Road Trip: Col de la Bonette
Today we want to give an overview of a road trip that isn’t so much about cultural highlights, but is more about stunning views and brilliant roads for driving fanatics. It’s the Col de la Bonette, a glorious road in the Alps. This mountain pass is situated in the French Alps near the Italian border, and is a little over 2,800 metres, making it the highest paved road in Europe.
As you glide around the two kilometre stretch that loops around the peak, you are awarded with breathtaking views of the Mercantour National Park that surrounds the pass. The park stretches out, granting your panoramic view with some distant shades of green. Though these stretches of the view are blossoming with life, it gradually becomes a more austere, almost volcanic environment as you look closer to your location near the peak of the mountain, providing you with a stunning contrast.
The road surface is surprisingly smooth, but this doesn’t make for a boring drive—there are some testing bends and the road narrows as you climb higher. At times the road is very narrow, and you have to be quite wary. As you come down from the peak, you get a clear view of the next few miles of road. This might be a familiar site to Tour de France fans, since it featured in the race in ’62, ’64, ’93 and ’08, and in those races the decent from Col de la Bonette provided some iconic images and much racing excitement.
We recommend that you begin in Nice, from which the first section of the road was built in the late Nineteenth Century, and go on a clear day in either Spring or Autumn in order to take in optimum scenery and avoid your journey being thwarted by snow.
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