A while back I went on that Alpe d'Huez pilgrimage. It is one of those climbs that, like countless other people, I had to do get out of my system. In my case it was a bete noire that had been hanging around for too many years. I had walked part up the way mountain to watch the timetrial up there during the 2004 Tour de France. Somehow I had convinced myself that it was just too hard for me. That first ramp had mentally got to me.
The next day was beautifully sunny in contrast so I decided to head back out to the mountains. Somewhere since getting to the bottom of Alpe d'Huez and getting up the next morning someone had suggested riding La Berarde.
I had never heard of it. It was not on any cycling race or must do list that I know of. But, it is a stunner. Certainly it is not hard, but it is quiet and stunning and a short ride from Bourg d'Oisans. In some ways much more Pyrenean in its wildness and peacefulness, not like the usual Bourg d'Oisans climbs packed full of other cyclists and all too often cars. Later that day I went and rode the Col d'Ornon which some think is a quiet climb, but to me felt like another Alpine run of the mill climb.
So please when you have ticked off some of those must do famous climbs have a good look at the map and do some different and fall in love with just being on your bike, in the mountains with nobody else around.