Route de Presles is a stunning mountain road located in the Isère department, in the southeastern French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The road is 7 km (4,34 miles) long carved into the mountains. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. It’s one of the most spectacular balcony roads of the country.
Tucked away in the heart of the French Alps, the road is totally paved. It’s called D292. It’s a succession of open tunnels and passages, carved directly into the rock, resulting low and narrow lanes, blind corners and potential landslides. There are not many roads like this in Europe, if you can handle the height and the prospect of a very long freefall this road absolutely has to be on the list of any road connoisseur. As you get closer to the famous Presles cliffs, the road has no choice but to cross the Urgonian limestone in serpentine twists and turns through a narrow tunnel with portholes drilled into the rock offering a furtive view of the Grande Cournouze opposite.
You should be prepared to back up if you meet an oncoming vehicle. Roads prone to landslides are regularly shutdowns for maintenance. Do not forget to check this before you go. Keep an eye on the condition of the road, including the possible presence of stones fell from the walls, which could make you deviate from your path. Between Scots pines, boxwood and young oaks, the route de Presles climbs nestling up to the edge of the Cirque de Choranche. It extends in Mediterranean scents thanks to a micro-climate created by the cliffs. The best time to take this trip is from May through September.
If the visibility is reduced, for example, in a tight, do not hesitate to sound the horn to signal your presence (and slow, of course). On this kind of very scenic route, pay special attention to cyclists, walkers and other pedestrians out of their vehicles for a "souvenir photo" (or a flat tire!). The route meanders along hairpin bends as the slope climbs over the Gorges de la Bourne in a pastoral landscape at first. It then narrows unexpectedly to go through the magnificent hamlet of Nugues before arriving at the famous belvedere of the Col de Toutes Aures, where a pause will let you appreciate the panoramic view towards the south Vercors and the Isère plain. It has amazing views of the Hauts Plateaux du Vercors.The road continues to the spectacular Gorges du Nan.