In Cycling France, French Pyrenees

Cycling Col de Pailhères, Ax-3-Domaines and Col du Chioula

bicycles with signs at the base the Col de Pailhères.

The base of the Col de Pailhères.

This is another ride starting and finishing in the wonderful little village of Comus. The out-the-door riding in this part of the Pyrenees is fantastic.

Climb Stats

Col de Pailhères

  • Distance: 9.4 miles
  • Ascent: 3777 Feet
  • Average grade: 7.8%


  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Ascent: 2184Feet
  • Average grade: 8.3%

Col du Chioula

  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Ascent: 2464 Feet
  • Average grade: 6.5%

This ride includes two major climbs in succession that are often featured in the Tour de France. Cycling Col de Pailhères and Ax-3-Domaines are both serious climbs, though the Col de Pailhères is the much better of the two. It is remote. Ax-3-Domaines is a wide road, by French standards, to a ski station, similar to Alp d’Huez.

cycling petting a wild horse on the Col de Pailhères

Didier is making a new friend with a wild horse.on the Col de Pailhères.


ritchey breakaway near top of the Col de Pailhères.

Near the top of the Col de Pailhères.


Coffee break at the hitching post.

We stopped for a coffee and snack at a little bar in some town I cannot recall. The memorable thing about stop the many people on horses. You can see their saddles in the above pic. Like us, they stopped for a snack, and at the time of this picture had walked their horses down to the stream for a drink. This is a wild and remote place in France.

Ted Zuhlsdorf cycling in the French Pyrenees

Action shot of yours truly.


The French are polite enough to put up sings letting you know the pain you are about to endure.

Cyclist riding on small road in the pyrenees

Didier riding up the road.

To Ride or Not to Ride

Col de Pailhères and Ax-3-Domaines are main features in the Tour and for good reason. Though you might skip Ax-3-Domaines and cycle the reverse side of Col de Pailhères for a better experience. Col du Chioula is a very small road that has not been used in the tour and I don’t see it being used either, due to its size and geographic location. But if they did, it would be a good addition.

Strava Map from this Ride

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