Balcony roads in France

Driving the best balcony roads of France

In France there are a few balcony roads: hair-raising lanes cut into the sides of sheer cliffs. It’s a kind of road not for those who fear heights. There is little room for error on these roads. It's normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos, imagine what it must have been like before the barriers. Dramatically carved out rock on the side of mountains, the balcony roads are a unique experience for any rider.

Col de l'Iseran

Col de l'Iseran, the King of the Alps

Col de l'Iseran is the King of the Alps and the holy grail for many motorcycle and bike tourers. It’s the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps, at an elevation of 2.764m (9,068ft) above the sea level. The pass is traversed by the D902 road. It's one of the highest roads of Europe.

Col de la Traversette

Col de la Traversette, Hannibal's route across the Alps

Col de la Traversette (Colle delle Traversette) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.398m (7,867 ft) above the sea level, located in the Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France, near the Italian border.

Col du Chaussy

Col du Chaussy is an improbable road with 17 hairpin turns

Col du Chaussy is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.533m (5,029ft) above the sea level, located in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in France. The road to reach the summit starts with the famous “lacets de Montvernier”, a special 3 km stretch with 17 hairpins as the road virtually climbs a cliff. It's an improbable road clinging to the edge of the cliff. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Gorges de Galamus

Gorges de Galamus is a wild balcony road in France

Gorges de Galamus is a real challenge for any driver. Located on the boundary between Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales departments of the region of Occitanie, in Southern France, the canyon is one of the most famous French balcony roads. It’s an amazing drive so narrow in places that two cars could not possibly pass. If you can cope with nausea inducing narrow roads with sheer drops, then this is the place for you.

Millau Viaduct

Millau Viaduct is a French work of art

Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world. It’s located in southern France and crosses the River Tarn in the Massif Central mountains. It's one of the most spectacular bridges in the world.Taller than the Eiffel Tower, as well as being an engineering masterpiece, it also looks like a work of art - typical of the French. It opened in 2004 and was built across the Tarn valley to alleviate holiday traffic between France and Spain.

Passage du Gois

Passage du Gois is a road flooded twice a day

Located on France’s Atlantic coast, Passage du Gois is a natural passage leading to the island of Noirmoutier, flooded twice a day by the high tide. Pack an inflatable boat for driving this 4.3km road because just say for some crazy reason you mix up the tide times, then – like vehicles in the past – you might disappear beneath the salty brine.

Gorge du Cians

Gorge du Cians, a balcony road in France

Located in the Alpes-Maritimes department, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France, Gorge du Cians is a very scenic canyon with stunning red rocks. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Pic du Midi de Bigorre

Pic du Midi: a delightful yet challenging road among the clouds

Pic du Midi de Bigorre (or simply Pic du Midi) is a high mountain peak located in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Occitan region of south-western France. A minor gravel road south of the peak tops out at 2.675m (8,776ft) above the sea level. It's one of the highest roads of the country.

Les Grands-Goulets

Les Grands-Goulets is a French balcony road

Built between 1844 and 1851, Les Grands-Goulets is the name of a legendary road located in the Drôme department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France. The road was closed to vehicles and pedestrian in 2005. Vertigo guaranteed. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Clue d’Aiglun

Driving the Clue d’Aiglun, a balcony road in France

Located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France, the road through the Clue d’Aiglun is one of the famous French balcony roads. It’s a road cut into the rock following a narrow ledge.

Col de la Machine

Col de la Machine, a balcony road in France

Col de la Machine is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.011m (3,316ft) above the sea level, located near the tip of the remote Combe Laval in the Vercors massif, and is situated in Rhone-Alpes and belongs to the Alps. Even if you’ve cycled a lot of mountain roads, and a lot of extreme mountain bike trails -this is the only road you’ll feel exposed enough and you’ll make sure that you’re in the centre of the road just to avoid that feeling of vertigo and the drop calling out to you. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Col de Turini

Col de Turini is a drive that needs to be ridden with respect

Col de Turini is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.607m (5,272ft) above the sea level, locaed in the Alps in the department of Alpes-Maritimes in France. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world. Helter skelter corners and changeable weather conditions mean this road is far from safe. Lethal in bad weather, this road can often be covered in snow and ice making it one of the most treacherous roads in the world.

Col du Galibier

Col du Galibier is an iconic Tour de France climb

Col du Galibier is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.645m (8,678 ft) above the sea level, located in the southern region of the French Dauphiné Alps, on the border of Savoie/Hautes-Alpes departments. It’s one of the most impressive climbs in all of the French Alps. High peaks, glaciers and over two kilometres of vertical climbing from the northern side.

Clue de Barles

Clue de Barles, a balcony road in France

Clue de Barles is a canyon with dramatic views located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. It’s one of the most scenic French balcony roads.

Combe Laval Road

Combe Laval is a scenic balcony road in France

Frequently recognized as the most magnificent road in the French Alps, this road through Combe Laval was constructed between 1861 and 1898 and originally served for the transportation of timber from the Forêt de Lente to St-Jean-en-Royans (France). It’s one of the most famous French balcony roads. The road was carved out here (with the end of the work in 1898), not for the view, but to make the forestry activity profitable.

