Col de la Machine is a French balcony road

Col de la Machine is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1,011m (3,316ft) above sea level, located in the Drôme department in France. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

Col de la Machine

Where is Col de la Machine?

The pass is located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, in the southeastern part of the country.

When was the road to Col de la Machine built?

Frequently recognized as the most magnificent road in the French Alps, this road through Combe Laval was constructed between 1861 and 1898.

Can you drive to Col de la Machine?

Set high in the Vercors massif, in the French Alps, the road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called D76 road (Combe Laval Road). Even if you’ve cycled a lot of mountain roads and extreme mountain bike trails, this is the only road where you’ll feel exposed enough, and you’ll make sure that you’re in the center of the road just to avoid that feeling of vertigo and the drop calling out to you. It is slightly marked and is cut into the steep mountainside and has some nice short tunnels.

How long is Col de la Machine?

The pass is 31.0 km (19.26 miles) long, running north-south from Saint-Jean-en-Royans to Vassieux-en-Vercors.

How’s the road to Col de la Machine?

The pass is located halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, in the 45th parallel. The road is an amazing rock-candy confection, with the road etched into the face of towering cliffs, tunnels, natural arches, and standing stones galore. In a car, you don't quite get how sheer the drop is until you pull over and take a look. On a bicycle (and presumably a motorbike), the fact that there is what appears to be a 3000' sheer drop is all too obvious, and if you get a corner wrong, that low wall you will hit will not protect you, just guarantee that as you topple over it you will go screaming to your death headfirst.
Road suggested by: Steve Loughran
Pic: Steve Loughran