French and Italian Alps in early october

Discussion in 'Europe' started by pexozinho, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. pexozinho

    pexozinho n00b

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    Hey guys,

    I'm traveling to Marseille on the end of this week and i'm with this crazy idea of renting a bike there to ride on the French/Italian Alps (No routes yet).

    The first thing i wanted to know is, is this a good idea? Are the alps rideable this time of the year?
    #1
  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    There has been lots of closures so far this year. Most years, October can be pushing it a bit on the high passes. Some are main commerce routes - ie trucks and stuff - they get ploughed. The rest get left to themselves some time in October, so could be closed.
    However there are more local weather patterns. I have just been told about app Ventusky, more a weather pattern app than a forecaster (although it does do that). All graphical interface with selectable criteria. Best of all it is completely zoomable, so you can get global, regional or local views of what is happening where you are or want to be. And what is lurking just off camera.
    Have a look over your chosen area and check out the weather. There are a few weather cams on top of some of the passes so you can see all the people or how deep the snow is. Also an Alpine weather checker, who's name escapes me.

    If you haven't been before, the biggest mistake made is to plan trips on based US daily distances. I guess you are not coming all this way to use our motorways - which would allow it, but the back roads will not.

    Have fun.
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  3. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    It's a GREAT idea!!
    With some additional care taken, its the BEST time of year (and the quietest).

    Just keep a close eye on things, any closures of passes in a given area will be the telltale sign.
    Check here for closures (weather and otherwise), then stay in the lower parts and valleys, there's still some awesome riding and
    loads of falls colours around.

    https://alpenrouten.de/alpenpaesse-verkehrsinfos-wintersperren.html

    See much "red" there and winter is on the march, otherwise...put down some of the best miles of your biking life, EVER!
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  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    It's entirely possible the OP has not read any previous comments about being in southern France, here's a repeat. So here, long time inmates should go read something else.

    I have visited along much of the Med coast and perhaps a 150kms inland quite a few times, September to December. My favourite region of the Luberon has lots to commend it, except the high Alpine passes. Even in December, it has been mild if not hot - warm enough to sit outside for lunch, if you have a coat, I have walked around in shirt sleeves and felt comfortable - but I'm from northern Europe.
    Even google maps shows the higher areas (switch "terrain" to max) to help you plan some very nice routes. Excellent riding, no traffic, great views with occasional villages for a stop for coffee etc. even lunch. Lots of places to head for to give a tour a purpose rather than just an aimless bimble.
    The Med coast has an even milder micro climate, and at that time of year will all be "doable" as in more or less empty. Ride where you like, stop when you like, eat and drink where you like.
    From more or less Nice, the Alpine chain comes almost down to the sea. Depending on the state of the snow fall or not, you can do high pass sorties from there easily in a day.
    Radar showed the recent snow closures that Switzerland was far more affected than Italy, France hardly at all. But it is "weather" after all. Another month it could be all different.
    #4
  5. DantesDame

    DantesDame Ridin' Fool Super Moderator

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    And remember that the highest passes aren't necessary for a great time. There are a LOT of roads that wind around the Alps that can give you a few smiles along the way.
    #5
  6. Bovino

    Bovino Been here awhile

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    That pretty much. The Alps-Maritimes area is very affected by the Med climate. If the weather goes tits up, just stay by the coast. Liguria is pretty cool, plenty of fun to be had close to sea level.

    A must visit is Grenoble though, after Lyon my favorite place in France. Plenty to do around there.
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  7. bout2ride

    bout2ride Been here awhile Supporter

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    A must visit is Grenoble though, after Lyon my favorite place in France. Plenty to do around there.

    I've been planning my trip thru southern France (Nov & Dec) for the past 3 weeks, after seeing some websites for this place, it just got added to my itinerary, thanks for the head's up'! :thumb
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  8. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer Supporter

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    If you're going to go to the Grenoble area, there's a superb little hotel in Rencurel in the Vercors - the Hotel Marronnier. The owner is a motorhead and his wife is a Cordon Bleu chef. I've stayed there a number of times and always was happy. (No affiliation)

    Pic from July's stay:

    [​IMG]

    And you get to ride roads like this:

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  9. Bovino

    Bovino Been here awhile

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    Cool. The cable car up to the bastion is rad!
    Also, don’t miss out on the mostly Muslim sandwich shops, there are some gems there.
    #9
  10. bout2ride

    bout2ride Been here awhile Supporter

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    I seemed to have missed the opportunity for motorbike guys, the hotel only open thru sept....but the area looks good enough to at least ride thru. thanks. :y0!
    #10
  11. pexozinho

    pexozinho n00b

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    Thanks for all the replies guys!

    I just rented a bike in nice for 10 days and can drive 2000km before being charged by extra distance. Will start Oct 2 and go until Oct 11.

    I'm on the route planning phase right now and i'll be glad to hear any tips on my itinerary.
    The only rules are that it should start and finish in Nice and have more or less 2000km.

    I'm thinking to follow this guy itinerary on the descend (image below). This will be 5 days and around 700km.

    I just don't know yet how i would go from Nice to Thonon-les-Bains, any tips?

    [​IMG]
    #11