The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region is, even by today’s standards, difficult to reach, and when you’re finally there, you feel trapped in a beautiful melancholy of loneliness. From Barcelonette, the climb up to the Col de la Cayolle winds through a ravine of silence. It’s a grueling climb due to its length of almost 30 kilometers, but it is gentle until the last stretch up to the top, where the gradients pick up. The ascent changes character shortly after Bayasse, when the bridge over Bachelard is crossed. Hairpins intensify as the trees disappear behind you, and the landscape becomes more bare and brutal.
From Entraunes, the climb is more trivial and has the character of a modern road over longer stretches. Col de la Cayolle is part of a popular loop that also brings you across the Col des Champs and Col d’Allos.