About the surrounding area
Set at around 1,800m at the top of the world famous Tour de France climb of the 21 bends, Alpe d’Huez is a large south facing resort with a fantastic record for both snow and sunshine. Whilst large in size it has managed to retain the mountain village feel of the old town. Often sitting above the clouds Alpe d’Huez is referred to by the locals as “Ile’ de Soleil” = “Island of Sun”.
The main market town of the Oisans region, Bourg d’Oisans, is a 20-minute drive down the famous 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d’Huez. Being the main town ‘Bourg’ offers a wide array of shops, bars and restaurants. It has a large supermarket with parking (ideal for stocking up!), petrol stations, banks, post office, pharmacies, medical centre, bus terminus, builder’s merchants, churches, riverside walks, cycle hire, swimming pool, tennis courts, osteopaths (the list goes on!) can all be found in this quaint typically alpine mountain town.
Be you a fast food lover or a gourmet fan Alpe d’Huez caters for all tastes. Pinocchio Pizzeria opposite the Ice Rink takes some beating, Smithy’s Taverns Tex-Mex themed menu is hugely popular, whilst Lounge 21 above the Igloo nightclub offers a more exclusive feel. Whilst the Edelweis and La Pomme de Pin, by the Ice rink offer traditional mountain cuisine and fondues. On the mountain situated above the ‘Les Bergers’ commercial centre, Le Spot, whilst being small, is truly a great ‘spot’ for lunch. ‘Lil Food’ next to the Igloo provides great late night food.
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The 21 hairpin bends that lead from Bourg d’Oisans up to Alpe d’Huez is probably the most famous climb in the whole of the cycling world. The views from the top of the Pic Blanc (accessed from the DMC lift centre) offers truly breathtaking views, on a clear day you can see Mont Blanc, Les Deux Alpes and even the mighty Mont Ventoux (the giant of Provence!). Around 45 minutes towards Grenoble is the historic town of Vizille with its museum and Chateau. Top flight rugby is played at the new Stade des Alpes by Top14 club Grenoble, which is around an hour away. The historic and incredibly picturesque ‘Route Napoleon’ runs from the area all the way to the Mediterranean, and follows the route taken by Napoleon upon his return from Elba in 1815 and links Grenoble with Cannes (N85).
Things to Do nearby
Alpe d’Huez offers a huge array of activities, skiing, snowboarding, sledging, tobogganing, cross country skiing, on-piste, off-piste, paragliding, Nordic walking and the latest craze ‘fat biking’ (basically a mountain bike with 4x4 tyres!!) to name but a few. There really is something for all abilities and all levels. In summer Alpe d’Huez is a mecca for cyclists and when the Tour de France comes to town so do around 1 million spectators from all over the world. Alpe d’Huez also offers a tennis club, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, ice rink, leisure centre (gym, climbing wall, indoor tennis, squash, table tennis etc).
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The local nine-hole golf course by the altiport consists of 6 ‘pitch and putt’ holes to start and 3 genuine tough par 3’s to finish. A tougher 9-hole course can be found in Les Deux Alpes, underneath the ‘red jelly bean’ bubble car. For a serious challenge try the Golf International at Eybens, around 45 minutes away towards Grenoble (near Vizille), this Robert Trent Jones designed course is regarding a being amongst the best in France. During the summer in Alpe d’Huez most Thursdays you will find a competition at the course which can be entered on the day. The 6th tee box is literally on the runway of the altiport and offers fantastic views. There are other courses in the area at Seyssins, Charmeil and Uriage (all near Grenoble).
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Well known and loved for its nightlife Alpe d’Huez truly offers something for all tastes. La Folie Douce (accessed from Marmottes/Les Bergers lift) kicks off at mid-afternoon and although relatively new (in its third year), it holds legendary status already, with DJ’s and live acts. Smithy’s Tavern, O Bar and O’Sharkeys all offer good food, drinks promos’ and show live sport. The ‘Free-ride Bar’ next to the Ice-rink has a ‘stock trading’ theme with TV screens showing constantly changing drink prices, pick the right time to buy your favourite tipple or alternatively try someone new at a market low price, whilst drinks trading is fun, it can get quite messy! After all of this you can move onto the Caves or Igloo Discotheques adjacent to Smithy’s Tavern just below the Ice Rink.
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