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.
It is situated within the Mercantour National Park on the border of the departments of Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The road is totally paved. A signpost at the foot of the climb makes the claim "Col de la Bonette, the highest road in Europe". But this sentence is totally incorrect. Check the highest mountain roads in Europe list. The road (opening from June to October) from Nice to Briançon was built in 1860, but the final route by the summit of the Bonette was built between 1960-1961. It's located next to the Cime de la Bonette (2.860 m).
The pass has been featured in the Tour de France several times. The climb begins quite easily, but suddenly, after La Chalanette and Le Rochas, the slope becomes more difficult. The hardness of this climb it's not the steep, it's the length of the. Around the Casernes de Restefond, an old military building, the percentage is around 8-9%. The pass is traversed by the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes. The road to the summit, with lots of fun hairpins, was built in 1832 and the final road was completed in 1960. Along the way you’ll pass a few old military barracks. The ascent offers many sensations and is a real delight.
On the last part of the climb, on the monument of the Cime de la Bonette, the percentage becomes wild, arriving to 10% slope for nearly 1km. To reach the summit there are 2 routes. From Jausiers, the ascent is 24 km long, gaining 1.589 meters and with an average percentage of 6.6%. And from Saint Etienne de Tinée, the ascent is 25.8 km long. The gain is 1.652 meters and the average percentage is 6.4%, with a maximum gradient of 16%. It's one of the highest mountain roads of the country.