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      07-26-2016, 06:44 AM   #1
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2014 Route Des Grande Alpes (Pics and Videos)

Day One

Left the house at 4am, and headed down to the EuroTunnel for the 6.50am train. There in plenty of time for a cheeseburger for breakfast

We're in no rush, so decided to take the scenic route through France -> Belgium -> Luxembourg -> France and round lake Geneva. Stopped off in Luxembourg for food, cheap diesel and to pick half price tobacco for friends.

Arrive at the hotel at 9pm, and the restaurant was just closing, but they kept it open for us

Covered 607 miles and on the road for 16 hours including all stops. Could have done it a lot quicker, if you kept on the motorway from Calais to Geneva.

Time for food and some sleep. Early start in the morning.
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      07-26-2016, 06:58 AM   #2
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Day 2 - Bring on the mountains!

Up nice and early. On the road by 9am. Collected a few supplies, filled the tank........again.

By 10am we're on the D902 (Route des Grande Alpes), its not long we come to the first pass, and I'm letting the GF drive first

Stopping at the top of Col de la Colombiere (1613m alt.), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_de_la_Colombi%C3%A8re found some of the white stuff still on the ground.




Where we've just driven up.




Starting our descent from Col de la Colombiere, you can see, which is a re-occuring sight on this route, safety barriers are for girls




Parked up checking the route in La Clusaz. Taking the wrong turn can add hours to your journey, and possibly ending up at the foot of a mountain pass which is closed.




And it's quite a pretty place, i'm sure you'll agree




Next up, Col des Aravis (1486m alt.). Where we stopped at the top for some food, and came across some Yeti beer. So got a bottle, rude not to!




The top of Col des Aravis was also when some angry French person started shouting at my car! Can only assume he was a driver of one of the cars we overtook coming up the pass......we weren't hanging around.

Mont Blanc in the distance




My turn to drive now From there we headed towards Col des Saisies (1650m alt.), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_des_Saisies were snow is still on the ground, and here parked at Beaufortain





[IMG]Next up is Col de Meraillet (1605m alt.) and Cormet de Roselend (1963m alt.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormet_de_Roselend








As you can see, we pretty much had the roads to ourselves

Arriving in Bourg-St-Maurice and en route to our hotel in Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis, we did a final check of the status of Col de I'Iseran http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_de_l%27Iseran ....but it was still closed so we took a massive detour on the motorway. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Booooo, closed.




Motorway is it

Arriving at the next hotel at 6pm, we discover we have the hotel to ourselves!

One real fire and an ice cold beer....







The whole place was lovely, and with our broken French and their broken English, no problems







View from our balacony






Total miles for the day, 234 miles, (9 hours on the road including all stops) about 50 miles more than planned due to the detour on the motorway.
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      07-26-2016, 07:22 AM   #3
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Day 3 - Driving in the snow

So, another early start today, up at 7am, and we may have been the only 2 guests at the hotel, but they put on quite a spread for breakfast, bread, cereal, cheeses, jams, hams, etc



We left the hotel at 9am and checked the weather (which is vital). There is rain and thunderstorms forcast for later in the day. We also double checked the staus of the next pass which was closed, Col du Galibier, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_du_Galibier it was still closed. However, the alternative route, Col du Mont Cenis, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_du_Mont_Cenis is open.



After collecting food for the day, and filling up with diesel we headed upto Col du Mont Cenis. And it wasn't long before we reached the 2083m summit.



Boy, was the weather different to the day before. The day before was lovely, dry, sunny, and warm. Today, wet, cold and miserable.









The temperature dropped to 3 degrees, and started to lash down. The descent from Col du Mont Cenis took us into Italy.

Leaving Italy via Col de Montgenevre (1854m alt.), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_de_Montgenevre and entering France we have our passports checked for the first time on this trip!

Looking back at the top of Col de Montgenevre



From there we stopped for food at Briancon, before heading to Col d'Izoard (2360m alt.), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_d%27Izoard one of the highest passes on te route. With gradients of 6% and 8% and plenty of hairpins, its a good workout for you and your car.

Here is a stock photo of Col d'Izoard.....seems i was too busy thrashing the car to stop and take photos. Whoops.



