Points Of Interests

Col de l’Iseran

Col de l’Iseran (el. 2,770 metres (9,090 ft)) is the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps. A part of the Graian Alps, it is situated in the department of Savoie in France near the border with Italy. It is crossed by the D902.

The pass is part of the Route des Grandes Alpes. It connects the valley of the Isère and the valley of the Arc River between Val-d’Isère in the north and Bonneval-sur-Arc in the south. The north side of the pass road is well built with a number of galleries and tunnels, with a maximum grade of 12 percent.

On the north, are the popular ski resorts of Tignes and Val-d’Isère.

The pass is only accessible by road during the summer months. In the winter it falls within the Espace Killy ski area and is easily accessed by a series of pistes and ski lifts.

Details of the climb

From the north the road goes up and down and through tunnels past the lake of Tignes. Starting from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, the Col de l’Iseran is 48 km long. Over this distance, the climb is 1955 m (an average percentage of 4.1%). The last part of the climb starts at Val-d’Isère: 15 km at a consistent average of 6% (climbing 895 m).

From the south, the climb starts at Lanslebourg-Mont Cenis and is 32.9 km long. Over this distance, the climb is 1371 m (an average percentage of 4.2%). The final part of the climb starts at Bonneval-sur-Arc: 13.4 km at an average of 7.3%. (climbing 977 m) with several sections in excess of 10%.

Col de l'Iséran

Col de l’Iséran


 

Mont Cenis

Mont Cenis (Italian: Moncenisio) is a massif and pass (el. 2081 m / 6827 ft) in Savoie in France which forms the limit between the Cottian and Graian Alps.

The pass connects Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis in France in the northwest with Susa in Italy in the southeast. In Middle Ages, pilgrims passing through Moncenisio and Susa Valley came to Turin along a road called Via Francigena, with final destination Rome. It was one of the most used Alpine pass in from the Middle Ages to Nineteenth Century. The pass was used as part of the border between the two countries until the 1947 Treaty of Paris, but is now located completely in France.
To the southwest of the Mont Cenis is the Little Mont Cenis (2184.2 m / 7166 ft) which leads from the summit plateau (in Italy) of the main pass to the Etache valley on the French slope and so to Bramans in the Arc valley. This pass was crossed in 1689 by the Vaudois, and is believed by some authors to have been Hannibal’s Pass.

Mont Cenis

Mont Cenis


 

Colle delle Finestre

Colle delle Finestre, at an elevation of 2178 m. above the sea level, is a high mountain pass in the Alps, in the Italian region of Piemonte, Italy, linking Susa Valley and Cisone Valley.

The road was built around 1700 to gain access to the fortresses in the zone, mainly the Forte di Fenestrelle. Starting in Pourrieres, the road is extremely narrow but asphalted. But the north part of the road is a terrible dirt track road, with never ending hairpins. The road opens from June, 1st to October, 30th, only.

Stage 19 of 2005 Giro d’Italia crossed Colle delle Finestre, Danilo Di Luca being the first one on the top. The stage, finishing in Sestriere, was won by Venezuelan José Rujano.  Apparently, as a result of its popularity thanks to its appearance in the Giro d’Italia in 2005, the road is even in worse conditions after loads of summer traffic. And it seems this colle will appear in some editions in the future.

There are 2 ways to get the summit. Starting from Depot, the ascent is 16 km long. Over this distance, the gain is 1125 heightmeters. The average percentage is 7 %. And from Susa, the ascent is 18.62 km long. Over this distance, the gain is 1694 heightmeters and the average percentage is 9.1 %.

The road serves as tourist attraction although the last 7,9 kilometres of the road from Susa are not asphalted. This is in fact the military part of the road, which was “paved” in order to mount military equipment.

The surface of the road is asphalt, gravel and sand, and chains or snow tyres can be required anytime. This stretch of road should not be attempted by novice drivers.

Colle delle Finestre

Colle delle Finestre


 

Monte Jafferau

The Monte Jafferau is a mountain in the Hautes Alpes , whose highest summit reaches 2,805 m above sea level It stands opposite the town of Bardonecchia from the left bank of the Dora Bardonecchia and consists of two peaks , the Head of the Ban ( 2,652 m) and the summit itself Jafferau ( 2,805 meters). Divide the territory of Bardonecchia from Valfredda .

