Reportage réalisé par un participant d'un groupe Australien après une semaine de moto de route dans les Alpes :

Steve from Australia
A one week motorbike trip in the Alpes
We wanted to visit the French Alpes without packing and unpacking our bags everyday. As we were also a little aprehensive of riding in a foreign country and moreover in the mountains, we decided to sleep in the same place everynight and take on a motorbike guide for the first week.

The motorbike rental company came to pick us up at the airport in Geneva and take us to the motorcycle rental where our bikes were waiting for us. We had opted for BMW 1200 GS and Suzuki Vstrom.

Once there, the rental guy and the guide showed us our bikes and helped us to fit them out. We then had our first ride to get the feel of our bikes heading in the direction of our accomodation 40 km away in the « Combes de Savoie ». We were booked into « le Château des Allues » at Saint Pierre d’Albigny, a grand mansion with guest rooms in the castle and surounding buildings.

Once settled in, the guide joined us and proposed a selection of a dozen circuits from which to choose, in order to discover the Savoie Mont Blanc region.

For our first day, we decided on a 215km warm up ride « Le Tour des Bauges ». The manoir is situated at one of the entries to the Bauges Natural Park, a park listed as a world heritage site.

The first small roads took us past several castles and manoirs nestled in the vineyards with views of the Mount Blanc looming in the distance. We then took small mountain passes to enter the Park, visited a Monastary, a cheese cellar to taste test the renowned « Tome des Bauges »,and stopped at a 360° lookout point with fantastic views of the surrounding mountain ranges including the famous Mount Blanc. For those with a head for heights, a suspended walkway offered a breathtaking view of the Bourget lake.

The ride continued over an old bridge spanning 100m high gorges and we continued climbing up to yet another summit, this time with a plunging view of Annecy lake.

We enjoyed lunch in the charming old town of Annecy then headed back through the centre of the Bauges Natural park with it’s typical mountain chalets dotting the hillsides.

We finished our day with a visit to a local winery.

Once back at our accomodation, drink in hand, we concerted with our guide and chose the circuit for the following day. The weather forcast wasn’t looking good for the Alpes so we opted for the Vercors, a 280km circuit including a motorway section.

After agreeing to an 8:30am start the following day, we enjoyed an excellent organic dinner prepared by our hosts. At this rate, we were going to put on weight this trip. Every evening was going to be more of the same high standard.

The next day began on the main road and freeway so as to bypass Grenoble. Once out of the city we started to wind up the mountain road and from our high point, could appreciate the fact that Grenoble is circled by different mountain ranges (Chartreuse, Belledonne, Vercors, Oisans).

After a short coffee break at the mountain pass, we entered the Vercors and took the twisting turning road at the bottom of the gorge in the direction of the Choranche caves. The caves are situated in the heart of the « Cirque de Choranche », a magnificent mountain formation which we admired from the cave entrance. Visiting the caves we encountered the Proteus (cave-dwelling animal originating from a cave in Slovenia), and then we set out again in direction of Royans (26) for our lunch break where we tasted the local speciality "the Ravioles of Royans". Over lunch the guide told us the history of the world famous route we were going to take that afternoon – la Route de Combes Laval. The road was built on the side of the cliffs, took 5 years to build, and was finally opened in 1898. It was used to transport wood to Marseille to build ships and climbs 700m to reach the La Machine mountain pass.

We drove slowly to digest our lunch but especially to take advantage of the breathtaking view. Later in the afternoon we stopped at the Resistance Memorial (WW2), a building anchored into the cliff face with an amazing view over the Vercors plateau.

We started our return trip back winding along the bucolic road across the plateau through meadows and cows, and stopped off at a cheese shop to taste the local Vercors cheeses. Every region in France has it’s speciality cheese or cheeses, each better than the last.

We took a gorge road to descend to Grenoble and join the motorway for the rest of the trip back.

That evening we decided on the 180km lake circuit (Bourget and Annecy Lakes) for the next day.

The morning after we headed towards Chambery along roads bordered by vineyards, more castles and a place of pilgrimage. At the exit of Chambéry we took a winding road offering marvellous panoramic views of the mountains and the lake. We had our traditional coffee break at a lookout overlooking the lake and Hautecombe Abbey, home to the graves of the Counts of Savoy and the last King and Queen of Italy. We prefered to not visit the abbey but to keep some time for a lighter and more original visit to "les Jardins Secret" (Secret Gardens) (74), a mixed universe with various inspired constructions in the middle of greenery and scents.

After the gardens we headed towards a « guinguette » (little restaurant on the water edge) installed at the entrance of the Fiers Gorges. After eating we explored the gorges on foot before climbing back on our motorbikes and continuing to Annecy. Thanks to our guide, we avoided the traffic jams and cruised along the shores of the lake. On the way home we stopped at the Tamié Abbey to taste the cheese « Le Tamié » made by the monks, and then, not much further on, we visited an old military fort with view over Albertville.

