Défilé de Joucou, a treacherous balcony road in France

Défilé de Joucou is a very narrow canyon located in the department of Aude, region Languedoc-Roussillon, in southern France where even the road barely fits. Pictures don’t do it justice.

Défilé de Joucou

It’s one of the famous French balcony roads. Located up the valley of the Rebenty, the tiny road through woods is totally paved, but very narrow. It’s called D107. The drive is very lovely but can also be very challenging if you are driving. Along the way you’ll have to face many sections too narrow for cars to pass and a strong chance you will need to reverse around a blind corner on a narrow road. At some places, the road is cut out of the rock leaving the overhanging rock as a kind of roof.

The canyon is also known as Défilé d'Able. Themost treacherous, narrowest and deepest part of the drive is a short 4.7km long section running from the town of Joucou towards Belfort-sur-Rebenty. Walking and cycling are recommended because the roads will require much of your attention, and you will see less of the scenery from the car window. Height limit is 3.5 meters. The road runs through a few unlit tunnels.

A balcony road is a hair-raising lane 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. It 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 some kilometres further.