: Chambery
Between the lake and mountains, Chambery boasts a slight air of Italy as well as a unique and delicious charm. Its slate roofs, coloured façades and historical heritage combine and contrast with those of its buildings in more of a modern architectural style.
On the road to Italy and the great Alpine valleys, this city so dear to Jean-Jacques Rousseau is one of the most dynamic in the Rhône-Alpes region and part of an agglomeration with a population of 125,000. It is a reference in the solar energy sector, as well as for its urban planning and booming associative and cultural scene. The Eureka Gallery and its Espace Montagne exhibition on the mountains help visitors to better understand and appreciate the Alps, especially the protected areas and surrounding mountain ranges.
At the edges of the Chartreuse and Bauges regional nature parks, the city also plays host to the headquarters of the Vanoise National Park. Furthermore, 2010 is an outstanding year for Chambery. The former capital of the House of Savoy is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its annexation by France, which will be marked by a wide-ranging programme of celebratory, cultural and sporting events.
Finish town: Gap
Gap, a city with a population of 40,000 and the prefecture of the Hautes-Alpes area, marks the limit between the northern and southern Alps. It is located on the famous Napoleonic route linking Golfe-Juan to Grenoble.
With legendary amounts of sunshine, wide open natural spaces, Gap is both home to lavender and edelweiss!
Gap is a place for sport in all seasons. Indeed, half of its inhabitants belong to a club. Ten minutes from the city centre, Gap Bayard is a vast plateau ideal for cross-country skiing in winter, whilst in the summer, it plays host to a superb golf course.
On the 50 km of the Balcons du Gapençais tracks, families can often be found mountain biking.
Gap-Charance is a park open all year round with nature study trails and a garden boasting 600 varieties of ancient roses.
Gap-Tallard is the leading French spot for aerial sports: parachuting, paragliding, hang-gliding, hot air ballooning, gliding, etc.
Gap-Céüze is a rock climber’s paradise with its 5 km of cliffs.
In Gap, the life of the city is a palette of colourful small squares and pedestrian streets, statues, fountains and coloured façades. Cycling will again have pride of place on Sunday 22nd August, when the Alpigap event takes place.
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index