Ballon d'Alsace is one of the old climbs of the Tour de France which hasn't featured much in recent years. At just over 600m it isn't a big hill but its situation, isolated from the Grand Ballon and the other peaks along the Route des Cretes, makes it stand out like a mini Mont Ventoux.
The climb is fairly straight forward but also unrelenting. It winds through the trees which give some welcome shade if you are here in the summer. The steepest section is the zig-zags in the middle. Towards the top the climb relents somewhat but it can be in the full sun.
metres / Distance
47.8544, 6.8211 The start in Saint-Maurice-sur-Moselle. You are straight into the zig zags here before you leave the village. Then it opens out a bit more as you enter the forested section.
47.8354, 6.8306 The main climbing is done in the zig-zag middle section. Tight bends on this one with very steep inclines on the inside of the bends.
47.8256, 6.8357 The final section towards the summit is above the tree (and shade) line but a welcome cafe and shop awaits.
47.8243, 6.8404 A short walk leads to the summit proper with its monument (above).
Start Saint-Maurice-sur-Moselle in the Vosges in eastern France, 47.8552, 6.8199; Finish The summit cafe, 47.8205, 6.8355
Terrain: Good road surface and a nice wide road without too much traffic. Generally fairly safe for bikes.
Seasonal variations: There are some ski runs here in the winter so best keep away then. Beyond that it can be done at any time. I did it on a baking hot day with 36 degree heat - not ideal but it was the only day we had. Directory Listings: Find more Listings near this route