Gorges de la Bourne

Gorges de la Bourne

The Gorges de la Bourne is a canyon formed by the Bourne River, located in the Vercors Massif, in the départements of Isère and Drôme in the French Prealps.  It’s one of the French balcony roads. The largest of the Vercors gorges, carved out by the River Bourne, is today a major road axis, with a unique East-West direction. 

The gorges are traversed by the RD 531. It’s one of the most spectacular roads in the world. The gorges are located on the route between Pont-en-Royans and Villard-de-Lans, two municipalities in the Isère department in south-eastern France. Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. The road includes several tunnels. When you drive through the canyon views around you are beautiful and breathtaking.

Located within the Vercors Regional Nature Park, rock slides can occur anytime and can sometimes block some sections of the road. The road is asphalted mainly following the course of the river through various ravines. It’s a breathtaking gorge-side road. It was built in 1871. The construction of this marvel of engineering took 10 years. The history of this road is as twisted as its path. It took 10 years and the devotion of Jean Serratrice and the workers hanging over the void risking their lives, to complete the construction work in 1871. And even today, it is a major challenge to maintain this link subject to climatic changes and erosion. Be careful because sometimes can be tricky to drive. The journey is dotted with breathtaking views over this grandiose scenery.

This road through this beautiful limestone gorge dug by the Bourne river is one of the most famous balcony roads in the country. A balcony road is a hair-raising lane cut into the sides of sheer cliffs. It’s a kind of road not for those who fear heights. There is little room for error on these roads. Drive with care as this is a mountain road with hairpin curves and narrow unlit tunnels. When you take this road as picturesque as it is narrow, with its many suprising meanders, drive carefully, and above all don't miss the parking spaces that have been provided. Don't forget to stop at Choranche cave, famous for its stalactites.

 

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