A 5 stars road to Col d'Izoard in the French Alps

Col d'Izoard is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.367m (7,765ft) above the sea level located in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France.

Col d'Izoard

Is Col d'Izoard paved?

Set high on the south-eastern part of the country, the road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called D902. Part of the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes, it’s one of the great passes of the French Alps.

How long is Col d'Izoard?

The pass is 19.8 km (12.30 miles) long running north-south from Cervières to Arvieux. The road to the summit is steep, hitting a maximum gradient of 12% through some of the ramps. It gets a decent amount of traffic in summer.

When was Col d'Izoard built?

Few Alpine passes are more mythic than the Izoard. The first road over the otherworldly, lunar landscape of the Col d’Izoard was constructed in 1710, and the current one was built between 1893 and 1897 by an army General, Henry Berge.

Is Col d'Izoard open?

Set high in the French Alps, this road is usually impassable from late October through late June or early July. From the green wooded mountainsides above Briançon, to the sandy coloured, eroded cliffs above the Casse Deserte and the Col, the scenery is amazing. At a certain altitude, the scenery completely changes and becomes wide spread and rocky. 

Why is Col d'Izoard so famous?

It’s one of the most famous mountain passes in the history. While it’s rightly famous for the part it has played in Tour de France history, the Giro d'Italia has ascended it many times. There are certain climbs in the world of cycling that capture the imagination, not just because of their difficulty and/or beauty, but because of their place in the annals of cycling history. Also known as the Casse Desert, the road hosted many great duels in the 1950s between the legendary Italian Fausto Coppi (the first to win the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in the same year) and the French Louison Bobet (the first to win three Tours in succession in 1953, 1954 and 1955). A small cycling museum is at the summit, and on the southern side of the Col d'Izoard, 2 kms from the top, there’s a memorial to Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet in the Casse Deserte
Image credit: Depositphotos