BikeRadar forumite knedlicky certainly knows the area well – he has suggested previous superb routes (including recently the Gorges des Écouges), and when I had a clear day with clear weather, his suggestion of a route including the Col d’Allimas was for the riding.
It needed to be a clear day, as the focal point was Mont Aiguille, and to give you an idea of how often it has its top in the clouds, I’ve only seen it clear once before, in three years. Admittedly I’m not there every day, but even so, that’s an impressively low strike rate. On the most recent ride, with James, Tom and Shane, we couldn’t even see the base of this distinctively-shaped 2000m mountain.
I’ll cover Col d’Allimas in more detail in a separate post (it easily qualifies for inclusion in my 1000m+ list at 1355m), but there were some magnificent views on the rest of the ride. Of course there’s the first glimpse of Mont Aiguille from just after the Col de Menée, but there were also impressive views from the D34A and D34 south of Monestier-de-Clermont, and from St-Michel-les-Portes, as well as amazing green water in the artificial lake seen from Pont de Brion.
My only comment would be that I think I’d prefer to do the col loop clockwise: I prefer short sharp ascents (and the ascent from St-Michael-les-Portes certainly is short and sharp!) and long descents. Knedlicky had suggested it anticlockwise as Mont Aiguille appears very dramatically when riding the col southwards; but as I’d already been looking at this singular mountain for much of the ride since Col de Menée, I’d happily trade in its sudden re-appearance for the extended descent going north. One for another clear day.