Sur les traces du Tour de France 2016
Leaving from Martigny railway station
This route takes you in the footsteps of the 2016 Tour de France, with the arrival of stage #17 (Berne-Finhaut) on Wednesday 20th July. The Emosson dam rises to almost 2,000 m and offers stunning views of Mont Blanc.
As you leave from the south of Martigny, by the large roundabout, the ascent begins on the road to Forclaz, built in 1957 and completely renovated in spring 2016. You quickly reach the top of the vineyards, with a magnificent view of the Rhone Valley and the Valais Alps. The vineyards have been on the hillside since the 14th century and extend over 120 hectares. Local grape varieties include Cornalin, Diolinoir, Merlot and Syrah for the reds and for the whites, Marsanne, Humagne Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Petite Arvine, a grape variety that is 100% Valais.
On a fairly wide and very winding road, you continue to the Col de la Forclaz at 1,527 m altitude. During your climb you’ll see the Drapeau Suisse, a very pleasant restaurant with local and seasonal cuisine. When you arrive at the Col de la Forclaz, after a climb rising 1,100 m in altitude, a stop on the sunny panoramic terrace is welcome.
Below the col you can see the village of Trient, which gave its name to the glacier located in the valley to the left of the col. Ice from the Trient glacier was exported to major French cities in the years 1865 to 1890 when 20 to 30 tonnes were extracted every day. For lovers of hiking, the Tour du Mont Blanc, which takes 5 to 6 days with accommodation in cabins, goes through the Col de la Forclaz.
In the rugged mountains, you can visit mysterious gorges and waterfalls cascading into the coolness of the rock. The area is popular with climbers and has several fairly steep climbs. After the village of Trient and the long straight path, on your right, perched on a hillside, you will see the village of Finhaut, a tourist mecca of the late 19th century.
The big left curve extends several hundred metres before turning off towards Finhaut and the start of the climb. Initially on your left you can see the village of Châtelard, the starting point of the Verticalp Emosson amusement park to get to the eponymous dam. When you arrive at the top of the dam, you’ll be able to feel what the riders of the 2016 Tour de France did when faced with the 360° panorama
There are two options for the way back:
After the descent, you can get back to Martigny aboard the Mont Blanc Express from Finhaut. There is one train per hour. This option allows you to stop at Marécottes where a beautiful natural pool carved into the rock is waiting for you! Or you can return by bike via the Col de la Forclaz. When you arrive at the roundabout in Martigny, you will see the Fromathèque on your right after the Mont Blanc garage. Here you can taste a fine selection of local products like cheese from our pastures and vintage wine, 7 days a week.