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Alpe d'Huez

Travel Guide Europe France Rhône-Alpes Alpe d'Huez

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Introduction

long way down

long way down

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Alpe d'Huez, or L'Alpe d'Huez, is a ski resort in the French Alps. It is located in the commune of Huez in the Rhône-Alpes region in the east of the country. The ski resort varies in altitude from about 1,860 metres to 3,330 metres above sea level. The name Alpe d'Huez might even be more popular though because of its appearance in the biggest cycling event in the world, the annual Tour de France in July. The peak is also used as the finish of La Marmotte, a one-day, 175-kilometre-long ride with 5,000 metres of climbing!

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Events and Festivals

Alpe d'HuZes

The Dutch organized Alpe d'HuZes (website in Dutch) is a race against cancer! It is held since a few years and the goal is for competitors to go up the Alpe d'Huez six times in one day (zes means six in Dutch)! All to raise sufficient funds for the Dutch cancer organisation, for research to stop this disease as much as possible or at least make it a chronical disease instead of a potential killing one.

Tour de France

Tour de France

Tour de France

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Alpe d'Huez has been one of the most famous places in the Tour de France since over 30 years, basically almost every year since 1976, although the famous Fausto Coppi won the stage in 1952 already! Other famous riders were Lance Armstrong, the late Marco Pantani and the Colombian climber Luis Herrera. But it has been called the Dutch mountain as well, and not for nothing: 8 out of the first 14 stages were won by a Dutchman, including Peter Winnen (2x), Joop Zoetemelk (2x), Hennie Kuiper (2x), Steven Rooks and Gert-Jan Theunisse. The last one was Carlos Sastre in 2008, winning the Tour as well. If you want to visit the mountain during a Tour stage, be sure to arrive early. And by that it is not meant early in the morning, but days before to secure a great sport, preferably at one of the 21 hairpins, all named after stage winners. The climb is 13.8 km at an average 7.9 per cent, starting near Le Bourg-d'Oisans and finishing at about 1,850 metres above sea level. In 2011, stage 19 which will be held on Friday 19 July, will have a finish once again on the mountain.

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Getting There

By Plane

The nearest airport is in Grenoble, while there are more options from Lyon, Geneva and Turin, all within a few hours drive.

By Car

The best way to reach Le Bourg-d'Oisans is by car, taking the D526 from the south, or the D1091 from the east or northwest.

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 7:31 on Sep 20, 13 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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