Showing posts from November, 2014

Holiday in France - 20 Saint Étienne-de-Tinée and Guillaumes

We awoke to rain the next morning in our campsite at Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée, but nonetheless Alan decided that he wanted to cycle up the Col de la Bonette and back again. I took the dog for a walk up a little valley at the back of the campsite where there were some limestone encrustations by the side of a busy stream. When Alan returned he was suffering slightly from hypothermia having cycled down from the col in the rain. He had to spend some time in the shower trying to warm up.
We set out late following the road south and then west to Guillaumes. The weather did not improve and I have no pictures of this journey. We parked the van by the river Tuebi for the night and had an evening walk through the narrow streets of this small historic town. Next morning we visited the castle which stands on a cliff overlooking the river. I have tried to find something out about it but have only conflicting information. The river was covered in mist but this dissipated as the sun rose to a blue sky…

Holiday in France - 19 Col de la Bonette

It was well into the afternoon by the time we started to ascend the Col de la Bonette, at 2715m  (8907ft). An extra piece of higher road has been added as a loop around the hill at the top and a signpost says "Col de la Bonette - Restefond, 2802m above sea level, highest road in Europe" which, according to Wikipedia is incorrect, the Col de l'Iseran, the Stelvio Pass and the Col d'Agnel are higher passes as the loop road is not technically part of the pass, but it is the highest asphalted road in France.
The weather was fabulous, sunny but with a some white fluffy clouds to add interest to the sky. We were halted on our way by some sheep and goats crossing the road, being led by their guardian dogs with no evidence of human intervention. As we approached the top the cloud cover increased and having got to the loop we parked up and took the short footpath to the very top of the mountain. Cloud was coming and going and as I had the tripod on me I took the opportunity to…

Holiday in France 18 - Col de Vars

Apologies to anyone who is following this blog, I have been away for a month and have had no internet access. I am taking up where I left off - in the southern Alps of France.
Alan left Guillestre early to ride up to the Col de Vars on his bike. I had a tidy up of the van and downloaded pictures from my camera onto the laptop then set out to meet him. He was coming back down into the town when I caught up with him and we turned immediately and drove up to the top of the col. There is a large Vauban fort just outside Guillestre, but we had visited this on a previous holiday and did not feel the need for a return.
Compared to other passes the Col de Vars is fairly low and stands next door to the Refuge Napoléon, by a small lake which was glittering in the morning sun. The refuge was built in 1858, after Emperor Napoléon's death, but in accordance with his wishes to thank the people of the area for their kindness after his return from Elba. We had a walk around the lake and up onto …