Col du Lautaret Unveiled: An Epic Drive through France's Dauphiné Alps and Beyond

Col du Lautaret is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.060m (6,758ft) above the sea level, located in the department of Hautes-Alpes, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. This pass forms an integral part of the iconic Route des Grandes Alpes, making it a traveler's delight.

Col du Lautaret

Location Insights: Where Exactly is Col du Lautaret?

Nestled in the Dauphiné Alps, a mountain range in southeastern France, the pass marks the boundary between the valleys of the Romanche and the Guisane. The summit provides good views of La Meije to the south-west, the Grand Galibier to the north and over several summits of the Massif des Ecrins.

On the Road: Can you drive through Col du Lautaret?

The road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called D1091. The road is 96.5 km (59.96 miles) long, running west-east from Vizille (in the Isère department) to Briançon (in the Hautes-Alpes department). Notably, the western approach entails a series of tunnels, some stretching up to 800 meters.

Can you climb Col du Lautaret from Galibier?

The pass is located 8km to the south of Col du Galibier, via the spectacular and narrow D902 road. The road leads to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. Often ignored because of its location below the iconic Col du Galibier, Col du Lautaret is still a huge climb.

Historical Chronicles: Tracing the Origins of Col du Lautaret Road

Construction of the road started in 1880 and was completed by the blasting of a tunnel through to the summit in 1891. It has been a frequented passage since Roman times. At the top of the Lautaret you will also find a choice of places to eat or grab a drink and a rest.

How steep is Col du Lautaret?

Col du Lautaret is a legendary pass in the French Alps and has been featured many times in Tour de France race. Starting from Briançon, the ascent is 27.75 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 853 meters. The average percentage is 3.1 %. And starting from Le Clapier, near Le Bourg-d'Oisans, the ascent is 34.16 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.312 meters. The average percentage is 3.8 %.

Is the Col du Lautaret open?

Situated in the southeastern part of France, Col du Lautaret typically remains accessible throughout the year. However, travelers should be wary of potential winter-induced restrictions or closures stemming from hazardous conditions. This pass boasts the distinction of being France's highest pass open to vehicular traffic all year round.