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Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Copenhagen, Denmark
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Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Dear fellow travellers

Hope this is the right forum to post at - couldn't find one specifically for Southern France/Provence. If incorrect pls let me know where I should post in stead.

We are seasoned international travellers in our late 50th from Denmark, who is going to Cannes for a couple of weeks via Switzerland coming mid August. Driving our own car and having rented a private condo in Cannes. We have been numerous times to the coastal areas of Cote d'Azur, so know that part pretty well. However, normally we drive straight to the coast by means of the freeways - but this time, we would like to experience more of the French countryside driving smaller roads and experiencing the true French atmosphere. And we were thinking in terms of Route des Grandes Alpes//Route Napoleon with possible detours. Although no long distance in kilometres - we know driving smaller roads will take much longer time than we anticipate - and we do likewise wish to make stops enroute and take it easy. Hence, we need help to plan our trip from Zermatt to Cannes.

We have 3 days/2 nights available and thought, that we might do:

Day 1: Drive from Zermatt via Gr. St-Bernard-Aosta-Kl. St-Bernard to Val d'Isere for the first night. That would be entirely driving through mountain scenery - right?

Day 2: Drive from Val d'Isere via St-Michel-Col de Galibier-Vizille-Route Napoleon. But where should we stop for an overnight then? How far can we reach from Val d'Isere this day? And what should we stop and see once we reach Route Napoleon? Are there any wine estates or picturesque little hilltop villages, we ought to see?

Day 3: Drive from ? on Route Napoleon to Digne-les-Bains. Then make a detour via Mezel-Plateu de Vanlensole-Riez--Moustiers-Ste-Marie-Castelane-Cannes. We would like to experience the lavender fields and have read that you can do a 32km circle on the Plateau de Valensole visiting some lavender-producers. Would that be possible and a good idea? And will going "just" to Riez, be sufficient far enough to experience the lavender fields? Or do we need to go all the way to Greoux-les-Bains and then backtrack to Riez in order to follow Gorges du Verdon to Castellane? Will we have sufficient time to do all this in one day in a proper manner?

Alternatively, if you think we need more time on Route Napoleon, we could skip going via Routes des Grandes Alpes and instead go straight on the freeway from Zermatt via Chamonix-Annecy-Chambery-Grenoble and have our first stop at the top of Route Napoleon i.e. in Vizille or La Mure on day 1 - and take a second stop in Chateau Arnoux or Digne-les-Bains on day 2? Will that make a better itinerary?

What we enjoy the most is: NATURE SCENERIES - that is, mountains, meadows, winyards, lavender fields, authentic little medieval hilltop villages, village squares with cafés and slow local life. We dislike big cities/towns, tourism traps and we are not much into history, art nor churches. We love landscapes and views and the authentic French lifestyle. Do you have any suggestions for us, what we should see, where we should stop and how we can get the best French experience on this 3-day trip? Your suggestions highly appreciated.

PS: We love to stay at little charming, roustic hotels/guesthouses and dine where the locals eat. Nothing fancy but true French. Any lodging suggestion for our overnight stop/s and possible luncheons/dinners enroute?

Looking very much forward to hearing from you and thanking you in advance. Kindest regards - PURPLE

9 replies to this topic
California
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1. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

You might find the viamichelin.com web site helpful for planning routes and deciding what you want to see and where to stay.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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2. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Thank you so very much Catullus for your suggestion. I wasn't aware of this site before and have now been trying it out. It's been helpful working out distances and routes - but as to figure out what sights to include enroute I haven't been able to find much info. Maybe I do just not know how to work out the site properly yet. I do now have the route all planned out and will be making an overnight stop just south of Corps at a lovely chateau hotel (booked and confirmed :-) ), while second stop is planned to take place admidst the lavender fields on the Valensole plateau. Only, I cannot seem to find any suitable lodging there. The only one nearby in the little village of d'Allemagne - Domaine de Bertrandy - is unfortunately fully booked, so I'm still in a loss where to find a nice and reasonable place with the traditional French rustic atmosphere in that region. Hence, are you by any chance familiar with this area and can suggest a nice place for our overenight?

That is on or by the Valensole Plateau

Preferable with a view of lavender fields

Rustic French atmosphere with a local flair and good food

Pricerange 75-150 EUR for a double per night

Hope you - or anyone else here on TripAdvisor can help me out with some good suggestions. Thank you so very much. Meanwhile, all the best

kind regards PURPLE

Copenhagen, Denmark
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3. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Hello everyone

Just following up to advise that I've now succeeded in finding just the most lovely little B&B for our overnight admidst the lavender fields, namely "Maison des Collines" located in the tiny village of d'Allemagne just south of Riez. It's a bit pricy - EUR 147 double b&b - but it looks amazing and we cannot wait to dine and wine in that lovely setting. Hopefully, it will live up to expectations, but the reviews here on TripAdvisor are promising.

