In France there are a few balcony roads, which are 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 du Mont-Cenis (Colle del Moncenisio) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2,083m (6,827ft) above the sea level, located in Savoie, France, which forms the limit between the Cottian and Graian Alps. It's one of the highest mountain roads of the Alps.
A short section of the D22 road, through the Gorges du Nan, with a length of 5.5 miles only, links the towns of Malleval-en-Vercors and Cognin-les-Gorges. This road is located in Vercors national park (Rhone-Alpes), south of Grenoble (France). It’s one of the French balcony roads.
Col du Chaussy is a high mountain pass, at an elevation of 1.533m (5,029ft) above the sea level, traversed by the D77B road, located in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern 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.
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 Gorges de l'Aude are accessed to the south of Quillan, itself south of Carcassonne (Languedoc-Roussillon region) of France. Quillan itself is 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.
Passage du Gois is a natural passage with a length of 4,3km (2.58-miles), located on the Atlantic coast of France in the Vendée department. This stretch of the D948 road is periodically flooded leading to the island of Noirmoutier in France. It is 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. Located on France’s Atlantic coast, the road floods twice daily with incoming tides and as the tides go out slippery seaweed is left all over it.
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 mountain roads of Europe.
Col du Télégraphe is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.566m (5,138ft) 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 scenic Route des Grandes Alpes.
The Col de Turini is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.607m (5,272ft) above the sea level, 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 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. It's one of the highest mountain roads of the Alps.
4 unlit tunnels, 10 hairpin turns, severe dropoffs 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. The drive will take some skill, some patience, and some tolerance for vertigo. It’s just 9km long. It’s one of the French balcony roads.
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 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.
Located at the heart of the Fenouillèdes massif, on the border of the departments of Aude and the Pyrénées-Orientales, in France, the Gorges de Galamus are a real challenge for drivers. It’s an amazing drive along a balcony road that is 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! It’s one of the French balcony roads.
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.
Gorge du Cians is located on the East of Gorge de Daluis. A circuit linking both gorges makes an excellent day out, passing through tunnels, past ravines and waterfalls cut into the stunning red rock, and is a photographers dream come true. It's situated in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France and belongs to the Alpes Maritimes. It’s one of the French balcony roads.
A short but dramatic stretch of the D900a road, from Verdaches to Digne-les-Bains (France), goes through the Clue de Barles, a narrow road going among deep canyons. It’s one of the French balcony roads.
Route de Presles is a stunning mountain road located in the Isère department in southeastern France. The road is 7 km 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 roadsin the country. You should be prepared to back up if you meet an oncoming vehicle.
The road along the Clue d’Aiglun is a very scenic drive following a narrow ledge cut into the rock. It’s one of the French balcony roads. The road (D10) runs as a single track road along the mountainside for some distance with nowhere to pass another vehicle. Here one says a prayer that nobody is coming towards you until the road widens a kilometre further westward.
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre or simply Pic du Midi, at an elevation of 2.877m (9,439ft) above the sea level, is a high mountain pass in the French Pyrenees. It's famous for its astronomical observatory, the Observatoire du Pic du Midi de Bigorre (Pic du Midi Observatory), part of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées (Midi-Pyrénées Observatory). It's one of the highest mountain roads of Europe.
The Col du Parpaillon is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.780m (9,120ft) above the sea level located in the Cottian Alps of southern France in the Parpaillon massif. The pass connects the Ubaye valley in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department with Embrun in Hautes-Alpes. It's one of the highest mountain roads of Europe.
Route Napoleon is a 325 km stretch of modern road, the Route nationale 85, winding through the spectacular mountains of Provence. The road follows the route taken by Napoleon in his 1815 escape from Elba to Grenoble.
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 la Bonette is a high mountain pass at a an elevation of 2.715m (8,907ft) above the sea level, located in the French Alps, near the border with Italy.
The Col du Jandri is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.165m (10,383ft) above the sea level, located in Rhone-Alpes in the French Isère département. It follows the R1-2 trail. It's one of the highest roads of Europe. This runway forms the highest trafficable road in the Alps and includes very steep ramps.
The Col d'Izoard is one of the great Cols of the French Alps. At an elevation of 2.360m (7,746ft) above the sea level, it’s a high mountain pass located in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur. Few Alpine cols are more mythic than the Izoard. The pass is traversed by the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes.
Piste de l'Amitié is an extreme dirt track with a length of 110 km in the Mercantour, Maritime Alps, in the Franco-Italian border. The road is also known as Piste du Marguareïs. It’s certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation. It still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice.
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.
Clue de Saint Auban is a spectacular gorge which links St Auban and Brianconnet (France) and has the Esteron River flowing through it. It is situated in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur and belongs to the Alpes Maritimes.It’s one of the French balcony roads.