Back at our accomodation, we chose a tourist destination for the following rest day, deciding to visit Annecy and it’s old town. As our hosts and our guide had organised a wine tasting evening, we thought it a good idea to fix the departure time at10am the next morning.

We crossed the Bauges and arrived directly in the centre of Annecy (74) where we had lunch along the canals and afterwards visited the old town and lake area. We came back by the Tamié pass and ended the day with a visit to a castle just above Saint Pierre d’Albigny, famous for having imprisoned the « Marqis de Sade »

Like every other night before, we chose the destination for the next day. After a quick phone call, our guide confirmed the possibility of sleeping over in Aoste (Italy) and we were able to chose a two day 430km trip around Mount Blanc to finish our week.

Leaving at 8 :30 am, we took back roads in the Aravis pass direction before climbing to Megève (73). We stopped for a coffee in town before heading towards Chamonix and Switzerland. On our way through Chamonix we were able to admire the Mount Blanc glacier and see the Montenvers cog train depart for the sea of ice.

After stopping for lunch in Chamonix, we rode on towards Switzerland and Martigny where we chose to visit the Gorges of Durnant, equipped in 1877 with wooden footbridges over the drop, instead of visiting the Gianadda foundation and it’s art exhibitions and automobile museum.

We then took small roads in the direction of the Grand St Bernard pass (2469m) and stopped for a well earned rest and capuccino to celebrate arriving in Italy. The descent into Aoste was splendid. We explored the town on foot, had a meal in the pedestrien mall and then enjoyed a few beers before going back to our hotel.

The next morning was a bit difficult but our guide took pity on us and we left later than planned. The main roads leaving Aoste were a bit depressing, but our experienced guide organised a little circuit up a small exquisite mountain pass before attacking the climb to the Petit Saint Bernard pass (2188m) where we stopped for a coffee to get warm and enjoy the amazing landscape with Italy behind us and France ahead. It was then down to Bourg Saint Maurice (73) where we ate a delicous but heavy local Savoy dish called tartiflette.

It was hard to get going again but we headed off towards new mountain passes and the Roseland Lake. We made a quick stop at the shuttle stop for the Glacier village and were able to admire the glaciers at the end of the valley. The lake magically appeared before our eyes just after the pass and after following the edge of the lake, we climbed a small road far from the mad crowds of riders who stay on the main roads full of tourists.

The guide warned us that the upcoming road wasn’t suitable for anyone afraid of heights, luckily no-one in our group was. We arrived above a valley, to see below our feet, the « said » road with absolutely no guard rails, snaking down. Incredible !

As we had made good time, we included an extra loop up through a ski resort named Les Saisies and then back down to Albertville (73) taking a small road nestled between forest and mountain.

Happy with our two days riding around Mount Blanc, we returned to our accomodation.

Each evening we decided on the next day’s activities and for our last day we decided to play tourists in Chamonix. The weather report was looking good and there were places available to go up the « Aiguille du Midi » (3842m).

We decided to make an early start at 8am so as to be in the first cable car runs and have plenty of time to enjoy the amazing view from the top.

We took a different itinerary to reach Chamonix, easy riding but still interesting. After queuing for a while, the cable car whisked us up the mountain, climbing 2800m in 20 minutes, to arrive at the refuge perched at 3800m altitude.

With all our bike leathers, we were happy to just climb the two floors of the refuge. Even that proved difficult for some, who feeling the lack of oxygen, struggled with the guide’s challenge to be the first to the top.

We really didn’t regret not riding that day. The view from the platform was amazing, the Mount Blanc, all the Alpes and endless blue sky. After lunch in Chamonix, we made our way back quietly, the guide occasionally taking us on new roads he knew well.

That night, back at the manoir, we asked the guide to accompany us the following week on our trip south via the GRA « la Grand Route des Alpes ». Prices were negotiated over a friendly beer.

But that is a whole other story …

Se you next time

a person riding a motorcycle on a winding road
a person riding a motorcycle on a winding road

Les participants de la GPA 2021

Salut à tous,
Merci pour ces belles photos, ça donne envie d’y retourner 😊 David

​Un grand merci pour ces photos. Marc

​Merci Franck

Superbes photos 👍

Participants de la randonnées guidées "sur les traces de la Stella Alpina"
Super les photos, quand est ce qu'on y retourne ?

Bonsoir Franck ,

Ces vacances étaient méritées !

Un grand merci pour ce lien photos..​

​Bonjour Franck,
Merci pour ce reportage photos !!
A bientôt, peut-être sur une GPA!!!!
Bien cordialement,

a mountain stream of water flowing down a mountain
a mountain stream of water flowing down a mountain


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