Thibaut Blais Vars Cyclisme 2021 (85)Thibaut Blais Vars Cyclisme 2021 (85)
©Thibaut Blais Vars Cyclisme 2021 (85)|thibaut blais

The Col de Vars

Your summer challenge

Vars is a cycling Eldorado! Located at the crossroads of the Durance, Guil and Ubaye valleys, the resort is also situated on one of the most beautiful passes in the Southern Alps.

Vars pass

Objective 2000

Located on the famous Route des Grandes Alpes, the Col de Vars is one of those climbs that every cyclist must climb one day. With a length of 20 kilometers from Guillestre, it offers the possibility of crossing the symbolic altitude of 2,000 meters, making this climb a real challenge for sports enthusiasts staying in Vars or the Hautes-Alpes.

If the average percentage is around 5.7%, it’s because Vars has a tiered ascent: a steep start to the pass, with passages at nearly 10%, then flats before crossing the resort where the gradient is again severe. The last 3 kilometers are less complicated and allow you to savor the arrival at the summit, where the Parapaillon massif offers itself as a reward to the brave cyclists who have produced between 01h30 and 02h00 of effort to get this far.


Like you were there

Un été sur la Route des Grandes Alpes... - Vars
Un été sur la Route des Grandes Alpes... - Vars
Un été sur la Route des Grandes Alpes... - Vars

On its upper alpine side, the Col de Vars is almost 20 km long and offers the chance to pass the symbolic 2000-meter altitude mark.





19.40 km

Height gain:

1,111 meters

Finish altitude:

2.109 meters

Average percentage:


Maximum percentage:



When cycling up a mountain pass like Vars, it’s important to know where you can find water. The high alpine side of the Col de Vars has the advantage of crossing the villages and the resort. You’ll find fountains at:


Vars Saint-Marcellin (km 14)

Vars Sainte-Marie (km 15)

Vars les Claux (km 17)

On the road

From the Tour de France

The Col de Vars is part of the history of the Tour de France. It has been crossed 35 times by the Grande Boucle since the first passage in 1922. Some of the biggest names in world cycling have crossed the summit first: Gino Bartali (1938), Jean Robic (1947 & 1948), Louison Bobet (1950), Fauto Coppi (1951)… The Tour last passed through Vars in 2019. Belgian Tim Wellens came out on top, while Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe wore the yellow jersey.

Always more

Les 6 jours cyclo de vars

A week of cycling from Vars, with some of the most beautiful Haute-Alpes passes on the program!

Find out more