Let's go for 12 days of a unique journey over more than 600 km. Like a tour of France, the GTHL reserves a variety of landscapes, a diversity of paths, singles, tracks… All of this, dotted with accommodation labeled Respirando and Accueil Vélo for the greatest comfort of cyclists.

Designed and laid out for E-MTB and muscular mountain bikers, for sports enthusiasts, epicureans, adventurers and itinerant travellers, the GTHL course offers all the pleasures of practice. On the way for a unique journey through the Beaume waterfall, the Gorges de l'Allier and the Loire, the Massifs du Mézenc and Meygal...

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From Puy-en-Velay to Lac du Bouchet

From Puy-en-Velay to Lac du Bouchet

The rendezvous is set at Puy-en-Velay, at the foot of the upper town and the Rocher Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe to leave the ponot basin and cross the first ridges. With the first well-deserved break at the Beaume waterfall, the show has only just begun... We take the famous road to Santiago de Compostela but by bike, to Lac du Bouchet, at Bouchet-Saint-Nicolas. The calm of this crater lake is soothing. Fortunately close by, the first Respirando accommodation reaches out to us… Everything has been thought out for mountain bikers and hikers. We can let go until the next morning.

From Bouchet-Saint-Nicolas to Langeac in the Allier Gorges

It's 8:30 a.m. and it's already time to get back on the road! The crossing of the Gorges de l'Allier awaits us. We pass through the Devès mountains along the Allier river: Saint-Jean-Lachalm, Saint-Privat-d'Allier, Saint-Bérain, Prades, the beautiful Chanteuges and its Romanesque priory, the astonishing chapel of Sainte-Marie- des-Chazes isolated in its green setting, Langeac… Around us, the riches are natural, but also historical. Tonight, we will sleep in Langeac.

A world tour without taking a plane, without leaving Haute-Loire, Auvergne, Lac Bouchet

From Langeac to Brioude, the beautiful city of Saint-Julien

It's a new day that begins, with water as a companion. On the left bank as well as the right bank of the Allier, the villages cling to the hillside. The spectacle is striking. In Brioude, stop at the Saturday morning market and discover the imposing Saint-Julien basilica.

great traverse haute-loire-gthl mountain biking auvergne langeac

From Brioude to Lempdes-sur-Allagnon, via Blesle, one of the most beautiful villages in France

We get back on our bikes towards the Allagnon gorges. Next highlight: the medieval village of Blesle, one of the most beautiful villages in France, with its 6th century Benedictine abbey, its cobbled streets and its half-timbered houses, unique in Haute-Loire. Then comes Léotoing and its XNUMXth century fortress which dominates the valley. The hardest thing is done. Only XNUMX km left to reach Lempdes-sur-Allagnon, the last meeting of this stage.

From Lempdes-sur-Allagnon to La Chaise-Dieu, through the Livradois Forez Regional Park

The days go by but never look alike. We leave the banks of the Allagnon to climb the high plateau of La Chaise-Dieu. There, we discover Auzon, a small town of character with medieval charm. Then, we warm up the thighs to reach Champagnac-le-Vieux. The ascent is tough! Fortunately our efforts are rewarded on arrival, with before our eyes, like an oasis, the lake of Champagnac-le-Vieux, labeled Blue Flag. Ideal for taking a dip between two pedal strokes. Tonight, we will sleep in La Chaise-Dieu, famous for its abbey and its classical music festival.

MTB area, ffc auzon, Auvergne

From La Chaise-Dieu to Boisset

The landscape is wooded, ideal for riding in the cool. We cross Craponne-sur-Arzon, in the Monts du Forez. Then the landscape finally opens up. The forest is less and less present and the points of view are multiplying. This is also where we will spend the night, at La Ferme de mes Parents.

From Boisset to Aurec-sur-Loire, a dip in the gorges

We cross the small Himalayan footbridge of theRespirando area of ​​Aurec-sur-Loire. Many leisure activities are available: kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle, electric boat, fitness area, playground and swimming area... But there is no time for fun. The hardest is yet to come. The positive elevations follow one another… We go up, we go down, we go up again. And to think that it's just a warm-up before the continuation of the crossing which promises to be even more technical.

From Aurec-sur-Loire to Riotord, in Haut-Lignon

After a short detour via the relaxing Via Fluvia and its many Respirando and Accueil Vélo accommodations, it's time to resume our Grande Traversée de la Haute-Loire. Early in the morning, we greet the pilgrims on the Saint-Jacques Geneva-Le Puy. A look at the Cistercian site and the chapel of the former Abbey of Clavas, in Riotord. And that's where we'll spend the night.

MTB area Loire gorges, Bas, Monistrol, Aurec, Auvergne

From Riotord to Tence at the gates of Meygal

We take our courage in both hands because a magnificent ascent awaits us. That of Grand Felletin (1387 m). Up there, the panorama is breathtaking! After the effort, the comfort of a passage through the most gourmet village in France: Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid, where it is difficult to resist the call of the stomach. A little further, the beach of the Lavalette lake invites us to bask (and digest)… Tence is only 15 km away, so let's enjoy!

MTB area, ffc Brioude, Auvergne

From Tence to Saint-Julien-Chapteuil, with a view of the Sucs du Meygal

The departure is early because the day promises to be technical and mountainous. We double the Velay Express launched on its rails. Not even time for a stop at Chambon-sur-Lignon. Goal of the morning? Reach the summit of Lizieux (1386 m). The paths are lively, traced between woods and scree. On the outskirts of Saint-Julien Chapteuil, the volcanic decor is grandiose. The juices of Meygal are approaching...

The great crossing of the Haute-Loire by mountain bike, Auvergne

From Saint-Julien-Chapteuil to Estables, from massif to massif

The journey is coming to an end, but these last stages remind us that in “Haute-Loire”, there is “Haute”. But what a pleasure to spend the day between these old volcanoes. Volcanic rocks line our trails. We go around the lake of Saint-Front and its autumnal atmosphere in Quebec. The route takes us to Mont-Mézenc (1753 m), the highest point in the department. Last pedal strokes of the day: we arrive at the village of Estables. To celebrate, we give in to the temptation of an Ouroboros beer, a local beverage with a strong character.

Why am I a Mézenc lover? Haute-Loire, Ardèche sunset

From Estables, back to Puy-en-Velay, the circle is complete

Already the last day! We have plenty of legs but above all plenty of eyes. The experience is unique. Last straight line (or almost) of 66 km before Le Puy-en-Velay, which marks the end of the trip. From the roof of the Haute-Loire, we set off on the slopes of the Jeune Loire to reach the gates of Le Puy. Back to square one. The circle is closed and the objective achieved. This Great crossing, we are not ready to forget it.

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