Col de la Bonette is one of the most extraordinary mountain passes in Europe, and has featured predominantly in the Tour de France in the past. The summit at the pass reaches 2,802 metres above sea level and is purportedly the highest road in Europe.
When to ride Col de la Bonette
As is typical with many major climbs in western Europe, this climb is typically best completed between May and October. With the gruelling height of 2,802m above sea level, it is advised that hotter days are avoided such as in July. It’s also worth noting that given Col de la Bonette’s reputation as the highest road in Europe does leave it susceptible to a large amount of road traffic, as the area is also a bucket list destination for car drivers.
Riding Col de la Bonette
Col de la Bonette is a long, gruelling but spectacular ride that provides riders with a real challenge throughout and a rewarding feeling at the end. Throughout the climb, the gradient averages 6.5%, but it is the length of the climb that makes this such a challenge for riders, with this gradient change consistent throughout the entire ascent until a gruelling 15% climb on the final kilometre.
The first 10km of Col de la Bonette is a relatively gentle ascent before the turn on to the D66. Despite having already completed 10km of Col de la Bonette, there’s still plenty to go. From here, the road takes in some hairpin bends and the scenery begins to get more spectacular, including passing some picturesque lakes and the Caserne de Restefond. Beyond this is where the route starts to get tough, approaching and then taking in the solid 15% gradient climb on the final stage. Once you reach the top though, your hard work will be rewarded, as the views offered are some of the greatest anywhere in the Alps region.