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.

This amazing road links Sospel and L'Escarène. This col is the main gate to Col de Turini, the famous stage of the Monte Carlo Rally which is held on the tight road with its many hairpin turns. The road is famous because there are several walled switch backs neatly stacked up on one another, and held in place by walls that could double as medieval fortifications. 
There are 2 routes to get the summit: Starting from L' Escarène, the ascent is 10.3 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 662 meters. The average percentage is 6.4 %. And starting from Sospel, the ascent is 11.2 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 639 meters. The average percentage is 5.7 %.

The road to the summit is paved. The climb is never too steep, but it’s a beautiful climb with nice contoured hairpins. Nearing the top is a little road that turns up and left and can be a “long-cut to Col de Turini via Col de l’Able. The pass sits over the major ridge that separates the Nice area from the Menton area drainage.

The pass has been climbed by the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia bicycle races several times. The road offers an exciting blend of hairpins and faster sweeping bends on the way. But you need to stay focused because there are some very long drops off the side which will not be good for your health if you drive recklessly. The narrow road also demands that you keep your wits about you to avoid on-coming traffic. As enjoyable as the road is though, it is well worth pulling into one of the numerous lookouts to take in the spectacular views of the French countryside the high road allows. When you reach the summit you might want to take a moment to give the brakes a break because the road continues its sinuous path down the mountain. Looking back on the dramatic switchbacks you’ve just climbed is the best feeling ever! At the top of Col de Braus there is a monument to René Vietto – one of the greatest French riders to never win the Tour.


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