• Col de Vars (2108m)

Col de Vars (2108m)

Amongst the peaks

With more than a 1 000 m climb on both sides of the pass, the col de Vars is one of the great cols of the Alps. According to « Profils Dolin », point of reference in the world of French cycling it is « one of the hardest, along with Parpaillon, Izoard and Galibier».

Not too demanding as far as St-Paul sur Ubaye, the col saves a few surprises for the final five kilometres with a 10 % gradient where it’s advisable to not allow your pace to drop.

A final assault that takes many cyclists more than half an hour!


Start: Barcelonnette 1 135 m.
Difference in height: 798 m from les Gleizolles (Saint-Paul sur Ubaye)
Average slope: 5,7 %.
Maximum slope: 10,6 %.
Card-punching machine: at the top of the pass

You'll love

The peculiar rock formations, known as « Demoiselles coiffées », between Saint- Paul and Le Mélezen, and the impressive Châtelet bridge suspended 108 metres above the Ubaye gorge.

A little local knowledge

After conquering the col, take time out at the little lakeside inn where Napoléon stayed on his return from exile in Elba.

A word from a cyclist

"Very demanding but worth the effort. The col de Vars is ruggedly beautiful and there’s a snack-bar for a welldeserved drink !"