Woke up this morning to the smell of fresh bread and croissants coming from the boulangerie across the cobblestone street.
The sun was shining and the alps were right there
After my first fabulous French croissant for breaky with a cup of tea we were off.
Heading out of town we were heading north through the French alps
Headed north through Savines-le-lac which was a huge lake, dam, resort at the bottom of the mountains. Of course the colour of the water was glacial green!! Can imagine how cold it was.
We saw someone being towed by a boat in a parachute but when it came time for him to land they landed him right into another large boat that was on the lake and took him back to shore in a speed boat.
On the way just past the lake I spotted a very unusual rock formation or formations and they were called ‘mademoiselles hairdos’
Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do it justice as they were amazing.
From there we headed north to Briancon and the start of the French alps. Quite a few of the towns we drove through today were Olympic villages for the winter Olympic Games
This guy was on one of the many hairpin bends we went around today. I think he represents the men who scaled the mountains to cross them. Of course I could be wrong but sounds good!
It was over the French alps then and the climb was amazing but confusion was rife as we would be driving along and I would get a message from Telstra saying welcome to France. Then half an hour later I would get another on from them saying Welcome to Italy. Hence my confusion but looking on the map we were crossing over from France to Italy and back again as we were very close to the border and the alps crossed both countries. We also started to see a lot of Swiss flags as well as we neared the Swiss border but no message from Telstra.
The climb was amazing and right back into the snow.
Stopped in Briancon for coffee which was a lovely old town and there was some sort of cycling event on. There were bikes everywhere
One thing I am loving about both Italy and France is the amount of cyclists on the road and how the cars, trucks and motorbikes all give way to them. Let them through give them a wide berth and are so polite about it.
I can’t believe that the mountains we have been driving up the last 2 days there have been heaps and heaps of cyclists cycling up the mountains as well.
We stopped in a little town called Oulx for lunch which was funny as we ordered a drink and the amount of goodies they bought out to have with the drinks, we didn’t need lunch
From here on the climbing and hairpin bends got quite scary. Very thin width roads and in some parts no barrier and a sheer mountain below. Max was amazing that he drove all that way but even admitted he was a little scared.
That is only a tiny bit of the road we drove up
By this stage we were so high up we started seeing ski lifts and gondolas everywhere as we had hit the ski fields. Massive ski lifts going across the road and looking up the mountains you could see at least 5-6 ski lifts
We drove on to Val d’Isere which is quite a famous French ski resort but to get there we had to climb up to 2770m. When we got there snow was everywhere so were cyclists and motorcycles who had all climbed the mountain
I got out of the car in my shorts, T-shirt and sandals and nearly froze to death.
Spectacular views and all in snow.
Apparently this is the highest peak that is accessible by road.
On the road coming down this is what we drove through
Yes that is snow on either side of us.
It was another hairy ride down the mountain and this was definitely the scariest
You can see the roads and hairpins.
We were very happy to get down into town which is still 1820m up
Stopped for a well earned refreshment at Val d’Isere and found some accommodation in the town of Tigne which was another 17kms down the road.
I have to let you all know that we came from Barcelonette this morning leaving at about 9 and got here around 5 having only travelled 174kms. That is the sort of roads we were travelling on. Most of the roads we weren’t going faster than 5-10kms.
On our way to Tignes we went through a few tunnels that were built on the side of the mountain but had reinforcements above it to stop everyone being killed by avalanches.
There was also a massive lake/dam with huge waterfalls coming down the mountains from the melting snow
We are now settled into a lovely chalet run by a British guy and his Dutch girlfriend which is perfect as they are going to cook up dinner tonight so we don’t have to go anywhere
This little chalet is so cute and just had the most delicious dinner.
It is now time for bed.