Europe’s Great Motorhome Drive: The route des Grandes Alpes 8 Comments


motorhome col de la galibierThe Alps rival any region of France for drama, beauty and excitement. Its intensely photogenic with every valley ablaze with wild summer flowers and every hamlet offering something a little different to the last. Snow capped mountains that just completely demand your attention and alpine lakes to unwind to. The journey is enchanting and each day brings a new view or a another peak. The wow or oh my god of the mountain pass is just part of the day. The real charm is in when your adrenaline rush is over and you discover an drop dead gorgeous sleepy spot. The most dramatic is the Galibier Pass and the do not venture unless you’re bonkers is the Cayolle Pass. But to be honest, all the passes are amazing and offer stunning drives and ace views.

Our unplanned visit to French Alps completely took us by surprise as to how beautiful and unspoilt it is. We’ve also received lots of comments and emails asking us for our route, so we thought we would share with everyone. Hope you find it useful x

Our Motorhome Route

our bumble route des grand alps

Starts at Annecy and finishes at Nice covering a total of 601 kilometres (374 mikes). We mainly followed the D902.

The map of all the passes at the bottom of the blog

 

Annecy €0 per night

Annecy Alternative Parking

There is a small free aire and service just off the main highway but it only room for half a dozen motorhomes (see camper contacts).

If this is full then head over to the church car park. At first, the access looks steep and a bit weird but its fine. Price €0

About 10/15 minutes walk to old quarters.

Here is our blog & GPS positions on Annecy

 

Plateau d’Assy €10.50 per night

Motorhome parking montblancGreat view of MontBlanc and valley. €10.50 for 24 hours including electric. Great walks all of which are sign posted. A few cafes open during the day and an activity centre.

Fill up with fresh water before you leave as next stop has no service point.

Here is our blog & GPS positions on MontBlanc

Barrages Roselend €0 per night

motorhome parking barrages roselendWild camping spot just at the side if the lake. Have a walk to the dam at sunset the views down the valley are something else.

No service points

 

Here is our blog & GPS positions on Trip to Roseland

Bourg St Maurice €0 per night

Motorhome parking Bourg St MauriceThe funicular is closed during summer, so large car park at the side of the river ideal for overnight stay. About 10 minutes walk to town centre.

In between Bourg St Maurice and Villaron there is an aire at Val d’isere with full free services.

Here is our blog on Brilliant drive to Bourg St Maurice

Villaron €0 per night

Motohome parking Col de IsereSmall picnic spot near Bessans located at the side of the river. The tourist information building shows overnight stops permitted. No service point.

Full service point a few miles down the road on the outskirts of Bessan.

Here is our blog on journey to the highest pass

Followed by our blog on our time in the isolated and beautiful Villaron

Col du Laurtaret €0 per night

motorhome parking Col du GalibierAfter epic drive around Valloire and the Galibier Pass this wild camping spot with fantastic views just tops of the day.

No services points.

Here is our blog on one of the best drive for views

 

La Condamine Chatelard €0 per night

You can stop at the free aire in Briancon but it was just too hot for us. We opted to drive during the heat of the day and stop at car park of an abandoned fort .

We drove through Arvieux, Vars and Barcelonnette

No service points

Here is our blog on Brancon

Guillaumes €0 per night

motorhome parking guillamesFree aire with all service facilities.

Watch out for the Col du Cayolle might be worth taking a different route?

Here is our blog on hell of drive to Guillaumes

And our blog of our time in Guillaumes

 

St Laurent du Var €0 per night

Through Valberg and down to free aire

All service facilities available and a Lidl (Craig smiles just a few kilometres away)

Here is our blog on the last leg to the coast

When to go along Grand Route with a Motorhome

The mountain passes generally open at the beginning of June. Our trip across the Alps started a couple of days after the pass opened. The roads were clear of snow but for scenery the mountain peaks were still covered in snow.

Road Conditions for a Motorhome

The road conditions were absolutely fantastic with smooth, flat tarmac. Very few uneven and unbroken road surfaces. The majority of passes double width, so no issues with passing traffic. Inclines on the whole are a nice gradual gradient.

The only pass which we would add caution to is the Col du Cayolle. It was mainly single track and pockets of gravel/landslide on the road. We are sure the roads are cleared on a frequent basis but it still is a very narrow pass. There are very few passing points and a bridge restriction of 3 meters.

Col de Isere

How much did it cost?

This is just to give you an idea of how much it can cost for 15 days. These are our variable cost, so fixed costs like insurance and tax excluded.

Camping fees €31.50
Diesel €72
Shopping €194
Petrol €4.60 (motorbike)
LPG €8.20
Meals out €55
Total of €365.30 (just over £300) 2 people and 2 dogs for 15 days.

This certain falls in to one of Europe’s great motorhome drives. Linking the mountains with the coast, crossing 35 amazing passes along the way. Driving from valley to valley and passing peak upon peak. You can probably complete the drive in a few days, but you may struggle. The scenery is just amazing and if you add in a few walks then you can soon rack up days. Our drive took 15 days.

It’s easy to see the allure.We’ve treated to the most spectacular views of snow capped mountains and green valleys. Our head in the clouds, high above the roads that lies beneath. At times free from mobile reception, alone in the middle of nowhere and free from interruption. Despite our initial reticence, it’s been an overwhelmingly journey. But shhh — don’t tell anyone —It might get too popular!

 

map of alps passes

Map of Routes

 


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