Now I need only find out what sights to include enroute. Where to stop, where to make any detours, where to take in our luncheons. It's a bit difficult to find this information on TripAdvisor and I'm pretty confused as to which Fora to turn to covering our route through the French Alps and along Route Napoleon. Hopefully, this message will gear some suggestions. In anticipation, thank you so very much.

Kind regards - PURPLE

4. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

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Copenhagen, Denmark
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5. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Thanks a lot for your suggestion Diz. That sounds like a fantastic excursion! Living in pancake flat Denmark we simply just love the mountains and enjoy zig-zagging them. But you are ever so right - even though distances are few kilometres only, it takes you a very long time to do them with an average of some 25 km per hour - but it's holiday and no hurry, right :-).

We were actually considering doing the Col de Galibier, so combining this pass with some of your other suggestions seems interesting. Just need a bigger map as cannot locate all the mentioned names on the one I have - gotta see if the Google-map will be working out better in that connection.

Diz, thank you so very much for having taken the time to write me. Have a nice day and all the best - PURPLE

Copenhagen, Denmark
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6. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Hello fellow travellers

Having returned from our holiday in Southern France I'd like to conclude this thread with the following info:

1) The scheduled itinerary didn't work out optimal for us. The drive in the mountain areas from Grand St. Bernhard Pass via the Little St. Bernhard Pass and ski-resort Val D'Isere and down to Vizile - the start of "Route Napoleon" - took way too long. Hence we had to omit the Col de Galibier and use the freeway via Grenoble in stead, which wasn't at all what we had in mind. Secondly the next day from the start of "Route Napoleon" via Gap, Seyne les Alpes, Col de Labouret, Digne Les Bains and the Valensole Plateau to Riez was way too brief a tour bringing us to our overnight stay too early. Hence don't follow in our footsteps!

Instead I can suggest the following itinerary should you like to drive this stretch:

Day 1: Grand St. Bernhard-Aosta-Courmayeur (freeway)-Little St. Bernhard-Valle D'Isere and overnight stop in the area of Modane

Day 2: Modane-Col de Galibier-Briancon-Les Deux Alpes-Vizille-La Mure-and overnight in Corps (or Chateau D'Aspres des Corps in the village of same name - a very lovely hotel). In stead of going all the way to Briancon, you can also drive some of the mountain roads back-tracking either up to Alpe-d'Huez or Col de la Croix de Fer - it's all high altitude mountain scenery and very beautiful.

Day 3: Corps-Gap-Tallard-Digne les Bains-Mezel-Riez-Valensole + touring the 30km lavender circle from/to Valensole (D8-953-D56)-Riez (or Allemagne-en-Provence staying at the lovely B&B "Maison des Collines", a lovely spot and a true Provence gem).

Day 4: Riez-Moustiers Ste Marie-sail on Lac de Ste-Croix up river-North Rim of Gorge du Verdon-Castellane-Grasse-Cannes or from Gorge du Verdon- the North Rim-Rougon-Draguingnan-St. Tropez

or alternatively:

Riez-Moustiers Ste Marie-Sail on Lac de Ste-Croix up river-North Rim of Gorge du Verdon-Rougon-South Rim of Gorge du Verdon-Moustiers Ste Marie-Riez for yet another overnight before heading to Cannes/St. Tropez.

Hope the above information will be helpful to future travellers to this area.

Kind regards - PURPLE

Edited: 12:08 pm, October 10, 2011
White Creek, New...
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7. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

What was the name of your Corps Auberge? We are headed from Beaune down to Bormes and need a couple of good recommendations on the way.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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8. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Hello Brammabullfinch

The beautiful little chateaux near Grenoble is calles:

CHATEAU D'ASPRES LES CORPS in the village of same name on Route Napoleon

Here is the link to the hotel: www.chateau-daspres.com/pages/go0.php…

and here is the link to my review here on TripAdvisor:

tripadvisor.com/…CHECK_RATES_CONT

Hope it will prove helpful to you. Kind regards - PURPLE

Copenhagen, Denmark
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9. Re: Where to stop? Route des grande Alpes//Route Napeleon

Hello again

By the way - if you are going down to Bormes les Mimosa, an overnight at the beautiful "Maison des Collines" in the Valensole lavender district will fit fine in your itinerary as well. Easy drive from there down to Bormes les Mimosa in 3-4 hrs. Hence for your kind further planning info, please find the contact link to the B&B + link to my review here on TripAdvisor too. A beautiful little place you would never be able to find on your own.

Website: lamaisondescollines.com/accueil/accueil.htm

TripAdvisor review: tripadvisor.com/…CHECK_RATES_CONT

All the best - PURPLE

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