After Col d'Izoard, we moved swiftly on to Col de Vars (2109m alt.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_de_Vars





Better watch that 10% gradient on the way down



We arrived in Barcelonnette where you have to make a decision. Take the larger of the 2 roads, the D64, or take the D902 with the road carved into the rock face, and where much of the road is single track, with few passing spaces. Decisions, decisions.

We decided to stick with the D902 and brave the single track roads. We'd seen little traffic on the roads so far, and didn't see why that would change. Not long out of Barcelonnette, we start our climb of Col de la Cayolle (2326m alt.). Obviously, nobody told this place it was nearly summer, and was decidely winter.











It rained at the bottom of the pass, and the further up we got, the colder it got. At the summit, a nippy 0.5 degrees, and a snowstorm.





And snow to the left....



And snow to the right...



No place to park up at the top, as all the parking was under 8 ft of snow.



That was the last pass of the day. From there it was on to the next hotel in Valberg. And it turns out that Valberg is actually on the summit of a mountain....so there was another pass of the day.

By the time we got to Valberg at 5pm, we were in the middle of a massive thunderstorm.





The morning after was sunny again. Again, another nice hotel, only 2 other sets of guests.



Evening meal consisted of cooking your own steak!



Total miles for the day, 174 miles, (9 hours on the road including all stops)
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      07-26-2016, 07:39 AM   #4
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Day 4 - Head for the Med..........and avoiding goats

As usual, on the road by 9am. Completely different weather to what we experienced the previous evening. Seems the sun wanted to play again.

Nowhere to get supplies or diesel, so straight back onto the Route Des Grande Alpes. Col de la Couillole (1678m alt.) is our first pass of the day. After yesterdays terrible weather, today is amazing weather, sunshine and blue skies.



The GF gets the car warm first before thrashing it up the pass, a couple of photos at the top, and down we go.







Blazing sunshine





After our descent, we headed over up Col St. Martin (1500m alt.) just before St-Martin-Vesubie. No rain or snow today, but dry roads and no other cars on the road to hold us up.







What a view!





Those "crash barriers" don't look much help.....



We decided on an early lunch at the summit of Col de Turini (1607m alt.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_de_Turini



Mmmmm, dry roads and no cars.



Coming down takes no time at all, but we do have to avoid rock falls and goats in the road.

Goats....always thinking they own the roads....







Not to mention the motorbikers who think it is acceptable to cut hairpins. We headed for Sospel, the last major town before Menton on rhe coast. After Sospel we drove the final mountain pass of the route, Col de Castillon.


What's this? A sneaky peek at the Med?



It then wasn't long before we weretaking in the sun []











After the Med, we headed for our final hotel in Avignon. We hit the Med by 1pm, so were in no rush to get to the hotel. So we had time to take the coast road to Monaco, Frejus and St. Raphael.

Seemed to stumble onto the starting grid of the Monaco GP....





Final sight of the day, Agay.



Total miles for the day, 276 miles, (9 hours on the road including all stops)
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      07-26-2016, 07:43 AM   #5
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Day 5 - Dash for the Eurotunnel

Eek, those F1 hotels are basic. Clean, tidy, TV and free wi-fi, but having to leave your room to go to the toilet and shower.....like being in a youth hostel again! Still what do you expect for €40, including buffet breakfast.

And the bed was terrible, hardly slept at all. As usual, on the road by 9am and straight onto the motorway. And when we thought we'd done our last "Col du" we went over Col du Grand Boeuf, alt. 323m LOL.

Made our train in no time at all, and back home by 11.30pm.

Total miles for the day, 689 miles, (13 hours on the road including all stops and channel crossing)

Conclusion

After 2104 miles, a lot of diesel, and bagettes, looking back, we had a fantastic time. And looking forward to next year's roadtrip already!
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      07-26-2016, 07:53 AM   #6
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      07-26-2016, 08:48 AM   #7
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Wow, thanks for posting, looks like tons of great driving there!
I haven't gone through the vids yet, look forward to time to do so tonight.

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      07-26-2016, 02:29 PM   #8
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Ditto... thanks for posting the link to this awesome driving tour!

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      07-26-2016, 04:15 PM   #9
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No problem guys. Glad you enjoy
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