On top of the mountain is situated the Fort of Jafferau, built in 1800 , a major fortification of the cd . “Work of Bardonecchia” for artillery , and one of the most high fortifications of the Hautes Alpes ( altitude exceeded only by that of Mount Chaberton ).

Monte Jafferau

Monte Jafferau


 

Col de Sommeiller

The Col de Sommeiller ( Italian: Colle del Sommeiller ) is a mountain pass in the Cozie Alps on the French- Italian border . It is the highest , by car ( 4×4 only ) to achieve pass of the Alps . The Col de Sommeiller is embedded between Punta Sommeiller ( 3332 m ) and d’ Rognosa Etiache ( 3384 m ) . The pass is named for Germain Sommeiller , the engineer who led the construction of the Fréjus railway tunnel in 1857 .

The mountain saddle is only to reach from Italian Bardonecchia via a narrow road through Valle Rochemolles. This is the Rifugio Scarfiotti Camillo (2156 m) in reasonable condition and passable for most vehicles . After passing the hut, over 800 altimeters must be overcome over a distance of 9 kilometers. This part of the route, with a heavily battered roads, performs with many hairpin bends and is only suitable for off-road vehicles and engines. The road is cleared of snow and restored annually by the motorcycle club Stella Alpina. The pass is always ridable, between September and June, but in the summer it is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Col de Sommeiller

Col de Sommeiller


 

Col d’Izoard

The Col d’Izoard, at an elevation of 2,360m (7,746ft) above the sea level, is one of the great Cols of the French Alps. From the green wooded mountainsides above Briançon, to the sandy coloured, eroded cliffs above the the Casse Deserte and the Col, the scenery is amazing. It’s situated in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur and belongs to the Alps.

Col d’Izoard is traversed by the D902 road, which links Briançon on the north and the valley of the Guil in Queyras, which ends at Guillestre in the south.

The Col d’Izoard is frequently used on the route of the Tour de France. A small cycling museum is at the summit, and on the southern side of the Col d’Izoard, 2 kms from the top, there’s a memorial to Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet in the Casse Deserte.

To reach the summit of the pass, there are 2 possible routes. From Guillestre the ascent is 15.9 km long and the gain is 1095 heightmeters with an average percentage of 6.9 %. And from Briançon, the ascent is 20 km long, with a gain of 1141 heightmeters and an average percentage of 5.7 %.

This pass is open only in summer. The surface of the road is asphalt, and chains or snow tyres can be required anytime.

Col d'Izoard

Col d’Izoard


 

Col du Vars

Col de Vars is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2,108 m (6,916 ft) above the sea level, located in the Alps. The pass is traversed by the D 902 road and it’s closed from November to April.

The pass has been included in the Tour de France several times. It’s a beautiful winding route, although there is a little bit of traffic as it is part of the Grandes Route des Alpes and one of the only roads crossing this section of the Alps. Col de Vars is located between the departments of Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and connects the Ubaye Valley with the Queyras valley and Embrun.

This road is usually open from May to October, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. The Col de Vars is in near the center of a whole series of high paved passes, that spend a majority of their asphalt above treeline. This pass usually precedes or follows the climb of the Izoard in most itineraries.

There are 3 possible routes to reach the summit. Starting from Les Gleizolles, the ascent is 14.1 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 801 heightmeters. The average percentage is 5.7 %. Starting from Guillestre, the ascent is 19.4 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1111 heightmeters. The average percentage is 5.7 %. And starting from Guillestre, the ascent is 19.08 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1030 heightmeters. The average percentage is 5.4 %.

Col du Vars

Col du Vars


 

Col du Parpaillon

The Col du Parpaillon is a pass in the Cottian Alps of southern France in the Parpaillon massif. It connects La Condamine-Châtelard, the Ubaye Valley in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department with Crévoux, Embrun in Hautes-Alpes. The crest of the pass rises to 2,780 metres (9,120 ft).

