I set out this afternoon to do a little exploring on the Mont D’Or just outside of Lyon. Though I know the area reasonably well having cycled, run, and hiked on the Mont many times in the last ten years, there was one area of parkland I could not recall ever having tackled previously: Val Rosay.

Val Rosay is the site of a hospital and is set on 17 hectares of nature and forest near Saint Didier au Mont D’Or. It’s also the site of a climb where seven switchbacks over the course of 1500 metres lift runners up the side of the Mont D’Or and provide some stunning views of the Soane more than 100 metres below.

I thought that this might make a nice Saturday morning run, something I could take a little easy and enjoy after front-loading the miles this week. With a riverside run down to the Isle Barbe, a hop up the hillside to the D21, and then onto the climb of Val Rosay.

Having checked it out on Strava, it looked like it might be about a nine-minute climb for me at a climbing pace of 6m00s. After that, it’s a loop over to the Chemin des Esses and then downhill all the way home – or at least back to the river.


The run out to the Isle Barbe should have been unremarkable as it is, after all, a regular route of mine. The recent rain, however, had swelled the Soane so that the berges were, in parts, flooded. This meant running close to the road which, while not dangerous, takes more concentration to avoid streetlamps and other runners on the narrow path, and is therefore is far less relaxing than being safe on the paths closer to the river.

At the Isle Barbe I crossed the Soane and headed up the side of the hill. This is the third or fourth time I have run this climb and it is a killer – especially the last section. I didn’t push hard, though, and enjoyed the climb and the views of the swollen river below. At the top I followed my nose, took a dive down the hill a little, and then found myself at the entrance to the Val Rosay climb.

The climb was actually very pleasant. No cars at all, wide open roadway, and gentle switchbacks to make the ascent less severe. The climb cuts through woodlands and some parkland, and at the top moves thorugh a car park that showed little signs of life despite being full for a Saturday afternoon. I think I will surely be back as it is the sort of hill that, while still a challenge, doesn’t stress the knees at all.

I continued up the hill after the climb ended, and then turned to descned by the Esses down to Vaise. A cut under the railway line, then following the river all the way to the Fine Arts School where I took myself up the side of the Croix Rousse and home.

Shortly after arriving home, however, I was out the door again – this time with Jamie for a 1 kilometre loop ‘around the block’. This is the second time we’ve run the loop and he was looking forward to beating his previous time.


Our small circuit takes us from home, over a small rise to the Jardin des Plantes, and then home again with just a slight kick up a slope to finish off. The last time around Jamie had managed it in 7m05s and this time, though starting off much slower, managed to come home in 6m47s. He’s far better at pacing than I seem to be, and he was proud to have done the loop just a little quicker than before.


His next challenge? He wants to run to the Place des Terreaux and back, a distance of about 1.3km. I think he’ll be able to do it, though I think we’ll stop to drink a couple of times when we do. Still, it’s the most fun running with him and I do enjoy sharing the time together, even if it is just a short time compared to the 10 hours I’ll spend running this week.

Distance: 18.5km (17.5km + 1km)

Elevation: 254m (244m + 10m)

Time: 1:32:19 (1:25:14 + 7:05)

Strava and Strava

Image by ValRosay.

%d bloggers like this: