Route des Grandes Alpes is a legendary mountain road trough the French Alps. This fabulous route takes you from lake Leman to the Mediterranean climbing 16 passes that are among the highest in the Alps.
The road is 684 km long, links Thonon-les-Bains and Menton and includes some of the highest and most beautiful mountain passes in Europe. It's an exceptional natural and cultural environment. This legendary route provides an excellent way of meeting locals, nature and having a look at the high peaks.
The construction of the road started in 1909 and was opened in 1913. On 1937 it was totally asphalted. Do not travel this pass in severe weather conditions. Route des Grandes Alpes is open between June (after the snow has melted) and October. Most of the passes are open at the end of May. But the highest ones – Iseran, Galibier and Izoard – are clear only after mid-June, at the earliest. The passes are open until around the end of October. They generally close when the first snows arrive.
The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don’t forget your camera! Winding its way over mountain passes and secluded valleys all the way from Thonon-les-Bains to Menton on the Mediterranean coast is the most renowned tourist route of the French Alps, The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades.
List of the mountain passes: