I’ll admit that the Col des Roustants hadn’t been on my radar at all, and I hadn’t planned to ride over it, but thanks to my dodgy map reading, and a signposted invitation to go to La Motte-Chalancon from St-Nazaire-le-Désert via the col, how could I resist?
The D135 from St Nazaire was a real discovery for me: going over four cols (des Guillens, de Portail, de Vache and finally des Roustants), the road is almost constantly under the gaze of Les Trois Becs near Saillans. And though the final col (the only one over 1000m) isn’t anything spectacular in itself, the ride down to La Motte-Chalancon brings the thrill of a short gorge and balcony road followed by the vaguely ridiculous village of Chalancon and its views down to La Motte-Chalancon and the valleys and mountains around it.
You only really appreciate Chalancon’s position when you descend towards La Motte and stop to look back, the village perched on the hillside under a large cliff-face.
I think this col would be equally satisfying ascending from La Motte, especially if completing the circuit by going down the Roanne valley (see ‘A rocky ride…’). Really, a thrill round virtually every corner.