The Alps In August – France.

Posted on August 30, 2014
After returning from my expedition we had a week in La Motte du Caire at a campsite (with a pool) for me to settle back into life with my boys and living in Myrtle our motorhome before we set off on our travels again.

We had 7 days to travel 259 miles back to the Alps to meet our friends (Sarah, Ian and James) in Les Gets for some more mountain biking, paragliding, socialising and drinking more wine.

This is how we got there.

First Stop:


The aire is above the ski lift station at 1600 mtrs. It is free in the summer and has electric and water available which is also free in summer.  The closest toilets are about a 10 min walk.

We enjoyed our few days at Puy-Saint-Vincent, we both were able to do some mountain biking and Shaun even fitted in a paragliding flight.  But the resort is very small and we were ready to move on after only a few days. Puy-Saint-Vincent is worth a visit even for a few days and it is FREE!!!

The aires parking spots.


The views from the motorhome across the valley.

 This is the free electric supply in summer.  Shaun cooking fish on the BBQ (we do not cook fish inside the van, far too smelly!!!)

Col Du Lautaret – at a 2057 mtrs

We said good bye to Puy-Saint-Vincent and continued our journey to the Alps.  For the next few nights we stayed at the Col Du Lautaret at an altitude of 2057m.  This Col is part of the tour du France route and seems to be, “a must” visit destination for roadies (road cyclists).  So not to be out done Shaun got out his road bike and went and rode the climb to the top of the Col (in both directions I may add) to experience it himself. (You crazy man!!!)   

Jager looking back at the aire of Col du Lautaret and where his dinner was waiting for him!!

The aire was FREE and quite busy, everyone seemed to turn up on mass at about 5pm.  There are no facilities at the aire, but there are toilets by the tourist information office which is a 15 mins walk away from the aire.  There are  a few cafes here and a hotel at the top.

The Col on one side of the road is part of the national park and no mountain biking or dog walking is permitted.  But on the other side is a lovely mountain bike trail.  Jager and I ran along this trail down to Le Pied du Col, which was 5 miles away while Shaun drove the motorhome down to it.


Our running route down to Le Pied du Col

Le Pied du Col – Via Ferretta

Jager and I arrived at Le Pied du Col as expected, Jager had his breakfast while I had a nice cup of Yorkshire tea that was waiting for me.  Then after a few minutes, true to form Shaun said, “right are you ready honey, I want to get this Via Ferretta started before this family at the side of us” (who had just arrived.)  Anyone who knows us, knows this is Shaun Butler to a T.  He is so competitive bless him lol.  So within 20 mins of Jager and I arriving at Le Pied du Col I was climbing the Via Ferretta while Jager was fast asleep on his bed in the morning sun, by the motorhome!!! While I was, “beasted” by a beast master up a mountain!!! 

Shaun waiting for Jager and I to arrive at the Via Ferretta.


After we had climbed the Via Ferretta at Le Pied du Col.

After we had climbed the Via Ferreta (which I really enjoyed actually) I finally had time for a quick shower and some breakfast before we headed off towards L Alpe-d-Huez which was only a few hours away. 

L Alpe-D-Huez

Before we made the huge climb up to the aire, we decided to stoked up with food at the supermarket at the bottom. I would highly recommend this due to the high cost of food in resort!!!

Shaun wanted to visited L Alpe-d-Huez because he wanted to ride the world famous mountain bike route that was here.  It is 31km with a starting point at 3330 mtrs, this famous route is called, ” Megavalanche”.  There was other reason too and this is because of the hill climb up to L Alpe-d-Huez.  It is another famous climb for roadies (road cyclists) to achieve.  The climb to L Alpe-d-Huez has been made famous because it has been used as part of a  stage in the Tour du France in previous years and is a very hard climb to achieve.


The twisting route up to L Alpe-d-Huez.

I am pleased to report Shaun did achieve to reach the top of the L Alpe-d-Huez climb and in a very decent time of 1hr 2mins.  But due to the dreadful weather we had during our stay, he was not able to attempt the Megeavalanche route. 

The conditions of the trails were appalling and many were washed out.  We can always come back another time when the weather is better, we both agreed.  That is the beauty of our life.


The aire at L Alpe-d-Huez.

The aire is purpose built with water, electric top up, and toilets.  It is open all year around and costs 10 euros a night, which was a shock to our system as we had been use to finding free aires!!!

We decided to only stay two nights as we wanted to head for better weather and some sun!! We headed for Les Gets our final destination for a few couple of weeks.

Les Gets


The town of Les Gets. This photo was taken by Shaun while Paragliding. (Shauns size 11 feet)

We arrived at Les Gets to sun and light winds.  Shaun managed to fit a Paragliding flight in, in the afternoon, trying to take advantage of the good weather.

We stayed at the aire just outside town again that was situated in a car park at the side of a chairlift.  The cost at this time of year was 90cents per person, per day.  There are toilets there and a service point for water and electric top up.  But this is only available to the French due to it only excepting CB cards and not excepting VISA , Mastercards or even cash, which we found very odd!!  It didn’t matter to us this time as we had bought drinking water and filled up our water tank before we arrived.


Shaun soaring over Les Gets


Shaun landing safely.

Sarah, Ian and James arrived at our aire that evening before going on to their chalet, with a few special deliveries!!! One was a box of Cadbury chocolates (yum, yum thank you Mar Butler) kindly sent over by Shaun’s mum!!! The second was Ruby my first ever carbon road bike.  Ian had kindly brought Ruby over for me after I ordered her from him when I was in the UK for the expedition.  She was paid for from my wages I received for taking the expedition. 

I absolutely Love her!!!! But riding a road bike, I have found is so different from riding my mountain bike!! It has taking me some time to get use to her!!! This week to make things worse, I started to wear cleats!!! (Shoes attached to the pedals) Oh my goodness now this is scary!!! (I have never worn them before and very alien to me.)  I just know I am going to fall off Ruby when I cannot get me feet out quick enough!!


Ian loading Ruby on the back of his car in the UK.


Here she is my very first carbon road bike, isn’t she a beauty??


Me taking Ruby for a spin over the French/Swiss border. (Wearing flat pedals)


To prove I actually climbed to the very top of the pass. (No stopping on the way either to have some chocolate!!)

Its time to socialise and mountain bike – life is good.


Having dinner at Ian and Sarah’s chalet.


We are here to go mountain biking. Are you ready!!


Ian and James on the red route.


Sarah and me on the red route leading down to Morzine.


Ian and Shaun have stopped for a quick drink during their 80km mountain bike ride. (Nutters)

Jager didn’t miss out.


Waiting for daddy to come back up the lift after flying off.


Where is he mum!!!

Jager didn’t miss out on the fun in the mountains.  He was allowed on the cable car lift but it only went 1/2 way to the top of the mountain where Shaun was Paragliding off.  So Jager and I would walk the rest of the way.  After Shaun had flown off we would walk all the way down to the bottom, through the meadows and then the woods back to the motorhome.

I keep him on his extender lead through the meadows because of the cows and then let him off through the woods.  He is very good in the woods and stays close to me wanting to play hid and seek with a stick.  This is his favourite game in the world!!! He likes the stick to be hidden, then he sniffs it out!! That will be the sniffer dog in him then!!!

Shaun is leaving us in a few days and flying back to the UK to do some work for 2 weeks.  I wonder Jager where is life going to take you and I while daddy is away??  I will blog in a few days and let you know.

Warm regards

Dawn, Shaun and Jager x

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