Col de Planlara (1037m) and Col de Chamauche (1037m)

This pair of cols was a completely unexpected delight. The first unexpectedly was the absolutely glorious February day that accompanied the ride. The second unexpectedly was the pair of cols at over 1000m. I had just planned the route to take in an alternative way from Chalancon to St Nazaire, having done the Col des Roustans route both ways. In fact, from the IGN Top100 map, it suggests no cols over 1000m via the Chamauche road, so to find not one but two, with a superb view down from the road between them, and the view of Les Trois Becs, was a real thrill. (Cyclists are easily thrilled with such things.)

Today I rode it from Chalancon to St Nazaire, but it’s a very gravelly, sketchy descent to St Nazaire, so I think it might be even more enjoyable the other way round, especially with the surprise of Chalancon before the final descent to La Motte. They are reasonably challenging ascents of about 500m from either end.

Incidentally, you’ll probably want to take a map with you to find the road: it gives no clues from either end about how to find the cols, or that they even exist. From the Chalancon end, look for the sign to Chamauche, and from the St Nazaire end look for the D271 on your left – you could easily miss it!

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