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Col de la Moutiere

Col de la Moutière is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.450m (8,038 ft) above the sea level, located in Saint Etienne de Tinée, in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, and belongs to the Alpes-Maritimes. The road is extremely narrow and the drop offs are a bit intimidating. There’s only enough room for one car to go up. There is no turning around if you change you mind.

The road to the summit is a France’s hidden gem. Starting from Saint Etienne de Tinée, the ascent is 18.3 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.300 meters with an average percentage of 7.1 %.The route is entirely paved – if bumpy. The road is impassable in winters.

This route should not be attempted by those who don't know how to reverse. Some sections are so narrow that if two vehicles have to pass each other, one vehicle might have to reverse for anything up to 3 kilometres of winding narrow road to get to a place wide enough to pass.
The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. There is a long series of hairpins in the somewhat wooden landscape, but there are also fine views. The road is often at around 14% until one eventually reaches a plateau, which is also the place the few cars go to when going up here. On the top there's the Ouvrage La Moutière, a lesser work (petit ouvrage) of the Maginot Line's Alpine extension, the Alpine Line. The ouvrage consists of one entry block, one infantry block and one observation block, with an unarmed exit block.
Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime and can sometimes block some sections of the road, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. There are precipices at all times on one side or the other or both sides. Be aware that this drive is not for timid drivers or those afraid of heights. This quiet road enters a different valley, climbing through sparse woods before opening up above the tree line to great views — dominated by Cime de la Bonette far above.

At the pass there’s a short gravel road leading to Faux Col de Restefond, at an elevation of 2.656m above the sea level, within the ravin de Restefond. The track is 3.2km long. It’s gravel. Only for 4x4 with experienced drivers. This section is very prone to mountain slides. You will see the Cime de la Bonette on the last part to the pass up to the right above you.

 

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