Route Napoleon is one of the best drives across France

Route Napoleon is a very scenic drive winding through the spectacular mountains of France, running from the French Riviera to the southern Pre-Alps. It follows the route taken by Napoleon in his 1815 escape from Elba to Grenoble.

Route Napoleon

How long is Route Napoleon?

The road is entirely paved, spanning 325 km (200 mi), and comprises routes N85, D1085, D4085, and D6085.

Where does Route Napoleon start and end?

This drive begins at the coastal town of Golfe-Juan (in the Alpes-Maritimes department of France's Côte d'Azur), where Napoleon disembarked on 1st March 1815, beginning the Hundred Days that ended at Waterloo. It crosses scenic mountains and ends in Grenoble, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, in the southeastern part of the country. Running through Provence, it begins at Golfe-Juan, turns to Cannes in the French Riviera, and then to Grasse. Going southwestward, the route passes Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey. Before reaching Castellane, where the Napoleon Bridge is found, there is Château de Brondet. Going up over the Col des Leques at 1,146 m, passing through the Clue de Taulanne and the small village of Barrême, the route reaches Digne-les-Bains. The road goes somewhat westward, following the Bléone river until Malija. There is a castle where Napoleon spent a night. Going southwestward again, the next big town is Sisteron. After passing by Gap, Route Napoléon goes up over the Col Bayard at 1,248 m, to Corps. Further north is La Mur, and then the route leads all the way to its destination at Grenoble.

Is Route Napoleon worth it?

The drive passes through pretty towns and villages worth stopping at, including. It is marked along the way by statues of the French Imperial Eagle. Just follow the sign of the brown eagle on the roadside. The Route Napoleon road itself is a fantastic design, with cambered corners and fantastic scenery. In contrast with the mountain passes, this route is more designed for speed and the ability to really appreciate the performance of the car. The road was inaugurated in 1932. This historical route is sprawled with monuments and commemorative plaques.

How long does it take to drive Route Napoleon?

This scenic tourist road leads from the French Riviera to the southern Pre-Alps. To drive the entire route will take most people between 8 and 9 hours. It took Napoleon and a thousand men a whole week. Perhaps you’ll want to split it up into smaller sections and enjoy the fantastic scenery over a few days.