The Parpaillon Tunnel is located below the pass at an elevation of 2,637 metres (8,652 ft). It was built by the French Army starting in 1891, with work on the road and tunnel lasting until 1911, although the tunnel was completed in 1901. The arched tunnel is 520 metres (1,710 ft) in length. It is closed at either end with metal doors. The approach road is not paved and is closed in winter. The curved tunnel is among the highest in Europe.

The location was considered a strategic point as early as the 18th century. From 1692 to 1694, work proceeded on a military road suitable for artillery, at the urging of General d’Usson. The 19th century military road connects the Fort de Tournoux complex of fortifications to Embrun and points north.

Col du Parpaillon

Col du Parpaillon


 

Col du Galibier

The Col du Galibier, in the northern Dauphiné, reaches a height (in the tunnel) of 2,645 m/8,386ft above the sea level, and ranks with the Col de l’Iseran, 200 m/650ft higher, as one of the highest passes in France, offering magnificent views on both the ascent and the descent. It is often the highest point of the Tour de France.

The pass links Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne and Briançon via the col du Télégraphe and the Col du Lautaret. Col du Galibier is located between the massif d’Arvan-Villards and the massif des Cerces. This road may, however, be impassable on account of snow from October until the end of May, and it can be closed when the access is not cleared of snow.

The Col du Galibier was first used in the Tour de France in 1911. At the south entrance to the tunnel there is a monument to Henri Desgranges, who initiated the Tour de France in 1903. This col is a part of La Marmotte, one-day cyclosportive event in France which climbs Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez.

There are four possible routes to climb de Col du Galibier. From Valloire, the ascent is 18.1 km long with a gain of 1245 heightmeters. The average percentage is 6.9 %. From St Michel-de-Maurienne, the ascent is 34.9 km long with a gain of 1924 heightmeters. The average percentage is 5.5 %. From Col du Lautaret, the ascent is 8.52 km long and the elevation gain is 585 heightmeters. The average percentage is 6.9 %. And from the Refuge du Lautaret, the ascent is 6.45 km long with an elevation gain of 616 heightmeters. The average percentage is 9.5 %.

Col du Galibier

Col du Galibier


 

Col du Télégraphe

Col du Télégraphe is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1,566 m (5,138 ft) above the sea level, in the French Alps situated above the Maurienne valley between the eastern end of the massif d’Arvan-Villards and the massif des Cerces. The pass is traversed by the D902 road.

The road over the pass is asphalted. It links Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne to the north and Valloire to the south, as well as forming an access point to the col du Galibier via its north face. The Col du Telegraph is so named because at the very top of the climb is a series of radio and TV towers. It’s a rather large cement structure that can be seen for a long way.

The Col du Télégraphe has been crossed multiple times by the Tour de France. To reach the Col du Galibier, you must first climb the Col du Telegraphe.The road is normally open the whole year around. It has a maximum gradient of 10% and 14 hairpin bends.

There are 2 routes to reach the summit. Starting from Saint Michel de Maurienne, the ascent is 11.8 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 856 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 7.3 %. And starting from Valloire, ascent is 4.8 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 165 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 3.4 %.

Col du Télégraphe

Col du Télégraphe


 

Col de la Madeleine is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1,993 m (6,539 ft) above the sea level, located in the Alps in the department of Savoie in France. The pass is traversed by the D213 road. This is one of the more well-known of the French mountain passes, much because of the frequent visits by the Tour de France over the years.

The asphalted road over the pass connects La Chambre in Maurienne with Aigueblanche and Feissons-sur-Isère in Tarentaise. It’s one of the very toughest climbs in France. The Col de la Madeleine is known since Roman times. The decision to build the current road was taken in 1949 and the inauguration took place in 1969.

This road is usually closed from November to the beginning of June but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Perched at nearly 2,000 feet, its summit offers a stunning panorama on the Mont Blanc and Lauzière massifs.

The pass has been climbed several times in the Tour of France. It’s a mountain relatively difficult to climb, especially from La Chambre where the slope is steep and relentless. The northern approach from Aigueblanche is longer but with a lower slope and some passages where you can take some rest, in particular a three kilometers descent halfway through.

Col de la Madeleine

Col de la Madeleine

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