Its nickname “Island in the sun” is no exaggeration, as Alpe d’Huez really does enjoy 300 days of sunshine each year! Located high up on the pastureland of the original village, Huez, the resort is sometimes bathed in a sea of cloud… absolutely magical! The peaks of the Grandes Rousses provide a perfect backdrop, enabling visitors to enjoy a wide choice of mountain sports.
- International resort
- 21-switchback cycle climb
- Skiing and mountain biking area
- Brandes archaeological site
- International events
This internationally famous resort offers an abundance of entertainment and leisure facilities. Although mainly known for its “Grand domaine Ski” in winter (250 km of runs) and its cycling in summer (mountain biking and road cycling), Alpe d’Huez also offers the full range of indoor and outdoor activities expected from such a renowned resort.
The bike climb up to Alpe d’Huez is an iconic challenge in world cycling, tackled by thousands of bike enthusiasts each year.
History and Heritage
The major point of interest in the history of the village of Huez is the Brandes silver mine, which operated in the Middle Ages. At that time, the villages of Huez (1500m) and Brandes (1800m) were virtually joined together. Today, we can still see a restored mediaeval tower in Huez and the remains of an unusual and complex silver mining organisation in Brandes. The later centuries (16th to 18th) left few tangible traces; for centuries, the life of local inhabitants was centred around agricultural activity, peddling, crafts (gloves, pearls, wool, etc.) and religion. It was the development of tourism that heralded the real change in the village, with the birth of Alpe d’Huez in 1936 and its first ski lift at L’Eclose. Later came the Grenoble Olympic Games (in 1968), which confirmed the reputation of the resort and created its mythical status. The Tour de France first came through the village in 1952, but it wasn’t until 1976 that the Tour made Alpe d’Huez a regular feature, turning the 21 switchbacks into an iconic climb for cyclists the world over. The resort then began to enjoy international renown.
Just below, the small, original village of Huez, still has a traditional atmosphere and regularly celebrates its history and age-old traditions, notably during the annual Saint-Anne celebrations.
Why number the switchbacks up to Alpe d’Huez?
In 1964, whilst cycling up the 53 hairpin bends up to the Vrsic Pass in Slovenia, Georges Rajon, president of the Alpe d’Huez Sports club, had the idea of numbering the 21 switchbacks.
“Why don’t we also number the bends leading up to Alpe d’Huez”, he wondered, persuaded that “it would be a great way of telling tourists they were nearing the resort”. What a great idea!
The signs were set up in 1968 (following the widening of the road for the Olympic Games), before being updated in 1999. To celebrate the 21st passage of the Tour de France, the village decided to dedicate each bend to a previous stage winner.
They now enjoy iconic status and some even have their regulars! The Dutch, example, have taken over number seven, which sees a tidewave of orange each year.
For more information, contact Alpe d’Huez Tourisme
Oppening periodsFrom 02/12 to 22/04, daily from 8.45 AM to 7 PM.
From 23/04 to 03/06, from 9 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 5PM.
Closed Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays and 11th May.
From 04/06 to 29/06, from 9 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 5PM.
Closed on Sunday.
From 30/06 to 26/08, daily from 9 AM to 7 PM.
From 27/08 to 23/09, from 9 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 5PM.
Closed on Sunday.
From 24/09 to 30/11, from 9 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 5PM.
Closed Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays.