From Thonon-les-Bains to Nice, over 700 kilometers, the Grandes Alpes route crosses the French Alps from north to south.
Du Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean, the route des Grandes Alpes is one of the most exceptional road trips in France. Hairpin bends, mythical passes and breathtaking panoramas await lovers of asphalt and great spectacle. The motorcyclists follow the turns and skirt the ridges, through the parks of the Vanoise, Boxes, Mercantour, wallows and Queyras. They also travel through the massifs of Chablais, Beaufortain, Vanoise, Hoops and the Ubaye. 17 meters of vertical drop, 000 mountain passes to cross, including 17 at an altitude of over 6 meters. A dizzying immersion in the heart of nature between heaven and earth ...
A great spectacle
By browsing in its entirety the route des Grandes Alpes, the riders cross towns and villages among the most beautiful of the Alps. Morzine, La Clusaz, Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Modane, Briançon, Vars… But also Barcelonnette, Valberg, Saint-Martin-Vésubie or even Sospel. These municipalities are essential stages of the route. The adventure then ends along the Big Blue, in Menton and Nice. Vauban's fortifications, small Romanesque churches and chapels, or even historic bridges bear witness to the historical past of this sometimes inhospitable territory.
A land of encounter
The route of the Grandes Alpes also allows you to meet those who shape the history of these places. The inns, farms, relays and campings are all meeting places. Local products and specialties delight the taste buds of visitors. The shepherds, market gardeners and itinerant vendors come across at the bend of a bend, bring the curious back to a bygone era, and ultimately not so distant.
The history of the Grandes Alpes route
It was François Arnaud in 1900 who first had the idea of this tourist route. Its objective was to develop “ a passable road which will be the favorite passage, almost obligatory, of great tourism and of foreign colonies who share their stay in France between the Mediterranean coast and Savoy ”. The Touring club of France and the company of the railways from Paris to Lyon and to the Mediterranean will then begin to implement this project from 1909. The two wars will then come to compromise the route and the tourist development of the region.
In 1950, the primitive alpine route competed with the new Alpine Route located further west and open all year, will be renamed the Route des Grandes Alpes. At the end of the XNUMXth century, cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists started to take this magnificent route again.
The route of the Grandes Alpes today
Today, the route des Grandes Alpes is open in its entirety from June to October, unless the snow cover of the Cayolle, Galibier and Iseran passes does not allow it. Each year, the road is the scene of several stages of the Tour de France, among the most feared. Are you planning a road trip in the Alps? To fully appreciate the unspoiled nature and the calm of the place, choose the months of June and September. And to convince yourself to conquer the alpine passes, don't miss this Check My Rides video.
“This second episode corresponds to the official section of the Route des Grandes Alpes. Passes by the dozen, from the most famous (Galibier) to the wildest (Cayolle). As always, a lot of motorcycles, bicycles, camping-cars and photographers on the roadsides! "