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Grenoble - France

Clickable map of grenoble - please use text links









Accommodation for this areaHOTELS/B&B

What do the symbols mean? don't miss scenic route Avoid if at all possible Sweepers Twisties Hairpins Town or Point of Interest Web Cam Available

This is a very overlooked area, most people blast down past here on their way to and from the Côte d'Azur or the Col de la Bonette area. Which is a shame because there are some cracking roads around here. Apart from the roads it also has some rather nice scenery. Grenoble itself is large and congested, lying in the Isère valley: to the east some high hills leading towards Briançon and the Alps proper: to the west the "French Dolomites" a ridge of hard limestone mountains in the Vercours national park. One of my favourite bits of road lies to the north of Mens to the south of La Mure.

[If you read French, then check out: Balades moto en France. There is also an English version.

D531 Lans en Vercours - Grenoble
don't miss N45?11.889 E05?37.644
Probably one of the best routes out of Grenoble. A fairly steep section of wide, well-surfaced hairpins climbs out of Grenoble up to the ridge where the road narrows a bit. From there the slightly less interesting road along the Gorges d'Engins heads towards Villard-de-Lans. Busy during peak times, obviously.

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D532 Pont-en-Royans - Gorges de la Bourne - Villard-de-Lans Bronze medal symbol
2004-07-11

don't miss scenic route N45?04.903 E05?27.416
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A great section of twisties through the Gorges de la Bourne. The roads ru ns along the wild river below and is well surfaced and pretty fast, especially at the western end near Les Goulets. The eastern end narrows a bit as the gorge also narrows, making for a twistier section.

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D518/D531 Pont-en-Royans - Villard-de-Lans
2004-07-12

scenic route N45?02.739 E05?21.385
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A very picturesque section - not really ideal for scratching the footpegs as the road is normally too narrow and the corners blind, although there are one or two short bits that are ok, especially the Petits Goulets section. However, you'll probably have to ride one of these roads anyway, so just enjoy the scenery. The relatively narrow road snakes its way through a series of short, roughly-hewn tunnels along the path of the river.

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D518 Die - Col du Rousset - Rousset-le-Vignes Silver medal symbol
2004-07-15

don't miss Hairpin N44?50.433 E05?24.377
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A road not to be missed. The 12km climb up the southern side of the Col du Rousset(1367m) starts at 410m and finishes at 1255m. Fast, well-surfaced road which snakes, rather than hairpins its way up the mountain. You can ride as fast as your bike will go here. Near the bottom is a sign saying "Twisty roads for 19km". Says it all really. Just before the top is a tunnel, then a car-park with a restaurant. (A ski-lift starts here).

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D120 Clelles - Col du Preyet - Col de Men?e - Chatillion-en-Diois
N44?44.414 E05?32.702
Fairly devoid of traffic, this is relatively narrow and often bumpy, but certainly very scenic. Speeds are relatively low, as the corners are often blind, and had a lot of gravel from road repairs when we were there. Still, on a good day the roads is pretty interesting, and along with Col de Grimone make an alternative to the main road N75 from Croix-Haute.

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D539 La Croix-Haute - Col de Grimone - Chatillion-en-Diois
N44?41.768 E05?38.074
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A very similar road to the the Col de Men?e, a bit bumpy but a bit narrower and slower. Mainly scenic interest because of this. The D?file du Charan has some nice tunnels worth a photo. Although there are some really good twisty bits here too, where the valley widens a bit and the road runs along the "flood plain".

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D114 S?chilienne - Col de la Morte - La Mure
N45?01.880 E05?51.224
The main N91 road (Gorge de la Romanche) is really pretty boring apart from the remians of what looks like old paper and iron mills lining the valley. So it's a relief to turn off towards the Col de la Morte at S?chilienne. Then things look up a bit - there are some great series of hairpins up to the "village" of La Morte. A bit bumpy in places. A fairly average southern ramp down to La Mure.

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D211 Le Bourg d'Oisans - l'Alpe d'Huez
N45?05.570 E06?04.009
The access road to the famous ski resort of l'Alpe d'Huez. There are some other roads out of the resort, but only really suitable for lovers of gravel and stones.
The main road up, and the only one really of interest to road bikers leads from the south off the N91 near l'Bourg-d'Oisans. This is the road busses take up in the winter, so it's well-kept, wide and has 21 hairpins - brilliant! When we did it, a lot of it had just been resurfaced, and in the heat the tarmac was still soft, even under the weight of our bikes. Which made coming down interesting.... It doesn't take too long, and definitely worth the detour if you're here. Have a drink at the top.

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D526 Le Bourg d'Oisans - Col d'Ornon - La Mure
scenic route N45?02.532 E05?58.948
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From the La Mure end the road gradually rises up into the mountains. It snakes and winds rather than being very twisty. The northern side is more intense and twisty.
The scenery is very nice, alpine meadows plus some bare rock cliffs and hanging-valleys. The surface is good, but with a lot of overbanding.
Easy, scenic and fun

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D526 La Mure - Mens Gold medal symbol
don't miss Twisty N44?52.484 E05?47.032
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We found this place more by luck than judgement. It's a sleepy little village at the end of one of my all-time fave stretches. The D526 from near La Mure to the north starts by a bridge over a narrow deep gorge where they do bungee-jumping. Well that's where the fun starts - about 10km on a narrow-ish road with cliff on one side and a stone-wall on the other, but with fantastic corners just designed to flip a bike from one to the other. It'll take about 15-20 minutes if you go for it! Brilliant! It reminds me very much of the Gorge d'l'Arly, north of Albertville, but slightly smaller.
Petrol near Mens.
Bungee-jumping off the bridge at the La Mure end. The southern side of the road is less twisty and runs through woodland.
Resurfaced in 2003, they are now in the process of digging some tunnels to "improve" the road by straightening it.

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D937 Corps - Col du Festre - Veynes
N44?42.095 E05?53.026
To be honest,I really can't remember this road at all. We have ridden it, but as it doesn't stand out all I can say is it probably isn't terribly noteworthy.

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D17 St. Bonette - Col du Noyer - St. Etienne
N44?41.870 E06?00.961
We have only ridden this road once, in an attempt to avoid Gap. The region is pretty desolate, wind-swept and very few trees, giving the impression of being higher than you really are. It reminded me of the Dartmoor in a way. The road at the top has some steep corners and is pretty narrow which makes things interesting. Nothing too tricky though. [Martin, this is where your bike was the focus of attention for 10,000 flies...]

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N85 Route Napoloen: La Mure - Col Boyard - Gap
2004-07-08

Sweeper N44?46.396 E06?01.165
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A fast major tourist route. Wide enough to overtake without much problem, but mostly windy enough to stop falling asleep. Busy. good to excellent surface.
A good road if you have to eat up some miles and don't want to go into motorway-zombie mode. It gets better and twistier at the La Mure end.

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Col du Glandon / Savoie N85 - Route Napoleon, La Mure - Gap