• Col de la Cayolle (2326m)

Col de la Cayolle (2326m)

A mighty climb

Ranked by « Le Cycle » magazine as one of the 30 most beautiful climbs in Europe, the col de la Cayolle was opened at the end of the nineteenth century by the army. It allowed passage between Barcelonnette and the upper Var valley, the last col to cross before the coast when crossing the Alps.

The road to La Cayolle has changed little over the years and has passages carved into the rocks where cyclists reign.

The road climbs, hugging the mountain side, along the Bachelard, tucked into the narrow gorge of the torrent.

Next it climbs in stages as far as Bayasse before the serious assault on the mountain. Finishing with nine kilometres of hairpins and zigzags, at a gradient of 7 %, through alpine meadows where, since the last passage of the Tour de France, just the marmots remain to whistle encouragement.

Profile

Start: Barcelonnette 1 135 m.

Difference in height: 1 191 m on 29 km.

Average slope: 4,1 %.

Maximum slope: 8,2 %.

Card-punching machine: On the wall of the Cayolle refuge.

You'll love

Passing through the Mercantour National Park where each bend can offer the glimpse of a marmot or chamois.

A little local knowledge

Head home at your own pace, but don’t miss out on a plate of local ravioles at Madame Arnaud’s restaurant in the hamlet of Fours.

A word from a cyclist

"A stunningly beautiful ride - starting out in the deep gorge of the Bachelard and finishing in the open Alpine pastures. Fantastic."