route napoleon
River Asse, Route Napoléon, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

road to Col d’Allos
Barrême, 722 m.

Bright clear start in Marseille though chilly enough hammering up the valley of the Durance but I was wearing lots of layers. Then a cut through to the Route Napoléon.

The autumn colours are spectacular. Both in swathes on the sides of the valleys and single trees in isolation. This is the end of autumn here in the Provence Alps so the colours are their most intense. One more storm maybe and they’ll be gone and it will be winter, meanwhile it’s a show to relish.

road to Col d’Allos
Le Verdon, river

road to Col d’Allos

road to Col d’Allos
Bridge over Le Verdon

road to Col d’Allos
Le Verdon

Colmars-les-Alpes, 1250 m.

road to Col d’Allos

La Foux d’Allos
La Foux d’Allos, 1800 m.

road to Col d’Allos

Col d’Allos
Col d’Allos, 2247 m.

road to Col d’Allos

road to Col d’Allos

road to Col d’Allos

Hotel converted from a Mexican villa in Barcelonnette 1135 m.

technical socks
Technical socks - turned out to be warm and comfortable in this situation - thanks Len

Barcelonnette sunset
Barcelonnette sunset, 1135 m.


My ride was up to the Col d’Allos, 2247 m. but quite dry, no snow to be seen anywhere, even on the surrounding peaks. It’s a sweeping road following the valley of the river Verdon so lots of long curves to enjoy. Very difficult not to stop everywhere and make photos. I found an artisan boulangerie open in the ski station village at the head of the valley, La Foux d’Allos. This is the first 2000m. + col I’ve managed this year: thank you CV19.

Down the north side of the col, much less development and road “improvement” than most other Alpine cols. So low walls, timber posts or nothing at the side of the road. I’ve brought a couple of other bikers down this route and they each reported fears related to vertigo. Mostly single track road in effect because it’s too stressful to pass at speed due to, what can only be called, the potential down side.

Staying in a hotel converted from a Mexican villa in Barcelonnette at 1135 m. altitude. Nonetheless still 13°C indicated here at sunset though pretty chilly a couple of hours later with the Moon, Jupiter and lots of stars showing in the night sky. There’ll be frost tomorrow down here in the valley, with a hard frost higher up. Biker beware.

The weather forecasts show one more fine day in the mountains but this hotel’s full tomorrow so I’ll go where my bike takes me... the joy of unplanned days on the Open Road!