Chateau de Vizille, France
France, Isère (38), La Salette-Fallavaux
Serre Poncon Lake in Winter, Southern French Alps, France
Savines-le-Lac village with the Grand Morgon and Serre-Poncon Lake in Summer. Alps, France
Cathedral of Embrun, interior
RDC-AD-280331 - © - ARCO / B Bönsch
3 days roadtrip on a mythical road
You are tracing the footsteps of Napoleon’s return… History granted him 100-Days, we offer a three-day tour to explore Grenoble, Gap and Embrun.
Featured on the monuments of this course are eagles with outstretched wings, a symbol inspired by Napoleon’s words: “The Eagle will fly from steeple to steeple to the towers of Notre-Dame. »
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To discover Grenoble, head up to the Bastille fortress and admire the view: the confluence of the Isère and the Drac, the Cluse de l’Isère framed by the ‘Casque (helmet) of Néron’ to the right and the last ridges of Vercors to the left. On a clear day the Mont Blanc Massif appears through the gap of the Grésivaudan valley. To the east, the beautiful silhouette of the Belledonne range draws a long snow-covered line with its dark peaks.
Next, head down to the old town for a walk: Grande-Rue, the Stendhal Museum, Place Grenette and finally the Grenoble Museum and its beautiful rooms of modern art.
MyTripTailor tip: want a picnic break? Head to the Jardin de Ville which includes a French garden framed by a rose garden and central music pavillion. Many activities take place there in summer.
Leave Grenoble from the south via Saint-Martin-d’Hères, in the direction Vizille, before heading up to Laffrey. Once you reach the plateau, after the village of Laffrey, the access route to the Prairie de la Rencontre is signposted by two monuments bearing the imperial eagle. The statue of Napoleon on horseback (bronze by Frémiet) is visible from the road!
15km north of Corps, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette Basilica, located 1,770m above sea level, soars from a grandiose location that is worth a detour.
Between Corps and La Salette-Village, you head to the lush, deep Sézia valley. Between La Salette-Village and the sanctuary, the road rises quickly opposite the majestic summit of the Obiou. In addition to visiting the basilica (allow no more than an hour), you can walk to discover the view from the eminence topped by a cross. Next, walk back to Corps and continue towards Gap, the second leg of your tour.
MyTripTailor tip: be careful, the road north of Corps can be closed in the winter.
After Gap, pleasant for the ever southern atmosphere of its pedestrian streets and colourful houses, rather than following the traditional Napoleon route through the Durance Valley and Sisteron, our suggested “alternative” is to pass by the Serre-Ponçon lake. Exit the centre of Gap towards Sisteron and head towards Remollon and Barcelonnette.
Crossing the Pont de Savines, where you ride flush with the water, is a unique experience. In Savines-le-Lac, the church of St-Florent (1962), designed by architect De Panaskhet, is remarkable for its stained glass windows and the surviving cross of the old church.
Wrap up this first section of the Napoleon route in Embrun, nicknamed the “Nice of the Alps” for its sunshine. Its Notre-Dame-du-Réal cathedral includes a remarkable portal, a model of Lombard art and a treasure that was one of the richest in France.
MyTripTailor tip: time permitting, we recommend a tour around the Serre-Ponçon lake. Superb roads skirt around it, their bends appearing to pull away from its shores and sink into the hills before returning to the nearest isolated coves.
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