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Route des Grandes Alpes

Route des Grandes Alpes

Whether on 2 wheels or 4, Route des Grandes Alpes is a fabulous mountain road. The 684 km between Thonon-les-Bains and Menton include 16 passes that are among the highest in the Alps. It's an exceptional natural and cultural environment.

It is open between June and October.

The journey between Lake Geneva and the shores of the Mediterranean embraces the entire French Alps. The winding road crosses spectacular mountain landscapes, and in the valleys you'll find local cultural features and gastronomic specialities.

  • From Thonon-les-Bains to Grand Bornand: 80 Km - duration: 3h~4h
  • From Grand Bornand to Bourg-Saint-Maurice: 92 Km - duration: 2h30~3h30
  • From Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Lanslebourg: 78 Km - duration: 2h30~3h
  • From Lanslebourg to Briançon: 110 Km - duration: 2h30~3h30
  • From Briançon to Barcelonnette: 104 Km - duration: 3,h30~4h
  • From Barcelonnette to Valberg: 77Km - duration: 3h~3h30
  • From Valberg to Saint-Martin-Vésubie: 57 Km - duration: 2h30~3h30
  • From Saint-Martin-de-Vésubie to Menton: 79Km - duration: 2h30~3h30

The history of a mythical road

In the 18th century, roads were built through the Alps to communicate with the various fortifications. But they also served many remote communities. And the construction work was a source of income for local people.

At the end of the 19th century, the Touring Club de France, whose original remit was to promote tourism by bicycle, opened its doors to motorists. It campaigned for improvements to roads and signposting, and for the provision of facilities in wayside inns. It laid out numerous tourist itineraries, with viewpoint indicators, including, in 1911, the Route of the Alps, which was soon being used by PLM's charabancs and coaches, though it was completed only in 1937, when President Albert Lebrun cut the ribbon on the road across the Iseran pass.