Gorges du Nan

Gorges du Nan is a defiant balcony road in France

Gorges du Nan is a spectacular gorge carved by Le Nant River, located in the Isère department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. A delightful road cut into the face of a cliff running through the gorge is one of the most famous French balcony roads.

Clue de Saint Auban

Clue de Saint Auban is a scenic balcony road in France

Clue de Saint Auban is the name of a spectacular gorge carved by the Esteron River on the border between the Alpes de Haute-Provence and the Alpes Maritimes, in southeastern France. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Route des Grandes Alpes

Route des Grandes Alpes is a lifetime driving experience

Route des Grandes Alpes is the name of a legendary trip from the mountains to the sea, across 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.

Col du Jandri

Col du Jandri is one of the highest roads of Europe

Col du Jandri is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 3.165m (10,383ft) above the sea level, located in the Isère department of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, in southeast-central France. It's one of the highest roads of Europe. This runway forms the highest trafficable road in the Alps and includes very steep ramps.

Highest roads of France

Highest roads of France

Located in Western Europe, France is the largest country in the European Union. It’s a very mountainous country. The two most important mountain ranges of the country are the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Route de Presles

Route de Presles is a balcony road in France

Route de Presles is a stunning mountain road located in the Isère department, in the southeastern French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The road is 7 km (4,34 miles) long carved into the mountains. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. It’s one of the most spectacular balcony roads of the country

Col de Braus

Col de Braus, all the hairpins in the world

Col de Braus is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.002m (3,287ft) above the sea level, located in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France. The wide road to reach the summit, called D2204, has a good surface, plenty of hairpins and 180 degrees turns and includes some beautifully engineered stacked hairpins with some amazing views. It’s one of the most famous hairpinned roads in the world.

Gorges du Verdon

Gorges du Verdon is a balcony road in France

Nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of Europe’, Gorges du Verdon is one of the most spectacular sites in the world. Located in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France, a narrow road was carved out of the cliff high above the green river. It’s one of the most famous French balcony roads.

Route Napoleon

Route Napoleon is one of the best drives across France

Route Napoleon is the name of a 325 km (200 mi) stretch of modern road winding through the spectacular mountains of Provence, in France. The road follows the route taken by Napoleon in his 1815 escape from Elba to Grenoble.

D219

D219, a scenic balcony road in France

4 unlit tunnels, 10 hairpin turns, severe drop offs and narrow (very narrow) parts make the 219 one of the scariest roads in Europe. Impassable for two cars at the same time, driving this road becomes a challenge. Located in southeastern France, the road is carved into the sheer rock face. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

D81-Calanques de Piana

D81-Calanques de Piana is a scenic balcony road in France

Calanques de Piana is the name of an amazing series of rock formations located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, halfway between Ajaccio and Calvi. If you don't like winding roads this may be a problem. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Col du Parpaillon

Col du Parpaillon and the scary tunnel at the top

Col du Parpaillon is a high mountain pass located on the boundary between the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Hautes-Alpes departments, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. It's one of the highest roads of the country.

Les Ecouges Road

Les Ecouges, a balcony road in France

Built in 1833, this windy wild road of Les Ecouges zigzags up to the village of Rencurel, in the Isère department in south-eastern France, before crossing mountain pastures until the Col de Romeyère. This is not a road for people that fear heights. Of all the routes into Le Vercors, Les Ecouges is the most vertiginous and the most stunning. It’s one of the French balcony roads. With provocative verticality and derisory barriers, the balcony section is as hair-raising as it is short and narrow.

Gorges de la Nesque

Gorges de la Nesque is a balcony road in France

Gorges de la Nesque is the name of a spectacular canyon located in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in France. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Col de la Bonette

Col de la Bonette, an iconic mountain road in the French Alps

Col de la Bonette is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.715m (8,907ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary between Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France.

Gorges de la Pierre-Lys

Gorges de la Pierre-Lys is a balcony road in France

Gorges de la Pierre-Lys is a very scenic canyon located in the Aude department in southern France. The gorge is accessed to the south of Quillan, a pleasant town, but with little in the way of great monuments. It is however well placed to explore both the Cathars castles to the east and the dramatic gorges to the south. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Col de Montgenèvre

A memorable road trip to Col de Montgenèvre in the Cottian Alps

Col de Montgenèvre (Passo del Monginevro) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.854m (6,083ft) above the sea level, located in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, in southeastern France, near the Italian border.

Col du Mont-Cenis

Col du Mont-Cenis is an epic road in the Alps

Col du Mont-Cenis (Colle del Moncenisio) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.094m (6,870ft) above the sea level, located in the Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.

Col du Télégraphe

Col du Télégraphe is a scenic Alpine road

Col du Télégraphe is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.566m (5,138ft) above the sea level, located in the Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. The pass is traversed by the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes.

Col de la Cayolle

Col de la Cayolle is a balcony road in France

Col de la Cayolle is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.339m (7,673ft) above the sea level, located on the border of the Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments, in France. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

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