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The Great Alpine Route

From Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea through the great alpine passes: The Great Alpine Route



As early as the 18th century, the development of fortifications in the Alps required the construction of important sites with the construction of roads dedicated to serving them. These roads will soon have the effect of opening up the Alpine communities. The yards also provide them with a very good income.

At the end of the 19th century, the Touring Club de France, originally created to develop tourism by bicycle, began to encourage automobile tourism. It carries out an important work to promote the improvement and the signaling of the roads and to militate for the comfort of the inns. The TCF poses panels, orientation tables and tracks many tourist routes, including the famous Route des Alpes.

This prestigious itinerary, designed in 1911, was very early served by the bunk and bus cars of the company PLM. It will be completed in 1937 with the opening and inauguration of the pass of the Iseran by the President of the Republic Albert Lebrun.

Automobile tourism, initially reserved for the social elite is launched. It will open up and develop to a wider clientele after the 1930s.

Key dates of the Alpine Highway:

1909, the Touring Club of France launches the works of the Route des Grandes Alpes

1913, the company Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (PLM) inaugurates the complete crossing of the Route of the Great Alps, traveled in 5 stages

1914/18, the First World War stopped work


1930, Nice-Chamonix is ??now made in 1 day and a half.

1937, the president of the Republic Albert Lebrun inaugurates the road of the pass of the Iseran, the highest road crossing of Europe.



1970, opening of the Cornet de Roselend road

1995, the Route connects Thonon to Menton.

2012, Nice became the official city of arrival of the Route, the col d'Eze becomes the last pass before the arrival on the Promenade des Anglais ...

This prestigious tourist route is certainly one of the most beautiful mountain road itineraries offered to motorcyclists. The 720 kilometers of mountain roads connecting Thonon-les-Bains to Nice, punctuated by 17 mythical passes among the highest in the Alps, offer a road trip through territories full of incredible historical, natural and cultural heritage.

route des alpes

From the shores of Lake Geneva to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea you will be able to traverse the entire French Alps with their roads, valleys and landscapes that will leave you an unforgettable memory for sure. And what about the local gastronomy and its specialties!


This road is entirely open only from June to October; you will have to wait until the snow melts to try the first ascents and enjoy this spring long awaited. Then you will enjoy all the variety of Alpine nature and enjoy all the diversity of mountains mostly protected in the heart of National or Regional Park.

la grande route des alpes

Starting from Haute-Savoie and finishing in the Alpes-Maritimes, you will cross successively the massifs of Chablais, Beaufortain, Vanoise, Cerces, Queyras, Ubaye and Mercantour and then you will climb the glaciers of Mount Blanc and Les Ecrins, emblems of the French Alps.


All cycling enthusiasts will also be able to live again the greatest moments of the Tour de France during which fierce battles have been fought on the slopes of these passes of international renown.

So now you have to choose your motorcycle for this mythic route ... A BMW 1200 GS or a BMW 1200 GS adventure ?

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