The 2021 Tour de France wraps up this week in Paris. After riding over 21 days and covering about 2,121 miles on bikes, it’s natural to wonder (if you’re a Tour newbie) where the Tour rode, and more importantly, what awesome European ski areas the riders passed along the way.
If you’re looking for a great French road trip this winter, you could link up these diverse and unique ski areas by starting in Geneva, Switzerland, touring resorts big and small in the Alps, experiencing the rustic region of Provence, and wrap up the trip at a key resort in Andorra’s Pyrenees. This would be a great way to see more than just a few big resorts in the Alps, and maybe even get some bike riding in along the way.
Oyonnax to Le Grand-Bornard
The Tour started off in the Alps early this year. The first mountain stage on July 3 ended in Le Grand-Bornand, a resort town that has produced World Cup-level skiers and Olympians. The ski system there, called Aravis, includes the resorts of Le Grand-Bornand, La Clusaz, Manigod, and Saint-Jean-de-Sixt.
Stage 8 also saw the Tour climb the Col de Mont-Saxonnex for the first time, which is another small ski resort village.
Cluses to Tignes
While the ski resort of Tignes is known as one of the best places for summer skiing in France, heavy rain and bad weather tainted the opportunity for skiers to be seen during the broadcast of Stage 9. Australian Ben O’Connor prevailed, winning the stage after passing through some iconic ski resort towns, including Megève, L’Espace Diamant, and Les Arcs.
Sorgues to Malaucène
Perhaps the most anticipated stage of the 2021 Tour de France, Stage 11 had the cyclists ascending and descending the infamous Mont Ventoux not once, but twice. The Giant of Provence is a hotspot for cycling tourism, but in the winter months, there are two ski areas that grace the windy mountain’s slopes.
Check out these hidden French gems in the middle of France’s most rural area
Stage 15: Céret to Andorra La Vella
The first big day in the Pyrenees saw the Tour enter the small country of Andorra, and the ski resort collective of Grandvalira played a major role on the route. The Pyrenees mountains were the kingmakers of this year’s Tour de France, and Slovenian Tadej Pogačar certainly earned his crown on these brutal climbs. But before Pogačar went back-to-back with wins on Stages 16 and 17, it was an American, Sepp Kuss, who took the win after passing through the ski areas of Granvalira.
Learn about Grandvalira, one of Andorra’s largest ski areas